Wednesday, 3 February 2010

ScienceOnline2010 tablet workshop; or, playing with Bora's face

Click on the scio10tablet label to see all posts. Many thanks to Darren of the Park Research Center for the enthusiastic help setting up Gimp and the drivers on the session laptop!(picture by Ben Young Landis and tweeted during the session. Thanks Ben!)


After a mad dash from the airport, I settled in at ScienceOnline2010 to do a workshop about digital tablet technology. Bringing two tablets through customs wasn't hard, though I had to explain what they were a number of times.

The two models we played with were a Wacom Bamboo and a Wacom Intuos 3. The Bamboo had been solemnly lent to me by my 8-year old sk8tr nephew who said he was "giving you -no, lending you this on one condition: you bring it back." Fair enough.

Our workshop attendance was relatively small, which was perfect. After a quick introduction to tablets, the group split into two groups of three and began to play. We used Gimp, which as an astonishingly versatile free program able to do many of the things Photoshop and similar programs can do. My hope was that the group would enjoy the pressure sensitivity of the pen and tablet, and begin to think of how that could be fun to make images.

Here are the results of the workshop! (And apologies for the long wait! Has it been 2+ weeks already?These exercises were to allow everyone to get a fee for the pen and tablet, and try a bit with how the sensitivity responds. The initial drawings above were cautious and careful, as it can be disconcerting to move your drawing-hand while looking elsewhere at a screen at the result. This technique however, is a one made popular by the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, a traditional pencil and paper book. It includes exercises doing just this: follow the contours of the object you're drawing, and don't look at the page you are drawing on. It allows your eyes to have time to practice moving in unison with your hand.
Here's the examples when we tried varying the line pressure:

We played with Bora's image a bit. Everyone took a turn on separate layers, including Bora himself adding a dapper aviator's scarf (later made hard to see by the Magic Wand tool).

Original photo:


Completed image:

Many thanks to Janet, Ben, Evelyn, Bora, Allie and John! And Bora's dinosaur.
- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.
Work above by conference attendees - thanks for playing everybody!


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5 comments:

Allie said...

Thanks for putting these up! I have some photos of you and Bora working with the tablet that I need to post myself!

younglandis said...

There's my little filefish and Portuguese man-o-war... and my cruddy dolphin!

Thanks again to the Flying Trilobite for an entertaining and educational workshop!

Glendon Mellow said...

You're welcome! Glad to meet both of you there.

coturnix said...

The workshop was incredibly fun and edifying. I think a Tablet will be my birthday wish for this year...

Glendon Mellow said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Coturnix!

If I can ever help with any tips or tricks, let me know, everyone!

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