Update on the laptop situation..

Long story short, it’s broken.

The display is toast, and the hard disk is having serious issues… so I’ve moved back to my Mac mini.  This of course means that I have been separated from my precious GIMP 2.6 (my editor of choice).

GIMP works on Mac OS X, as long as you’ve got X11… therein lies the problem.  Tablet functionality is severely hampered by X11.. no pressure sensitivity whatsoever.

The result? I’ve been sampling a variety of free-to-try products and have settled on Seashore.  Some might ask: why Seashore?  Wouldn’t Photoshop Elements, or Painter Essentials be so much better?  Well.. they are!  The thing is, my computer’s a bit on the weak side, as I’ve mentioned before.

Seashore is going to result in a LOT of compromises in style, as it does not deal with paths, nor does it save selections.  THANKFULLY it does support layers, and it DOES make full use of the tablet’s capabilities.

Photoshop Elements really would have worked for me, if only it didn’t crash so often.  I could increase my saving to once every brushstroke, but that’s hardly conducive to my work.  Also, GIMP did this thing, where I would hold on the centre mouse button (or its grip-pen equivalent), and my entire workspace would move.  This enabled me to position the page in a location where drawing was easier.. namely the right half of the tablet’s screen.

Painter Essentials lacked some pretty key features that were found in Photoshop Elements, namely the ability to save selections and the ability to draw borders around the selections.  In its defence, it had some pretty kickass drawing features that would have proven quite effective for my developing style.  Also, I just.. JUST NOW discovered that it can do the click-and-move-workspace-dealie.  Hmmm… I might just have to give it another shot.  It glitches every now and again, but it doesn’t crash.. could be worth further investigation.

I also tried Pixelmator (amazing interface, but really just a glorified and expensive-to-buy GIMP), and Pixen (seems like a fantastic tool for pixel artists, good/simplified system).  I sampled Pencil (neat for drawing, but not-so-great for comic-making), Acorn (a small step up from Seashore.. or was it small a step down?), and ArtRage (looks promising, though the trial version was – obviously – limited).

In conclusion.. Photoshop Elements is the closest thing to what I had before, Painter Essentials holds the most potential, and Seashore just works.  Hopefully I can make up my mind before too long, as I’d like to have an update up some time soon!



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