Software Review: Acorn
Last time I reviewed Pixelmator, a light-weight, Photoshop-look-alike program for a fraction of the price. Due to the Creative Cloud announcement and multiple Photoshop users declaring that they will jump ship, I felt it pertinent to include these alternative programs.
Next up is Acorn, another low-cost Photoshop replacement for $29.99. And yes—sorry again PC users—Acorn, too, is for Mac users only.
To the left we’ve got the following tools: move, zoom, crop, pan, brush, pencil, eraser, instant alpha (magic eraser), selection tools, gradient, fill, arrow shape, bezier pen, line/rectangle/oval/star shape, text, clone, smudge, dodge, burn, and eyedropper.
As with Pixelmator, I installed the demo of Acorn onto my computer. Here are my thoughts (spoiler: it has the best brush-preview system I have ever tested in my life).
Book of the Month: Perspective Made Easy
Do you have trouble with those pesky perspective lines? Can’t conquer vanishing points? Want a book with clear illustrations and easy-to-understand language? Then look no further than Ernest R. Norling’s classic Perspective Made Easy.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: this book was published in 1939. But don’t let that deter you from picking up a copy, as perspective fundamentals are exactly the same as they’ve always been.
If you only read one perspective book, I would say to make it this book. Chock full of picture examples, Norling walks you through freehand perspective lessons that have helped students for decades. I can still recall stumbling upon this book in an art store one day and realizing the treasure I had found. The chapters are broken down into twenty (short) chapters:
Software Review: Pixelmator
In light of the recent revelations made by Adobe, I’ve decided to switch gears on my software reviews. For the next two weeks, I will focus on two “Photoshop-like” programs. First up is Pixelmator, a light-weight, low-cost alternative (currently sitting at $14.99).
As you can see from that screenshot (not my desktop), it features beautiful tool icons and a sleek interface. Many of Photoshop’s staples are present here: brushes, shapes, styles, effects, filters, layers, smudge/dodge/burn/blur/sharpen, pen tool, clone stamp, etc.
One of the best things about Pixelmator for post-Photoshop users is that you can load Photoshop brushes into Pixelmator.
I was able to download a demo and give it a try. Here are my thoughts and why I think this would work fine for some people and not for others:
(To start with, it is available for Macs only…sorry, PC users).
If comic book lettering is typography, then this is where I learned how to do it traditionally. http://www.blambot.com/handlettering.shtml
http://dw-wp.com/resources/cartooning-quickguides/quickguides-lettering/ This is the only other website I found that has a traditional guide.
Just a quick thing I did for a friend :)
Remember, whenever you have trouble with a pose or a hand, break things down to their basic shapes first.
Adobe Creative Cloud: Your Responses
Thank you everyone for the great comments from my post yesterday, putting the call out to hear directly from you about your Creative Cloud thoughts. I am happy for the response because I know most of my followers are digital artists that SHOULD be surveyed and WILL be affected by this.
Reading through your answers, it’s clear over 90% are NOT in favor of the subscription model.
Many answered “no” with the variation of “I want to own software, not rent it.” That is my thought as well. I am reminded of the horror stories about tablet comic apps:
- People would purchase digital comic books through a publisher’s app
- The app is removed from the app store
- All comics people bought therefore disappeared from their tablets, never to be accessed again.
Once your subscription becomes inactive, you no longer have access to the software…you can’t even open up a previously-made Adobe file.
Me, I’ve decided that CS6 perfectly suits my needs right now. In the future, I will probably need to upgrade at some point, however, just out of compatibility concerns with some future OS. While my comfort zone will continue to be the Adobe products, from now on I will take a harder look at any other art software that I am able to demo.
Has the day arrived to finally learn what PaintTool SAI is all about, or will the subscription win over my decision in the end? Time will tell. I’m betting many are wondering the same right now.
Adobe Creative Cloud
Most of you have probably heard about the changes coming to Adobe’s software by now. Simply put, they will no longer sell a boxed version of their products. Instead, you will need to pay a monthly fee to receive access. While the programs can be downloaded to your computer like always (this seems to be a common misconception right now), the software will need to talk to Adobe’s servers once a month to make sure you are still subscribed.
Right now I have mixed thoughts about this. I really like owning software instead of renting it. But I also support continual updates instead of larger, packaged updates. On the other hand, this might cause others to turn to alternative programs (as is their right).
So I wanted to ask my followers what YOU think about this. Do you think Adobe is moving in the right direction or making a mistake? Would you purchase a subscription?
I got asked about eyes and how to convey expression through them, so I doodles some quick stuffs to help explain.
So have some eyeballs.