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Subject: Questions for digital artists... where to begin? rss

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Neil Carr
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So I'd like to get back into doing art. My last foray was in high school 18 years ago in my AP art classes. I had a great time putting together my portfolio and did well with the examining boards to earn some extra college credit, but after that it all dropped off.

Ever since the mid 80's when I got exposed to a Mac, Amiga, and the school computers with some more "high powered" stuff on it, I always found the art programs to be really compelling. The only problem was the damn mouse was such a pain to use. I distinctly remember in 88 being frustrated over a picture I was making and being quite vocal about when we would just be able to draw directly on the screen and ditch the mouse.

Well, that technology if finally here, or at least it is here in an plausibly affordable model called the Cintiq http://www.wacom.com/cintiq/index.cfm?CMP=KNC-google&HBX_PK=...

Here is a link to one in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLEubvE5ZQ4

So, that excites me! I want to get back into the artwork I left behind and the great leap forward from being hunched over a piece of paper for hours on end can now be replaced with being hunched over a big tablet

Up this point all I've ever used was Windows Paint, or brief forays into Paint.net because I liked the strait simplicity of what I could do. However I would like to learn a great deal more.

So I guess what I'm asking is, where to start? It seems that Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash are the big ones. I would hope that I could do standard 2d artwork, but I'd also like to make some animation. I think both the raster style of painting, plus the vector design will work with ideas I have.

However are there cheaper alternatives to Adobe products out there that are worthwhile? $600 for each Adobe program is, well, rather insane.

Also, what websites can I go to that are as awesome as BGG in terms of graphic arts and design, with plenty of great people willing to help others out and showing all sorts of tutorials on how to use the programs effectively?

Lastly, my other buying option would be to wait until the new Gateway C141xl is released in a week or two. It is a tablet pc that seems to have the specs to do a handsome job with art illustration with the interface it provides. Beyond the portability element that could come in handy for making my explosive jump into the digital art world is also the fact that it has a dedicated video card. Thus, my geekiness is ensure as I'll be able to play all of the current games.

If anyone has advice I'd love to hear it!
 
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Xander Fulton
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echoota wrote:
$600 for each Adobe program is, well, rather insane.


And you'd be insane to pay it, unless you NEED CMYK mode for image creation (likely only in professional image manipulation shops).

For getting the ropes down, and about 90% of the way to the end result anyway, look into Photoshop Elements. It's MSRP is <$100, and you can frequently find older editions for cheap. For instance, Elements 2.0 (which I'm using) I picked up at Target (of all places!) for $20 when Elements 3.0 came out.

The UI - and almost all features, actually - is exactly the same as the full version of Photoshop, there are no unusual licensing restrictions around it, and it's widely used itself. Plus, if you ever DO go professional, Photoshop is definitely one of the most powerful and commonly used apps out there, so it's a good one to learn.
 
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Marco Grubert
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If you have a background in classical painting take a look at Corel Painter. I have bought it cheap off ebay and it's quite versatile- though not as good for photo editing as Photoshop.
 
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Keith "Boaty McBoatface" C
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There's also Paint Shop Pro, I'm not sure what version they're up to, but I remember it being a cheap but effective alternative back when I got version 5.
 
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