Tag Archives: Surface Pro

Share Screening in PC World, Guildford. Frogs, Marmites and Snails.

Y’know PC World should pay me to do a drawing tour of all of their shops. That would be fun πŸ™‚

Anyhow, finished work today (this year has been a doozey) and popped into the shop to draw on some screens. The problem with a hundred tablets out there that I want to draw on is that if I were to buy 100 tablets I’d have a huge amount of difficulty trying to explain that to people around me.

So instead we screen share. Well we Share Screen anyhow. The staff and I all get on well, chat holidays while I’m drawing and we chat about apps and styli used and they keep an eye on my pictures as they fall on the screen.

Today I had an hour and a half but, since I’d had a lot of pent up doodling stuck inside of me that let to four pictures drawn. Well, five, but I’ll explain the fifth later.

(Marmite; because it’s one of – if not my favourite – British icons. Sony Vaio laptop and Stylus Sock and MS Paint as Sony don’t include Fresh Paint in their demo software).Β 

(Stylus T. Frog; because he’s stuck by me through thick and thin. Sony Tap 11, Sony Pen and MS Paint).Β 

(Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 and Webchemy online app).Β 

 

(MS Surface Pro 2, Stylus Sock and Fresh Paint app).Β 

… and this one wasn’t planned, just happened. I was asked how I draw a picture if I don’t know what I’m going to draw (a rejig of the ‘where do you get your ideas from’ sort of queston). If in doubt I take a line for a walk and see where it goes. It’s the plan that’s given me a depressed Godzilla, a drunk grandma being sick in the street, a snowboarding penguin and a hundred things equally unexpected. So I did a quick scribble and that led to the picture above which I didn’t really have the time to finish as I was supposed to have been gone after 60 minutes of drawing and left after 90 minutes.

Regardless. Love drawing on screens as much as I ever did and always happy to mix it up on devices.

 

Painting at the Gadget Show Live.

A year ago (and a week, last years setup started on April the 1st) I was doing this:

This year? Well. There was a lot of talk about doing a stand again, and the students and I were certainly keen… But with some tech problems hampering student output, with an EQR just before and another to go back to, not to mention the dreaded O word coming up soon (and in ed that only means one thing) it just couldn’t be worked into the calendar. Very sad but the stress levels are high enough at the moment, ta.

So instead a friend and I went up to do the show together (to just, you know, walk a show floor without being in charge of 40 students and 20 screens for people to draw on πŸ™‚ ) and excellent fun it was (and is, being on until Saturday I believe).

Too much to blather on about now but I shot a lot of video, which I’ll edit when time allows (but soon I hope) and I’ve got a pile of marking I’ve got to get to at some point. But here are some of the bits I enjoyed most. You know they’re going to be about screen art before you scroll down though, right?

I bought an Olloclip! Well. I bought my third Olloclip (having had a 4S version, a 5S version and now a multi macro version πŸ™‚ ) Expect more macros. Here are a couple of 21 x shots of a 3d printed selfie πŸ™‚


((ironically the above pic is my favourite of the 3d Selfies… Less in focus* but something about it makes me smile.. *the less in focus is more to do with the fact that I took the pic on the train from Watford to London Euston πŸ™‚ ))

So, yes, that also meant I was 3d scanned and printed πŸ™‚


I drew on little screens (a Nokia 1320 and another one but can’t remember what number it was…)


Less little screens (Lenovo 7 inch Windows tablet):


and bigger machines (Dell Venue 11 tablet):


Slightly bigger desktop screens (HP desktop):


…and bigger than that screens:


… and bigger than that screens πŸ™‚


In short? Lots of fun πŸ™‚ Drew quite a few Stylus T. Frogs and Marmite jars, chatted to loads of people, including a few friends from other trade shows and last years Gadg-a-stravaganza and did a lot of demo-ing a range of styli on a range of screens ‘cos I’m more than happy to multi task and chat when someone asks me a question…

Now my feet hurt so I’m sitting and blogging and drinking a cup of coffee πŸ™‚ and, in my mind, I’m sort of planning next years stand, really hoping we do one.

And finishing up with the obligatory Olloclip picture of my lunch:

Macro Sushi seaweed. Yum πŸ™‚

Surface-ing.

Very fond of my Surface Pro and Wacom Feel but haven’t had the time to sit and play with it as I’m normally in work mode at the moment πŸ™

That said… Last night I painted this in ArtRage to wind down from an odd old day:


and this morning I painted this in Fresh Paint to start what likely will be another odd one πŸ™‚ :


Neither painting took much longer than an hour and each was the right way to start or end the day.

I love ArtRage and Fresh Paint equally but for different reasons. FP is free, for a start, and has a lovelyΒ  playful feel to it. It arguably contains the closest approximation of resistance and gloop from pixels pretending to be paint. There are limitations (no layers, no palette knife, no animation capture and so on) but it’s a joyous and uncluttered experience and is the first app I look for when drawing on the demo screens of any shop that I fall into. It’s Windows 8 and Win 8 phone only.

ArtRage is similar – in that it mimics real world tools and physics – but contains so many more options it can seem a little bewildering on first install*. Like Fresh Paint it captures the feel, resistance and tactility of paint and is available on a range of devices for a remarkably low price. For what you pay you get a heck of a lot of pixel art possibilities. You can record an animation, upscale, use a wide range of real world tools and play about with the settings of the brushes to your hearts content.

Which app is best? Both are, in the places where they are best at.

Which do I prefer painting with? Both. They are equally good apps and, depending on the mood I’m in and what sort of picture I want to come out with neither make me wish I was painting in the other. Like the stylus blog post yesterday – why choose? Lots of apps do lots of remarkable things and, on the Surface Pro, both are must installs**.

*That said ArtRage has a very good interface and shows off the range of options in, generally, a very gentle and sensible manner. There’s just a LOT more choice and that can be a bit scary. We’re not talking Flash or Photoshop levels of ‘Blimey! Buttons!’ interface though.

**Didlr is a must install too imo, and I’ve got a lot of love for that app, but it’s not working on my SurfyPro at the moment πŸ™ boo.

A solid hour of doodle bombing…

Every so often I escape the clutches of the work room that makes me miserable and go somewhere to draw. Occasionally that’s a bench on the duck pond in the parkΒ next door to my work place (I’m very lucky), sometimes it was my favourite pub (The Rowbarge, much missed πŸ™ ) and if not there the Wetherspoon’s pub in Guildford. I try and mix up the beers with coffees so I’m not just in it for the ale, it’s more a comfortable place to sit and draw.

Recently I’ve taken to walking to the local PC World to draw on whatever tablet they have on offer. This week was different however as I’d recently received a Wacom Feel stylus to test out and I was keen to give it a go on whichever tablet would accept it.

First up? Galaxy Note 8 with Wacom Feel and Sketchbook Mobile.

Now I REALLY like this tablet. A lot. I was very fond of the Note 10.1 and Note 2’s that I used at the Barbican and MCM Comics Expo and this is a very nice logical successor. I’ve also got no issues with the screen ratio – in fact I’d argue that the screen is closer to the golden ratio that other tablets – and there’s something about it in landscape mode that is more comfortable and friendly. Similarly the poly carbonate back, a problem levelled at Samsung hardware often is one I never come up against. I like the design of the Galaxies and Notes very much. The Note 2’s especially as the removable battery is and has been a spectacularly helpful thing in the past.

That said – and I’ve very much come to like Sketchbook Pro – I don’t like that app on this hardware. No idea why, may be the height of the desk or the intrusive left hand menu that kept popping up, but I didn’t enjoy the pic drawing as much as I thought I might. Worked very well with the Wacom pen though, as good as I could have hoped for. To me a Samsung Galaxy is interwoven with Photoshop for some reason (I don’t like using PS Touch on iOS but love it on Galaxy. Odd, but there you go), would love to play with that app on this hardware. The main thing is that the Wacom Feel styli acquitted itself perfectly.

Next up: Surface Pro, Fresh Paint and Wacom Feel.

Had I mentioned I frickin’ love this app? Very much. Not that I’d stop using other apps instead of it of course and ArtRage has a far wider range of tools and is equally lovely (and can be much more of a daunting tool for the first time user because of it). There’s just something about Fresh Paint that feels so right and, as it’s a free application, I love the fact that it has a huge reach to a brand new audience. Completely enjoyed painting the pic from beginning to end. I also drew a bit of a crowd at one point and, as is normal when I’m painting on tablet, fielded a few questions about apps and styli from PC World customers and staff.

I’m also very keen on the design of the Surface RT and Pro themselves but since Ewen always tells me off when I say that I’ll stop there.

Last off. The surprise package; the Sony Vaio Duo 13…

At the Gadget Show Live the Sony VD11 was the tablet star of the show for me. A fab piece of hardware, mainly because of the Sony Stylus – a pen so well connected to the screen that drawing on it was the most natural thing in the world.

It wasn’t perfect, that said. A bit bulky and heavy, but an excellent mix of screen, keyboard and pen. This sequel – a higher resolution screen and internally spec’d device, not to mention a 13 inch screen rather than 11 – was announced at Mobile World Congress* and I wasn’t expecting to see it on the shelves this soon. I couldn’t pick it up to test weight etc but it looked a lot thinner and lighter from what I could see…

First off I tested the Wacom. No connection. Oh well, I packed a couple of other styli just in case (although frustratingly not my Sony Vaio pen) and looked for Fresh Paint.

Not there. Opened up the store. Password protected.

A bit gutted I swapped over to the other paint app I knew would be there: Paint.

That’s when the third ‘grrr’ came in. No idea why but for some reason the screen was… hmm… not majorly bilked but every so often a line would just appear as phantom connections were made. Which made it quite hard to draw. Significantly tricksome in fact, which is why I was delighted that the picture worked well despite coming through a certain amount of adversity…

So, the verdict? I still want to test drive a Vaio Duo 13 that works and will remember to pack my Vaio pen in the future for just this instance. Apart from the broken screen issues it is a wonderful device – very nicely designed, although I don’t know if I liked the aluminium keyboard colour scheme (but I do always prefer a white to black bezel). And to be fair to the PC World staff it’s not like I asked for help or anything – the picture came out of the issues I found myself introduced to and they’re normally quite helpful if I ask for a machine to be started up or a stylus to be found… Plus I only had an hour and am a stubborn lil wotsit.

Which would I buy? Flip, wish I could buy all three**! All are fab – I like the Surface a lot, the Vaio Duo is a stunning piece of kit and the Galaxy Note 8 is my favourite smaller screen tablet. None are a bad choice, all depend on what you need. Is there a go-to tablet, computer or stylus that I delight in more than any other? Nope. All have their strengths and weaknesses.

Well. There’s one or two manufacturers that I avoid like the plague (HP and Acer) but who knows, they might come up with a humdinger in the future that turns me around.

All in all – not bad for an hours drawing…

*I’m sure I saw the announcement on a live stream of an event but a quick amount of Google searching comes up with nothing. Regardless I do remember having a palpable leap of inner excitement when I read about the launch of the Vaio 13 as the 11 was just so nice to use, even if it was a far too brief lend.

**Google searching did turn this up which was a similar ‘oooooo’ moment. The limited edition, and just a little more expensive***, device looks ultra fab.

***Moot point. Neither Sony’s are in my price bracket by a significant margin.