Friday, September 19, 2014

Tablets for Comic Creation

The tablet has become part of our lives, for better or worse. The best thing about a tablet is that it can go anywhere and easily fit into a purse or backpack; although it lacks the processing power of a true computer, it is nonetheless capable of doing a lot of the things you would expect from a laptop or desktop, especially if those tasks are relatively simple. For a webcomicker, however, these tasks should enable you to do a lot.

An obvious caveat: If you're trying to do a full comic, including coloring, laying it out for publication, and making it look pretty, you're going to need an actual computer. Not only has the software yet to really catch up, but most tablets lack the processing power (although it is worth noting that there is a Kindle app for turning your comic into its own app). While I'm they can be used for a lot of the production, there are some things that an actual computer is still needed for. Nonetheless, a tablet can really kick some butt.

That said, a tablet can be a very useful tool for creativity. With a Bluetooth keyboard and a wordprocessing app you can easily spend all day writing scripts. I personally suggest going for landscape mode and then expanding the page so that the margins are just barely out of sight to make things a lot easier. Just remember to save every two pages or so, and you should be fine.

For illustrators that use models, there a number of great modelling apps. Some of them do require a certain amount of work and the learning can be ridiculous, but it can be worth it. They can be used to model people as well as buildings and objects. Just like other software, do not be afraid to spend some money; the good news is that apps cost a lot less than certain suites. The camera atached also allows you to grab pics of great sites and people should you see anything that you want to use for the comic later. Between the two you can explore how something looks before you draw it and have something to reference later.

You can also use the tablet for the drawing. Although it can feel like using Paint, there are some reasonably sophisticated graphics apps out there that can allow the use of layers, copy/paste tricks, and even basic coloring. For most webcomics this is more than sufficient, as well as for some comics. Combined with a decent stylus and possibly a piece of tracing paper to give the feel of drawing on paper, and you can do a lot of great artwork on the tablet.

The major advantage to a tablet is that it's cheaper than a computer, and the software is also ridiculously cheaper. That software can also be downloaded, installed, and ready to go in minutes. Also, if something happens to the tablet, you can be back up and running in the time it takes to replace it, as most of your files are stored on the cloud, provided you allow the tablet to access it frequently. In some cases you can even deregister the tablet, which effectively deletes your files from the old tablet. You may lose some files permanently as well as some upgrades, but at least someone else won't have your files. All of this makes looking into getting a tablet for business purposes a pretty good idea.

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