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About Digital Art / Professional MuEnLiUnited States Recent Activity
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Yay~!! Grades are out! And with that ends my University life (for a long time). I will be graduating with a 4.00 GPA on October 27, 2013 and will be receiving my diploma thereafter. My walking ceremony won't be until January 10, 2014. In the meantime to celebrate this occasion, I bought myself a new drawing tablet early to commemorate my upgrade from student to hopeful professional. WOO HOO~!!!

[Warning Huge Text Ahead]

Msp19u+ by MuEnLi   2 by MuEnLi

After much research, I decided to get the Yiynova MSP19U+ rather than a Wacom Cintiq or a Bosto Kingtee tablet. The Yiynova MSP19U+ has not officially released yet to the public by Panda City, who is the US Distributor of the Yiynova product line but it is already available as listed in the website. There have been numerous reviews of its predecessor: the Yiynova MSP19U that has made the product a popular alternative to the Wacom Cintiq. Frenden's review as well as video footage from a gaming studio has convinced me to jump the bandwagon towards the Yiynova MSP19U after initially deciding to purchase the Wacom Cintiq 13HD. 

One month ago, I saw another review by Frenden of the Yiyvnova MVP22UHD revised from its previous release of the MVP22UHD, coincidentally around the time when the Wacom Cintiq Hybrid Companions had also come out. Yiynova had also started releasing its own updated versions of several of their existing brands that it made me wonder if there was an upgraded version of the MSP19U and there was. There were no reviews for the MSP19U+ so I decided to be one the first to not only own it but review it as well.

So without further ado, this is my review of the new and improved version of the Yiynova MSP19U: the Yiynova MSP19U+ 
Essentially, the U+ is no different from the U in its specifications, save for some additions. What is different? For one, the tablet monitor now has 8 express keys that are user programmable and is located on the left side of the monitor. It also has a VGA out 15-pin D-sub in the back which should not be confused with the VGA in that connects to your computer on the left side. Two big notable differences are the design of the packaging box and the design of the tablet pen.
Diverging a little but relevant, I wanted to share with you the journey behind my U+. 4 days ago, there was a train derailment accident in California where two trains collided in the Mohave Desert. Out of all the luck in the world, guess whose order was in there..... Mine! So, not only was my order late but there was a chance that my tablet was damaged in the process and that I may have to wait another week to receive a replacement. I was not only ticked off but scared...

Opening by MuEnLi
3 by MuEnLi
Manual by MuEnLi

After receiving the UPS notification that my order was at my door, I left work 30 minutes earlier and rushed home. With anticipation, I carefully surveyed the box and its contents. The outside of the shipping box and the packaging of the tablet were thankfully in good condition. As is customary to Yiynova products, the tablet had the seal of approval that it was tested with successful operation. The tablet itself was wrapped in a protective plastic bubble covering which shielded it from outside forces of its own packaging box. There were no missing hardware components and there were no traces that the product was used in anyway. Apart from the warranty, there were two manuals, and the driver CD. Now, this is the part where I hear a lot of people have a lot of problems with the Yiynova tablet lines. My only advice to you is to FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS and DO YOUR RESEARCH. It only took me 2 hours to set everything up which included calibrating it and setting up my resolution.

20 by MuEnLi   9 by MuEnLi

If you own a Yiynova tablet or at least know about them, then you know that you should never download the drivers in the CD because it is outdated in comparison to the ones in the website and you also need to remove all of your Wacom tablet drivers. I own a Wacom CTE640 so this rule applies to me as well. Do not plug in the tablet before you download the drivers and remove the Wacom drivers. You will know it is successful when your computer asks you to reboot and the UC-logic driver desktop notification icon shows up once you plug the tablet in. Make sure to research whether your computer has a VGA port and whether it is compatible with the Yiynova's VGA cable. If it is not compatible, buy a VGA to USB converter. My laptop is an ASUS G55VW model so I already have a VGA port and it is compatible with the Yiynova's VGA cable (for those who need a reference). The cable also has a USB plug-in so have a free USB port close to your VGA port available. The tablet has a separate power cord that needs to be plugged in so it is imperative that you make preparations. This is a 19 inch tablet monitor that requires a lot of room and space for not only you but for the tablet as well. Similar to the newer versions of the U, the U+ has the VESA rest base that allows you to angle the monitor from a 15 to 90 degree tilt. There is a safety latch that needs to be pulled before adjusting the base.

Hotkeys by MuEnLi

The U+ has 8 express keys that are user programmable with most keyboard combinations with the ability to rename them as well. Unfortunately, these keys can only be set for one program at a time which is reasonable since no two design programs will have the same keyboard shortcuts. My only advice to resolve that issue is to change all of your keyboard shortcuts to be the same for every design program. Since Photoshop is my primary design program of use, most of the express keys are catered towards its keyboard shortcuts. I set up my Enter express key as Photoshop's Undo key with Ctrl Alt Z, the up express key with brush size increase, the down express key with brush size decrease, and so on and so forth. The symbols for the express keys cannot be changed and the actual buttons to press them are located at the back of the monitor. 

Pen by MuEnLi
Penholder by MuEnLi

Apart from the inclusion of the express keys, the pen also had a new re-design treatment. It has a slim Sharpie pen look and feel with two programmable buttons. Unfortunately, it is still battery powered and requires two AAA batteries which come included in the pen. The pen comes with two extra nibs along with the help of a pen nib remover. Some people complain that using batteries to operate the pen will make the pen heavier. I am happy to report that it does not especially with the new pen design. If I had to describe the weight, then I would say that it weighs just as much as a big oil brush. A nuisance that I have found with the pen is the pen/ eraser toggle control (if you choose to use it). It does not function properly. Sometimes, it takes one click to switch to pen or eraser and other times it takes 5 clicks. The feature is not stable and I am not sure whether it is the driver or the pen itself that is producing this problem. The battery is also difficult to take out which is not a problem now but I hope it comes out easily later when I do need to replace it. Other than that, there are no problems with the pen, I have resorted to using the two buttons of the pen as the left and right click while using the express keys to toggle between the pen and eraser.

So let's talk about the most important parts of the tablet which is its responsive time, pressure sensitivity and its ability to recognize tilt angles in conjunction with its pen. The responsive time of the pen with the monitor is great but it does have its shortcomings. There is a short lag response with the pen when it touches the monitor. It takes nanoseconds to a few seconds for the monitor to recognize the pen before it responds with your movements but once it does, it does not become a problem. This only occurs when the pen stops touching the screen for a long period of time which pretty much tells you that the battery in the pen is not in use all the time and at some point the monitor does detach its connection with the pen to conserve the pen's battery power. The pen does work if you have a mouse plugged in at the same time and does not interfere with its lag time. 

Linetest by MuEnLi

The U+ has the same pressure sensitivity as the current Wacom brands with 2048 levels. This is a line test that many traditional artists do as a warm-up exercise and shows the U+'s ability to seamlessly transition from light to dark. You can set the pressure sensitivity controls from light too heavy to cater towards your pressure style. The harder you press, the darker your lines become. The U+ does recognize pen tilt angles as well but there is a slight lag response at first once the tablet goes lower than 30 degrees while you maintain a 90 degree angle. I would not recommend maintaining that position when drawing at those angles because it can wear out your back really fast. I don't know if anyone is curious about this aspect of the tablet, but I sure was on whether the tablet's drawing surface was scratch proof as I was considering in purchasing a screen protector. The tablet's screen monitor is made of thick glass and after pressing down numerous times to test my dark lines, it did not produce a scratch but it does smudge easily. So, I would recommend an anti-smudge glove for the hand that is leaning on the screen to draw. Thankfully (for now), I do not have any dead pixels and after 16 hours of use, the screen has not given out. It has flickered twice but apparently in the manual, it's because of interference with other electronic devices to which my phone was next to it and my internet connection kept giving out. 

21 by MuEnLi

By default, the resolution of the U+ is warm which gives off this red/ brownish hue to the screen. This is adjustable and can be changed using the buttons on the right side of the monitor under the power button. Mines is set on user mode theater, 46% contrast, red 50, green 37, and blue 50. I keep changing the brightness level on the U+ because it is really bright especially on 100% and it strains my eyes over a long period of time. My vision needs to get used to it. Something to point out is that the pixel resolution is really crisp and defined. I can literally see the crisp edges of everything especially in low quality images and in text. Black font text on a white background produces this light neon green cast behind the text which I find a little odd but not a severe interruption to my design process. Another piece of advice when setting up your resolution, test your line quality in two different design programs because there will be differences on what you can see with the opacity of your pressure sensitivity. While I could see the lightest lines in Photoshop, I could not see the lines of the thin copic brush in Autodesk Sketchbook Copic Edition. Whenever I use the U+ to draw, I duplicate the monitor views so that I could see the differences between the two screens, and when I am not drawing like playing games or surfing the web, I use the U+ as a dual monitor and extend displays.

1 by MuEnLi

To conclude this review, I am proud to say that the Yiynova MSP19U+ is a solid tablet that was able to withstand the forces of the train derailment. There were no physical or internal damages to the monitor or the pen. This is an amazing tablet that is a great alternative to the expensive Wacom Cintiq and performs perfectly for its purpose in digital design. As much as this tablet is durable, it remains to be seen whether it will outlast or live just as long as my Wacom CTE640 with the test of time. I would definitely recommend any Artist whether you are on a budget or exploring your options to consider the Yiynova MSP19U+.


Wacomcte640 by MuEnLi8 by MuEnLi

The main reason why I decided to switch from Wacom to another brand was not necessarily because of cost because I was able to afford it. It was a culmination of reasons that led to my decision. I love Wacom and its products; I bought my first drawing tablet with them for my 18th birthday: the CTE640 for $160. I remember it being the most expensive item I had asked my parents to buy for me at the time. I had to produce reports of charts, lists of pros and cons, reviews and investment incentives just to beg to my dad to buy it for me. It is now 2013 and the tablet still functions to this day despite having visible signs of wear and tear through the years of intense use. Initially, I waited for the much acclaimed Cintiq portable tablet version which was introduced as the Cintiq Hybrid Companions. It did not meet my needs. I wanted a portable Cintiq that had a wireless module that connected to my computer not a tablet that only lasts 8 hours of continuous use and did not even have Haswell. There were days where I would draw 16 hours straight and I did not want to limited by the use of wire especially due to my sensitive back. My back has a slight curvature that does not make my spine align in a straight position so I cannot maintain one position for long periods of time. I quite literally developed a science with the use of my bed and 3 pillows to help me achieve the impossible. Unfortunately with the U+, I would need to sit on a chair, but it does not mean that I can't find a way to make it comfortable for me. I would rather wait for Wacom to release the perfect tablet that meets my needs rather than purchase a second best one and for that I am willing to spend $1000.

As much as cost was not an issue, it was a factor. My dad is an Accountant so I have learned to apply his teachings in regards to money with the scenario above in application to the things I buy. For $600+ I can get a Yiynova 19 inch tablet monitor that functions just as well as a Wacom Cintiq and still be able to have enough left over to buy a 10 inch version of the tablet from the same brand for $300 (yes, I'm talking about the DP10U+) which would be $1000 for the Cintiq alone as opposed to two. I know many will argue that Wacom is an established and trusted brand to which I agree but it does not justify the cost of the 13HD which has a lower resolution setting as opposed to the Yiynova tablet as well as other notable negative reviews. 

I also would like to make a point that a tablet whether it is a Wacom, Yiynova or a Bosto will not make you a better Artist. If that is the sole reason why you are purchasing these tablets then it is not for you. At best, the Cintiq type tablets will help you render your work faster. Skill is more important to have first otherwise you will be severely disappointed. Before I received my first tablet, I was drawing with a mouse and to this day, I can still draw with a regular mouse. If you want to be a better Artist, you will persevere with or without a tablet.   
Evoland Preview by MuEnLi

Hiya~ Today I will be presenting an informational interview I had with one of the amazing talented individuals responsible for the production of one of the top indie games to be released for 2013: Evoland. As part of my assignment for my Career Development class in DeVry University. We were required to perform an informational interview with someone who served as our inspiration towards our career path not necessarily in working alongside them. I was given the honor and the opportunity to interview Kurunya who is the Art Director and Concept Artist for Shiro Games, 
a brand new indie-games studio that developed Evoland. With his permission, I am sharing my interview with him in the hopes that it will give inspiration to any prospecting artist who wishes to enter the video game industry. I hope that this interview will leave you inspired and rejuvenated in your dedication to your art and your dreams for the future as it did for me.

Following the success of your game: Evoland, was this your first successful game creation venture? Or were there others?

Actually I think this is the real first successful game I'm proud to say "Hey check it out, I worked on that one!!" because it was an amazing experience for me, working with a really small team, passionate about game development, from the very beginning to the end of the project. Everything went great, it took us only 4 months to get the job done and apparently people like what we did: that's what I call a success!

 I also worked for Ubisoft for 3 years as a concept artist on several projects (mostly scrapped), but I have to say, it was a disaster working for a big company, even though I was happy as hell when they first called me to join the team. It almost ruined the vision I had of games development... I mean, you are not really "useful" (for lack of a better word), you only have to do what the big boss likes and you can't even express yourself entirely as an artist. In fact, you are a small cog in the machine.

What made you decide to go beyond Evoland's initial contest entry for Ludum Dare into a fully commercialized game title?

Well, as I said, Shiro Games is a real young game company, and considering the success Nicolas (the developer who did the very first concept for the ludum dare competition) had with Evoland and the enthusiasm of so many players, we decided to make a full game out of it. It was also a great occasion to bond with the team, see what we can achieve together, how much we can commit ourselves in a concrete project.

Evoland key art by Kurunya Evoland Trailer by Kurunya Evoland on steam by Kurunya

Creating Evoland must have taken a lot of time, energy, effort and possibly money (blood, sweat and tears). How did you manage to keep yourself motivated especially during the 30 hour crunch that it took for you to complete Evoland for the contest, and before you released the game in Steam as well as through your website?

I asked Nicolas (the creator of Evoland) about that, he said "Drugs" aha.

But then he told me that :

"In order to successfully complete the Ludum Dare you need a lot of concentration. But doing the same thing such as programming can quickly turn into a loss of focus.
So every time I feel like I'm not advancing quick enough, I'm switching tasks: adding more gfxs, or working on sound, then returning to programming afterwards.
The fact that you have to complete the whole game by yourself in Ludum Dare allows that.
As for the complete version of Evoland, we used short iterations and focused on advancing the game as we did it.
This helped us keep the momentum but it was sometimes a bit hard to get the whole picture of the game."

The most important for me was the fact that each of us are passionate about creating games and also all that support of our community players on the facebook page (and later on Greenlight) helped a lot to keep us motivated through 4 months of development.

When you first started working in games, what was your job title? Can you tell me what your career path has been so far?

I first started working in the games industry during my last year in Art School, it was a small project and I worked on it as a freelance concept artist. It was very nice to work from home (very comfortable with flexible hours), and after that, I kept looking for freelance jobs only but it was hard to find good and regular clients.

 Then I started to apply to various companies and Ubisoft called me back (!!), I was really happy to begin my real career as a concept artist in such a big videogame company! I worked there for 3 years, and I decided to leave in order to work as a freelancer again. It was a lot easier than before because when it says "Ubisoft" on your resume, a lot of people take you seriously.

 And here I am, art director in a small company, and I love it!

What is your educational background? Are you more a 2D or 3D artist?

I went to an art school in France for three years (2004 - 2007) where I learned the basics of 3D modeling and animation. It was a good opportunity for me because I was more of a 2D artist but I had the feeling that 3D was going to be mandatory for any job in the artistic field!

And now I feel like "yay I made the right choice" because it happened to be a significant bonus on my resume for the job application as a concept artist. My former art director really appreciated the fact that I was able to understand technical constraints, or simply speak with the 3D artists/animators for a better workflow.

Sculptris - Alien head by Kurunya Sculpting zomg by Kurunya Dark knight, kind of by Kurunya aerial spirit by Kurunya

Your portfolio is amazing. It shows a wide range of conceptual character, illustration and graphic design. What is your design development process? Do you design your characters based on a story or does your story create the characters for you?

Thank you for the compliment! You have no idea how I feel every time people say they like my work that much, it's always a pleasure!

Most of the time, when I'm trying to draw something for me or at work, it just pops right out of my head. I don't think about something in particular, I just let my mind do the work for the early brush strokes (basic shapes etc). Then, when I feel like I'm getting somewhere, I do some research on the internet in order to be more accurate on the details (textures, shading, color palette).

 I usually set the story of a character while drawing it, that way the tiniest details bring me new ideas for its background. For example : "Oh I'm going to dye her hair red, her mother might have been a witch and cursed her with her own blood" and so on, and so on (obviously, this is when I draw for me).

 I like that because I am not initially constrained by a pre-defined story or the look of the character.

Art is a very competitive field especially in gaming. What kind of advice can you offer to many budding and aspiring artists who would like to enter the video game industry (such as myself)?

Actually, what makes you essential on a videogame project is your ability to be creative. You also have to show that you are strongly motivated and willing to learn constantly from others, especially if you're working in a small team. And of course your knowledge of videogames!

What are things that you feel are important for Artists to present or demonstrate in their portfolios when they apply for jobs in the video game industry? For example: Presentation of certain skills, concept design, resume highlights, etc.

This is a tough one.

"A great portfolio" is somehow a subjective statement, one guy will love it, and his workmate will say "meh", sadly.

If it were for me, I would say that I like when your portfolio shows works related to the job you're applying to. I've seen too many "character designers" when the application says "environment designer" for example, even if it's not a loss, I mean I usually bookmark every portfolio I find interesting for later use.

 So, in my opinion, if you want to work as a character designer (i.e.) show people that THIS IS YOUR THING, because this is ALL you're going to do during the entire production. Remember that a recruiter will only take a peek at what he is ACTUALLY looking for, then he will close the email or website and might never open it again. You also have to show that you know what you're talking about, and you won't be taken seriously if your portfolio is too light.

 As I like to say, for me, a great portfolio is like a reversed iceberg: 90% of what I'm looking for, and 10% of other stuff to show what you can do.

Even the most passionate artist will suffer from periods of burn out and art blocks. What keeps you driven throughout your artistic career (not necessarily in gaming)?

Whenever I have one of those art blocks, I like to look at other artists' illustrations, it's so motivating because I can't help telling myself that these guys had doubts too, they had bad-drawings days too, but they all got through that and here they are, blowing our minds and melting our eyes!

I love drawing, I love being creative, I love bringing ideas to life and sharing them with other people, I need all that. That's why I don't get stuck for too long when it happens to me.

What is your goal in your artistic career? Or have you already achieved it?

I have to say that I am really thriving since I work at Shiro Games as an art director, because this is something I always wanted to do since I was a child: creating games and having my word to say in the development process. Honestly, I don't know if I'll be able to find another job that brings me so much every day.


Thank you again Kurunya for allowing me the honor to interview you and taking the time to answer my interview questions despite your busy schedule. I look forward in supporting yours and Shiro Games future endeavors~

Evoland Titlescreen by Kurunya

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Artist | Professional | Digital Art
United States

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Add a Comment:
StarSophi Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy Birthday! :D
MuEnLi Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you very much ^_^
Sorry for the late reply... I don't log on DA as much anymore ^^;;;
alexamary Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2015
Happy Birthday
MuEnLi Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you very much~!!!
Sorry for the late reply, I don't login DA as much anymore..
alexamary Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2015
with pleasure :)
Pineapplelicious Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2015
Happy Birthday <3
MuEnLi Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you, thank you!! ^_^
Sorry for the late reply! I don't log on DA as much anymore... 
Pineapplelicious Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2015
Is alright I know you're super busy and I don't log onto dA myself much. Hope things are going alright with you ;v; <3
MuEnLi Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you ^_^
Things could be better... but I'm hoping things will turn around soon. I want to be more active on Tumblr. DA demotivates me too much, it's too boring. I'm also learning 3D design now. 
Other than that, I hope things on your end are good!
(1 Reply)
StarSophi Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy Birthday! :D
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