Every once in a while, I do artwork. These are posts related to that.

ArtGame talkMusicPracticing the creativity habit

 Posted by (Visited 4312 times)  Art, Game talk, Music, Writing  Tagged with: ,
Dec 032014

In the wake of posting up the video of my talk on “Practical Creativity,” I got this:

What a great question.

First, I have to admit I slack off a lot. 🙂 But, here are some ways in which I practice, or have practiced it. You might notice some commonalities across media.

Hope you’ll bear with me, because I will get to games last.

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ArtYiynova MVP22U v3 review: 22 inch Cintiq alternative

 Posted by (Visited 7108 times)  Art  Tagged with: ,
Nov 192014

Quite a while ago I wrote a review of the Yiynova MSP19U, a Cintiq alternative tablet monitor. I was pretty pleased with it, but it did suffer from relatively low resolution and from a TFT screen with poor viewing angles for color reproduction.

yiynova monitor

The Yiynova MVP22U V3. Plus a sneak peek at some game artwork for an upcoming game of mine.

Now I have a review for you of the upgrade model, the Yiynova MVP22U(V3) Tablet Monitor. It’s actually the third version of this monitor, as you can tell from the name. I have owned the Yiynova MSP19U+ Tablet Monitor, the MVP22Uv1, V2, and now V3 (for somewhat complicated reasons, see below). The V3 is a very noticeable upgrade over the V2, which in turn was a big step over the V1. This is a full HD 1920×1080 tablet monitor — no touchscreen, stylus pen only, with 2048 degrees of pressure sensitivity.

The earlier models: V1 and V2

I was an early adopter of the V1, which does not seem to be available anymore. The V1 suffered from the fact that the large screen was a TFT, like the 19 inch model — even close up, you would see color issues resulting from the viewing angles on a TFT screen, just because the 22″ screen was so big. There were also font rendering issues caused by the drivers for the monitor itself. I returned my V1 in favor of a V2 (which is) when that came out, because of a desire to upgrade from the TFT screen and because of the font firmware patch. Panda City generously offered to swap the monitor out originally for the firmware patch, then let me pay the difference to get an upgrade.

The V2 added a firmware patch for the font issue, and also upgraded to an IPS panel. The panel was pretty good, but only offered a VGA connector. This meant that you had to use an adapter to use it on a modern video card with digital outputs such as DVI. I ran it with a DVI to VGA adapter. I still had font issues, though they were improved; it may be that the issue was around the VGA conversion. The IPS panel solved the color and angle viewing issues. The improved firmware also introduced better pen tracking particularly for slow lines.

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ArtArt section updated

 Posted by (Visited 3754 times)  Art  Tagged with:
Dec 292013

The gradual conversion of the old site into the new format continues. Old links out there still point to old pages, since I haven’t put any redirects in. But the new pages are appearing, and if you are mostly hitting the front page of the site, the menu choices will start pointing to the new pages rather than the old. Don’t worry, I won’t switch over the top pages until all the lower pages are in place!

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ArtYiynova MSP19U: A Cintiq alternative

 Posted by (Visited 19718 times)  Art  Tagged with: ,
Mar 222013

The Yiynova MSP19U. And the piece I finished today on it.

I’ve always wanted a Wacom Cintiq: a tablet monitor, where you can draw directly on the glass screen at your desktop. I would enter the raffles at every GDC, hoping. I have used Tablet PCs for years now, but of course, that also means working on a laptop, which isn’t the same as having desktop power. (I just recently picked up a new one of those — see my last two posts for that experience).

As I was doing the new color versions of the cartoons for the revised edition of Theory of Fun without a tablet PC, I was borrowing my daughter’s Bamboo tablet and trying to adjust. I ran across mention of a new Cintiq competitor out of China. I was pointed at it by just a few reviews out there on the Net: Ray Frenden’s and PC Weenies.

For those who don’t know, a big part of the reason why Wacom is king is that they have a technological lead that is hard to surpass. Their digitizers have better pressure sensitivity, tilt support, and much more. Competitors typically struggle to keep up with the basics, like “tracking the pen as you move it across the screen.” You get jitters, lines hopping about randomly, etc.

Well, the good news is that the Yiynova MSP19U Tablet Monitor, while not matching the Cintiq feature for feature, is totally worth the price: a fraction of that of a large Cintiq. I’ve had it for a week now, and I like it a lot.

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ArtMiscWindows 8 tablet, part two

 Posted by (Visited 11528 times)  Art, Misc  Tagged with: ,
Mar 202013

Life with a new Windows 8 tablet.

Oh boy, are there teething pains. Here’s some of what I did, located after insane amounts of Googling and multiple days. I am posting it here to save other people all the pain.

An amazing resource: the forums at

Gosh, the storage is limited.

Yes, it is. First off, don’t even bother getting a 64GB model. You need the 128, I guarantee it. In the case of the Smart PC Pro, people are even buying 256 or 480GB SSD’s – unlike the Surface Pro, the machine has some user-serviceable parts, and you can replace the SSD without a huge amount of hassle. If you’re brave, check here:

If you’re not brave, well, then:

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ArtMiscWindows 8 tablet, part one

 Posted by (Visited 9640 times)  Art, Misc  Tagged with: ,
Mar 192013

photoGiant post ahead!

Some background: I have been using Tablet PCs for a decade now. Back in the UO days, I always walked around with a paper notebook full of doodles, and I often sketch out design ideas as diagrams and quickie cartoons. With a pressure sensitive stylus I can also then do artwork directly — concept paintings (the sort of thing you then give to an artist so they can make the real concept painting…!) or game sprites or whatever. These days, I carry my iPad pretty much everywhere, and I can code on it a little bit, I can sketch on it, I doodle with it in Notes Plus, and I even have the Pogo Connect pressure-sensitive stylus, so I can use that for art. But I am working on the colored cartoons for the second edition of Theory of Fun, and none of the iPad art programs will successfully load the Photoshop files I need to work in. And I was in the market for a new laptop anyway, so I went shopping for a Windows 8 tablet.

So this post is what I learned and what I picked. I have another giant post done as well, with everything I had to do to get the new machine set up to my satisfaction. It was info all scattered randomly all over the Internet, so I figured that it might be valuable to gather it all in one place. But this post was long enough already! So look for that one tomorrow.

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ArtWritingColor Theory of Fun images

 Posted by (Visited 6637 times)  Art, Writing  Tagged with:
Feb 132013

penguin-06So, I have been working on the process to color all the cartoons in the revised Theory of Fun edition. I thought I might share some samples of the way it is looking so far.

The original cartoons were done very quickly, which is why they were in such a rough, naif sort of style. They were also done with ink on paper, rather than digitally. I am trying to have the coloring be in keeping with that… I want something that feels fairly organic, even though I am doing all the coloring on the computer.

So I tried out doing plain flat shading, and gradients, and that sort of thing… but ended up using a custom brush to get a bit more of a painted look with more color variation.

In the process, I am also replacing the Comic Sans with my own handwriting font, like I used in the 10 Years Later presentation.

There are well over a hundred of these to do, of course. I am on pace to do multiple a day right now, although the flu has gotten in the way a bit.

In other news, though, the contract still isn’t finalized, so I am a bit ahead of myself anyway. 🙂 But that’s OK.

See a before and after comparison:

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ArtWritingA Theory of Fun website is back!

 Posted by (Visited 13821 times)  Art, Writing  Tagged with:
Nov 242011

After a bunch of painful adventures with domain registrars and WHOIS and other stuff, I am happy to say that the A Theory of Fun for Game Design book website is back.

In the process, I also modernized it — it’s all CSS fancy now, instead of using ancient Javascript stuff to make highlighting buttons. It’s got a fresh coat of paint on it, and actually looks like it was maybe made this century, maybe.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

ArtGame talkMiscPlaying with the iPad

 Posted by (Visited 12703 times)  Art, Game talk, Misc, Music, Reading, Watching  Tagged with:
Jul 182010

I have an iPad, as of about a week ago. I have now had the chance to try it out on a trip, as well as general home use, and I think this sort of form factor is probably the future of computing for most folks. It’s clearly early days still for slates like this, but you can see the path from here, and it is an interesting one, with variations depending on who needs to use the tablet. In the meantime, with some trickery, it can do most of what I would need to replace a laptop. Basically, I am now carrying it everywhere, and on my trip I booted up my laptop exactly once, and it was to create and display a presentation — I didn’t have a VGA adapter yet, so I couldn’t project from the iPad.

I have already spent over $100 on apps for it, and thought I would share some of my thoughts. I tend to favor free and cheap apps, actually, so the below is me trying to be a skinflint and failing!

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ArtMiscPhotoSketch – freakin’ amazing

 Posted by (Visited 6423 times)  Art, Misc
Oct 102009

To quote Mashable, it “transforms basic stick-figure drawings in to a photograph.”

In one example of the technology, a basic sketch, showing the rudimentary outlines of some boats, seagulls and a kissing bride and groom, is transformed in to a beautiful image showing an embracing couple against a sunset backdrop. In another, a diagram of a man throwing a Frisbee, and a dog leaping to catch it, is turned into an action-packed picture.

via PhotoSketch picture software wins plaudits – Telegraph.

The video walks you through how they do it. Totally cool.

Sketch2Photo: Internet Image Montage from Tao Chen on Vimeo.