Graphic Design and Illustration.

Archive for ‘July, 2014’

Procreate for iOS

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I’ve been playing around with the Procreate App or iOS tablets. It has got to be the best digital drawing experience to date. While not perfect, it has become my go-to drawing app.


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The opening screen in Procreate. Here you manage and organize your files.


When you open the App, it takes you to a gallery view. Here you can select the image you want to work with, create a new image, or import an image you have made from another program. You can import images from your camera roll, iTunes library or from Dropbox. You can also manage and organize your drawings from this screen. You can even change the orientation of drawings as well. Cool!

Once you have selected your image, you are then taken to a fairly minimalistic screen where all the action happens. Here you can chose your brushes, colours, manage layers, create selections and move objects around your canvas. There are many gestures you can use to speed up the drawing process. Most of those gestures come naturally and are similar to other drawing apps. There’s a pinch zoom, and two finger swipes for undo’s for example. The most amazing feature on this UI is the canvas rotation. You can rotate your canvas using a two finger twist. This is helpful as when drawing in real life, it helps to rotate your drawing around. You can now mimic this on your tablet. I find another benefit to this is the quality of line. I find sometimes the line gets a little shaky when daring certain angles. Not to sure if this is a hardware hiccup or me! Either way, rotating the canvas can help. I find the animation for canvas rotation to be very smooth and responsive on my iPad mini with Retina display.

There are quite a few built-in brushes for drawing and painting. There is also a complex brush designer to make your own custom brushes. You can also share and download your custom brushes. All of the brushes are available for blending and erasing as well as drawing.


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Procreate offers a very comprehensive brush engine.


You have layers to work with, but the number of layers you have available is dependent on how big your canvas is. The larger the canvas, the fewer the layers. I imagine this is a limitation of the hardware. You’re not working on a souped up desktop or laptop with a huge hard-drive and maxed out RAM! But I’m an old-timer, where you couldn’t use a lot of layers in Photoshop. The computer would grind to halt with any more than 3 or 4 layers. And the version of Photoshop I learned on, v2.5, didn’t even have layers. So limited layers in Procreate is hardly a deal breaker for me.

You have layers to work with, but the number of layers you have available is dependent on how big your canvas is. The larger the canvas, the fewer the layers. I imagine this is a limitation of the hardware. You’re not working on a souped up desktop or laptop with a huge hard-drive and maxed out RAM! But I’m an old-timer, where you couldn’t use a lot of layers in Photoshop. The computer would grind to halt with any more than 3 or 4 layers. And the version of Photoshop I learned on, v2.5, didn’t even have layers. So lack of layers isn’t much of a deal breaker for me.

As for filters and effects, there are a few. Each layer can have effects applied such as Multiply and Lighten. Photoshop users should be all too familiar with them. There is also a Gaussian blur and sharpen effect as well as some Curves colour adjustments.

I only have three complaints. The first is the built-in inking tools. I’m not using a pressure sensitive stylus, and the stokes don’t seem to quite translate from how I think the brushes should act. Thankfully, there are other Apps that I have found that can deal with line art the way I would like to work. Second, is a lack of basic shapes such as straight lines, circles and squares. Straight lines, I can always find a ruler to use, but it is nice to be able to draw perfect circles without all the extra effort! And lastly, the ability to import Photoshop files would be nice. I have quite a few backlogged images I would like to finish up, but I just haven’t been able to due to family commitments. A big reason for me getting a tablet was to enjoy time with my family and not be locked in the basement on my computer all the time. Getting those unfinished images on my tablet for completion is a priority for me.

There is a workaround by exporting your layers as PNG files with transparency and then rebuild all your layers in Procreate. For basic images, this will work. More complex images with be a problem. Though, if you are doing more complex imagery, tablet computing may not work for you.


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Once you have finished your masterpiece, there are plenty of options for sharing you work online. Or you can just add the image to your camera roll or Dropbox.

Enjoy. [Procreate for iOS]

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Image of the Month – July 2014

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While this isn’t my first image created almost entirely on the iPad this is my favorite so far.

I wanted to do a series of images for the Image of the month section of my blog for the summer. For a theme, I settled on TV Femme Fatales of the Sixties. The first one in this series is Emma Peel aka Dame Diana Rigg of British TV’s The Avengers. I’m a bit too young to have caught the show during its original run, but I’ve aught the sbow on reruns a few times. And like many a goung man, I was captivated by her strenght and sex appeal.

It’s interesting that in this retro style of drawing, she would up looking quite a bit like Natalie Dormer, which makes sense as she plays the daughter to Diana Rigg’s character in Game of Thrones, so I left it as is.

Starting off as a sketch, I used the iPad’s camera to take a shot of the sketch. This was my scanner replacement. I then opened the image as a background layer in Autodesk’s Sketchbook Ink and used the tools in that program to ink out the black lines. I then exported the image to my photos library at a fairly high resolution.

I then imported the image into Procreate App to quickly throw in some greyscale inl washes and add some extra detail to the image.

The background pattern was a fill pattern from the Sketches program imported as a layer in Procreate.

All in all l the image turned out rather well. And it shows that fairly polished images can be created solely on the iPad.

After originally posting this image to Twitter, someone posted this image as a reply:


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It’s the right era, but I have no idea where the image is from. It inspired me to make this drawing:


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Enjoy.

A Designer’s Guide to Flexo Printing – Part V

Halftones


This is the final part of a multi-post story on flexography for the designer. You can read more of my previous posts on the subject herehere,  here, and here.

Part V – Wrapping Up

I’ve really on just touched briefly on a lot of tricks designers can use to make things easier on press time. The things I’ve blogged about will reduce spoilage and get your designs onto presses faster, as there will be less time taken up by technicians “fixing” your mistakes. And it will create a better looking product for your customer.

Which leaves me to my last bit of advice. Research. Research. Research. The grocery store is full of things that are printed Flexographically. Just about any decent brand name potato chip bag or soft drink label covers everything I’ve written on this subject. Seeing what other people have done with their flexo designs will help you out in making your technical decisions.


Just about every aisle in the grocery store has at least SOMETHING printed flexographically.

Just about every aisle in the grocery store has at least SOMETHING printed flexographically.


You can get more information by following this link. I am in no way affiliated with this organization, but they appear to be one of the few people who have ever posted a great deal of technical information regarding printing and design specs for flexo printing on the Internet. I find some of the information regarding the set up of computer files to be a tad dated, but the rest of the information should give you a clear understanding of the state of flexo printing. It also goes into a great deal more depth into typical line thickness and other press tolerances than I have. It is no substitute for dealing with your specific printer, but will help you out if you are in a bind and need info right away.

Enjoy.

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