Cintiq Techniques

What are some good techniques or ways that designers use for drawing straight lines or curves on a Cintiq or tablet? I’ve heard that some people actually use old-school tools like elipse templates and french curves directly on the screen! I’m interested to hear your tips!

If you plan on doing a lot of cintiq work I’d highly recommend buying a copy of Autodesk’s Sketchbook pro, it has a whole host of digital rules, ellipse guides and I think the newest version has some cool perspective tools that Scott Robertson helped develop Sketchbook PRO 2015: perspective sketching tools - YouTube

In the days of yore I would use french curve for touching up lines on my old tablet PC but these days SB Pro has everything you need including built in french curves.

Ah, cannot wait to get the new Sketchbook.

I have noticed that zooming out too much can make the lines much more wavy, even if you draw them quickly. This makes it tough because it encourages you to zoom in too much to get smooth, and then you lose some of the spontaneity / looseness of sketching.

In a similar way, it is harder (vs paper) to draw smooth curves. Whereas a pencil can bite into paper, the Cintiq pen just slides around on the glass screen and wobbles a bit more. If you have a non-screen tablet, you can actually tape paper over the contact area and get some nice friction to help this out. Still, I can’t find a good way to do smooth curves except for just going really fast and with all yer arm, and not hitting undo too often. :wink: I have noticed that different Cintiq models have different levels of screen gloss, so you might want to look at the matte ones if you can.

I highly recommend making your own custom brushes in Sketchbook (Photoshop too but I am less familiar). I am picky, but I cannot stand the standard pencil that it comes with, it seems to highlight any imperfections that your lines might have. Happy to send you some brush files if you’d like.

Rotating the canvas in either Sketchbook (through preferences and then with spacebar) or Photoshop (R) also makes it a lot more natural too. I went through 2 months of my first ID internship without knowing that Photoshop could rotate the canvas – ouch!

Whelp, this just decided it, I’m talking to my IT department about an upgrade the second he gets back from vacation. Those perspective tools are sweet!

Does anyone know if you can finally move the symmetry tool around the screen yet?

To answer your question, yes, you will be able to move the symmetry tool. It moves just like the ruler with a handle and you can position it. Lots of new selection tools as well. Another huge upgrade is groups for the layers (makes it MUCH better to work on PSD documents in SBpro).

To address the curve question, there have been a set of french curves in SBpro since the last release. They work OK in a pinch. Another option is to play with the steady stroke tool. That is an interesting tool to play with. If you move the adjustment to heavy, it is almost too much. A little help goes a long way with this tool.

Seems like the new version of SBPro is going to have a lot of useful tools to have great line quality without being an excellent artist. Do you think it would be irritating to be drawing and accidentally move your guide or adjust it when you don’t really want to? I kind of saw that when Scott Robertson was showing that tutorial.

Damn. I have a feeling all those tools are going to push me over the edge to convert from being solely a photoshop sketcher.

The deal has just been sealed! That was always my biggest pet peeve of the last couple versions, I love the tool, but generally I don’t do a separate page for each view, and I very rarely would have the center of my page be a front or top view.