Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Drawing with a tablet, part of Motion Graphics for Video Editors: Working with Storyboards.
- If you'd like to save a step of drawing on paper and then having to scan it in, you could choose to draw it directly in to the device. Now, there are a lot of drawing applications and stylus' these days available for tablets. But what I've hooked up here is a Intuos tablet that's gonna go ahead and connect to my computer. Photoshop offers wonderful support here, and it will make it very easy to use the pressure-sensitive pen to actually draw in to the computer. Let me show you just a couple of pieces of advice when it comes to making this work.
First up, always make sure you have the correct drivers loaded. This'll ensure that you can actually use this on your device. Now, I'm gonna take a look at the pen here for a second, and what I've got set up is the overall feeling. I prefer a slightly firmer brush, and I can take a look here by just pressing to see how that pressure works. I tend to be a bit heavy handed so let's adjust the Tip Feel there. And make that just a little firmer. Yep, I like that.
Additionally, you could adjust the sensitivity of the tilt. The Tilt Sensitivity will come in to play as you draw, and this makes adjustments inside of Photoshop. I also like to make sure that the Eraser tool is set, and I prefer a nice soft eraser as I'm pulling those lines apart if I want to remove something. Notice, when I flip this over, this is gonna behave like an eraser. All right, that feels pretty good, so I'll close that, and switch back to Photoshop. Inside of Photoshop, make a New Document.
Now, I prefer to work at a higher resolution so I'll actually just set this to 16 by 9 in inches. There we go. And put the resolution higher, at 300. This gives me tons of material to work with and this is much more than I need for a standard video project. If you're going to be doing four k storyboards you can bump that up. Remember, if you only want to draw at the actual video resolution, you can do that using Presets here, but I generally find that the extra resolution comes in handy as I've got flexibility for scanning and panning across the image, or, for doing zooms.
All right, we're gonna work with RGB color. That looks good. I will keep this at 8 bit for now, but if you wanted extra color fidelity you can go to 16. But since these are just for rough animations, I'll stick with 8. And let's make sure that's using Square Pixels. All right, we'll give this a name. And click OK. Now, once you have this, I recommend you bring up the Brush. This'll show you the Brushes panel. And press "b" for the Brush tool.
Now, you've got different Presets. You'll note that some of these are responsive. So, for example, as I move my brush around you see the virtual brush shows you how it's going to move inside the canvas. So, if I draw here, versus a tilt or more pressure, You see how we can get more of an angle type brush based on that tilt. A flatter brush, tilt it, and a skinnier brush.
Let's just clear that out, I filled it with white. You'll notice lots of different types of brushes. And, as you scroll through here, you'll see some options. For example, maybe I want to work with something that's a little bit more of a rounded brush. And the Shape Dynamics can be controlled by different things. For example, the Pen Pressure can adjust the amount of Angle. Or perhaps, I just want the Tilt. That works pretty well there for the Shape Dynamics.
As I tilt, the brush will change it's overall behavior. And then, maybe I want a little bit of Build-up. All right. Let's load black. I press "d" for the default color. And draw. Notice, if I keep the brush straight behaves very much like a normal brush. As I push harder, I get a thicker line. And if we angle this, there I'm dragging the brush versus keeping it very upright and drawing we get a more traditional line.
This makes it really flexible so you can get more organic lines as you are actually drawing. Lots of fun there. And remember, with a simple right-click of your brush, nice strokes take on a more natural look. And as I push with different pressure, we get different strokes. All right, let's clear that out.
These overall settings are quite useful. And remember, the Brush Presets really jump this up. As you look through here, there are a whole bunch of Presets that work wonderfully well. And all of these will have some built in options that really respond to the overall brush. As I draw here I'm getting something that very much looks like a pencil line. Flip over to the eraser and I can remove straight lines.
Maybe I want a slightly thicker line though for the flag pole here. So I'll just push harder and you notice we get a thicker line. Or it could even scribble just like you would with a pencil. Now, on my particular tablet I can also use my fingers for touch. If I press with two fingers, you'll notice it brings up the Brushes dialog making it very easy to change things very quickly. And even switch to a different type of brush. I love this integration here between the tools.
The fact that, as we're drawing, the brushes take on very organic type movements. And you notice how simple that is to create very natural type strokes.
While it's a computer device, different brushes take on all sorts of behavior. And you can go from everything to airbrushes to rough brushes, to crayons and markers. Really, some pretty cool stuff here. That's brought to life with the tablet. Now, I strongly recommend considering the investment in a tablet. And, if you're like me, occasional drawing lessons go a long way. Drawing is not my forte, but I can rough out my ideas enough that when I interact with a professional artist, my rough sketches give them something to work from.
And I don't like having to work on paper. I prefer the tablet. One of the great things about this tablet though, is its small size. This is simple enough that I could pack it with my laptop and take it with me. Doesn't weigh very much, just plugs in to the USB port, and when inspiration hits or I need to rough out some of my ideas, it works fantastically well. If you're interested in moving beyond this and take a look at the tablet there are a bunch of great drawing apps and I'll share here just a few of my favorites that you could explore for roughing out your storyboards on the go on the tablet.
- Creating storyboards
- Scanning sketches
- Drawing with tablets
- Coloring and cleaning up storyboards
- Creating animatic shots in After Effects
- Using 3D cameras with storyboards
- Editing an animatic assembly
- Exporting an animatic for client review