Crimson Daggers — Art forum

Full Version: what's your ideal 5k studio?
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2
Ok so I need to rekit my entire studio, due to a recent theft of all ma art stuffs. Ya, I mean all!
I am doing my research, but thought it would be a bit of fun for all to crowdsource for ideas for studio configuration.

So please post what you would get for anything up to 5000 New Zealand dollars. (About 4000US). Just use your own ideal setup. Also don't include major software like Photoshop, because I use opensource stuff for now anyway.

I haven't even started looking properly but here is one idea:

Wacom Companion 512GB - 2200
Dell Ultrasharp 27 inch - 700
Peripherals, kb, mouse etc - 150
Adjustable Monitor mount - 100
NAS 1TB Raid device for redundant auto backups - 200
Printer/scanner - again no clue. Probably something semi decent would be nice. 400
Dropbox Pro account 100/year
Physical monitor calibration device - ?? 200 (optional) Or backup tablet. Bamboo or the like - 200

That doesn't hit the ceiling either, but I'm sure I could think of some things. Maybe some nice trad materials
Note my heavy tendency towards multiple redundant backup systems :p

Ok go people....what would YOU do??
-Wacom Companion

Why the companion of it'll be a studio setup? I'd always go with the Cintiq 24HD for that purpose.

Personally I also couldn't work with just one screen (I have three including the Cintiq).
Well personally for me, I need to be relatively mobile as well as be able to use it as my studio machine. I'm limited by the given budget, so a decent laptop plus a 24hd or 22hd would blow out the budget almost immediately and is definitely not that portable and doesn't really give me a good second screen setup.

So then a smaller cintiq like the 13hd plus a decent laptop is feasible, which might leave room for a decent extra screen and extra stuff. The wacom companion is attractive because I do want to do more plein air, and travel so would be a plus on that side and is sort of combining the laptop and 13hd in essence though with less grunt and Probably wouldn't stand up quite as long as a good standalone laptop though.

I think two good screens are enough for me. I would definitely use 3, but it's probably overkill on budget. So those are my current reasons anyway. I was just curious what others would come up with. :)
Man... sorry to hear about the art theft. I hope them thieves get diarrhea for a week.

I suggest dual monitors.

A mini fridge, or an electric water boiler.
If mobility is you key priority, your only option is a companion. However, you could get a laptop + large screen and the android version of the companion and use it like a cintiq? Then use that for mobile plein air? With something like the companion running amuck in the mobile platform world, it wont be long before a good mobile-operating system based photoshop equivalent comes out.

Other than that, you are forgetting a chair. A good chair (200-300) will pay dividends in the long run.

I wouldnt bother with a back up tablet, better to buy it if it is needed, rather than plan for the worst to happen.

Since mobility isnt a thing for me, I would spend some decent money on a nice desk big desk.

Very cool to see you being so positive about the theft though!
Hi Mk,

Im not sure about ur choices there, nearly the whole list is redundant.

I think posting your goals would help clarify your setup. What will you use it for specifically?

Im guessing its for concept art work in which case you need the best gpu u can get.

U dont need back up raids u can use usb drives etc. just be mindful.

You dont need a 27Inch screen u could get lots of second hand 15-17 inch monitors.

You could try building your own tablet :) there is a site called tablet mod gives some instructions.

You most likely dont need a dropbox pro account, you can use onedrive, google drive, mega upload and dropbox for a total of around 20gb space as well as 40gb ftp server.

You need a printer/scanner in this age?

Lol You guys crack me up XD

@MEat. Thanks. Yes I am sure karmic diarrhea is heading over their way soon. :)
@Jaik: Thanks dude, yeah I recently read a really good scientific book on positivity and it has done wonders for...well everything. I totally get where you're coming from. My other option is a hardcore mobile workstation (16GB RAM, quadcore 2.9, etc etc) with a couple of screens and a regular intous. I don't think the Companion Hybrid is a great deal. It's almost 2K and for that I get something a little better than my current digital sketchbook (galaxy note 10.1) plus a "sort of" cintiq. I actually deleted "kick ass chair" from my list because well, I work on a drafting table, and I work mostly standing up. It's much better for your back, and I find that I don't feel so depleted if I'm standing than if I'm sitting after 8 hours. Also when a good tune comes on I boogie hard in between painting. Win win. :)
@Yolo: Lol about the scanner/Printer. I know my scanner is actually gathering dust and I haven't had a working printer in a couple of years. I guess it was a...don't people have this stuff? :) It is interesting what you said. I do totally get it. I guess my budget is more a not what can I get away with, but I have 5K I'm going to spend it, what is the MOST I can get out of it. I've been going the way of the ghetto for the last 2 years, it's probably time for me to spend some money on what is important, hence the nice large screens, etc

Thanks so much for commenting. I think I wasn't that clear. I was kinda asking what would you guys do if you had 5K to start from scratch with, for YOUR purposes. Just wanted to see the different stuff that came up, not necessarily want tailored solutions to my situation. :D

Also for the record. Wacom are monopolistic bastards. the Companion costs $1500 more here in NZ than in the US because "That is the RRP as set by WacomNZ" when I queried it. There is no justification including how "remote" NZ is. I am so tempted to look at Yinova because of this. I hate totalitarian capitalistic bullshit which is why I dumped Windows and went to Linux, dumped Photoshop and went to Gimp..etc.(happier for it too I might add) May need to dump Wacom too as much as I know they do make good products. *sigh
Is it even possible to plein air with Companion? I mean will you see anything on the screen in full sun light?
I just throw a lot of money into traditional media with same intention - plein air. Easel, pochade box, brushes, paints, and there is still something additional I should buy to paint more efficient.... I wonder if I would add all small bills and just buy Companion instead wouldn't that give same result and less painful shift...
I've never looked into Apple products, so not a lot of details, but a friend who is Apple showed me how you can sketch on an iPad with an Apple pen. I think that iPad he showed me was... $500? $400? Comparable to a Cintiq and Intuos if just for sketching on the go. Check out that possibility on Youtube (to see what the drawing process look like). There seem to be multiple palettes you can save, several brush/pen functions, and a few extra functions you have to pay extra for (eg. a color mixing area). You can also print the filled "sketchbook" out to become an actual, bespoke Moleskin from that app.

To pain plein air digitally you'll need an umbrella and Jack Link's.

The second monitor doesn't need to be that good quality, it's just for displaying reference images, like if you print some image out and taped it to a wall. If for some reason you really want to see the ref in good quality, drag it over to your good quality monitor temporarily. But not sure how second monitor will work with a laptop... not sure what adjustable monitor mount is, but can't you use an orange box?

A powerful laptop that can also be used as studio machine with large screen is ASUS N750J, with upgrades to relevant specs. Apparently you _can_ replace hard drive in a laptop, contrary to what I've been told all along, so I even had an SSD installed by one of the computer guy for a bit of under-the-table fee. The screen is 17.5", and weight is... okay, because it's metal-cased, but definitely lighter and thinner than Alienware or ASUS' G-series. You can plein air on it with an Intuos (optional: buy the wireless stub), an umbrella, and a $10 camping folding stool. ... I don't see N750J on ASUS' global site, but check out its relatives anyway in the N series. I was in Asia when I had to buy it (sudden death of old laptop in middle of project). The laptop and the SSD (Crucial M500, 480GB) together was under $2000. Crucial has really good reviews both performance- and price-wise. I only use the SSD for programs and not file-saving, but even that used up most of the 480GB with 120GB free. ... I might have to uninstall Skyrim and Amalur.

For printer/scanner check out Epson, or watch for sales event at your local stores, for daily use. Not for really good quality printing though. Anker 8200 laser mouse might still be cheap enough at this point, but its prices has been climbing steadily, take a look.
@Madzia....yeah I have been thinking of getting the real deal out and painting properly with trad material for plein air. Not sure what is more annoying, building a custom plein air shadow box for a laptop / tablet or carting around easels and canvases and what not. Same same, but diffferent . Guess I could do both.
@Meat, thanks for all the specific info, especially the laptop. Instead of the companion I'm thinking just going with a grunty mobile workstation with ssd for apps and os so I'll check out the asus. I saw the dell precision m4800 series, packs a mighty wallop, great screen spec and is built like a tank.Weighs as much as one, but I don't need to run marathons with it. Guess I could then either shell out for a 22hd or 13h and use the laptop as my second. (Can I even do that?) Or get a passably decent second screen.
The thing is while I can go ghetto on equipment, I have done this enough up to this point, and I feel that I deserve to give myself the luxury of higher end tools for a change. May as well if I'm building from scratch! I have a dual monitor screen mount at work, and I love being able to rotate them around landscape, portrait or simply push it out the way if I want to work on my drafting table for trad work with a simple flick of the wrist. I'm done with ghetto solutions. Lol.
About the iPad, I will never get one of those. Mostly useless as they weren't built with pressure sensitivity in mind. I have had a Galaxy Note 10.1 for a year now,which is pressure sensitive and uses wacom tech. And it works incredibly well as a digital sketchbook, highly recommend it for about the same price as an iPeed
Cool cool. Thanks for the comments...will keep you guys updated on how it goes. :) might take some time, insurance is dragging!
Man, unless you're a teenager or are physically active somewhat, laptop weight matters. I had a Dell Inspiron, then an ASUS G-series, because I moved regularly those years so needed desktop replacement laptops. But every time I move around with them in my backpack (not checked in behind a museum counter, hotel room, friend's sofa, on bus/train seat), I get lower back pains as well as, in one case where the backpack's shoulder strap was screwed up, shoulder pain (and I was YOUNG at that time). Especially because you won't have ONLY that laptop in that backpack. The charger is usually the second heaviest thing that is also kind of necessary you'll have to haul around. Third being a water bottle, which might become necessary if you plein air far from commercial areas.

Backpacks with waist or chest straps will take the weight (and pain) significantly off your lower back. But they're also more expensive than the free one that usually comes with a high-end laptop purchase. Dell used to give a free backpack with Inspiron purchase - and they're good stuff, durable to even now, surprisingly. Not sure now.

The Inspiron (and other misc, like charger, mouse, water bottle, etc.) in my backpack clocked around 10 LB, and the ASUS G-series once made it over 18 LB with a water bottle, and gave me so much pain I couldn't enjoy the trip.

If you use SSD you might not need a lot RAM. I just opened 8 illustration projects in PShop, 1 project in 3ds, several Chrome tabs, and RAM usage is just under 10GB with no lag at all.
Sweet. I don't think I'll have too much issues with a 10kg pack. I regularly do 3 day hikes with 15 to 20kg on my back. Yeah a good bag is essential for heavy loads. Oh yeah, my hiking pack, fully loaded was also swiped from my car at the same time. *sigh.
I also don't anticipate needing to go too far to do my plein air. Plein air could just be out in a cafe...but yeah the bush, and awesome nature is never far in New Zealand. Hell I live on a 10 acre block that has a forest and river running through it. So I could literally stumble out of bed and do a wild nature plein air. :)
Do you hear that? It's the sound of my Jealousy's last shriek before it died of heart attack. 3 day hikes? New Zealand? Forest? River?! That makes Central Park sounds like a... a puddle with some grass!!!
Mk: Suweet. For 5k you can get much wow.

ill need to get back to you on this, needless to say im excited.
I use a printer and a scanner, but then, I paint traditionally as well as digitally. I have a cheap all in one color laser. One thing that I would do different is make sure that the glass of the scanner is level with the edges so I can scan stuff that's bigger than the glass without some parts lifting off the glass and going blurry. I mostly use the printer for references, documents, flyers,administrative stuff. I go to a print shop to get "real" prints. Laser printers are low maintenance and each copy is cheap but they don't perform as well as inkjets for high end color stuff.

And for the monitor, even if you get 2, I wouldn't go under 19 inches each. That's what I have and smaller than that is just silly. If I had to change my monitors, I'd get those that you can turn sideways to have protrait orientation when you work on tall images (or walls of text/code.)

I also wouldn't get a spare wacom, I've had mine for something like 6 years and it's still working like new (except the pen, I had to change it.)

Edit: You can also use a tee-nut to mount a piece of 1/8th plywood or MDF to a tripod and use bulldog clips to clip paper to it and have an instant 3$ plein air set-up. Let me know in PM if you want to know more, I'll point you to the right direction.
I know I couldn't be bothere to set up accounts with a load of free online storage places and would prefer to pay to have everything in the same place where I can find it.

Some things I wouldn't be without is a good but light digital camera for references (I have a SX50 HS) and a mid range tripod. Also, semi-decent lighting. I have two beginner photo floods that I use when shooting references, when painting and when shooting my paintings.
@meat: ha! The grass is always greener. Especially in NZ. It bloody rains all the frikkin time in Wellington!
@yolo, keen to see what you would do!
@ Chantal. Yes yes yes. Brilliant and useful stuff. I know you're into trad, (something I really have been neglecting, and want to do more of). I'm totally with you on the monitors and mounts, nothing better than an easy rotate screen. I code for a day job, so I understand the's funny how many people don't know what they are missing with that. :). Also having worked on a 17" for two years, I am over it, and am going Large. The more monitor radiation burn the better! I am considering getting a backup tablet because I already had a bamboo, and it totally saved my ass when my intous died (granted, after 5 years)...and now that it got stolen, my resoldered intuos is going to be my stand in, while I sort my other equipment out. I will never pooh pooh a backup ever again. Thanks for the tips on the plein air setup, I think I know what you're talking about...will pm you if I can't figure it out :)

I'm also over load sharing for cloud storage. One dedicated account will do me. 100 a year isn't so much for dropbox...I probably won't need it right away as I already have 70gb or something in my free account. And yes to the lights and ref stuff. Might have to put those on the nice to have for now, but totally useful.
Are you talking new zeland money? or £ or $.

Can you build your own cpu?

I think your cloud storage descision is a mistake. It allows you to keep important backups. More importantly the loadsharing is EXTREMELY important in security terms because it allows for files to be in two physically seperate locations, which is the gold standard for data security. could have helped a lot. would reccomend.

I think the radiation level is minimal for monitors.

im still trying to build this setup buts its going to be GOOD.
In the first post I mentioned $5000 nzd equivalent to $4000 us

Can you build your own cpu?
I assume you mean put together components of a machine? I am not Intel so I can't build a cpu on my own lol. I can and have custom built machines before from scratch but to be honest, I probably wouldn't bother. To me time is important, and I'm willing to pay a premium for getting something prebuilt as long as I can choose the components to a minimal degree beforehand. With mobile workstations, they do try and make most things changeable/upgradeable unlike typical consumer laptops and notebooks. Remember this is what YOU would do...not necessarily what I would do. ;)

I think your cloud storage descision is a mistake.
In the first list I put up I actually have 2 or 3 redundancies built in. Cloud, External drive (NAS), and the dual RAID internal system. So actually it's arguably overkill especially with the RAID. These I can mostly setup to auto sync, spreading to another cloud system might just be extra hassle. I already have 3, and I end up only using 1 because it's easier and don't have hassles with version control in between them all. But yeah let's see your output.

I think the radiation level is minimal for monitors.
HA. I was joking! XD

im still trying to build this setup buts its going to be GOOD.
:) Can't wait to see this. If it's custom built it's gonna be a beast.

didnt have much time so sry in advance. this is what i got mite be a bit over.

Corsair Dominator-GT 32 GB : 4 x 8 GB Memory - DIMM 240-pin - 1866 ...

104 Key Flexible QWERTY USB Keyboard (Waterproof, Assorted Colors)
£8.72 from

MSI Z87M-G43 - motherboard - micro ATX - LGA1150 Socket - Z87 - ...

NVIDIA Quadro K4000 Graphics card - 3 GB - GDDR5 SDRAM £629.32

Corsair CX 750W PSU - 80plus Bronze Certified

Wacom Intuos Pro Professional Creative Pen and Touch Graphic Tablet - Large Wacom Wireless Kit included in the box.

Dell Samsung 256GB SATA SSD 2.5" MDL MZ-7PD256D 8Y70H £129.00

DELL S2440L 24" LED Ultra Wide TFT in Black 3 Months Warranty 67Y4J £109.00 X3

Intel Core i7 3.5 GHz Processor

Seagate 1 TB Hybrid hard drive - internal Serial ATA-600 2.5" 5400 ...
£75.22 from 50+ shops

Total = £2200 somethingish

You can mess with things to get preffered setups :) But similar to this is what i would do with the budget :)
Pages: 1 2