Digital collage with Microsoft Surface

For my 40th birthday, I bought myself a BIG present- a new Microsoft Surface! I've wanted one for a long time, but they're not cheap so I kept putting it off. But I finally went ahead with it and I'm so happy I did. I've used a Wacom drawing tablet with my desktop computer for years, but its so much better to be able to draw directly onscreen! I considered getting a Wacom Cintiq, which is obviously an industry leader in graphics tablets, but I also wanted something with a keyboard that would work for general work/productivity purposes. 

It's amazing how far computers have come in terms of storage and speed! This is a very thin tablet, but has no trouble at all handling my large print-quality Photoshop files with multiple layers. Some of the pens seem slightly laggy, but it's usually the pens with a lot of complexity/texture. Simple ones seem to work just fine! Photoshop works great overall and aside from pen lag, I haven't noticed any processing difficulties even with very large files. I was also running InDesign while rendering the video in After Effects, and everything was running great!

This is the first digital collage I worked on using the Surface. I wasn't sure if I would even really like it since I'm so used to doing things on my desktop with a central large monitor and two smaller side monitors, but working on one small screen felt fine. I'm still getting used to some differences and relying less on keyboard shortcuts. I did keep the keyboard attached since I'm so used to using keyboard shortcuts, but next time I might try just skipping the keyboard and selecting items using the pen tool. 

Oh, the video was created using the XBox app that comes with Windows 10. I almost deleted it because I'm never going to play any XBox games, but it turns out that you can use it to do a live screen capture! Very exciting, because I never did find a free solution for doing that on my desktop computer that I liked, and I didn't really want to spend money on it.

Here's my first Surface video, which is kind of crappy because I filmed it with my phone (sorry about the fan noise in the background!). It was just a test of drawing something from scratch on the tablet while looking at a photo on my phone as a reference. I'm pretty happy with it! 

I had a big debate with myself about which level of storage space to get for my Surface. My digital collage process requires a huge amount of "fodder" image files that I select from to add to the image in process. I was considering going with a lesser storage option for the tablet (which would have been much cheaper) and storing my files on an external drive or a cloud solution like Dropbox. But then I decided to just pay the extra money for the higher onboard storage, because part of this whole thing is mobility and it would be a pain to have to also schlep an external drive or worry about downloading large files via WiFi while traveling. The Surface has a 1 TB hard drive which should be plenty even for a file hoarder like me! 

So far, highly recommend the new Microsoft Surface for making digital art!