Vancouver, Wa. - Some companies have a knack for anticipating trends, or even creating them. One such company is the eyewear and apparel firm Oakley, which has stayed consistently ahead of the curve for more than 30 years.
The company's product line combines daring patterns with unique form factors. Colors, whether splashy or muted, are custom hues. The concepts are innovative, such as the Oakley THUMP, the world's first digital music eyewear. Most importantly, the product designs are practical.
As a designer at Oakley, Adam Smythe brings all these elements together. It's a demanding and varied position. One day he's designing graphics and concept artwork for snow goggles, or digitally recreating an oil painting so parts of it can be applied to sunglass frames. The next, he'll be developing paints and coatings for rapid prototypes. In order to create such trend-setting products, in a timely and cost-effective manner, Smythe relies on Wacom's Cintiq 21UX interactive pen display. It combines the advantages of a color-accurate LCD monitor with the ergonomic performance of Wacom's on-screen digital pen technology.
"Rather than spending hours mixing colors and applying them on frames, I can quickly render out comprehensive and photo-realistic images with the Cintiq to communicate the same ideas in a quarter of the time," says Smythe. "For the more advanced decorative finishes, this process can save me days and weeks of production time. Being able to communicate the end products before the materials to make them have been developed allows us to be more effective and strategic in our design and approaches."
Smythe's favorite aspect of the Cintiq is its on-screen drawing performance. "Where the Cintiq truly sets itself apart is with the ability to direct draw," he says. "I have been through many projects, both concept and production art, that were much easier to accomplish with the Cintiq as one of my tools."
The Cintiq offers more than ease of use. The Cintiq's pressure-sensitive stylus feels natural as an artist uses the brushes and behaviors in a graphics application. This enables Smythe to find unique creative approaches as he creates sketches and concept art.
"For concept art, achieving the hand-finished look is key," continues Smythe. "The Cintiq gives you the fullest utilization of the styluses in the most native approach. With access to a variety of brushes that can be paired with the Airbrush and 6D Art Pen tools, I can easily accomplish a very organic look digitally. Production art is expedited by being able to hand-shade the highlights and shadows in Photoshop, and make quick adjustments with the eraser or clone tools."