Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Work repost

I haet photobucket :(

Old versions of brush set below.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Brushie Brushie

I mean...

Is finally here. 

So there's been massive number of changes since Version 1.0. There were at least few dozen internal version updates and brush testing. All the brushes I found were weak and relatively dysfunctional have been removed, as well as adding new sets of brushes for different situations.

This is the basic rundown on brush functions divided by categories. I really use 5 or so brushes 90% of the time, so all I can say about my brush set is that they're still experimental.

I love the Penciler brush I made, though. It's the perfect lineart brush I've been looking for.

I dunno if anyone's looking for previous versions, but I'll have them up if requested. It'll take some effort to find the right versions among few hundred versions files I have, though.

Jeezy Chrizy

Oh man, I just finished the IFX workshop and I'm exhausted. I haven't been posting recently precisely because of it. Meeting deadline is a challenge one must meet and I think I did okay. I wish I had more time to proofread it, though. They'll probably love how much I butcher their language.

So this is the finished version of the pic I recorded some time ago. I didn't get to record the rest of it because I was in a bit of rush so I really wanted no extra pressure on top. This is also the main pic the workshop will feature.

And then some other images the workshop will use as examples...

Anyways, I need some rest... I'll reply to new comments when I'm not dying lol.

I can also begin larger updates to my blog (with deleted DA pics, brushes, tuts etc), but that's also when I'm not dying of exhaustion.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Work environment and hotkeys

Having a proper work environment affects your workflow greatly. It's necessary to optimize and maximize the worktime while minimizing the downtime, well, because you get to draw more with the saved time.

Well, besides the obvious perk, you also get to draw more comfortably. It's important to minimize your body motion so you'll be able to sit and draw for longer.

But there's a problem. You can't have a full control over Photoshop or Painter just by using a tablet. You need a keyboard access to use extra features.

Keyboard in this case is the worst offender. Not only are you required to take your attention off the monitor to perform certain actions, you are sometimes required to leave your pen to use your right hand for assisted hotkeys.

Now, you've seen many professionals work like this before. An extra window opened to assist close-up painting view. This is an 'okay' way of working, but this seriously limits access to your full monitor resolution. Many professionals work like this because the keyboard access is terribly interruptive to use.

What if you can zoom in and out freely with zero hassle? What if you can change your brush size without any trouble? Then you'll be able to fly across the screen drawing while using the full screen of your monitor. (Also you don't have to worry about painting the dreaded window edges.)

Well, there is a way.

This is my current setup. This is the conclusion I've reached after nearly 15 years of digital painting.

You'll immediately notice the main guy there, Wacom Intuos 2. I bought it back in 2003 and been using it since. It's got battle scars and it's halfway to falling apart, but it still works superbly.

But there's something else on the left. It looks like something off a sci-fi film...

It's none other than Belkin's n52te.

This was designed actually to be a gaming product, but is surprisingly a match made in heaven for digital painting.

This neat little guy has everything. Macro, multiple short-cuts, key repeats and so on.

The unit even has a built-in memory so once I save the setting, I can take this anywhere without installing the driver.

Now, let's take a look at how I have the keys set up.

So this is the gist of it.

I have all the primary functions for photoshop mapped to the unit. This way, unless I'm saving a new file, I never have to leave my both hands off the pen and the Belkin.

Zoom can be done via the wheel, brush sizes by the D-pad, and I even got 'd' key for quick picking the color black.

I actually mislabeled the 'TAB'. It should be the 'F' key which puts Photoshop into a full-screen mode where you no longer have to worry about the canvas stopping at the edge of the window.

This is the setup screen for the Belkin. You'll need this for setting up all your macros, but you only need to install this software on one computer. As said above, the setting is saved inside the unit itself and you can take it anywhere.

Also the unit can save up to 3 different settings, so you can have different settings for photoshop, painter, and whatever you use.

Now, at this point you may be going, 'Hey! I've seen what the latest Wacom products can do! You don't need that fancy Belkin to use hotkeys!'

Well, kinda right, but I've also used them and I found them to be lacky in general.

Let me begin with my past findings on this whole hotkey dealio.

My first love affair with hotkeys began when I first bought Intuos2 and this thing came included with it.

This shit was so cash. I could use the Intuos' dual mouse support function and use it on my left hand. Of course, the restriction was that I had to keep this mouse inside the Intuos canvas, but just the fact that I never needed to press the keyboard gave me a feeling of freedom I never felt in my previous Wacom purchases (Intuos 1 and Graphire 1).

That affair ended abruptly when Wacom updated their drivers and ended the dual mouse support. I'm pretty sure that was in order to push their Intuos 3 sales which had embedded keys on the tablet.

After going through the tech support, finding and using outdated drivers, the affair lasted just slightly longer. Ultimately though, it had to end as the keys got so sticky, and the rubber padding got so old, it was no longer usable.

So there began my journey finding new devices to accompany my left hand while my right hand remained on the pen.

My first stop was this:

You've seen one of these. Right after my 4D mouse died, I started using an external keypad. Of course they don't work on Photoshop as is, so you'll need a keyboard intercepting program to assign macros. Those programs are hard to find, and the keypad itself is not worth using.
Using this for nearly a year, I almost gave myself a carpal tunnel's syndrome. It was painful and I had to rest like 2 hours for each hour I painted with it. Pressing each button millions of times is just painful.

So I thought Cintiq 20USX (or whatever it's called) was going to provide me the keys I wanted plus the tactile feedback only pen and paper could provide me.

Of course, I was wrong. Cintiq sucked (more on that in the future), so I sold it and decided looking further.

There were few other options I considered and I just knew they were not the answer - like Intuos3, which is almost identical to Cintiq in the way the buttons function.

Just off the top of my head I can recognize the problems that comes with it.

-One touchstrip on each side. You need at least 2 to zoom in/out and resize brush.
Also the touchstrip isn't accurate enough. You'll find yourself overshooting zooms all the time and are forced to tap the opposite side just to get the right zoom.

-The buttons take some force to press (since they're identical to Cintiq, I know). It's not that big of a deal, but when you have to press them thousands of times to either zoom or change brush size, it just makes your finger sore (like the keypad).

-Not enough buttons on each sides. So there's 4 buttons and 1 touchstrip. 2 buttons are already taken, and you're left with 2 extra to map frequently used functions such as undo, save, shift key, free transform and etc. This forces you to lift your hands off the Intuos and use the other side or a keyboard. Optimization is effectly reduced once that happens. Cintiq's got more buttons, but they just HAD to put 2 extra keys on an island location. Jesus.

-Not ergonomic enough. At least with Cintiq, you could wrap your hand around the monitor (to reach the touchstrip on the back). Not only do you have to keep both hands in close proximity, You must keep your palm on the edge frame of the tablet.

And then Intuos4 came out, and being a long-time tablet user, the problems were really obvious.

Okay, they got a bit smarter with their buttons, but they made other terrible choices.

-Only vertical button rows. Horizontal buttons are often good for symmetric functions such as opacity changes, or brush hardness changes. They require two buttons to be used.
Also all the buttons are designed in same fashion, thus it'll be difficult to tell which buttons you're pressing just by feeling them with your finger.

-LCD screen. It's not much a con than it is excessive. Once you get used to the hotkeys, you don't look at your tablet anymore. A sticky note is often enough until you memorize the hotkeys - not that it'd take a lot to remember with only 8 buttons, though.

-The biggest problem of all, is the circular touchstrip. It's just asking for trouble.
One, nobody's going to use the full strip, circling it around with their fingers. That requires wrist action, which is a big motion when you're sitting there painting for 10 hours straight. I never used Intuos4, but I bet you my left kneecap that everyone just uses the left side of the ring repeatedly.
Two, it's still got one strip. You can change the strip function by pressing the middle button, but that's adding an extra step. Being able to zoom in and out while resizing brush is a godsend, and you can't do stuff like that with this strip. Each time you press the center button is a second wasted.

Again, I never used Intuos4, but I've used a lot of their products to know what works and what doesn't. Let me know if I'm wrong on any accounts.

So after browsing through for days and on, I found Belkin. Ironically though, I spent the next 6 months still using the painful keypad. Even more ironically, this device is terrible for games - the very thing this product is made for. First of all, you can't use this for multiplayer games as you need to chat. It's a nightmare switching your hand between Belkin and the keyboard. You can't use this for every other game either because the device isn't precise/accurate enough for games (You can set the macro to press the button multiple times, but they sometimes press less times than you inputted or just stops repeating sometimes).

But strangely, it works for digital painting - beautifully.

So this is how I work. Belkin on my left hand, digitizer on my right hand and monitor ahead straight. Keyboard only comes to play when I need to 'save as' and I get to 'save' a lot of time that way.

Haha, oh, puns.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

So I was told...

that one of my quickies will be used for a promo, but that happened to be the piece I only took 1.5 hour on.

Okay, it's not bad but not the best. Something like this, I'd have no problem posting it by itself but for a published promo? It's gonna need more than that.

That's more like it. About 3 extra hours into it. I virtually changed almost the whole piece but for the left arm/ sword and the background.

Every bit of detail inflates the time spent significantly, and the details on her face and the armor certainly took its toll. I like it though. It's a bit of anime and a bit of realism.

Extra large version below. I dunno how much blogspot's jpeg compression will butcher it, though.

Few new art

Well, not really new. I've drawn these some time ago but refrained from posting them as one's for a website and the other one's for a book.

This one's for Otakon 2010 website. I'm pretty sure I'm safe to post this as other 2 artist uploaded theirs. I see their work on the site but not mine though. Maybe the website hates me.

This one's for a book I can't mention yet, but the book is basically using my pre-existing library anyway so me posting this is quite alright.

There are like a few other large pieces I've yet to post but eventually I'll get to them as soon as the book is announced.

Testing timelapse

Still drawing this piece which is gonna be used for my IFX workshop article.

So far it's going pretty well. I'm trying to solidify a system so I can process the videos without fidgeting around.

The very act of recording makes me nervous though. It feels like someone's watching me...

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Well, now that I have the attention of truly devout, I thought you guys deserved some explanation.

Not that I had any fans to begin with- I'm just another dude who knows to pick up a pencil and draw something barely recognizable. But then you already know I don't think much of myself. For me, you guys are just people who really like me and my work and are willing to walk the extra mile with me.

But in any case, here we go.

Why did you quit all of a sudden and without a reason? I mean, it all seems petty to quit over something so trivial!
No, not sudden, and it only seems petty and trivial because I chose now to be the time, but it was already decided that I needed to move on.
The basic gist of it is, I had enough of DA. It's the cumulation of over 7 years at that website that exhausted me to the point that is now. It's just the '1 million pageview' goal that I set for myself that helped me to muscle through all those years.

I had my fun some of the time during my stay, but you just know when you have to move on. I'll explain in few points why I feel the way I feel.

1. Favs and comments becomes meaningless once you go past the breaking point.
-When I was still relatively unknown every feedbacks, every comments and favs felt like they meant something. They were exciting. As time progressed and as I started getting more traffic, favs and comments became as numerous as people that viewed the work. It's really difficult to keep track of all of the attention, and they essentially became a white noise. A word without meaning, a noise without sound.
It just became difficult to care for people beyond the numbers they represented.

Also, the terror that is DA is that popular people get popular-er for the sake of their popularity. I could post something that resembled a standing person in anime style, and another honest and hard-working, but less popular artist would get buried just because he chose the unfortunate time and category to post on. Same happened to me in occasion by other, more popular artists. It's not a bad thing that good art is promoted for more views- the problem is that democratic process doesn't select good art, but rather a popular art.

2. It's a terrible place for expressing opinions.
-Fanboyism is rampant on the website, there's no doubt about that. That creates an environment that is difficult for criticism of any kind. Your attempt at making any negative critique is immediately degraded into a fight of ad-hominem and various other fallacies such as appeal to authority and appeal to common practice. You cannot argue with fanboys and fangirls. They have a rigid world view and nothing will change what they want to see.
If you don't think that's the case, let's take critique feature provided by DA for example. I challenge you to find a negative critique, and I also challenge you to find a negative critique majority of people approves of.

My first disgust at this tenancy goes back all the way to the time when I posted 'artist vs non-artist' strip. The strip until I deleted it recently, garnered about 1050 comments in total. That's probably one of the most comments you'll ever see on a deviation, if not the most. I tried remaining civil, and tried responding to each of them but when their first comment starts with ad-hominem, you can't help but get bitter at the reality of things.

3. WTF am I drawing?
-The website affects your subconscious through both negative and positive feedbacks. It drives your style to a certain direction through favs and pageviews. Yeah, it's easy for someone to say 'well, just stop giving a shit', but I'm pretty sure you've tried to recreate your jackpot one way or another after you got couple thousand favs, and you wondered what you did wrong when you didn't get the number you wanted.
There's a reason I got 1 million views only after 4 years - a feat that is yet to be achieved even by some DA seniors. I was being driven like a livestock and went where favs also went.

You could try not to care, but you could also try not to smoke and drink. I'm pretty sure we've got some drinkers and smokers here who knows exactly what I mean.

Just by controlling your face expression towards people, you can modify their behavior. DA is no different in that it modifies the behavior of eager artists on its website.

4. I don't like social networking websites
-I don't like being hyper connected and I don't like people. I only keep barest of friends on my facebook and I outright hate twitter. When I frist started with a different alias on DA (before I went by saejinoh), it was my impression of DA that it provided a webspace where I can showcase my work and it had some community feature that I didn't need to bother. You ever notice how I never faved anyone's work or how I rarely commented or posted on the forum? I simply don't give a flying B-15 crap.
But as time went on, new features were added and everything became more real-time and more connected. I wasn't so isolated anymore. The DA essentially became an extension of other social networking sites.

5. Art is political.
-Comedy is political, news is political and opinion is political, but there's one place where you're expected to stfu and just post some landscapes, robots and boobies. You don't need me to mention where that is. The problem gets much worse as more renowned you become. You know how much crap celebrities got from people by expressing their views on Iraq War? As if they were supposed to stfu and be some kind of movie making androids? They're people and they have their opinions and as do I.

Well, there's one opinion that you're allowed to take position with: Popular opinion. That's where the danger of populist democracy lies in. When you side with unpopular view, you are instantly vilified and crucified. I had bunch other near borderline strips that got into at least modest amount of heat, all in which started with ad-hominem attacks and various other attacks that questioned my intelligence.

That's not going to stop me from expressing my own views and that is my right, but telling that to a community of thousands and millions would be like whispering in a crowded mall. I'll leave the mall for somewhere more quiet, if that's what it takes. Seriously, why do you think why I drew all these strips when most artists are just happy drawing one illustration after another? I've got things to say and I gotta say it.

6. You can't force me to
-People are forgetting something when they make a big deal out of my departure. It's just a website. It's not your life, but a made-up place with zero's and one's.

My departure from DA means nothing. I still have all my skill and I'm only going to get better. I work harder than most people alive and that is not going to change now.

For supposed fans who feel betrayed, what am I betraying you for? For taking a bunch of picture from your fav's? The very pics I own my rights to? If you're my real fan, then just sit back and enjoy the work I'll be creating in the future. You can be excited about that because it'll be better and fantastic. I'm only 26 and I've got a long time to hone my skills.

7. There are other venues.
-I've been working on some youtube tutorials and timelapses in 1080p. youtube is by far a larger place than DA, and the venue I have there is unlimited. The place is ripe with political dialogue and different opinions - a benefit of being an all-encompassing website instead of restricting itself to crafting - and I'll feel right at home there.
Of course I'll be disabling comment features there but people will be able to track back to my blog for commenting. DA is a wonderful place for right people, but you gotta remember that it's not be-all and end-all.

In conclusion...
It's not like I was planning to stay there for indefinite amount of time. My departure there was predicted if not obvious. I don't like getting bound to things. I have an addictive personality and it took me violent character deletes to have myself quit WoW. I'm basically doing the same thing for DA and it will be for better.

So that's why my move to close the place felt sudden and unwarranted. There are all these things that I was not happy with and it just took me one straw to break the camel's back.

Also that 67 month subscription...
People paid me in subscription for the commissions I did for them, so they're my money. Perfectly justified.

I'll leave you with...
A strip. I'm pretty sure you've seen this strip everywhere by now. I drew this a couple years back and I never found the strength to post it on my DA page. Fully understanding the ramification this strip can have, I instead chose 4chan. If I had posted it on DA, I would've quit it a long time ago without having to wait till now.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I got the 1m view I wanted

And that is all. I'm posting here now.

I can hear the crickets singing but that's alright. I am fully aware that I won't be getting the same kind of attention I got on DA, but that is no issue for me.

I'll be uploading stuff here regularly, like I used to on DA.