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Author Topic: Christmas Dilemma
Black Widow
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Icon 5 posted November 20, 2006 07:50      Profile for Black Widow     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
For Christmas, my son would either like a digital video camera so he can start making movies, or a Wacom tablet to use for his drawing. Any suggestions?

If we go for the Wacom, what programs would we need so he could use it to the best benefit (Photoshop?).

Would a digital video camera be a better present? What programs would he need in order to edit video on the computer (we have a PC, not Mac)?

Thanks.

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Bibo
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Icon 1 posted November 20, 2006 09:47      Profile for Bibo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The Wacom Graphire tablets come with Photoshop Elements. I would recommend nothing smaller than a 6x8 Wacom, the 4x5 is just too small. Also it takes about a week or two of using a tablet to get used to it, tell him not to get frustrated with it.
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Black Widow
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Icon 1 posted November 20, 2006 10:14      Profile for Black Widow     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks Bibo.
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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted November 20, 2006 12:02      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Buy him an orange and tell him to be greatful.

In my day we didn't have no fancy tablets or video whadjamacalluts. And we wore an onion on our belt, as was the style at the time...

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted November 20, 2006 12:23      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by littlefish:
Buy him an orange and tell him to be greatful.

In my day we didn't have no fancy tablets or video whadjamacalluts. And we wore an onion on our belt, as was the style at the time...

Advice on how to raise a well adjusted child from such a well adjusted person.

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"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted November 20, 2006 14:55      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It depends on his age but, I would suggest him sticking to physical media if he really wants to learn to draw. Nothing beats holding a real pen/piece of charcoal/whatever and feeling how it takes to the paper. You can muck around with computers but I don't know that they help you develop your skills much. A pad of paper is also portable so you can draw anything anywhere, which isn't true of a graphics tablet. If he already is a skilled draughtsman then the graphics tablet can open up a few possibilities, and of course for a commercial artist it gives him the power to produce highly finished work quickly and to alter or edit that work retrospectively, but that's another ball game. All in all maybe the camera might be more fun. My son got an ordinary little digital camera when he was 14, discovered the movie feature in it, and then started playing with iMovie, and now four years on he is at art school as he wants to be a cameraman or film editor, so you never know where these things might lead!

PS The Canon S3 is an interesting hybrid camera that can be quite a useful videocamera. Ordinary cameras are smaller and more unobtrusive, easier to fling in your backpack or get out at a moments notice. Consequently my son still uses them a lot to make movies even now that he has a proper video camera. I think he quite likes that whole rough guerilla filmmaker thing that goes with them.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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maximile

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Icon 1 posted November 20, 2006 15:12      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callipygous:
It depends on his age but, I would suggest him sticking to physical media if he really wants to learn to draw. Nothing beats holding a real pen/piece of charcoal/whatever and feeling how it takes to the paper. You can muck around with computers but I don't know that they help you develop your skills much. A pad of paper is also portable so you can draw anything anywhere, which isn't true of a graphics tablet.

I dunno... it's certainly really important to get used to drawing on paper, but for similar reasons a computer can be a great confidence-builder. It can get you over the fear of going wrong, which is one of the reasons so few people actually make the effort to try to draw. I was lucky enough to be forced to do weeks and weeks of life drawing, and if I hadn't I'd probably never have started to draw unless I'd had my tablet.

Did that sentence make sense?

Anyway, in BW's son's case it sounds like he's already into drawing, so this isn't too relevant, but I think that a tablet can be a great way to experiment and start drawing.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted November 20, 2006 15:18      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm sure some pure graphics folks will be quick to dismiss it, but the Acecat is a pretty economical tablet, and might be a decent starting point.

http://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=acecat

I have one (possibly older version, not sure) on extended loan from a friend, and the only reason I don't play with it more is that the drivers didn't quite work right with my XP SP2 machine at work. At home, it's 1:1 on acceleration, and is a dog. Ergo, I'd highly recommend you check reviews before making a purchase.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted November 20, 2006 16:31      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by maximile:
quote:
Originally posted by Callipygous:
It depends on his age but, I would suggest him sticking to physical media if he really wants to learn to draw. Nothing beats holding a real pen/piece of charcoal/whatever and feeling how it takes to the paper. You can muck around with computers but I don't know that they help you develop your skills much. A pad of paper is also portable so you can draw anything anywhere, which isn't true of a graphics tablet.

I dunno... it's certainly really important to get used to drawing on paper, but for similar reasons a computer can be a great confidence-builder. It can get you over the fear of going wrong, which is one of the reasons so few people actually make the effort to try to draw. I was lucky enough to be forced to do weeks and weeks of life drawing, and if I hadn't I'd probably never have started to draw unless I'd had my tablet.

Did that sentence make sense?

Anyway, in BW's son's case it sounds like he's already into drawing, so this isn't too relevant, but I think that a tablet can be a great way to experiment and start drawing.

A tablet PC with Photoshop should do the trick, but that would be one mighty expensive christmas present.
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Serenak

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Icon 1 posted November 20, 2006 17:17      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Actually I would think if he wants to use the pad to do "art" then one of the "natural media" programs such as Painter or Dabbler (is that still available?) would be better and probably cheaper than Photoshop or any of its derivatives (they are designed to allow artless designers like me to fake the ability to do natural media work but in a "computer geek" technical manner as well as the more obvious aspects of their use).

Of course no software can substitute for talent and ability...

I have looked at demos of natural media applications but as I cannot draw a stick man they are all rather useless to me - but then many cannot see the beauty and power in vector drawing or high end layout Applications... if you don't understand the principles that they rely on you are lost....

[Beard of Peter Gabriel!]

Then again the sad inablity of so many to grasp the most basic aspects of typography makes me weep... There are more typefaces in the world than Times and Arial (damn I hate that corruption of a bastardised face) and Comic Sans (and that makes me cringe... due to horrid over/misuse)

</end typographic geek>
[Big Grin]

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"So if you want my address - it's No. 1 at the end of the bar, where I sit with the broken angels, clutching at straws and nursing my scars..."

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uilleann
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Icon 12 posted November 20, 2006 18:05            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
<threadjack target="Serenak"> Actually my beef with typography is whatever nincompoopy muppet gave sans and serif different x-heights, making it impossible to use them both in the same document without fiddling with point sizes to maintain visual balance. This is relatively easy in QuarkXPress, but fast-forward to the Web ...

Now, the only way to get a half-decent sans-serif page was <font size="2"> wrapped around everything, including every single table cell ... Simply because all browsers were geared towards serif and didn't adjust sans-serif correctly.

Then we got CSS, but there was no way to achieve the effect in sans-serif either, seeing as IE failed to understand CSS named sizes. % is inheritable, so that fails, and using forced sizes like em/ex/pt/px would upset attempts to scale the page's fonts overall. I was still seeing sans-serif pages using <font size="2"> everywhere long after most of the world adopted basic CSS.

To this day, I still avoid sans-serif type on the Web, but I think most browsers now understand that they need to scale hard-coded sizes like font-size: 10px the same as eveything else. This is also necessary given how, according to fs, Linux can't deal with sizes either.

More on topic with the threadjacking ... yes, Arial isn't very pretty. Times New Roman (a misnomer: roman means "upright" (as opposed to italic/oblique) and thus cannot go in the name of a face ... "Times New Roman Italic" is pure nonsense) ... Times New Roman is quite nice but a little mundane, I guess we're all so used to it.

I've long since grown out of messing with fonts and investigating pleasant alternatives to Times and Arial (for the latter, anything with a decent x-height ;) although when I do any artwork in Photoshop I always try to pick a nice typeface if I can.

And Comic Sans is just revolting to begin with whether it has been over-used or not...
</threadjack>

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Black Widow
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Icon 1 posted November 21, 2006 06:07      Profile for Black Widow     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks for all the advice.

A little background: my son is 15, extremely artistic, has been drawing on paper for years. He used an old Palm that he would make animations on until it finally gave up the ghost. I am hoping that with him getting the Wacom tablet, he will be able to make his animations again, and take them further since he will have them on the computer.

And I offer this for you comic sans haters.

(I hate it too.)

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maximile

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Icon 1 posted November 21, 2006 09:20      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yay! Another animator!

I'm sure he doesn't need any advice, but if he's interested in classical animation as a career, the way to get a head start is to draw lots and lots of people. Try and work towards being able to capture a pose within five seconds or so. Go to an art gallery, find somewhere comfortable to sit and draw people looking at the paintings - that'll force you to work quickly, and capture the pose before anything else.

Ok, I'll shut up... I wish him luck, though.

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted November 21, 2006 09:22      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If he likes animation and you have a Mac and some sort of camera, iStopMotion is a lot of fun!

--------------------
"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted November 21, 2006 13:37      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
BW______________________________Etch-A-Sketch

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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JamesDublin
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Icon 1 posted November 22, 2006 05:10      Profile for JamesDublin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
On a side note, I just want to say that I've wanted Photoshop for a long time but there's no way I can afford the hundreds it costs and demos that expire frustrate me.

So, I recently downloaded a FREE program called Gimpshop that works exactly like Photoshop! It's great so far but I'm sure people in the industry could find things to pick at but it sure is a great alternative.

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I still love my 17" PowerBook G4!

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nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted November 22, 2006 11:42      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by JamesDublin:
On a side note, I just want to say that I've wanted Photoshop for a long time but there's no way I can afford the hundreds it costs and demos that expire frustrate me.

So, I recently downloaded a FREE program called Gimpshop that works exactly like Photoshop! It's great so far but I'm sure people in the industry could find things to pick at but it sure is a great alternative.

You come to a GEEK forum to spam about something called gimpshop, and you don't think we don't know what the GIMP is?

It's probably that company that re-packages Open Source Software as its own stuff and sells it under a different name, right? They did the same thing with OpenOffice.

The mind boggles.

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted November 22, 2006 11:50      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
nwnf: Shut your trap. Gimpshop is FL/OSS - it's simply a reskinning of the Gimp to look more like Photoshop for people who are more comfortable with the latter.

I was thinking about commenting on this earlier, but felt no need - unless you came in brazenly ignoring the facts. (Please visit Google before jumping to conclusions.)

James: I'm glad you're coming to appreciate the value of open source software. [Smile]

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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garlicguy

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Icon 1 posted November 22, 2006 12:15      Profile for garlicguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by nerdwithnofriends:

The mind boggles.

That's what it's there for... [Razz]

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I don't know what I was thinking... it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted November 22, 2006 12:51      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
nwnf: Shut your trap. Gimpshop is FL/OSS - it's simply a reskinning of the Gimp to look more like Photoshop for people who are more comfortable with the latter.

I was thinking about commenting on this earlier, but felt no need - unless you came in brazenly ignoring the facts. (Please visit Google before jumping to conclusions.)

James: I'm glad you're coming to appreciate the value of open source software. [Smile]

Well, hey, it looked like spam. I'm not gonna feel bad about what I said. You're right- gimpshop is legit. I did jump to a conclusion, and James, I'm sorry about that.

As for you, dman, a simple correction would have sufficed. Why is it that every time we interact (via IRC or here) you're always such an asshole?

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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maximile

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Icon 1 posted November 22, 2006 13:28      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Because posts like that can be really harmful to the community.

A certain amount of argument between members is healthy for a community; it stimulates activity and causes new bonds to be formed.

Ill-informed posts aimed at new members can be disastrous - they're the kind of thing that can cause web communities to stagnate and ultimately die. While it's important to get rid of spammers (who can be equally harmful), this isn't helping in that fight.

I'm certainly not trying to chastise you; I'm just saying that dman was right to. He has invested a lot of time into this community, and he cares about it and the people whose livelihoods depend on it.

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nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted November 22, 2006 16:04      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thank you, max. However, I was more offended by the way dman said what he had to say; it seems that no matter what I do or say, the only replies he has to me are insulting and antagonistic, and I'm becoming tired of it.

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted November 23, 2006 06:33      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
BW___________________________I still stand by my sugestion of an Etch-a-Sketch, then slide a piece of paper under it in the box that gives directions to where the true gift is hidden.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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canadiangeek
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Icon 1 posted November 23, 2006 07:07      Profile for canadiangeek     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MoMan
BW___________________________I still stand by my sugestion of an Etch-a-Sketch, then slide a piece of paper under it in the box that gives directions to where the true gift is hidden.

I love giving those types of gifts..... give it to the person last, but instead of directions, make it a riddle that leads to another riddle, and then to another, and so on... until it eventually leads to the gift.

It's fun watching someone try and figure out the riddles to get to the end of the puzzle (as long as they enjoy that kind of thing).

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-whenever you build something that's idiotproof, someone comes out with a better idiot-

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