Old Setup and new rig!

Here’s my current setup.


I’m using an Asus EP121 tablet pc, with a Razer Nostromo for hotkeys and a Wacom Bamboo Stylus Feel as a pen replacement. Software wise, I’m using Manga Studio 5.

I bought the EP121 about a year ago. I got it for 400 bucks on ebay and it’s definitely been one of my best investments so far. It took some getting used to as I never really got into digital art before. AHS updated very slowly during that time and at one point I was considering going back to pen and paper. Then Manga Studio 5 came out and changed that. I loved this thing from that point on.
I’m still not updating the comic as fast as I did when working traditionally. I feel it’s because working digitally allows me to really obsess over every little detail, zoom, erase, undo, etc. A bit ironic, since I got into digital art to “streamline” the process…

The Nostromo may look a bit weird but I wouldn’t want to miss it for drawing. It could use a few more buttons though. Razer recently came out with a successor, the Orbweaver. I might get it one of these days.

The Bamboo stylus may seem like a strange choice, because it only has one (hard to press) side button and no eraser on the other side. The reason I bought it is accuracy. The cursor on the screen appears closer to the tip of the pen than any other pen I’ve tried.

The biggest problem with tablet itself is that it’s getting a bit dated. It was already old when I bought it.
It’s got 4gigs of ram, which is no longer enough for my needs and I can’t upgrade it. The processor is also a bit sluggish when it comes to complex Manga Studio brushes, but MS is partially at fault here too, I’m sure they could optimize the program more.

I’m using a regular desktop PC and PaintShop for the finishing touches. Mostly the text editing, because Manga Studio’s text-tool still isn’t very good.

When that PC was causing issues I decided to upgrade, to hopefully do all the work on the new system and leave the anemic tablet behind.

The Parts
Case: Silverstone TJ-08B-EW (I went with a Micro-ATX case. Nice and small, but not too cramped either.)
CPU: Intel Core i7 4770k
CPU Cooler: Scythe Grand Kama Cross 2 (I wanted to try a down draft cooler, and it was only 35€.)
Mainboard: Asus Gryphon Z87 (C2) (Guess why I went with that one… Yeah… I’m stupid.)

Everything else was salvaged from my old PC.

Now for arguably the most important part. Tablet Monitor: Lenovo LT1423p

Everyone knows Cintiqs are hella expensive, starting at about 1000$, but now there’s this! A cheap alternative at only 320€.
Spoiler alert: Sadly, it didn’t quite work out, I’ve been trying a whole week to make it work, but no dice. I’ll write up more about that soon.

The new PC is working flawlessly though, just with no way to draw on it. Here’s a few pictures I took while putting it together.

This is the most silent PC I ever had, my monitor is actually louder! Even my desk lamp is louder if you can believe that. Although that might just mean I need a new lamp.

Now to find an affordable tablet monitor and start saving up for it.

In the meantime I’m going back to my trusty Asus EP121.


Compressing stuff!

Sometimes when I’m bored, I compress the shit out of my images.

This took my PC two whole days and the CPU got quite hot, (Which is making me consider getting a better cooler for it) but I managed to shave a few MB off!
The site should be a bit snappier now, especially the archive should load faster.

I’m actually still on a shared host, that’s why I’m often concerned about the load times.
One of these days I’m going to have to move to a virtual server at least.



Friendly Reminder.

Google Reader will be shutting down at the end of the month, if you’re still using that to keep up with my comic I’d like to suggest some alternatives. (From my stats it seems most of you switched already!)

Feedly – One of the best alternatives, completely painless transition. Feedly added half a million new accounts in the 48 hours following Google’s announcement.

Old Reader – Simple RSS reader, also allows importing Google Reader feeds.

NewsBlur – Haven’t personally tested this one, but I’ve heard good things.

If you haven’t tried RSS readers yet maybe now is a good time to give it a try, it’s the best way to keep up with a lot of websites. Sadly under-appreciated and a lot of times simply unknown.

I have to admit I only recently started using them myself, now I can’t go back to manually checking my bookmarks.


Website update

The past few days I’ve been working on upgrading this site to the newest version of the excellent Webcomic plugin for WordPress.

I made only a few changes to the overall design, so it might hardly be noticeable, but the internal workings changed quite a bit and it was worth it just for that.
I always hear horror stories about users of other webcomic plugins that shall not be named *cough* comicpress *cough*, dreading to update their WordPress installations out of fear of horribly breaking everything. This is problematic because these WordPress updates often contain important security patches to fix vulnerabilities.

For years now I didn’t have a single issue when updating WordPress with this plugin, so I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to make their own webcomic site.

I guess the bad news is that while I’ve been working on this, I didn’t have much time to work on a new comic page.
You’ll have to deal with a few more days of dreadful uncertainty.