Saturday, May 22, 2010

The making of the mangatron's 4koma manga

So, I thought I'd share with everyone just how I go about drawing my 4koma manga on my device, a business HP iPAQ hx2415 w/ 64MB RAM and 64MB storage, screen resolution of 240x320, resistive touch screen and dual memory card slots (Compact Flash and SD card), stock ROM was Windows Mobile 2003se.

The software used is Pocket Artist 3.3 for Windows Mobile 2003 or later. This is, essentially, photoshop in the palm of your hand. You have layers, brush tools, pencil tools, each with variable brush sizes. Standard tools include an erase tool, lasso, marquee tools, hand tool and temporary hand tool, as well as the move tool and more. It also includes filters, as well as a grid and ruler tools, transparency and so on, with a very useful guide tool. It is, the very definition of Photoshop in the palm of your hand.

Of course, the amount of layers you can work with and the size of your canvas determine how well the document can operate, with more device RAM you can work with larger images, supposing you have the megahertz to keep up with such large +1000 pixel images. There is of course, the resolution, as you can see in the above and below pictures, my art is hampered by my device resolution, which is a measly 240x320. That is to say, it is about 1/3 of today's largest windows mobile phone, the HTC HD2.

As you can see, even when I work in full screen, I still run out of room when drawing Keena, which I must say I had a real blast drawing her because of that hair of hers. But that blast meant it was difficult working on her hair, as you can see below Fujiko doesn't suffer from that due to her having long, flowing hair.

Of course, you're probably wondering how I finish up the rest of their body, which I simply zoom out and sketch draw, return to normal zoom and touch up.

You're now wondering why I don't upgrade to a better device with higher res screen and more RAM. Well as you may have known, they no longer make standalone PDA's, as well call them, devices without a phone radio. Nowadays smartphones are the next best thing, apparently, and it hurts, because a powerhouse like the HD2 is unusable to me because it uses a capacitive screen, thereby ruining everything I needed a resistive screen for drawing on (resistive screen are more accurate, providing you use a stylus). So until I find Toshiba's TG01 (which is to say, a resistive HD2 with 1GHz CPU, 256MB RAM and a 4.1 inch screen.

So why not use a tablet PC? Well, they are much heavier, their battery life isn't so high, and with a larger screen there is no palm rest. Also, with photoshop using as high a CPU cycle as it does, it'll drain battery life faster and make the unit hotter. Perhaps today's technology can handle it better, but currently I cannot afford to replace my laptop right now until I finish my work as I'm a traveler, so carrying two laptops doesn't sit too well with me or the TSA lol.

So there you have it, a peek into how the mangatron turns technology into a manga. If I ever do upgrade my device, I just may be able to go public and release my manga project entirely done on Windows Mobile. I would probably then be known as the Pocket PC manga-ka >_>

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