Sunday, March 8, 2009
Digital Tech Specs
This is a funny sketch of the Red Skull. All right. Enough fun.
It's time for some extremely dry information: my digital technical specifications. I can't think of anything more exciting (which is probably why I am writing about it). I should also note that some of you "asked for it."
I work on a 24" 2.4 GHz Intel iMac with 3GB of RAM. I love this computer. I watch movies on it. It's ginormous. It's the technological hub of my life, both personal and professional.
I use a 4" x 6" Wacom tablet. Aside from the pressure sensitive pen, the best feature is the keypad on the left, which can be programmed to your specifications. I use the touch strip while in Photoshop to change the brush size easily; in the rest of my applications, it acts as a scroll bar. The active area is tiny and I love it because my hand doesn't have to move much. I tried out a Cintiq once and my arm quickly exhausted. That's beyond the fact that there was an unacceptable delay between my pen stroke and the result. And that's beyond the fact that a big, dark hand interferes with one's color perception on a glowing background.
My printer is an Epson R260 6-color printer. The extra 2 colors are light cyan and light magenta. These aren't really 2 new colors, but they make a fainter dot so that light areas in an image won't be made of dark dots, spaced further apart. The result is smoother tones and higher-quality prints.
I use an Epson 3490 Photo Scanner. Good. Cheap. Loud. I'm not even sure if they make it anymore. I scan all my 11" x 17" comic art sideways in three sections, stitching them together automatically in Photoshop with Photomerge. I curse the day I had to stitch these together "by hand." Whenever I have a spare 2 grand lying around, I'm gonna get the 10,000 XL. I'll let you know when that happens.
I just bought the newest version of Photoshop as part of Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium. In addition to Photoshop, the package includes Illustrator, InDesign (which I don't know how to use, but will probably need when I do my own book some day), Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Flash (which I'm also clueless about).
Begin rant: This one goes out to the students. I know you know a guy who knows a girl whose roommate's uncle can get you a copy of CS4 with a cracked code. I don't blame you for wanting to go that route. The program is expensive and you don't have a job.
Get the educational discount whilst you can! That will cut the price by 50% and it will be treated just like the pro version when you upgrade. In the meantime, you get all the bells and whistles at half the price, allowing you to learn the programs that you will probably be using for the rest of your life. You also won't have to turn off the internet at various times so that Adobe won't find your unlicensed software. And, most importantly, you can stop asking me for a copy of mine. End rant.
I scan the typical painted cover at 400 ppi. I used to scan at 266 ppi, which is fine for what I need, but I like having the option of enlarging images (I also have more hard drive space these days). I save a TIFF of the original scan, as well as a 1000-pixel tall JPEG for my art dealer. Once I've shrunk the file to final print size, converted it to CMYK, and done all my edits, I save a PSD file, which keeps the adjustment layers intact. The final file sent to Marvel is a flattened version of the PSD, a TIFF with LZW compression measuring 6.875" x 10.4375" at 400 ppi (2750 x 4175 pixels). I also save a 593 x 900 px RGB JPEG of the final version for my editors (and this blog).
I hope these answers helped some of you. If you have further questions, feel free to ask in the comments section.