Hi there Tyson, I'm a 1st year college student who is currently transferring to community college for 2 years, then to an art school for however long in an effort to pursue my dreams as an animator. I was just wondering if I'm using the right programs and equipment at the moment as I usually feel like I'm not. I currently have a GE62 Apache Pro laptop and a Wacom Intuos Medium Tablet. I don't have any animation software at the moment, but I'm currently using Sai to get familiar. Thank you!
As I always said, tools are not very important to how well you draw something. If your fundamental art skill is good, you can draw nice thing with anything. But of course, appropriate tools helps you to do the same task faster.
As for your hardware, I think the laptop you have should have much more than enough power to run the most demanding art programs of this day and age. I have laptops with ½ or even ¼ power but they all runs adequately fast.
If you are serious about the color accuracy, buy a colorimeter to calibrate and profile your screen. But I guess most animators don’t care.
As an animator. The best thing you can buy is a Wacom Cintiq, or something like that. Intuos is really not the best device for you. The reason I recommend Cintiq is that I suppose Animator needs intuitive
drawing device to capture the “force” and “flow”. I personally use
Cintiq to draw sketches and inking all the time. Intuos is used only for
my detail work.
More over, if your Intuos is from the new Intuos line – not the old Intuos4/5 – it’s actually not that good. New Intuos are actually rebranded old Bamboo Fun. Its worst part: the cursor not being able to follow your pen tip when the stylus is lifted slightly off the surface. I guess an animator would hate that. In comparison, new Intuo Pro and Cintiq line have a much higher detection height, which allows you to use your pen less restrictively.
If Cintiq is not an option, then consider buying an Intuo Pro S. Smaller tablet goes better with smaller screen, and works better for line art oriented task under most circumstances – the lines it produces has less tendency to shake. For your intuos M, try remapping the effective
reading size from Wacom’s driver (if they provide that on lower models), make it smaller, and see if that feels better when you draw lines.
An extra tip here: Many of my comic artist friends use Intuos S, not Intuos Pro S. Because of how intense they draw, their devices wear out very quickly. Intuos pro S is not a economic choice, and it’s so frickin’ big for a S device – probably larger than your Intuos M! New intuos S is a much smaller device and can be carried around, you can put it on your thighs while drawing, which is a big plus. Chuck in a wireless module, it gets even better. I have an Intuos S myself just for moving around.
As for software, I cannot give you advice because I only use Krita, and that’s the opposite of “intustry standard“. I guess CSP (and its animation tool) and Photoshop is more commonly used in the animation scene.