You're probably right! (At least some of the time.)

In music, I know a lot of people who think about things the same way you do, and they sensibly learn to use versatile tools like FM synthesis because FM synthesis covers a wide range of sounds really broadly. A lot of them even know how to make human voice-like sounds using these tools.

On average if you stick to those tools you'll do pretty well. They still fall back on using physical instruments for a lot of techniques, because you can do elaborate expressive things with physical instruments a lot more easily than with the machine.

In music, machines have been getting better, but they aren't perfect yet. A lot of input devices, even well-regarded ones, don't have the build quality of instruments made for professionals. It's really hard to simulate the physical feel of an acoustic instrument without actually building an acoustic instrument -- don't ask me why, but I've shopped around a lot and I've only found a couple input devices that really feel great for me after long-term use.

In art, there are a lot of hardware limitations. It's hard to make a tablet that looks great and feels great, and talking to an art program means you're subject to a lot of latency, and -- if your tablet doesn't have a display -- you're going to see your drawing appear on a different plane than you made it on. A lot of digital artists struggle with line quality and width variation because those things can be awkward on tablet input devices -- and depending on medium, those are often super fundamental (1) to how you pick out parts and subparts of an image and (2) to how you read its form.

You will notice there are a lot of really good digital painters and a lot of really bad digital line artists. That's a part of why!

Don't get me wrong, though. I think your point totally holds for parts of art that can be rehearsed and repeated an indefinite number of times until they look right. I also think that for planning and prototyping, you need to be able to iterate really fast and it needs to be fun, or at least unobstructive. This is another one of those things that's also true for musicians: the really good musicians spend nine hours a day in the studio and there has to be something about it that motivates them to get up in the morning.

Currently, it's true that line quality on a device like the Surface isn't perfect. I personally expect both Microsoft and Apple to solve the issue on their pens in the next five years.

I don't object to doing planning and prototyping on paper with a pencil. While the 12 year old sits in school it's likely that taking graphical notes on paper is better appreciated by the teacher than taking those notes with a tablet.

Open thread, Feb. 06 - Feb. 12, 2017

by MrMind 1 min read6th Feb 2017115 comments


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