It's spinning ... it's spinning CS4

I’m pretty excited, after a long fight I converted to sketching in Photoshop from painter on a Cintiq. There are a few things that still bug me, but by and large I prefer Photoshop on a Cintiq, but because CS3 had not rotate page it made sketching on my Intuos at home less than idea. Well, along with Sketchbook Pro 2010, Photoshop CS4 now also allows you to rotate the canvas.

I found this on Vimeo,

but would curious to hear any feedback from current users as I am about to make the upgrade.

An then my new question to myself is, do I need a Cintiq, it’s a great tool to have, but maybe dropping in priority at the moment.

Regarding a Cintiq alternative;jsessionid=309E5F19180C7D5CCA9E5041E6386519.app3-delorean#

I’m running CS4 at work. Besides the fact that it runs very slow and choppy for window dragging, zooming, resizing…the cool canvas rotate, flick pan, smooth zoom features don’t work. You need to have a late model GeForce card. I’ve tried all the drivers out there to no avail. I’m using a Dell M6400 with the Quadro FX 3700M card. I actually have to turn down the hardware acceleration to get the brush size cursor to display properly.

Sorry to turn this into a complainer thread, but I was seriously disappointed after seeing all the new features at CES. Just do a thorough Google search before you jump to CS4.

No need for apologies, that’s the first hand experience, evaluation, etc I’m asking for before I drop the cash. I also saw a post there was discussion that the page rotate function required a change in you Open GL settings, which lead to other negative performance, so I’m looking for more. I guess I’ll start googling now…

Ouch, I was just about to install cs4 on my older tablet, hopefully it’ll function correctly. If it slows down I’ll have to go back to cs2.
I saw students in my class using cs4 on their laptops and none of them seemed to be having any problems. But then again, they don’t use the tools, panning, zooming, etc…as fast as a more experienced person so maybe it didn’t affect them so much. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Watch out if you are using Windows XP 64bit- as the rotate functionality does not have compatible graphics drivers

Well that would be my problem I guess. I’m using the 32bit version Photoshop CS4 in XP 64. gahhhhhh.

About every 10th time I open up CS4 it will disable my GPU capabilites and then I have to restart it a couple of times to get the functionality back. Pretty annoying, might be a problem specific to my harware config I’m running Quadro 1600M.

Other than that I like the new features (when they work), I’ve started playing around with the 3D object rendering capabilities and it looks… promising/neat but nothing too fancy. Maybe by CS5 there will be more to talk about.

So I installed it yesterday finally to test it out. I’m on a Tecra M7 tablet pc.

I like the spin tool better in psd-cs4 than sbp. You just hold down R and drag the pen, release and it’s back on the brush tool. It’s a slightly smoother process than sbp where you hold the space bar but then have to move in with the stylus to select the spin command instead of panning, so +1 for cs4 on that.

Unfortunately, it still doesn’t seem to work very well as a sketching tool. The lines just don’t come out anywhere near as smooth as they do with sbp. I don’t know how the tech works but either sbp is “averaging out” your stroke with the stylus to make a smoother stroke and psd isn’t or sbp isn’t and psd overreacts or underreacts to your stroke leaving a thin stroke line looking very wobbly.

For sbp, I also had to knock down the hardware acceleration while in tablet mode if I planned on using the rotate function because if the canvas was rotated, the lines would lag behind the pen with acceleration fully enabled. It does make the pop up helper for pan/rotate glitch visually after dropping it but at least I can still do quick natural strokes without it hesitating. I didn’t notice hardware acceleration affecting psd much so it might be a problem with specific cards. So to use both, I just leave it dropped and live with the visual glitch since drawing while using the rotate feature in sbp seems to be most sensitive to the setting.

Granted, I’m not on the hottest of machines, only 1.8ghz dual processor laptop 5400rpm drive, nvidia laptop card with 256mb ram while cs4 recommends 2ghz min proc speed but less video ram than I have so someone with different specs might have different results.

So my final conclusion:
SBP 2010 still wins the sketching line art contest over cs4 but cs4 wins the subcategory for on-the-fly screen rotation. It will make it easier to do renderings in cs4 but with sbps superb line quality, not to mention the new tools such as the on the fly mirror, elipse and ruler guides, sbp still wins digital sketching hands down in my opinion. I think having both in the workflow is nice but for initial sketches, sbp and you can keep psd for the final renderings.

Thanks for the thorough breakdown Skinny! I’ll hopefully get some feedback up here in the next couple weeks.

Skinny have played around with the Ellipses and guide lines in SBP Pro yet? They look pretty cool, but is it getting bloated? I love the space bar zoom-pan, but could see it turning into a Ring of Fuss if too much functionality gets layered into it. I get frustrated enough with the move-scale-rotate ring.

I wouldn’t say it’s bloated, and the option to use them isn’t in your face. Actually if you didn’t know it had that function, you’d probably never find out.
The ellipse guide is really easy. You press E, the guides come up, you make it the shape you want, then draw. The next time you bring it up, it remembers the previous size you used before, piece of cake.
For me, that’s what’s making me go for the digital switch. It’s the bridge between having the precision of Illustrator but with the sketch speed. I was still slow to make the switch to sbp before because of some aim issues when doing things like ellipses, especially since cursor placement does weird things depending on how close you are to the edges and the angle you’re viewing because of the calibration. Now I can make precise things precise and freehand things freehand while sketching. I think it’s a perfect blend (or at least as perfect as anything that’s out). If they merged more photoshop rendering options they’d have a total package, but then I think it would start getting bloated.
For anyone that was hesitant to make the digital sketch switch before, this is the time, they fixed the main drawbacks. I only wish the rotate was as easy as cs4, you don’t think when rotating your paper in real life, it’s a quick gut reaction movement. You still have that type of “instant reaction” in cs4, in sketchbook you have to be a little more deliberate to activate it specifically (and not the pan or zoom). But it’s still a huge improvement.

Definitely took a couple hours to feel comfortable in SBP, but digging it for the most part. I do really wish they’d give rotate canvas it’s own hotkey, as Skinny said it’s just slightly removed from intuitive. When I was getting into the zone I would occassionally do the wrong function when I hit the space bar (zoom instead of move, rotate instead of zoo, and so on) and then it would completely break my flow. Ellipse guides and rulers work well, they are pretty easy to use. The symmetry tool was really fun to play with for making little characters and stuff, looking forward to using it for more practical product sketching application.