Wacom and Adobe, a decade later

Alright. I eh…said a while back that if I got a higher-paying job, I might invest in a graphics tablet. When I got my first (usable) tablet, there were very few companies making quality graphics tablets, other than Wacom.

This must have been back around 2010, or before; back when I was taking graphic art classes. They weren’t really called graphic art classes, but I think it’s safe to say that that’s what they were. While I was there, I learned Photoshop and Illustrator, including some stuff (like layer masks) which I don’t anymore, recall how to do. I’d have to research it. (PeachPit Press is a good source, by the way. Or at least, they were; I haven’t read any of their current materials.)

The thing is: I haven’t worked with graphics for so long, that I don’t know that I need a graphics tablet. At least, not now. Not yet. I’m thinking that having one would ease some stuff in Web Design; however, those are very limited problems, and I could probably bite off a good chunk of that, if I just used a mouse, instead of my touchpad. And I have a wireless mouse I could use. I just haven’t, because I’d have to start taking parts off of old, unused machines.

but that’s techie, right? sasasasasa…

I’ve also given thought to signing up with Adobe. I know: it’s less than optimal. GIMP 2 just has a pretty steep learning curve. I know I could learn it; the thing is that I’ve seen more…well, techies using GIMP 2, because of its customizability, and the fact that it’s open-source and free, while Adobe charges (at least) $10/month just to use Photoshop.

The fact that I’d want vector capability as well as raster, means that either I use the Pen tool within Photoshop CC, or I get Illustrator as well. That’s at least $240/year, and I’m not certain that it’s worth it. And actually, I just tried to check this; Google says that Illustrator and Photoshop are both $19.99/month, making it closer to $480/year for both of them. I tried to navigate to the site, but they want me to enable Javascript.

Which, of course, gets the same treatment as pop-ups: back out. I don’t care that much.

I also know, though, that there are functionalities available with Adobe (or were, at least at one time), which — if I’m recalling right, from the last time I tried — GIMP 2 can’t really do, yet. I’ve noticed tilt and pressure sensitivity, primarily, to be lacking. It’s something I really liked when using the Wacom tablets (likely Intuos) at school, which I can’t reproduce yet, with what I’ve got. (My Intuos won’t do it, with GIMP 2.)

The problem is that from what I can see, Wacom’s customer service is pretty poor (to put it lightly). The entire reason for me to get a new tablet is so that I don’t have to try and use the decade-old one and hope that it’s both possible to update the driver to Windows 10, and that Wacom has actually made the driver and uploaded it. And, you know, I actually found the right one, and stuff like that.

And I mean, I could try, but I’m kinda scared.

But then there’s the other possibility: of getting a new Intuos, and not being able to download the driver in the first place, and not getting any help — with the Wacom site being down or intermittently available, as happened tonight.

The thing is…that it would seem that there is decent competition in the graphics tablet market, now. Wacom isn’t the only dog on the block anymore, I mean; and I’ve been doing offline art for most of my artmaking. But if I went into Web Design, I could use the help with photo editing.

The actual reason for me to get a tablet is for graphic design, which — from what I could tell in my Web Design class — might only use such rudimentary visual skills, that I could do it with just a mouse. I mean, sure it would feel better to make a vector drawing with a pen, but is it necessary? Not really.

I’m just kind of getting tired of rolling my fingertip over on the touchpad to inch a selection over by half a millimeter. It’s not much easier with a mouse. And yeah, arrow keys…

…yeah.

I dunno. I’m going to have to think about it. The major thing is wondering if staying loyal to Wacom and getting something that should work if it’s supported, is worth the extra money, over going with an unknown company. Back in the 1990’s, when I tried an off-brand tablet, it was basically a piece of garbage (“oh you want to draw a diagonal line? and you want it to be straight, you say? HAHAHAHAHA”); but it isn’t the 1990’s anymore.

And yeah, I still haven’t gotten that higher-paying job. I’ve just started to think about what I would do if there were a good deal, since holiday season is getting into gear.

I have a feeling, though, that I probably am going to be doing some off-brand, open-source work: I’m not the kind to buy a Mac and a Wacom and use Adobe, just for brand recognition. That’s not what I aspire to.

But that gets into…some other topics…which I probably shouldn’t get into, now. It’s too late, and I’ll say something stupid. You know I will.

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Giving myself time: one plan towards two ends

I’ve got a plan as to how to handle the tension between Web Design and Librarianship, though I’m not sure if I’ve already written it here. I think I’ll remember it, but just in case:

Since I am on the edge of getting an LIS degree, and will therefore soon be able to move into a Library Assistant or Librarian position, it makes sense to take one of those jobs immediately after graduation. Either one has a much higher pay scale (compared to what I’m doing now) and at least the possibility of benefits. The LA position is paraprofessional; Librarian positions are professional.

If I do get the Master’s, I plan on re-taking Cataloging through the ALA. I will also have the income then to take additional courses. There are a lot that I’ve wanted to take, but didn’t have time to. Continuing Professional Development will be expected of me as a Librarian, however.

I will likely also have the income for tools and books to further my interest in and study of Web Design. This includes up-to-date graphics programs (though the most fundamental are currently cloud-based), a DSLR camera, and a graphics tablet. (The tablet comes first.)

Depending on my living situation, I may also be able to put some money away towards the possibility of tuition and fees for a MFA in Design. Right now this is so far out of reach, that it’s unrealistic to think about blowing all that money on something I’m not even sure I’ll like.

However, during my time as a Librarian, it will be possible for me to work on my Web Design skills, learn Web Design and Development via the Internet as much as I can, and work on the website of a library via a Technical Services and/or Virtual Library position. It will be possible for me to be a Webmaster in that arena, though probably not for a while.

Some time later, after I have the money to be able to take on a Design MFA without breaking myself (timewise or financially), and I have identified a school at which to study, then I can decide if I still actually can use an MFA, or if I know what I need to know, already. I will also likely know by then, if I actually would rather stay a Librarian (that is, if I like being a Librarian).

This matters because becoming a full-time Web Designer would be a change into a very competitive, for-profit field, and also would likely entail a cut in pay and benefits. I would be able to work independently, though. It’s also a more creative position, but there are other ways to be creative that aren’t, you know, careers. And this is assuming that there is still a Web as we know it, by the time I reach this point.

Given that thought, it would be best to invest in soft skills, as well as technical ones.

If I worked in a Public Library, I could feed my need to be creative by helping with art and craft programs; if I worked in an Academic Library, I could feed it by developing study aids and doing Instructional Design. (Not quite the same thing, but the same feeling of accomplishment when things start to come together at the end.)

Right now it looks like weighing the benefits of creativity and integrity against each other, although as I think I’ve said before — I’m not even totally sure I am still a creative person, on medication.

Medication can also change…so that’s a variable that I should keep in the back of my mind. I may not be on what I’m on now, for the rest of my life. Before my symptoms were controlled, I was constantly creative (in a way that I actually produced things), but I couldn’t care for myself as well. There’s kind of a trade-off there, I mean.

I’m starting to get a headache, here: I went to bed at 5:30 PM, about, and woke up at 9, then watched some cartoons and the first Deadpool movie. It’s now 2 AM; I can get back to sleep. Tomorrow, I can plan on working on some of my ePortfolio tasks…particularly, essay writing. I hope I’ll be up to it.

And yeah…I suppose it is possible to “dabble” in Web Design…but either Web Design or Librarianship could take up all of my time.

I spoke with someone who says this sounds like a solid plan, though I was talking over his head at some points. I hope it’s a solid plan…

And yes, I did just totally forget about my desire to learn Japanese language and work in Special Collections. That is the alternate pathway, if I don’t end up liking (or just can’t or don’t want to do) Web Design. I should have time to study nihongo alongside everything else too, in the early stages…

Hmm. Exactly where and how would I work that in, though?

If I don’t go for a Design MFA, though, I could still put the money I saved towards a Japanese Language and Literature MA…!

Photos. I finally took photos.

I’m posting this here instead of on Hidden Jewels (for now), mainly because it’s a continuation from the past two weeks. I couldn’t concentrate on reading today, so I went back to the photos I’d taken earlier when the sun was at full blast, and did a tiny bit of photo editing.

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To the left, is a close-up of one of the quilting cottons I picked up yesterday at a local quilting shop. It’s a batik, much nicer in quality than the ones I’ve gotten at the chain fabric and craft stores. I can guess at how it was made…and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was from one of the handmade bolts.

I’m just wondering, at this point…if I wanted to go into crafting as a vocation, basically in my case, apparel design or jewelry design (though I’m more interested in apparel design, at the moment)…how I would do that.

M had been talking about my being able to go back to my art after graduation. The one place I researched which I know has a fashion design program, is FIDM, and their biggest selling point is making friends and networking, which isn’t really my strong suit.

There are a number of steps which come before being able to design apparel, however. I’m thinking that it starts with making clothes (or jewelry) from patterns, then graduates into mixing and matching elements from different patterns, then goes into draping and designing one’s own patterns.

My biggest hurdle with this is the fact that my own sense of style isn’t traditional. I can be interested by traditional work, but the lack of readily available patterns for menswear, for example, is one of those things that I notice and don’t really “get.” As a female person who sometimes wears clothing made for men (and who would wear more of it if it were cut for my body), I know that not everyone who is female wants to wear traditionally feminine clothing. I also know that clothing styled for men doesn’t have to look horrible on a female body, but the apparel industry isn’t really geared toward gender-variant expression at the moment.

Anyhow, going off of my last post, I did get up enough nerve to take some more photos. Not a lot of them, mind; I could have gone at it and photographed all of my Fat Quarters, too, but decided to try not to go overboard. 🙂

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The alternative to the carpet background is to lay down some muslin or something.

So…the above image is of the four bits of fabric I got yesterday, about 3 yards in total (each piece is .75 yards), which cost about $38, including tax. For fabric, that’s pretty good. At least it is where I live, where the cost of living is apparently pretty stupid high.

So…the two on the left are batiks; as I said, possibly hand-painted. The second from the right is faux shibori, I believe (shibori is a method of tie-dyeing which can get really intricate, though I think this one is just a pattern). On the far right, I believe that’s an indigo ikat pattern (ikat is a method of dyeing threads in a particular pattern before they’re woven, and then weaving them together so that a design shows up in the finished fabric).

I’m really interested in fabrics right now, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of the color issue plus the texture issue. I just get stimulated by color (I still don’t know how or why), and I get stimulated tactilely by working with fabric…which is also a mystery. It’s just nice to feel things that feel nice. Which is weird because I don’t consider myself a highly physical person…cloth is something else, though.

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Above are the Kona Cotton Fat Quarters I got a while ago, on which to practice embroidery. Only the pink has been embroidered at this point, though (I used an orange Olympus-brand sashiko thread which doesn’t appear to be that high in quality). That, in turn, was only a trial where I was pushing myself to do anything except be on the computer. It worked…even though I did the embroidery non-traditionally, because I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t study the optimal thread path before starting.

Well. (It would matter if the stitching was weight-bearing; one of the original uses of sashiko is to reinforce fabric.)

I guess when you just want to get started as fast as possible, to kick yourself out of doing nothing into doing something, it helps.

And I guess we’re pretty deep into the night, now. Here, I mean. I’ll see how I feel, tomorrow. I might want to work; I might not want to. I might be able to work, or not.

Oh, wait: I go to my job, tomorrow.

Coming up, I’ll just start reviewing my old work for the ePortfolio, without committing to writing anything. Working from Competency to Competency, I should have an okay time getting an idea of what to write…my Prof still hasn’t returned my first essay, yet, so I don’t even know if I’m doing the correct work.

I also need to summarize Chapter 1 of the reading for Collection Development, and read over other people’s responses…

I can take my textbook with me tomorrow and try and work through Chapter 2 and review Chapter 1 on my lunch.

I can also take one or more quilting books with me, in case I can’t concentrate… 😉

Quilting??! (“Why would one need release,” you say?)

I’m experiencing a lot of levels of frustration with my work environment, right now, and the dysfunction is sapping my determination at studying.

On the bright side, I went to the quilt shop, today. I also have a bunch of quilting books to read, if I can pull myself away from what I have to do long enough to devote myself to something that doesn’t have to be done, right now.

Of course, this writing doesn’t have to be done, either: but I have just been so frustrated that I’m like, “screw all of this.” I need to remember, though, that all workplaces are going to be somewhat dysfunctional. My own workplace is likely particularly so at this point, however.

So…I was just reminded to take my medication. 🙂 I also think it’s best that I put the study away for today, even though I have a lot of review ahead of me. This is due to not having stashed my assignments into ePortfolio pools at the time of their creation.

What I need to remember is that if I don’t commit myself to anything but my work, school, and upkeep, I have a good amount of time that I can devote to studying, on a daily basis. I don’t have children or a full-time job, and I live with family. I do have a disability to contend with, but that’s more of a mental struggle, than anything.

Probably the biggest thing I need to deal with is making sure I don’t go off on anyone from built-up stress, meaning that I’ll need to watch my anger level and give myself breaks when I need them.

Right now I’m being distracted by a show on orchids…it’s easy to get lost in stuff like this and lose track of time. Is that a good thing?

Anyhow…recently, I’ve purchased about…3 yards of fabric, and a large ruler to use in rotary cutting. I’ve just been hesitant to start into cutting and sewing. I have to give myself permission to do that, first. It also requires design, which I can shortcut into by reading and following some of the quilting books I have at the moment.

Right now, I’m considering doing a small model of what I would make, using the cheap fabrics from the big-box fabric store; and use the nice fabric for the final version. Or part of it, anyway.

I do have a bunch of fabric. Maybe tomorrow, I can photograph and upload some images. It will give me something to look forward to.

I’ve also decided that I’ll use the sewing machine, which should make things vastly simpler. There’s no real reason to stitch by hand, except personal preference; and I could make something much faster (and much larger and more complicated) by using a machine.

Staying up too late. :)

Earlier tonight, drawn by the persistent question of making beautiful things, I started looking again at what Web Programming skills Web Design would require of me. The two things that I can really see needing that I don’t have, are solid knowledge of Javascript and PHP. On top of this, I could add jQuery, Git, and possibly Ruby.

This is alongside knowledge and skill in HTML5 and CSS3, plus Photoshop and Illustrator. I can’t really get on the Adobe bus without noting some drawbacks (like non-cloud versions breaking, which looks like an attempt to gain subscribers to Creative Cloud. I don’t want an everlasting subscription, though).

Didn’t I…post about Web Design, recently? Like how building in Search Engine Optimization from the start was a practical necessity? And how Marketing is likely inextricable from the process of designing?

Yeah, that…looks like it may be the case. Even so, if I like 80% of the work and dislike 20% of it, as I’ve heard others advise, it still might be a good fit.

And I can’t help but want to design things that are both functional and beautiful. As I found today, if I’m helping sell something that is useful or wanted or needed…it’s not as big a deal for me. Like I had to get some new shoes that I could walk in all day today, and the people helping me were obviously trying to help me. Getting paid wasn’t topmost in their minds.

It’s possible I have a kind of wonky relationship to the market (and to unscrupulous big corporations) that’s kind of my own problem. The thing is, the market isn’t totally made of unscrupulous big corporations.

I actually ran across a couple of posts on the Reader tonight that had images in watercolor…not really too straight-laced, but still pretty cool! It kind of made me want to experiment with colors, again. In particular, one post had some paintings of cacti which I appreciated. The forms were modeled beautifully, and it kind of gave a hint of what can be accomplished with shape and color (and possibly liquid frisket).

I also put the freaking watercolor lightfastness swatch test back in the window, after it fell out two or three weeks ago. Irritating. The amount of time it took me to pay attention to it again, was irritating. But I think I’m now ready to get back to using my office as a study space.

In other arenas, I did succeed in going back to Japanese language study, tonight. I needed to — I was beginning to lose vocabulary (again). I also realized that I had forgotten the stroke order for both hiragana and katakana “se”, which is really irritating.

In my exercise book, I also found a study paper which went over which kana I did not have a total grasp of (most of this dealt with memory); “se” was at the top of the list. Both versions of them. Maybe I should just start writing “sekihan” and “sensei” and “zettai” and “omakase” and stuff in kana (not kanji) just to remember how to write the freakin’ things.

Seishuu sensei, kono omakase no sekihan wa zettai oishii desu ne.

Yup.

I don’t even know if I did that right. I’m sorry. 🙂

Planning possibilities for time — Fall 2018

My sleep pattern is still messed up from Las Vegas. I took a 7-hour nap, today. I also did a little bit of research, given that Fall registration closes, shortly: I would rather not take an internship this next semester, given that one of the more likely positions I would take, had an application deadline which passed 5 months ago.

I also checked for internships in the place we’re thinking of moving to; none of those are any longer open. There is the possibility of working within my own system…but it’s quite far away.

M also says I should be working on graduating. I’m thinking that it’s possible that I will need to schedule time to work on my ePortfolio and stick to it, like a job. Because it is, basically, preparation for a job. From M-F, I should be putting in at least 2 hours, a day, for a total of 10 hours, a week.

I think if I have a scheduled time to stop, it will be easier to commit to starting. Right now what I’ve been doing is checking things online every so often, as they arise. I did drop the class which would have been my third for Fall, yesterday. This means I’ll only have Collection Development, my ePortfolio project, and a possible change of jobs to deal with, for Fall.

I’m also thinking about what I want to put my time, into. I do want to get back to studying nihongo (Japanese language), and it seems my time online might be better spent, learning Web Programming…though the latter isn’t that appealing right now, obviously. I just want to give it another shot, after Fundamentals of Programming: I have a feeling online tutorials might be better than that class was.

Aside from that…obviously, there’s a lot I could do and a limited amount of time in which to do it. Beadwork is what I want to do most immediately, after having spent so long trying to avoid it. Then sewing skills could allow me to make and alter my own clothes, which will be useful. I still have the toile (muslin trial) of that Folkwear monpe (field pant) pattern, to work on. (I’ve stopped because I’ve realized that doing the whole thing by hand is inefficient, especially on long straight seams; I’m not as comfortable with the sewing machine.)

On the other hand, making images would help a lot where it comes to Web Publishing. I can see printmaking, painting, and drawing being helpful, for that. I might want to deal with CGI for that, as well; though regardless, I’ll be using an image editor. I’m just kind of happy about having a Pen Tool — but I haven’t used it, yet.

And then there are the Graphic Design books that I do want to read…I just forget about them because I haven’t read books for anything other than school, in so long.

That’s about enough.

I’m getting a headache right now, although I do also feel a bit fatigued. Part of this is from not wearing corrective lenses. I know what the other part is from.

I think doing some reading on Graphic Design will help me figure out if I actually want to do it as a career or in addition to Web Development. It’s also a relatively passive activity, which may be what I need, at the moment.

Distance grown from past pleasures

At the risk of being wiped out from lack of sleep, tomorrow, I’m going to give in a little to the urge to write. The most significant theme I have right now is that much of I was once enthusiastic about, I’ve grown distant from — because I haven’t had time to devote to actually doing what I wanted.

Along with this comes the recognition that what I know isn’t necessarily correct, just because I know it (or thought I knew it). This applies to my cultural studies, particularly with Buddhism…that is, just because my ancestors and heritage have something to do with it and it’s part of the fabric of my existence, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily correct or true, or not-problematic, or better than anyone else’s heritage.

These are two different topics that I may be able to intertwine, though maybe I shouldn’t. Actually, the latter could be its own post, so maybe I’ll actually save it for a different one, and link to it from here, after I’ve actually written it.

Time division

Looking in my archives, I’ve realized that I’ve grown a bit distant from a lot of things I used to like. These include:

  • Reading
  • Drawing
  • Beading
  • Writing creatively
  • Learning Japanese language

Now that I’m planning to factor in time for myself (aside from University requirements), how to spend that time is coming to the fore. The major focus (or distraction) I’m having now is that some of these things require more or less daily commitment in order to progress and avoid losing skills. Japanese language is pretty much like this. Drawing is like this, too. It’s a reason I stopped playing guitar. And, of course, reading even a single work, requires a set time commitment.

There are also some just basic things that I need to do or maintain, like:

  • Hygiene
  • Driving
  • Exercise and stretching
  • Laundry
  • Housekeeping

And then there are more urgent things, like:

  • Applying for jobs
  • Preparing my portfolio

When I put it like that, it’s easy to see how the first group of items got left behind. They just aren’t that urgent.

Fear of flying: Overthinking design

Right now I’m coming off of a few days of intensely dealing with beadwork and jewelry design. While I could plow forward and keep at it…the phrase that came to mind is, “I wonder if I’m missing something.” I mean, I could definitely keep moving forward on this, but I know my hands will be sore. Maybe that could be a self-limiting thing; like, I can work on micromacramé until my hands get sore, and then I’ll stop and do something else?

That could work, actually!

My major concern is that I tend to over-intellectualize things, when I need to be diving in and learning by experience. Of course, that’s hard when you’re afraid to mess up or fail…when messing up and failing is how you learn.

So there’s tension here between my intellect and its perfectionism, and the part of me that is generative and messy and creative, I guess. I wouldn’t be surprised if those are actually different brain regions in conflict.

I really should have taken a picture of the craft table before I cleaned it up. It was…awful.

But something grew out of all that messiness, and I’m wearing it, now. And I actually now have a storage solution for all my wires and cutters and pliers, that actually works (I used the big toolbox I got the other day that turned out to be gigantic). So now I have another free flat storage area…

Maybe I just need to get more comfortable with uncertainty. I mean, you can’t fly if you’re afraid to jump.

And no, I don’t know where that last sentence came from…it just came. I guess that counts as a, “jump.”

But I’m not going to learn macramé if I’m afraid of, “wasting,” cord on learning. My necklaces aren’t going to make themselves, but to make them, I have to be willing to be wrong a few times (maybe, several). And I have to be willing to experiment if I want to ever make truly great and original art.

I mean, it’s not like I don’t have unpopular cord to play with. For supporting frames, it’s not like I don’t have heavy (and cheap) wire and tools to form it, with which to experiment.

I just have to let myself experiment. Like give permission, to.

After all, those spools of cord are meant to be used, not meant to be hoarded. Hoarding them doesn’t make me an artist; it makes me a collector. Using them (to learn or to make) is something different.

Fear of drowning: Tension in drawing

Drawing is one of those things — another one, anyway — that I get scared to jump into, because I keep forgetting that I know how to swim. But I’ve been looking back over my work for the Art program, and …I have had this “thing” about not wanting to be tight in my drawings.

My drawings — a lot of them, anyway — aren’t tight. Most of them aren’t what I would consider, “overworked.” And yet there is this fear of making tight and overworked drawings, likely because I’ve seen them and I’ve done them and I know they suck the pleasure out of the work. But, maybe I don’t have to fear that.

A couple of my drawing instructors would really, “admonish,” people to consistently try and work, “looser.” But I look at a bunch of my figure studies, and they’re fine. Maybe it’s because with a lot of them, I only had a 5-minute pose to work from, but a lot of it is notation of key elements.

If nothing else, I can take that away from my Figure Drawing training.

And I’m finding less hesitation about working with the human figure, now: at least, my own.

I’m thinking of taking in my Monolith graphite sticks to work tomorrow so that I can practice just drawing from life, in monochrome. Sometimes, it’s good to get back to basics.

And I still want to make a design for a linoleum block print using the flower image I mentioned a while ago. Maybe I should just use that as a jumping-off point, though, instead of trying to copy it. After all, I’m not sure there’s any more virtue in copying it than in imagining it; it might just be easier in the initial stages, when I don’t understand the forms.

That’s a good enough stopping point. It’s all I can think of, at this hour, and I have work to get to, tomorrow. I’m sure these things are very connected, but just how is something that isn’t totally clear to me, at the moment. In a few months, I bet it will be…