Monday, April 21, 2014

Figuring out lots of helpful tech stuff

Not quite finished with this one, but it's already benefitted heavily from a few things I've learned since last night.

Fixing Intuos aspect ratio:
First, I discovered that my tablet was set by default to a different aspect ratio than my monitor. The intuos 3has either a 4x5 or 4x3 ratio, and I think the newer monitors are 16x9. Crazy little story about how I discovered this - I'll save that for later. But suffice to say, if I drew a circle on the tablet, I got a wide oval. If I drew a square, I got a wide rectangle.That explains SOOO FREAKING MUCH!! 

The internet told me all I had to do was open the Intuos prefs and click a little box under Mapping that says "force aspect ratio" or something similar. That's all it took.

Oh, the superglue held nicely (1st time it ever has), but unfortunately the 2 pieces of the stylus didn't quite fit back into each other perfectly and it's now about 2 mm longer than it used to be, meaning the tip sinks back inside it till just the very - um - tip of it protrudes. A little tricky to draw with - if I tilt is a little bit suddenly it stops drawing. Not that bad though, but I did go and order a new one. Off NewEgg, not Amazon, because people were commenting that the one you receive was not the one in the picture - maybe because t's shipped from Detroit? No clue - anyway, I found one cheaper on NewEgg anyway.

Using perspective and straight line rulers in Clip Studio, switching between it and PS:
The rulers in CSP are amazing. They make precision drawing really simple. And I figured out a method to transfer this piece back and forth between PS and CSP to use the strengths of each (PS still blows it out of the water for painting). Essentially I have both open, and whenever I need to draw something n perspective or with straight lines I switch to CSP, where I still have it open, though it's at an earlier stage of development since most of my work has been in PS. But that doesn't matter - I just make a new layer, draw what I need, make all the other layers invisible, and export the one layer as a tiff. I open that in PS, select all, copy, and paste it on top of the image as a Darken layer so the clear background remains transparent rather than solid white. Then I can merge it down or work on it separately for a while if I want. For a while I even kept an invisible copy layer with all the perspective stuff on it.

Fiddling around with Selections:
And finally this has been incredibly excellent. It goes like this - use magic wand to select say all the black lines in the mirror frame (lines I drew in Clip Studio). Then I Expand the selection by 6 pixels, Feather it by 4 pixels, which creates a soft edge, and fill in using a chalk brush loaded with black at a low opacity. This creates a beautiful firm/soft edge but with nice straight contours. This is the kind of precision I've needed but couldn't get working freehand.

Wow, how could I forget??!

Transform tool commands:
I also decided to see what happens if I press various keys while dragging the corner of a Transform box. I always wanted to be able to pull or push one corner around but couldn't find a way to do that, until now. The command button lets you do it. Weird - since obviously it has the capability, why isn't there a way to do it without discovering some hidden cheat code? Makes me wonder what other tricks it will do if you can ferret out the secret codes.

I'm doing this one from reference, but not slavishly copying it - man it feels good to have a little creative freedom after all the level up copies!!

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