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.

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!

02 May 2019

New drawing "Robby" my first using Procreate for iPad

So this is a drawing of the barn cat at Mobius Meadows Farmstead in Vermont, Robby. what's different for me is I did it entirely in Procreate on the iPad instead of in Sketchbook pro which is my usual ink/drawing app on iPad and desktop. I used ink for the detail a light grey layer to fill in the interior of the drawing so I could use a white pencil brush to add highlights and a darker grey background with some charcoal for shadows.

The drawing took about 12 hours to do altogether, about normal. I am pretty happy with most of it. But how was it working with Procreate?

In total, working with the now app was pretty nice. Its the first time, including photoshop,  krita, you name the software  - that I have found inking and drawing tools as good or better then Sketchbook Pro. The interface is not hard to learn at all even though I still have questions about how to do colour fills and it took me a few tries to export the finished work to Drop Box. In fact, pretty much all the issues I had were not Procreate related. I had to redraw the entire head after getting terrible results that were pixelated. This was because the canvas size was not what I wanted. I used a reference photo imported from the Photo app and that app for some reason always brings in my references at half the size a made them at.

Things I appreciated over Sketchbook were the interface and the easier way to control brushes. The streamline brush feature really took out the wobble from drawing on an iPad on the couch but kept the natural looking pen line I love. I haven't tried colour yet on it but i will. I don't think it has dodge and burn tools like photoshop or affinity photo en lieu of using layer modes for those functions, as Sketchbook does. I usually do colour work as grey scale layers and then colour each layer using hue and saturation so dodge and burn works really well for me to get details into those drawings. Something I will need to get used to.

A big reason I made the leap from free Sketchbook to 16$ (CAD) Procreate was the addition of text to the latest version. Sketchbook has text but it's TERRIBLE to use and I usually have to go into Affinity Photo to add the title and my name, but not this time. Sketchbook seems to have OK palm rejection while this program has a much better result in that regard. I did have to erase some stray lines from my hand now and then but not nearly as much as in previous drawings.

A small problem is the fact there is no desktop version yet, or maybe never. I do like working on my 24" screen with my Wacom tablet for larger and long term projects. It's just more comfortable and I have more options to go into other programs - though that problem is pretty small with Affinity have both Photo and Designer on the iPad now, there is very little missing from my desktop lineup of drawing options. One thing I might do is put a screen protector back on the iPad to give the pencil more of a 'real paper" feel. Right now it glides to quickly over the surface.

In resume: it's a hit and something I see myself using more and more. Though is anyone has a couple thousand dollars to spare, I think using it on an iPad Pro with a TB of storage would be pretty sweet!

(Thanks Mike for singing the praises of Procreate until i broke down and bought it!)