15 August 2019

Sitges - drawing/dessin Procreate


This post is little different as I don't usually do more than show the drawings. This time I am including the layers in Procreate. Despite loving the Apple Pencil/Ipad/Procreate combo, I had planned to do this on the iMac with my tablet becuase it's easier to see and work with details. That was not be. I accidentally threw out the pen for the Wacom tablet after having it about 10 years, but not to fear! I have a back up tablet... that won't work with the new iMac it turns out. No new drivers since 2011. Buying a new Wacom pen is about 120$ CAD, buying a new Hurion (SP?) tablet is 105$ - a deal! Deal or not, I have no money for such things since the old iMac exploded and the dishwasher did too for good measure. So - to the iPad Batman!


As you can see I divided this into several layers. A pen and ink layer, which was going to be the final product until I decided to do a grayscale layer and add some textures. The textures were on another layer but not too visible on their own so I merged them into the tone layer for the blog. Like most drawings I am not sure if I love or hate this one. I went from dark foreground to light background to dive more a sense of depth. I ended up ignoring a lot of the lighting from the actual reference photo and changed/deleted some details I thought were distracting. I worked on this the last 3 weeks when I could, no rush.

20 July 2019

Barcelona photos and my iPad experiment


So I am back from Barcelona and overall, my iPad experiment worked as well as I thought it would. I was able to save all my RAW files to the external hard drive and process ones that interested me on the iPad in Affinity Photo. Since the iPad could only transfer jpg and png files, it did limit how much I could get done. It seems like in September with the release of the iPad IOS, that could change and the who process will be simpler.

I only had the base iPad, so while most photos were fine to work with, HDR and panoramas were really, really slow. Another issue on this trip was when Air Transat lost our luggage until the afternoon before we left! In the luggage was my second camera battery and charger and my plug for the iPad. The made keeping things powered up a problem and I had only one battery for the entire stay which drastically limited how many photos I could take.

With the hard drive option now I can see myself leaving the laptop at home more often. I also has to make a change in a poster for a client that I had uploaded to DropBox, just in case. I used Affinity Publisher to make it and was able to download, open, edit it in Affinity Designer and then send the finished PDF back to the client all while sitting in a park near the Sagrada Familia.

20 June 2019

Affinity Publisher official release / Designer & Photo updates


The official release of Affinity Publisher has arrived and it is bringing with it updates to Serif's 2 other applications, Photo and Designer.

While I have been using publisher for smaller, PDF export only projects in beta form for 9 months, the actual release still showed some noticeable improvements.  For one thing it's much faster (more so on Mac thanks to unprecedented Metal integration) and more stable. Files open rapidly and working on it is so easy and fast it blows Indesign out of the water in that regard. While still a version 1.0 and lacking features many will need before switching from other programs, I would say it's already better than the latest version of Quark and for less complex projects it gives Indesign a run for it's money in many ways. There were a few release only improvements but the most interesting one was the link between Publisher and their other apps. 

Affinity has links it's apps in a way other companies have not done, even though it seems an obvious way to go about it. Because all three programs use the same format, if you are working on project in Publisher and want to rework a photo, for example, you just press the Photo icon on the top left of the screen and you are working with Photo in Publisher, the switch is so fast you can't even see it happening. It hasn't opened Photo as a separate app, it has opened as part of the app you are already in... seamlessly. It doesn't end there. Publisher for iPad is ways off still but while you are waiting, you can now open multi-page publisher docs in either of their iPad apps and edit them there.  That is IMPRESSIVE! 

This is not to say everyone can just dump Indesign and switch. It's missing some important functions for now. I imagine most of those shortcomings will be addressed sooner than later. The ability to open and export .idml files for easy transitioning from Indesign and for printers who won't take PDF files will be crucial to take a bite from the Adobe apple but it's definitely coming. A couple things I would like to see added sooner than later would be more robust find and replace tools, being able to organize a book into chapters and a dedicated persona for making e-books. 


Photo and Designer have also been updated with new features and dramatically increased speed. The HSL improvements were something I didn't know I needed so much and addition of arrows to lines is a long overdue addition. There are new filters and improvements to so many things it's impossible to list them all. Brushes have been made even more customisable, now allowing you to add brushes to other brushes with the new sub brush function. Indesign has gained from node and drawing features that sets it even more ahead of Illustrator and makes it even more of a joy to use. 

While the new additions are welcome, I think this update brings home Serif's commitment to improving the code, even going back and rewriting it over instead of just patching it is what makes their software stand out. 

10 June 2019

Imac 27 inch 2019 review


A few weeks ago my iMac from 7 years ago exploded. Seriously, it did while performing an update. So repairing it was almost as much as buying new so it made more sense to buy new. If you are going to lose thousands of dollars in one shot, buying a new Mac is one way to do it!

I almost bought a 21.5 inch to get faster processors but it wasn't worth the RAM upgrade and loss of screen space which I desperately need to do my work. I ended getting a bee model, 6 i5 processors and bought third party RAM - going me 40 gigs of it now.

There isn't too much to say about the upgrade... it's faster, the graphic card isn't a Nvidia so I am out of that weird Apple feud. For a week my Myst games even worked! (Then stopped again - the problem is with Cyan's port to the MAC, not the MAC OS for certain.)

Rendering in 3D has improved greatly. The 5K screen doesn't look any better than the old Retina one did except the icons and text is smaller looking. It's a plus overall despite the hit to the wallet and obviously, I needed to do it. There were changes in the ports, something that always bugs me. Can we keep a port connection for more than 5 months before dumping it for something else? It adds extra expense for new cables and adaptors and seems like insult to injury.

Transferring the info from the dead iMac to the new one was pretty easy thanks to me getting a hard drive just as a Time machine backup for the OS (my work files are all on a separate drive already) and it went really, really well.

27 May 2019

design/drawing: dancing boy


Another Procreate test. This time I wanted a subject with lots of exposed skin since I do that by stippling little dots of various sizes and density. Very time consuming, but I really like how it looks. I also added some white and dark grey pencil to give it a better tonal range.  I also added a little noise to give the solid colours a more natural texture.

More or less successful I think.

(close up detail)

21 May 2019

Processing photos using only the iPad


I will be in Barcelona soon to take photos and travelling always has certain problems when you take photos.

Problems:
Carrying all that equipment on planes, getting through customs, where to store all those photos and the best way to process at some of them while travelling.

My hopeful solution:
Use only the iPad and not a laptop to store and process photos.

Of course using only an iPad has problems. The most obvious when you take 1000s of photos while away is storage. The easiest thing to do would buy a iPad pro with 1 terabyte of storage and use Affinity Photo to edit them. Getting them into that device is fairly simple, a cheap adaptor is all you would need. Of course I don't have 2-3000$ in pocket to just buy one of those so that option is out.

How to get around paying a small fortune:
I was happy to discover, by accident, that there are several devices tha tlet you connect a portable drive to any iPad through a wireless connection. The device I chose is the Ravpower Hub which also has a card reader so I can transfer the camera RAW files directly to the hard drive to open with Affinity Photo later. The hub and external drive are under 200$. Problem solved? Nope!

Drawbacks and workarounds:
So it does work, but with a caveat. For some reason I can't fathom, RAW files can not be transferred across the wifi to the iPad. All you get is a tiny PNG preview file. Some say just upload to a cloud service ike Dropbox and then open it from there, but if you could do that anywhere, anytime - you wouldn't need the device! I rarely have super fast Internet while away. So the workaround I have for now is to transfer all the RAW file to the disk as a backup and then take out the card and import just the files I want to work on right now to Affinity. After I'm done, it's not difficult (but a little slow) to export a PSD file to the hard drive, delete the Affinity files and repeat as I go along.

Not perfect by a long shot, but I think it's workable. At least until I win the lottery and get a tricked out iPad pro.

13 May 2019

Dog & Weasel: Occurrence at Lake Mess



A new cartoon done! This time I tried to make the motion slightly smoother and avoid having too much movement, I sometimes get in the habit of making an action for each sentence spoken and that is just too hectic to be effective much of the time. Poor Mike Luce did 2 voices this time!