So a quick check in to talk about my new toy.
I know I am a bit late to the party on the Surface and the Surface Pro 3 has just come out, but let me just say that the Surface Pro 2 is amazing!
It took me a couple of hours playing around to get used to how the Surface does things, but it has to be said that the more I use it, the more I am very happy I have it to use!
The first application I installed right away was ZBrush.
Ever since I first purchased ZBrush 3.1 all those years ago, I have been itching to try using a screen tablet with it, and I have to say I am not disappointed!
I spent hours so far just messing around with digital clay and have been very happy with how natural it feels to use a stylus directly on the model.
I also now realize that I have been waaaaay out of practice with 3d and am going to have to spend some time doing some serious catching up.
Next I installed Adobe Web Premium CS4. I don’t have a CC subscription yet, so was interested to see how CS4 would perform.
At first it was horrible! The screen looked hinky, the stylus was offset from the point I touched the screen. And the mouse icon had this weird triple icon effect.
Then I tried going into the display settings and reduced the “Size of items” to 125% and the screen resolution to 1600 x 900. Bingo! Wierd screen effects gone!
I also installed the Wacom Tablet PC Enhanced Tablet Driver and used it’s configure feature to bring the pen back in line.
Suddenly I was happily drawing in CS4! It was like having magic Photoshop paper!!
In fact this week’s comic was inked and coloured using CS4 on the Surface Pro 2, and I have found the whole process so much easier than on a standard tablet like the Bamboo or Intous. The quality of the comic I think has improved just a bit because of this too!
Saying that though CS4 has some drawbacks. It has no gensture pinch-zoom or rotate features and this makes the process of creation seem a bit sterile. I would like to upgrade Photoshop, but I thought I would see what alternatives are out there.
So I have installed demos of Sketchbook Pro, Artrage and Manga Studio. And I have also been playing with Fresh Paint, that comes with the Surface Pro 2.
Fresh Paint is a nice application and has a fun element to it, and I am impressed with how much like real paint it behaves. But it has to be said that I don’t know if I could use this in on professional basis. At least not for comics.
Manga Studio is obviously made for comics and I have been impressed with it’s features in this regard, though I am hampered by the fact this demo software won’t let you save anything!
Sketchbook Pro for PC is very polished and easy to use, with an accessible interface that is just so much more complete than the version on the Galaxy Note 10.1 or iPad.
I like Artrage for it’s massive tool set and it has a natural feel to it, with this sort of fun element to it.
So the jury is still out on which one I will settle with. I may try Photoshop CC and love it, but I am still unsure about the whole subscription only thing.
Will let you know which option I go for in the end.
Also I have a licence for Corel Painter X, which I have not installed yet, as I have so many painting apps to try out now already. However I may install it soon just to see how it is. I get the feeling though, that I may want to upgrade it as it’s several years old now. Maybe I’ll get a demo of the latest version and see how that compares to the other apps I have already been trying.
Just a final note here:
Although I have this wonderful Surface Pro 2, I will still be using the Intous3 A4 tablet I have from time to time.
The reason for this is that I have a large monitor on my desk and have found the extra space to work in is something I am now used to. And a large tablet allows for large sweeping motions using my whole arm.
Maybe in years to come I will be able to get a large Cintiq, but for now, I am very happy to switch between the Surface and Inous.
So! Time to stop playing and start creating!
Laters for now,