This was originally published on a Twitter-thread...
In this post I'll share my opinions on the TabMate device a product by Celsys, the same company of the painting and drawing program ClipStudioPaint.
Basically a "mini-bluetooth-keyboard", shaped like a Wii nunchuck, that you can use to trigger commands and shortcuts.
This is the 2nd iteration of the device. The first one was a White cord controller, with 6 buttons + Control Stick (like a gamepad); The new one is Black, has 12 buttons and it's Wireless.
The gamepad-like stick was replaced by a Clickable-Wheel on the newer model...
The connection with the Computer is made through Bluetooth;
It's **IMPORTANT** to check what version of Bluetooth your computer can handle since the Tabmate it's a 3.0, Class 2 device. In my case I needed to buy one of those USB 4.0 Bluetooth dongles.
INSTALLATION TIP: Make sure to close CSP **BEFORE** you turn the device on and made it recognize by your OS. When it's recognized and working, the Tabmate will have a red light always on. If on Idle it's switch off automatically saving power (1 AAA battery)...
The core of the little device it's in the Configuration Window. Here you can associate *almost* every command of the software and it's tools to a button on the device. If you press a button on the device the correspondent option is highlighted on the UI;
CONFIGURATION TIP: add a 'CANCEL' command to any of your buttons; this is the equivalent of pressing ESC on your keyboard... you'll miss this option when you use the bucket tool on a 10K px canvas by mistake.
You can have 4 configuration sets at the time. To switch between then you just click the Celsys button. Clicking and Holding it will turn it off/on.
The little light on the device blinks/color differently for each set. The idea here is to have a set for each step of your process (Sketch, Inking, Flatting, Painting...)
Next my opinions why you WILL or WONT need to occupy your mind with another gadget instead of focusing on your art... (nerd alert!)
About Form Factory / Build Quality
The plastic on the Tabmate feels light and fragile.
Imagine an original a PS2 controller and a similar knock-off. One feels like a tool you'll use forever, other feels like a toy. I have the sensation it will crack after the first accidental drop.
About it´s Size
It's a very small device. Maybe too small.
If you have normal to big hands OR long fingers you may find it a bit unconformable.
Looks like the Tabmate was made for an specific target audience... (only a conjuncture here)
About it´s Buttons
The buttons are built too small. Specially ABCD ones.
The DirectionalPad is a bit 'shallow' and hard to press.
The buttons use that common click type of mechanism over a simple pcb board. They're not that great to press. (and the sound can be a bit annoying...) . Again. Feels like a toy, not a tool....
** CHECK ** this thread by the artist Redjuice; he took the customization of the device a step beyond. There´s also some pics of the internal guts of the device:
Ergonomics and Grip (part1)
The Tabmate is also 'Slippery' - the plastic doesn´t have any tactile rubber or rough surface to make sure sweat hands don't drop it. Browse the #Tabmate tag on twitter and you'll find tons of DIYs to fix this issue.
My solution (and suggestion) for Celsys: a nylon+velcrum strap that you can use to hold the Tabmate AND slide it over your palm while typing.
**patent pending** ;-)
While you're typing ???
The selling point of this device is to free up your non-drawing hand, so you can have better posture and, somewhat, focus more on your work.
BUT if you use CSP alongside File Browsers, Engine Exporters, eg... you'll have to keep using your keyboard. Keep that in mind.
No Ipad support yet ?
To this date, the Tabmate can't be used on the iPad (WHAT??!!)
That's a bummer because I would say the only people who would benefit more of the gadget are the iPad users. I'm sure this would be fixed on following CSP updates.
As said before, you can toggle between 4 sets to have different configurations.
The sets are indicated by the light on the device BUT I would prefer some OSD info on the interface. A little colored icon on the corner so I can see, on the screen, what set is being used.
[ Conclusion ]
The #Tabmate seems more useful Artists on the #IpadPro.
#Cintiq (or similar devices) Artists would benefit from the ability to trigger shortcuts without a keyboard nearby.
If you have a desk tablet OR are serious about speed/efficacy, I would skip it.
** EXTRA (1) ** :
I don´t have any idea about availability on US/International marketing. Looks like it can be bought through Amazon Japan but I'm not sure. Please, do your own research on that.
** EXTRA (2) ** :
An alternative to all this is to setup a USB Controller, Bluetooth Keyboard or GamerPads and use an app like Joy2Key to create the connection between Button-to-KeyboardLetters; you'll miss some specific features available on CSP **but** it does the work.
I am noticing that the Creative Challenges season is starting earlier this year.
I started to participate in April with #Gobril - an idea by the Artist Wuggy @Wuggynaut; he suggested to draw a goblin per day. Besides that I also joined the #WildWestChallenge for Artstation.
Here are some of my ideas about this type of event:
Creative Challenges are ...
These are the points I would say to anyone who asked me whether it is worthwhile or not to participate in Creative Challenges. A lot of people enter these competitions thinking about the big prize or great exhibition.
That´s not the right mindset in my opinion. The idea is to participate and force you to produce something 'beyond' the usual sketches, studies and random art we all do when we are unemployed/un-inspired.
Ah. Of course.
I will not let this opportunity to write my opinion about the fallacies or negatives that, in my point of view, exist in this kind of challenges:
Here are some Creative Challenges that I've done in the recent years: I can not say I earned tons of money or got internet-famous joining any of them. But every single time I achieve something at the end. Confidence and Experience are some of these prizes.
- Wild West, Character Design Challenge on Arstation
- Rabbots, #100Somethings Robots and Rabbit designs
- Gobril (in progress)
- Zoombies for Inktober 2015
- #MaySketchaDay 2017
- Polycount & Riot Games Challenge 2014
Thanks for the reading.
Do you know any interesting challenge that is going to happen?
Let me know in the comment section below.
Here's the recent news!
Last week I closed my Instagram and abandoned the Poycount Forum.
in a hope this meme still effective to portrait 'shocking' ;-)
Leave Instagram was pretty easy actually.
Here's some data I consider:
a big wall with a lot of Instagram posts - that's now securely archived by Facebook and his sketchy negotiations. I accept some $ Zuck!
So, in the end, I realize the site is just for promotion and not much for interaction.
I agree with the saying: "Content is King!"
If my Art was good OR if I had found my niche, I probably had better usage and more love for the site.
But at the same time, I had few experiences where this proves to not be true at all: 5 min. Sketches (literally) getting hundred of likes JUST because a Famous Artist commented on it; fan-art being more appreciated than Art that was deeply meaningful to me and my career...
Well. It's a game.
And I leave the table with empty pockets and a weird feeling of distrust...
They got me...
( you got me Instagram - I see you on Vero....hmm...no, not a good idea also.)
Leave Polycount was a bit more complicated.
I thought that for a while. Started to ruminate the idea after the Forum re-design years ago.
Message Boards have been critical to my growth in the area, especially Polycount.
I was a member for 13 (?) years, checking the site EVERY SINGLE DAY. Just to keep up with the News and major Issues/Discoveries and even Dramas of the Game Industry.
Fact is. The Industry had changed. As the Forum. And the discussions were not relevant to me anymore...
Realistically and technically speaking, never worked for the "Game Industry".
So why I was trying to make part of such specific group ???
I lost momentum and I stopped to participated on the Forum actively.
Kept a sketchbook there just because it was convenient. And I wasn't finding it nice to have that kind of shallow participation in the community.
So to break the bond, I closed the account and kept in my memory the lessons and names that helped me or influenced me to be where I am right now.
adding this last gif because it represents well my visits to Polycount (and because I saw this gif a lot of times during heated discussions)
Well, that was the main thoughts of the past week.
Those two sites, or better saying, the need to be part of those sites,
were something on my life during the years and I`m figuring out the reason why's that.
Been doing a Self-Analysis program that's is helping me speak out loud (through writing) some of my inner motives and concerns.
Can't recommend enough.
If you`re interested in that. Stay put.
It's probably going to be post for the following weekend.
How to Import and Organize Multiple Brushes & SubTools
(a) When I came up with this idea Clip Studio Paint didn´t had the Quick Access floating menu (WINDOW - QUICK ACCESS), this new feature can be used to create custom collectors of your favorite tools - yet not so visual like my solution.
(b) this is only applicable if you have/need a big number of tools installed on the program. Nowadays I rely mostly on the default tools with slightly modifications. So a simpler workflow like this (video below) would work:
Now you can spend some time organizing your sets and tagging them for a next round of painting.
You can try some crazy ASCII characters to add symbols or empty spaces (Alt+255) or you can create wider gaps between categories, using a Brush Tip with the same color of the UI (dark green, eg).
First, take a look at this new cool piece I made. It´s called... W̷O̷L̷F̷T̷R̷O̷N̷
It took me AN ENTIRE WEEK to finish it !
I had this idea about the process of Art making that: spend a whole one week (in my case, more than 3 days) to finish a personal work is too much.
Since I became interested in Digital Art I took this #SpeedPainting, #WarmUp, #Dailies thing as one of the undeniable truths of our carer.
You know - the need to be relevant, show to people online that you`re active on the game, feed the Social Media monster with more and more content...
That`s Fine and True until a point. With more Experience came some Greater needs like maintaing ourselves Relevant by Quality, not Quantity.
And it's too much non-sense to pursuit quality with #SpeedArt (generic term for any Artwork you do for the doing sake)
You have to put the time on it.
Studies and Practice needs to happen no matter what - but this can`t be the only message an Artist put out there to people.
A Clear Statement demands some polish Thoughts.
What I do is the follow:
On monday I start a blank canvas
and then I keep it open in background on ClipStudioPaint through the day. Every interval I have from Client Work or any hour I can squeeze at night I use to work a bit more on my piece.
What different from my usual approach is that I`m not setting a couple of free days to work JUST on personal stuff.
The chances I`ll be distracted or busy with life on these days are greater - so I took advantage of the days that I`m already producing for client to work on my stuff too.
That's the idea. It's another little brain-hack that you can use to change your habits.
Maybe #SpeedArt IS COMMON among us Digital Artists.
But it's NOT NORMAL if you want to really push your skills and expression of ideas.
Think about it.
A quick log of things that happened to me and my career during this year - it should be useful in the future as a record of my path and/or to other Artists who may need some ideas on personal projects, marketing strategies, career development...
aka: That´s a very self-centered blog post.
My Own Store
No more Patreon, Gumroad, Koffi... enough middle-men!
Now all my products are sold directly on my Shop. The client just need to press a button and checkout on Paypal secured site; I'm using the 'Pay What you Want' pricing model so clients on budget can buy paying the minimum value and 'patrons' who want to support my craft, can do it sending an extra-remuneration. The ammount of content is unattached to the paid ammount.
Two new Courses
I created and published two new online courses. These adds to the existing course on Art for Games; gladly my workshops are super-well received by my students on the platform.
Those course are Portuguese only so far - one of the goals is to translate/transcribe the content to English. If you know someone who may help on this task, please let me know.
Finished and Published my first Artbook
I made Rabbots Corp. as an Art Challenge suggested by the Illustrator Jake Parker; following his other advice (make a Product, not a Project) I added an extra ink-wash pass to all the designs and compiled on a nice ebook.
The result turned out great and it was nice to know that Jake himself liked and commented about it on Twitter.
Two new significant projects to the Portfolio
Spinners is a personal idea of based on the infamous toy - had created a set of characters and creatures to exercise my Character Design skills.
Reserwars is a 2015 project that I finally had the chance to showcase online. I put a lot of work on this and it´s a nice presentation of my creative output.
During the whole month of May I drew fun Alien heads using digital Pencils. Simple as that.
Despite having almost none influence on my Social Media status, the challenge was important to my skills.
Got a better grasp of form and line quality using the tablet to draw.
Unreleased Client Work
Three new Illustration works to be released this next year. Of course can´t show right now due NDA agreements...
that´s why I had to blur ir not once, but twice. ;-)
My Special thanks to all of you who gave me these work opportunities. Super happy to be part of such cool projects.
This year I haven´t focused too much on Social Media BUT I kept posting and sharing my 'almost' dailies on Instagram, Twitter and Polycount.
This triad is perfect for me and the audience I wan´t to grow around my art. Tried back to Facebook (again). It was a waste of time and energy. I quit trying make it work once for all. It´s a horrible platform for me and my brain.
Where I failed
To wrap up this post here some points I had failed that I can use to grow and you can use to think about it:
That´s close 2017 for me (Art/Biz/Work) speaking. I'm happy to have yet health and brain faculties to keep pursuing my goals one round more.
A review like that made me realize that, despite the roughness of some months, if you keep doing what you do best - with passion and focus on your values, the bad moments turns out into 'not so good' moments when compared to the overall. We stress too much as modern humans.
Think about it.
Happy Holly days.
Back in 2004 I made into Art Making through the Computer Graphics, 3D door.
Everything was new and exciting, specially because it was something that was incredible alien to all the options, a young boy of my age and social status (in my country), would have as an possible choice for a carrer.
Curiously enough, I got 3D very fast.
Being a more technical side of the Art, creating using the 3D tools was much more easier than drawing and painting for me, even with the limited set of tools that existed back in the day.
I think this happened because 3D was more Logical and Practical, less "Philosofical" and Conceptual that is to create with traditional tools. The appealing for a young mind, hunger to visuals and very interested in learn fast, was bigger.
These (below) are images of a first "Real Project" I did to showcase my work to other people.
It was for an 3D Contest on the School I learned Computer Graphics - that later lead me to a very cool job on this same place.
s week, an old friend, who I had the pleasure to teach Game Art in the past, reminded me about those characters.
It was such good feeling to know, that in someway, I made an entry on his Visual Library. :)
Thanks Luiz for the memories.
Thanks Cadritech and Rodrigo Cruz for the opportunity.
This new art was made for all of you:
A different way of thinking.
For when you want to Add a bit more to your Drawings:
This is my usual approach - it´s a Design Only type of Drawing.
I'm lately feeling this kind of presentation just appeals to the small bubble/circle of people who, logically, likes to see Designs (to celebrate or criticize, both are valid)...
Adding some elements of Story to the presentation (frame, castle in fire on the BG, broken stuff) the overall image is more complete and, somewhat, approachable to a bigger audience. They can Play with the Design too and create their own Narrative.
Design only = Selfish; just me and the gang can play with.
Design + Story = Everyone can join the fun.
Think about it.
Again, a conversation on Bjorn Hurri´s Discord server triggered a new discussion that I want to register as an Article here on my blog.
This time the subject is a specific style of painting that´s seems to get the attention of people interested in Illustration and Concept Art work.
First: A brief story of the Painterly Style
Please keep in mind that everything state here is purely based on my observation and experience only. No proper research was made (but I'm sure it´s not all bs);
Was Craig Mullins the father of the 'Painterly' style in the world of Digital Art?
Maybe not the first to achieve such look, but indeed a first-reference among Artists. Specially Traditional Artists who were intrigued by the possibilites of the, at the time, new digital media.
When I discovered Digital Paiting, the 'Airbrush look' was the bomb!
Very popular on the Comics (rememberLiquid! ?) - this style was indeed impressive to look at, because the art produced were Clean, Crisp and almost 'realistic'.
"Wow! Looks like it was made on the computer - once said the innocent Dado"
It´s maybe the first popular method of Digital Painting because the available tools at the time, were propitous to this way of creation (Paths, Selection Tools, Aibrush and Gradient tools, mouse as the input device).
The art of Mullins (and probably many others that I don´t know) - took apart from the statuos-quo because of the Natural feeling of the Brushstrokes. The Brush tool and the Wacom are now the primary tools. And this was a game changer.
** My oppinion:
After the raise of this way of painting (Painterly) the softwares became more aware of this method of creation. They started to focus on the Emulation of real Art, as the Artists became to use this kind of 'traditional' look on his Digital Artwork more often.
"Please raise the hands who never overlayed an old paper texture over a digital painting..."
Nowadays, Painterly is common-term among Digital Artists.
It´s a style, way of painting, that can be created on every major painting tool and it´s a blasphemy to say that: we just try to emulate Traditional Artists on the computer. There´s a different set of techniques to achieve such look digitally. Making it a unique style.
But it´s important to observe that behind the Style there´s a big (and most valuable reason) to use this technique:
** it shows the hand of the artist. It´s more Expressive.**
Here´s an exercise that I consider a sucess on 'painterly
- at the time I was very into Matt Dixon´s art (wich still one of my favs because of his style and themes).
Lately on the Artstations and Facebooks we´re being presented by a different casts of Artists.
They're Russians, Chineses, Koreans and from small countries of Europe...
...and we think they're Wizards!
A friend of mine presented me to the work of Piotr Jabłoński - a Polish painter.
The guy is obvisiouly talented and his work speaks by itself. Case closed.
What intrigued me (and the friend) on his work, is the 'look' (style of painting) that seems to be very popular nowadays (not saying on a pejorative way) - it´s a visual style that reflects great knowledge of Form, Light and painting technique.
Just pop Artstation now and see how this is the new look of the Cool Kids. Lot of paintings on the top-row share this visual.
I maybe obvious to you. But seems it´s like a School of painting that is, just now, more evident on this part of the planet.
With this Article I don´t want to raise the awareness of a new fad (again, not pejorative use of the word) - the text here is just to register some thoughts that I can use to apply on my own thing. Even being a very different approach and style.
Here´s some points on this "Painterly 2.0" style:
This, **OF COURSE** - it´s a superficial look on their techniques. Don´t be fooled thinking that this is the only reasons why their art looks so cool, crisp and clean.
Behind that there´s, probably, a School of thought that have some differences of the ones we´re used on our side of the world; greater focus on precision, per example.
A first analysis
I can say the way of handling the painting is a big deal on this style (and on the usual painterly style too).
Please check the first minutes of those videos:
I'm not sure if the Artist here is overacting on those demonstrations, but I'm interested on the pace/rhythm that he lay down the strokes. And when they do it, it´s more like a VOOOSH (precise cut of a sharp knife in direction of the form)...
not like a rake, rake, rake that´s my usual method of painting
Something like this...
left: my usual, careless way of painting (rake);
right: me trying to emulate the directional brushstroke on the video above (knife)
I think the example can give you an idea how even using a textured-look type of brush, doing the marks on the rake style "kills" the painterly look. Most of the painting programs build the pixels over each other, flattening the marks.
I remember ArtRage and Painter having brushes with a Impasto-look; but those tools are not-practical for daily usage.
When I tried to use the more thoughtfull, directional marks, the overlay of each the brushtrokes are more visible and the form shows a 'tactile' feel that I think it´s very pleasure to the eyes.
Conclusion (so far):
I thank you for the reading and, please, let me know if you have something to add to this conversation. On Discord or Commenting below.
As I commented on 30min warmup Discord´s group:
For starters I do think Asaro´s head planes are too subtle/intricated; but I can see it´s value to try understand it´s planes so you can start seeing on people´s faces.
You can find a nice 3D representation of the Asaro´s head online:
Holding ALT + Right Mouse click on the Sketchfab interface you can move the lights; even more superior than CSP realtime render.
If you use Clip Studio Paint you can easilly load the OBJ 3D file on the program, rotate and move the light around - even add some 'post processing effects ' like Binarization, Levels Adjustments eg; here´s a screenshot:
Philippe Faraut casts are beautifull done:
Feels a bit harsh/stylized though...
"...The more easy and cheap it is to use those Digital Tools, they´re not practical and removes a lot of the tactile feeling / real world lightning conditions experience of using a physical cast...."
But we can´t deny the usefulness of such tool.