Line Stability/Quality
 
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  1. #1
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    Line Stability/Quality

    Hey all, I haven't seen this addressed by anyone else so I thought I'd bring it up as it's become an impasse for me.
    For the record, I'm using CS3 and a very outdated Graphire tablet.

    I've tried every setting tweak, and the whole spectrum of pen movement (fast, slow, holding it different ways, more arm movement v. more hand movement), and no matter what my lines are invariably wavy or jittery unless a stroke is made very quickly, and thus haphazardly and inaccurately. This is especially true if I'm working at 50% zoom, or so help me 25%, where even remotely clean looking curves are actually hideous, stair-step blocks at actual viewing size.

    I figure the latter is normal, but what on earth can I do to keep my digital art from looking like an epileptic howler monkey got a hold of my tablet? I don't have this problem with traditional pencil-and-paper drawing, so perhaps it's a friction thing, or the plastic cover of my tablet is a little too scratched up. I can't for the life of me seem to improve this without using large brush sizes not suitable for line art. Gah.

    I'll post an example if I'm not being clear, I'm running on two cylinders.

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  3. #2
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    It could very well be a driver issue with the pad. Try Wacom's website to see if they have an updated driver for your model. If not, it's a good sign that your pad isn't supported by newer operating systems, and you'll have to get something else.

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    I'm almost positive the drivers are up to date, but I'll definitely double check. I've noticed that the tablet properties application that comes with the drivers for XP is absolutely useless, maybe there's a third party solution for setting sensitivity?

    I'll give it a shot and see if it doesn't fix the problem. Thanks.

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  5. #4
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    It's Photoshop - for some reason every version of Photoshop up to CS3 has horrible jittery lines.

    The good news is that this was finally fixed in CS4 - download the demo and try it for yourself, you'll see that there's a world of difference.

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    Yes- I see this all the time. It has something to do with magnification in Photoshop. Interesting to hear it's been fixed in CS4- will have to check that out...

    I don't think it will solve the jittery lines in photoshop, but the classic trick to add friction to the tablet is to tape a piece of paper over the active area of the tablet.

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    CS4 lines are silky smooth compared to CS3. It's just a bad habit of Adobe to not fix essential problems in their old products, they just force you to acquire the new versions.

    "Nihil est in intellectu quod non prius in sensu" | SB | Portfolio | FJGC (blog) | DA (Profile) | EJERCICIOS DE COLOR
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  8. #7
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    i've never had problem with line drawings since CS2.. i can't quite imagine cs4 being more smooth.. but maybe I should give it a go.. let me ask you though, are your lines satisfactory in other programs like artrage? painter? sketchpro?
    i remember getting wavy lines once in a while.. but I could actually feel the lines caving in when that happened on PS.. turned out to be the pen dying.. so I had it replaced...

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    Updated successfully, but to no pogress.

    bumskee makes a point I should have. Performance is pretty much the same across programs, hence why I thought maybe it was just the tablet. I can tweak Painter enough to get by with idle doodling, but smooth curves--we're talking parabolas here!--are impossible. I can't draw bloody circle with a tablet, which might suggest something about my pencil-and-paper ability but it's at least passable there.

    Something that occurred to me, perhaps my sensitivity or proportions were wonky. I've played with both settings, including forcing proportions to a single monitor (which is a widescreen, my tablet is a Graphire 4 A6), no real improvement. It's probably just me.

    Thanks for the help guys.

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    I have no idea off the top of my head - perhaps you could post an example at different zooms?

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    I've always had this problem, too. I don't know what it is.

    What I've learned to do is that if I really need smooth lines, I just ink in illustrator. You can set it up to have pressure sensitivity and all that.. if anything, it sometimes smooths things TOO much.

    I know that's not as helpful as actually fixing the problem, but it works for me.

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    At ehaft's suggestion, here's some examples.
    It's embarrassing to look at so naked, because it makes me feel like an utter failure as an artist. Trouble is, I don't have anything near this problem with traditional media--i.e. I can draw a bloody straight line without it looking like a scrawl. Circles too.

    Unless I'm making a mountain out of a molehill for some unseen reason, the only explanation I can come up with it something to do with pressure sensitivity, since it seems to be worse the closer to 100% pressure.
    Again, I don't have this trouble with simple pen and paper. I've tried the suggestion of taping a piece of sketching paper over the tablet, with absolutely no progress. I'll be trying CS4 shortly.

    Thanks for the help guys.

    E: Opps. So, in the process of waking up, realized I put a shift-draw straight line as the 100%. Ignore the first line; the following lines are, from left to right, 100%, 50%, 33%, 25%.
    Brush is the one I typically use for sketching, 2pt 100hardness. Probably not the best choice, but trial and error is the best teacher I suppose.

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  13. #12
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    Try Paint Tool SAI, you'll never want to use PS for lineart. Also it's a good way to tell if the issues are from your tablet or from the program because SAI is ultra smooth!

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  14. #13
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    I seconded Portus comment.

    SAI is ultra silky smooth for lineart stuff! Plus the vector inking tool is superb and easy to use.

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