Welcome to the YJStudios illustration blog. I am Yoel Judowitz, a professional illustrator specializing in books, products, packaging, and educational programs. I will use this blog to share my insight and knowledge on the subjects of art and illustration. For more info see my website www.yjstudios.com
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Category Archives: Equipment and supplies
I recently upgraded and purchased the Cintiq 24hd. I had a major problem with wobbly lines in Photoshop. The lines seemed to break up into small sections, especially curves. If you look around the net you will see Wacom claiming that this is largely due to interference issues from nearby equipment. As usual don’t believe them. I also called and they told me they never hear this issue about the 24hd – clearly baloney from a quick look around the net. (see my post on scratches on Cintiqs to understand why I have such a frenemy relationship with them) It’s possible that interference is the cause in some cases but it is clearly a driver-Photoshop-Windows related issue. After endless, and I mean endless, research, and trying everything on earth, I finally found what seemed to be an answer: http://forum.wacom.eu/viewtopic.php?t=16043
The thrust of the approach there is to do a thorough removal of current Wacom driver (more thorough than simply remove program) and then install a legacy driver -6.36
After more usage I noticed unfortunately that the 6.36 driver has a slight lag to it. I tried using the same total clean install for the latest driver 63.84 but it also has the wobbly problem although slightly better. So basically my choice seemed to be either 6.36 with slight lag or 63.84 with slight wobble. If you look at this screenshot of 63.84 you can see how it started of clean but if you look at the swirls on top the wobble returns ( in the 63.84)I also tried my Cintiq 24hd with an old Imac – no wobble at all but it is too slow for heavy usage. I have heard of people going the Hackintosh route because of this issue but it sounds extreme.
After a bit more experimentation I finally found the winning combo – smooth lines and super fast:
Important: Unplug the usb from cintiq to computer before you start uninstall process and plug it in only after installing new driver.
The basic approach is:
1) A thorough removal of current driver including all tablet related folders in program files and program files(x86) ( see the link above – I noticed that it is important to do this from an administration account because then it seems to remove all folders automatically, and probably other stuff too, just getting permission when you are still in a secondary account will not work. You might have to stop a process in order to do this. Just go to the process tab in task manager and make sure to click – “show process from all users” if necessary, and stop the process blocking it.
2) Turn off – tablet input service- in windows system, then step on it, burn it and scatter its ashes to the wind.3) Install driver – 6.2.0w5 (update: 6.3 6-3 is better, see later comment)- This is the winning driver! It is before they added windows ink option which I think has something to do with this. I tried this driver a while ago but it did not work consistently because I had not done it combined with the other steps.
Bottom Line: This fix has solved it for me after lots of trying. I believe the issue is clearly related to windows ink-Photoshop-Wacom driver. Others have had success with other legacy drivers so I wonder if it depends on your system. However either way I could not solve it until I realized there were a few other factors such as the thorough removal issue, and the double click issue. It now works perfect on PS CS5 and CC. Surprisingly CS5 seems to work the slightest bit faster than CC but that might just be my settings.
Curious to hear anyone else’s experience with my combo fix.
Here are some of the sources I researched for this issue:
Update 5/30/14: I still have occasional skips and blotches with the 6.2.ow5.
Update 9/12/14: Because of the occasional blotches on the 6.2.0w5 driver I changed to legacy driver 6.3 6-3 which seems to give me both smoothness and almost no blotches.
Bottom line is that the legacy drivers seem to be the answer along with fixing the other variables mentioned above- experiment a bit if necessary till you find which legacy one works for your system, either 6.2.ow5, or 6.3 6-3 seem to be good candidates.
Let me quote Frenden:
“In Windows, be sure to install the drivers before plugging the tablet in. Windows has insidious default tablet drivers it will install otherwise. They don’t work well and you’ll swear there’s something wrong with your hardware. There isn’t. Deleting your HID stack in Device Manager is the only help here and even it may not work. You may have to reinstall a fresh copy of the OS. Additionally, in Windows 7 at least, disable Tablet PC services from the services menu. Uninstall Tablet PC components. Uncheck “Support Tablet PC Features” from the tablet driver icon in the system tray. Minimally, disable Pen Flicks. All of these things impact drawing performance.”
Basically: Always download drivers and install BEFORE plugging in a new tablet so Windows can’t vomit drivers at it.
If anyone comments on a similar experience please note which graphics card and system you have. I am curious if Nvidia has anything to do with this issue I have Quadro 2000.
At this point I decided to get a new computer and go with a mac because I never managed to perfectly fix Windows/Wacom so that I wouldn’t get occasional blotches and I always felt a slight disparity between my input and long lines in terms of wobble.
I got a new 27 inch Imac (OSX 10.10.1) I did not get the 5K because I only use this as a second screen to my Cintiq 24hd and used the money towards 4gb graphics card and upping other specs. I am also not sure how well the memory gobbling retina would support a second screen with heavy use.
First I installed the latest wacom driver for OSX 6.3.11w3. At first it worked beautifully. Then suddenly for no good reason PS CC started to lag and even skip. My heart also skipped because I could not believe the nightmare was starting again after $3000 upgrade to mac. After some research I realized it is not the Wacom driver this time. Rather if you have this issue reset PS CC to its factory settings by first holding Command/alt/shift down and then starting PS as you are holding it.
After further experimentation I have isolated this weird bug with Yosemite / PS CC/ and Wacom driver OSX 6.3.11w3 and the 6.3.10w2 to specifically after you rasterize a smart object or path. For some odd reason this seems to mess up the Wacom driver and creates a lag which will stay even after you reopen PS unless you reset factory settings as described above. I will update this weird issue as I understand it better. Aside from this specific bug which is significant because rasterizing smart objects is a very common task it works perfect.
Overall I feel that OSX and Wacom drivers do much better together. The reason is probably that windows ink screwed everything up. My proof is that the legacy drivers before than are the (imperfect) solution for windows as I mentioned. Even after fixing it in windows with legacy drivers it is not the same responsiveness as a Mac. In hindsight there was still a slight wobble on long lines with Windows. Bottomline at this point I recommend going with Mac if you want to avoid a lot of these issues and not look back after two years and realize that your lines could have been much better.
Great free sites with many, many, textures:
Use James Gurney’s Gamut masking method: ( Basically limit your colors to a specific range/mood, with maybe a dash of contrasting color for flavor- or the character. Also read everything he has ever written on that blog, really, don’t just sit there looking at me, get started.)
Here is an online tool to help make gamut masks :
Here is a great interactive Painters wheel like you find in Corel Painter that opens in Photoshop -free from Len White and here is a color wheel that imports into your swatches from Sketchling at CG Hub
Here is how it looks when photoshop is opened:
The Painterly Digital Brushes Collection:
The main quality I look for in a digital brush is a painterly responsive feel, or brushes that look like they were made with brush strokes, not a hard captured/scattered/ photo/shape.
There are certainly plenty of general texture/brush tip brushes out there. The trick is to find brushes that specialize in a certain purpose ie grass, leaves, water, clouds, stone etc. but still have a painterly feel. These painterly, purpose-specific brushes are also out there, and can significantly speed up your work-flow, but unfortunately you have to hack through miles of evil, stencil-like, scattered leaves to find them. The above screenshot is of my constantly evolving painterly brush set.
These are the best painterly brushes from the pros that I have found:
My Main Painting Brushes:
• DanLuVisiArt / Adonhis brush pack – one of the most popular collections on the net. Amazing basic, plus, great cloud, glow, phenomenal fur/ hair, all painterly, a very good foundation to build your collection)
• Mike Nash’s brushes Look on bottom of the home page for the brush download link. No imitation leaves, just bristle/texture etc. Each brush is perfectly suited for it’s purpose- a small and perfectly balanced collection- almost like a classic oil painting set)
• http://stumpypencil.blogspot.com/2009/08/sumi-brush.html I love this rough sketching brush exceptionally natural and responsive.
• Mar-Ka Brushes / Margarita Sheshukova (bristels and texture, great painterly leaf, grass brushes)
• Imiliea Lush Grass (lush painterly grass brush)
• Fox- Orian Brushes ( nice general shrubbery leaf shapes, great light rays)
http://www.pandemoniumart.net/brushes/ (link to several top notch collections. You can also see their websites for examples of how they used the brushes. – warning: you can spend days on these)
http://theroundtablet.com/2011/06/27/photoshop-brushes-of-the-pros-for-free-skills-still-required/ (great collection- again pro industry artists only)
* For beginners here’s how to load brushes
Collections by Artist:
I am a little crazy over brushes. Here are some of the artists brushes that I have collected over time. I try to collect each one with some sample art that they have done so I have a better idea how they use the brush.
( I know it’s not the brush that makes the picture and.. yada, yada… trala -la… – I still love ‘em and yes they make a HUGE difference in terms of speed, a.k.a. $)
Click (twice) for large version if you would like to see the names in my current collection:
Collections by Subject -The Ultimate Tool:
I believe that the real ultimate strategy is to organize all your digital painting assets ( brushes, photos, patterns, scripts, actions etc) by commonly used subject. Give each subject it’s own titled folder in your general art assets folder.
The only way I have found to transfer select brushes from different assorted use, “mixed” sets into a “master subject” set ( for example taking different leaf brushes from various mixed use sets into a master “leaf” set) is to:
a- Have the “master”set open.
b- Load/add the “mixed” set to the master.
c- Use the preset manager to delete the extraneous brushes from the added “mixed” set leaving only the select brushes that you want plus the original master set. Save.
d- Repeat this process/ for every subject/ with every brush set/ one at a time —– very/ super/ duper/ ridiculous – Adobe? Hello! (Even with the abr viewer programs)
I just found a really awesome Photoshop brush that imitates pencil very well.
It’s much more complex than standard “pencil” brushes and uses dual brush and other good stuff. Download it at this site for free: http://stumpypencil.blogspot.com/2009/11/return-of-stumpy-pencil.html Some really amazing brushes there. Load it into your tool presets window.
Here is a quick sketch I did with the brush. I used it at a large size (30pt) so it’s hard to see the texture but it has a great natural feel:
My main brushes consist of these:
http://adonihs.deviantart.com/art/My-Brush-Pack-118954791 (amazing basic , plus cloud, glow, hair, very good foundation)
with various extras from these:
http://mar-ka.deviantart.com/art/brushes-186829534 (bristels and texture)
http://browse.deviantart.com/?q=+brushes#/d1xs95k (light rays)
http://imaliea.deviantart.com/gallery/4673404#/d1gxeo3 (lush grass brush)
extras worth exploring:
http://www.pandemoniumart.net/brushes/ (link to several top notch collections)
http://chrisoatley.com/newsletter/ ( sign up for his newsletter to get these. some nice texture brushes)
• Check this post for an in-depth exploration of my digital painting brushes.
• Check this post for great texture and color resources.
Like these brushes? Comment and tell me about some good one’s that you use.