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Time for an Upgrade?

kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, Oct. 2, 2017

When I first started drawing comics in 2007, I had a desktop computer that was mainly used for essay writing and reading webcomics. I had very little drawing programs installed and MS Paint was the program I used for lettering! There was a problem, if I had too many programs open at one time, a note would appear at the bottom of the screen that said, “Low On Virtual Memory”. My machine only ran on 250 MB of RAM and upgrading it to 1 GB improved the overall speed.

I always said I like my computers like my men–I need one that is able to keep up with me.

That being said, in 2009, I looked for a more powerful “Super Computer” that would not freeze if I was listening to music while coloring with Photoshop and having other programs running in the background. I bought a refurbished computer and it has definitely been very dependable for the last eight years, but now the software is outdated and I can easily buy a more modern desktop for a the cost of an Operating System.

I noticed a trend with the file size of my drawings as I upgraded my machines.

Early 2007 - one full sized colored page = 350 KB - 500 KB
Early 2017 - one full sized colored page = 1500 KB - 2500 KB

One of the reasons for the increase in file size is that I once had an instructor explaining the importance of saving files at a high resolution. It turned out that having a faster, more powerful machine allowed me to work at higher resolutions, but it resulted in taking longer to produce a colored page and I was using up more hard drive space.

I am considering to invest in a new computer later this year. I somehow doubt I will really need the 1 TB of memory and my drawing skills have not changed dramatically that would justify buying a new machine. The benefits of buying a new machine would be that the fans would seldom be on overdrive and I could probably make much more detailed work on photoshop. My saved file sizes would be around 4500 KB to 5000KB because image resolution is important.

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thunderdavid at 2:58PM, Oct. 6, 2017

My sad story is that my old Win XP couldnt support the new Intuos tablet I got. So I pick up the cheapest Lenovo desktop at OfficeDepot.Then i figure I run the old Manga Studio 4 (which I got for $15). But I run into problems running two programs at same time. I cant listen to music while running Manga studio. And it struggles at large resolution 300 dpi. The work around is to restart the program. So im back to square 1, looking for a PC 😔

edbang at 8:09AM, Oct. 3, 2017

Yeah exactly ozoneocean. To me you can make really great art with simple processes. An expensive system can be your biggest risk to production, unless you have the funds to mitigate it (translation: you are rich!) I think 1tb of internal storage is a waste/bonus. It makes more sense to me to do a daily backup on external media or the cloud to keep me safe, and my setup robust.

ozoneocean at 9:22PM, Oct. 2, 2017

Wow Edbang, that's a surprisingly good way to think about it :) My art on my computer and Cintiq is all huge file sizes made with expensive software and equipment, but my sketching is all done on an Android Samsung Tab3 using Artflow, the whole lot cost less than $450 US. That was an upgrade from my older Samsung Note tablet.

edbang at 7:44PM, Oct. 2, 2017

Upgrade under normal circumstances means taking time getting used to the new environment and figuring out anew how to not only get to where you were before, but maybe tweaking the process to achieve something better or faster. It's impractical to keep using the same setup and art programs for more than 10 years. The hardware and software manufacturers and time just plain won't let you. My thought though, is not to get better machines for upgrades, but get used to using the cheapest replaceable machine/setup you can. And keep your style flexible enough to adapt. This way if something breaks or gets out of date, you can replace it fairly fast and quickly. I currently use a Lenovo yoga book, windows 10 and clip studio paint pro. That's pretty much all I need. It uses an atom processor, and sometimes I feel my cell phone is more powerful... My process is pretty simple, and keep my layer count really low so as long as I can draw a line in the program I'm in a pretty good position.

Avart at 7:28PM, Oct. 2, 2017

Sure, in the end 'the bigger, the better' XD I can't upgrade my 7 year old laptop at this time, but I think from now it's OK. I work at 350 dpi A4 canvas, and depending on the data (number of layers, textures, etc) I might end with a 35-150 MB layered file, but I convert it to a 450-500 KB file per page. Great article as always!

VinoMas at 6:11PM, Oct. 2, 2017

I think I have a fear in upgrading. I am creative enough that I think I can succeed in any medium, but I feel very drawn to sticking with collage and photography. I don't know...maybe my future is bright! Great article.

AmeliaP at 1:05PM, Oct. 2, 2017

Ouch! Sorry! This part: "1 TB of memory", I got confused with it thinking it was referring to RAM and not a HD ^^

kawaiidaigakusei at 11:29AM, Oct. 2, 2017

1TB Hard drive space.

AmeliaP at 10:18AM, Oct. 2, 2017

1 TB RAM? It's way too much even for game development. My heavy 3D programs run very well with 32 GB RAM (entire levels in Engine or 50 layers in Photoshop working in 600 dpi or a +50 million polys in Zbrush). For Photoshop, 16 GB fits smoothly, but don't forget about a good processor, like an Intel i7. But for HD storage, the more, the better! I have Teras and Teras of storage.

usedbooks at 5:03AM, Oct. 2, 2017

I need a new conputer. I actually just wish my computer was in the condition in which I bought it. Hard drive fried and was replaced with a dinky 125 GB one. At that time, the OS installed was different than the one I had (now Windows 8 with a register watermark permanently affixed to the screen). And it is literally being held together with duct tape. I would buy this model a dozen times over.

ozoneocean at 1:15AM, Oct. 2, 2017

Those were my layered up working files, not the finished flat art :) Yeah you always needed a powerhouse computer for art, I always had powerful gaming comps for it, but now even base models can handle almost all art fine! Ironically it's things like web browsing that take up huge resources because HTML 5 rich sites and java are so utterly shizzy (I miss Flash and HTML 4.1), while photoshop and illustrator run like the wind all the time.

ozoneocean at 12:34AM, Oct. 2, 2017

Wow, even my file sizes from 2004 were between 40 and 70 meg. These days they're upwards of 200meg D:

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