Wacom Cintiq – Does Size Matter?
I just received an email from a friend;
I love all your books and have learned most everything that I understand about Flash cartoon animation from your books. I have a question on the Cintiq tablet. You mention that you use one and I was wondering about your opinion about which size you think fits best for creating Flash cartoons? As you know Wacom has the 22″ and 24″ and they’ve recently come out with the 13″. I’m particularly interested in the 13″ but I’ve wondered if having a larger screen size is more ideal. I would certainly welcome your opinion based on your years working with Flash for creating cartoon animation. I look forward to hearing from you, thanks.
I’ll preface my response by saying I have only been able to use the Cintiq 13HD and for only a couple of days. A local dealer loaned one to me and soon they will be asking for its speedy return. I have seen the 24HD being used at a local conference event and I can say with certainty, it is a beautiful piece of hardware.
Which one to choose? I will break it down like this:
Cintiq 13 – The perfect choice if you want a Cintiq tablet combined with portability. The 13″ size fits perfectly in my laptop bag alongside my MacBook Pro and I can easily take it with me almost anywhere. Keep in mind, you will need a power source wherever your travels take you as the Cintiq 13 is not wireless in any way. In fact, I found the tethered nature of the 13 to be slightly annoying, but I admit I’m splitting hairs with that complaint so don’t take it too seriously. The small screen also means that everything being displayed is well, very small. Almost too small. I had a difficult time selecting menu items and tools across Adobe Flash and Photoshop. There’s also a persistent arrow cursor displayed under my stylus that covers up the items I try to select, turning the simple task of selecting things into a game of blind luck. I have not been able to find a way to hide this cursor in the tablet preferences.
UPDATE! It’s been a few more days of using the Cintiq 13HD and I have grown more and more fond of it. I’ve started to forget about the cables needed to connect the device to my computer and the cursor “issue” has all but gone away for me. Yes, the screen is still feeling smallish, but I’m an adaptable kind of guy and I’m finding myself selecting and moving about my applications in a swift manner. Still the best part? Transporting the Cintiq alongside my MacBook in my backpack between work and home. Portability is this tablets’ key strength.
Cintiq 22HD, 24HD or 24HD Touch – As mentioned previously, I have not been able to actually use one of the larger Cintiqs but I can say that if portability is not a priority and your budget can provide for it, go big or go home. Maybe someday I’ll get my grubby hands on one and really kick its tires.
Camera Shake Reduction
Loving this feature already…
Sneak Peek: Playing with Lighting in Photoshop and After Effects
I got to meet Sylvain Paris and obviously being French, I asked him where in France he was lived. He told me that he currently lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts which is the town I grew up in.
Sneak Peek : Perspective Warp in Photoshop
The most inspiring moment (for me) at the Adobe Max conference in Los Angeles last week. If you are a creative type, or even if you aren’t, this will surely inspire you in some way.
Adobe MAX session test
Wacom Webinar – Flash Animation Techniques
Wacom makes cool products. Wacom loves the artists that use their products. Wacom also loves the graphic design and animation community. But most of all, Wacom is cool because of people like Westom Maggio and Joseph Sliger, the hosts of a regularly scheduled webinar that showcases artists, designers and animators of all walks of life and how they integrate Wacom products into their workflow. This week I was asked back to present again on Flash design and animation techniques because contrary to popular belief, Flash as a development tool is very much alive and well.
Toon Boom vs Flash: Masking
More Toon Boom love from Tony Ross…
Toon Boom vs Flash: Drawing Subtitutions
More Toon Boom love from Tony Ross. Learn how to use drawing substitutions in Animate Pro!
Adobe Edge Animate Test
The above animation may not seem like much but consider the fact that it was created entirely in Adobe Flash (I know, still not impressed), exported using the Sprite Sheet Generator (yeah…big whoop again), imported into Adobe Edge Animate and published to HTML5 and embedded into this WordPress theme using a plugin (admit it, it’s kind of cool now – especially if you are seeing this on your iOS mobile device).
The new Citrus game engine
In an effort to step up my Adobe Flash Pro game, I’m learning about, well, Flash gaming – specifically the new Citrus game engine. I recently worked with Tom Krcha by supplying him with a couple of animations for his recent Citrus article. I used the new DragonBones extension, a new open source skeletal animation extension that outputs texture atlas sheets and animation metadata all within the Flash Pro IDE. Check out Tom’s complete tutorial. Meanwhile, I’ll be building my own simple game engine to use as an example for a future book update
I’m a faculty member now
Hot off the press…
The HAS MFA in Illustration program welcomes faculty Chris Georgenes to its ranks! Chris joins faculty Nancy Stahl team-teaching Creative Digital Illustration, a week-long course offered during the two-week summer residency in Connecticut.
Read more here on the Hartford Art School blog.
Adobe CS2 Free Download! (UPDATED)
Tony Teach Animate Pro Tutorial (review)
Tony loves teaching, which is obvious if you’ve watched any of his training tutorials. Tony has video tutorials on how to use Adobe Flash, Photoshop, Toon Boom Animate Pro and more. Anatomy of a 30sec Short Vol 2 is the latest video series from Tony that provides an over-the-shoulder view of how to create an animation from storyboard to final product using Animate Pro.
This video series is raw, unedited and as down to Earth as it gets. Tony literally clicks the record button and captures every nuance of his process. If he makes a mistake or clicks the wrong thing, he corrects himself without editing that section out. It’s refreshing to witness his stream of consciousness way of working.
If you want to learn how to use Toon Boom Animate, this series is a great kick start to get you up and running quickly. I’ve been playing with Animate quite a bit this past year and Tony’s video series taught me a few things I found indispensable and had not yet stumbled upon during my experiments. Tony’s tips were my ‘aha!’ moments that got me really excited about Animate. Thanks Tony! Keep them coming!
M-Audio & Mountain Lion
Pushing Pixels is starting to ship from amazon! It’s a glorious day in my world. But as of last night, I discovered an inconsistency relating to the M-Audio Firewire Solo hardware and the latest OS X 10.8.2 Mountain Lion software. After struggling to get my MacBook Pro to recognize my microphone, I discovered that the Firewire Solo driver is out of date. I went to M-Audio’s support site only to discover, as of this writing, M-Audio has yet to offer updated drivers for Mountain Lion.
To quote Sweetwater;
‘M-Audio is still working on testing of current drivers and software for compatibility with Mountain Lion. Until an official announcement and/or update is posted here or www.m-audio.com , it is recommended M-Audio product owners wait for Mountain Lion.’
Of course, it isn’t realistic to hold off on upgrading because of a single driver that may be used occasionally at best. Pushing Pixels specifically features M-Audio hardware and this may be misleading in light of M-Audio’s driver support issues. I’m not one to sit around and wait for a possible driver updates – especially with client deadlines looming.
As a result, I have been researching the latest USB pro-sumer level condensor microphones – specifically the Yeti and Yeti Pro by Blue. USB connectivity would sacrifice latency for simplicity, eliminating any hardware interface that requires drivers that may or may not be available depending on the OS version I may be running. Combine a USB condensor microphone with a laptop and you would essentially have a portable recording studio with minimal effort.
I’ll be posting more about this very topic soon…
Just when I almost stopped thinking about it entirely, it shows up on my doorstep. The FedEx box was placed on the cold dark steps leading to my front door. I noticed it as soon as I got out of my car. The sender on the package said ‘Taylor & Francis‘, and I just knew it was a copy of Pushing Pixels. Coincidentally I had emailed my production editor this morning about the status of the book and just a few hours later I was holding it in my own hands.
I have been more eager to see this book than my previous titles because of the difficult printing issues we’ve experienced during production. Taylor & Francis uses an American printer while previous titles such as the How to Cheat in Adobe Flash series have used a printer in China. The difference between the 2 printers? The HTCIF series printed successfully without any technical issues. I submitted my print ready PDFs and a few weeks later the book were shipped. The same process of screen capturing, preparing files, InDesign layout and exporting didn’t yield the same results with the American printer. After numerous failed tests I had to edit every single image in the book manually by increasing the resolution and changing their color profiles. It was grunt work at its purest.
I carefully removed the shrink wrap, a production detail that was missing from previous titles, and could immediately smell the faint traces of untainted paper and fresh ink. I cracked the binding and went through every single page, one by one, until I reached the back cover. I examined every word and image, with the fear of discovering the inevitable; typos. The strange thing about writing a book is, you proof read your own words countless times, as does the technical editor, proof reader and ultimately the production editor. We all find various spelling and syntax errors. The corrections are made and the the book is scrutinized several more times thereafter for inconsistencies. When the book finally goes to print, at least 10 people have examined the entire contents from cover to cover. But inevitably, assuredly and without fail, with the printed book held firmly in hand, you will always find at least 1 blatantly obvious grammatical or layout mistake glaring at you from the page.
I found 2.
On page 32 the alignment of an entire block of text overlaps a screenshot image. It wasn’t like that in the source file or PDF, but it’s there in the printed book.
My bio on the back cover is the outdated version. It was rewritten and submitted in time, but for some reason, it’s not there.
At the end of the day, these are only 1st world problems and I will certainly go on living with them. Some of the screenshot images in the book are slightly fuzzy too. But there’s nothing that can be done about it. It’s just a book. It’s just a book that I hope helps anyone trying to tread water in the deep dark sea of digital animation.
Contact form is finally working!
It’s been a while since the contact form has worked – but I finally solved the issue – just don’t ask me to explain how. I’ve never fancied myself as a backend programmer and if it wasn’t for the almighty google and some helpful plugins written by people way more intelligent than me, you’d have to chisel your message in stone and air mail it to me.
What are you waiting for? Contact me!
I’m long over due for an update as to what’s going on with that new book title you may have heard I was writing this past year. If you haven’t heard, I was asked by Focal Press to write a brand new animation title. I told them I’m not smart enough to write another book on the same subject matter and my fear was duplicating my efforts and diluting the sales of the existing book. After all, how many ways can I explain tweening or inverse kinematics in Adobe Flash?
Focal Press didn’t care. They told me the book could be about anything I wanted to write about. So I reached deep down inside myself (which is illegal in some states) and realized I may actually have a small nugget of knowledge to offer the digital animation world. My current articles, titles and tutorials teach readers individual animation techniques using Flash but I failed to recognize the most important technique of all; how to take all those tips and tricks to create an entire project from start to finish. From concept to storyboard, design to rigging, and ultimately editing and publishing to the web and mobile devices.
The idea for a new book title was fully realized.
This is what Pushing Pixels is all about. The book walks you through 3 of my own personal and professional animation projects from blank canvas to a format suitable for viewing across a myriad of platforms.
But wait! There’s more!
The final chapter of the book focuses entirely on creative apps for mobile devices. I wrote about everything from Adobe Touch Apps to sophisticated drawing and animation apps. I feature a few of my favorite styluses and the Wacom Inkling. If you are curious about being creative while mobile, this chapter may pique your interest.
Pushing Pixels, as of this writing, is in the hands of the printer and according to my wonderful production editor, the advanced copies look awesome. If you’ve preordered the book already, I humbly thank you with warm and fuzzy feelings. I seriously hope you enjoy the shit out of this book because I think I’ve exhausted all the knowledge I have left in my aging brain. Please let me know if you have any feedback (good or bad) by posting it on the Pushing Pixels Facebook page.