January 16, 2015

Huion H610 Pro Drawing Tablet

My wife and daughters gave me a Huion H610 Pro drawing tablet for my birthday, which opened up new worlds for me. Ridiculously high priced Wacom tablets are way above a common person's budget, but the Huion is an affordable, stunning device that has a large drawing area (10" x 6.25") and great functionality. Here you find an excellent and extensive review that clearly explains the Huion's capabilities - it made me opt for the Huion. I use the Huion in combination with Corel PhotoPaint, which might not be the ideal combination, but for the time being it works perfectly for me.

I run Corel X6 on Windows 8.1 on a 16GB RAM quadcore machine with an Nvidia GeForce 750Ti graphic card. Figuring out the best driver for the tablet was a trail and error process and I had the best results using version 7; higher versions didn't quite work well for me. In particular I had problems with the dual monitor configuration - my mouse pointer was confined to only one screen. Corel PhotoPaint automatically configures the pen - Quick Doodler lets you use the excellent pressure sensitivity of the Huion pen, 2048 levels, resulting in a 4000 lines per inch resolution. I have the cabled version, which works fine for me.

The advantage of digital painting over analog painting or airbrushing is that you have undo-functions and can work in layers. Changes to hue, contrast, lighting and transparency or effect filter can be made afterward (per layer). The Huion tablet gives the digital artist a feeling very close to analog painting and in addition provides a few extra possibilities.

I started testing the tablet and here are some of the first results:

Very first test after I figured out what driver works best

Attempt to make a cartoon portrait of Lionel Messi

Below you see 5 stages of a digital double portrait painted from an original oil painting of Howard Terpning called "Proud Men". I used PhotoPaint's standard pen and Quick Doodle to set up the painting and then used the Smear-tool to blend and shape some of the strokes. Finally I used a small sized (small dib) with high transparency and the Sponge pattern to add fine detail, starting in Subtract mode and finishing off in Add mode.

As a final technique I used one that master painters from centuries ago already used: Glacis. This is applying highly transparent layers over one an other to give the image depth and saturated hues. It's comparable to spraying one or more clear lack layers over a custom painted object which immediately makes the image come alive. This technique also works in digital imaging. I duplicated the png image twice, gave the second layer a highly transparent Subtract filter and on top of that a highly transparent Add filter. Fiddled with the layers' transparency amount to prevent loss of detail.

Digital interpretation of Howard Terpning's 'Proud men'