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Thread: anyone speed increase moving from digital art tablet to digital screen?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016

    anyone speed increase moving from digital art tablet to digital screen?


    I have a series of drawings that I have scanned and am tracing with my Wacom bamboo tablet. It is connected to a desktop PC (sometimes a laptop) and taking forever to trace by hand. Sure, I am cleaning things up, tweaking the design, but am really starting to think there has got to be a better way. I know people say they seem to get over the hump of drawing on the non-screen tablet while looking at the computer screen, but I am finding my speed not increasing for hand tracing. I am thinking that if I were in the more natural format of a digital screen that I could look at the same time and draw on (like a Microsoft Surface Pro) my speed would increase rapidly.

    Anyway have the same thoughts, or found that their productivity did increase when they switched to a digital screen?

    Thanks! -R

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2016

    Technique may be the answer

    I did a little more digging around the web and realized there were some things I could do that may affect my slow speed. One is confidence in the line. I guess tablets seem to have that affect on people where they move more slowly and hesitantly.

    I picked up another trick yesterday where I had been re-drawing and objects that were not centered just right, wasting a lot of time. From old projects last year, when I cut and paste, it always created a new layer, and I didn't want that. But to just adjust an object on the same layer, I can select it and move it without re-drawing it. Kind of a "Duh!" moment... Taking the time to use the shortcut keys would help as well.

    Then I came across a thread that said someone preferred to have the tablet in their lap. I had first tried that a year ago and found it strange. Now when I try it, it really does make the action of tracing surprisingly flow better. Someone also commented that tracing on the glass of a screen was strange, when a Wacom tablet or any other digital tablet is more closer to drawing on paper (some commented that other products may have a "plastic" feel). So I may not be happy with something like a Microsoft Surface or ipad.

    I am still interested in hearing from anyone who has made the change from a wacom tablet to a digital screen, especially if you are tracing. Thanks! - R
    Last edited by Riuniti; 09-26-2016 at 03:30 AM. Reason: adding details

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    It's really a matter of what you're used to, so practice is probably the best thing to try for now - a digital screen is closer to what you're already used to, so there's less of a learning curve, but the *end* result won't be much different, once you've got the hang of both kinds of hardware.

    Stuff that might help:

    - as you're already discovering, there are lots of select/transform/layer options that will help you reorganise your drawing. You can merge layers down, for example, as well as flipping/moving/distorting/shrinking sections. And yes, the shortcuts are a huge help!

    - Investigate the tool settings: For the ink pen, look at the Smoothing and Taper options; for the Pencil, switch to Precise Mode to find the Smoothing setting. These will make smooth line drawing a hundred times easier.

    See for a demo of all the ink pen settings, for example.

    - don't forget you can do things like adjust layer opacity and change colours later. AR4 also has a 'lock transparency' mode that lets you repaint all the marks you've made on a layer with any tool, so you can trace neatly then repaint with pencil or oils or whatever.

    - if your scanned drawings are actually pretty usuable, other than not being digital, try a) importing them as a layer, b) changing that layer's blend mode to Tint/Multiply (or experimenting with other ones, but that's general best one for sketch stuff). It will disappear all the white bits. You might need to edit your scan first to get it properly black and white/grayscale, but it might help a lot.

    - don't forget that you can zoom in/out; this can make it a lot easier to draw long & smooth or fiddly detailed lines.

    There are a lot of other tips that will make things easier, if you explain the specific stuff that is causing problems for you ;D

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    thanks, HannahRage, that is all very good advice, which I will certainly follow up with. To be specific, I have a collage of a journal page with quotes, drawings, and comments. Very much like sketchnoting. I am finding it most difficult to trace my handwriting. I have been doing enough of this and it just isn't improving. I have been focusing on my downstrokes of the text, but I tend to veer left or right, and my loops are either to big or too small.

    I always make sure to dial the smooth up as much as it can take without distorting my handwriting, I am just wondering if there is a technique that can help me improve. -R

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2016

    How many licks does it take to get to the center of a lollipop?

    I guess only I can really answer how fast my workflow can speed up. So.... I purchased a Microsoft Surface Book with Wacom Remote Control. Boy, oh boy, am I having fun! I have nothing else to compare this to except my Wacom tablet for tracing. I have been through a few tracings of my images (I have roughly 60 compositions to trace). I estimate that my work time for tracing has been reduced 65%, even more in some cases. That is a BIG difference (I think that says I am Wacom tablet challenged .

    My lines flow more smoothly and quickly, instead of the very, very careful tracing I had been doing. I feel there is definitely more flourish in my hand, and it is just plain FUN instead of such a tedious endeavor I was attempting before. Again, I am tracing lettering, quotes, sketches, this is not a painting. I programmed the Wacom Remote with my limited favorite shortcuts (undo!) and have a freebie keyboard I pared with it when I need to type something in like the name of a new preset - for some reason, I don't have a keyboard popup when I am in tablet mode in ArtRage.

    This was the route I went, and I am very happy that I did.

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