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November 1st, 2007 #1
Buying first drawing tablet? Read here first!
If you are new to concept art and want to take your art to the next level, then a drawing tablet might be the next viable path. But, there are things that you need to know before you plop down money for one. Below are a couple of pointers and helpful links to get you on your way, along with advice from professionals in the posts following.
Maybe the de-facto drawing tablet for artists today, the Wacom Intuos is perhaps the most widely used and widely touted pen tablet on the market for novice to intermediate artists and creators. Featuring 1,024 points of pressure, a redesigned interface, tons of editing options, and support by some of the top art programs today (Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter), this is the first tablet bought by artists entering the field of concept art, graphic design, illustration, and many others.
Wacom Intuos3 Pen Tablet
This is the introductory pen tablet for creating art by novices. The latest one is the Graphire4 that boasts any where from 512 points of pressure to 728 points of pressure. While not as elegant or widely used as the above Intuos, it is still popular and lasts a long time. Stories have circulated about dropping them to running over them with *gasp* a car. That is a testament not only to the strenght and durability of the Graphire, but to the Wacom line of pen tablets as a whole.
Touted as the top tablet in the industry, this tablet is used by professionals who need more hands on with their subjects. This tablet features an interface that allows artists to draw directly on the screen. With 1,024 points of pressure, this gives the artists complete control over his creations, while also giving him a more up-close feel for what he is creating. Once you become an established artist or just have the money, this is a viable option.
True to its roots, the Cintiq 12WX allows you to work directly on screen in the most natural way possible.
Create, compose, and design with the comfort of the thin and lightweight 12" widescreen pen display. Boost your productivity by adding pressure-sensitive, pen-on-screen control to your computer when and where you need it. The compact 12WX easily accompanies you between your studio and client locations. Fresh comfort, control and productivity
Tablet PCs and Laptop tablets
This is a new addition to the growing number of ways that designers in all fields are choosing to create with. Tablet PCs are like your traditional drawing tablets that feature many of the same features that you can find from an Intuos or a Graphire, minus the many many levels of pressure. But the main thing seperating these from others is that is a fully functional computer that allows you to not only draw directly on the screen, but also work on it as if it were a portable PC (needs a standard PC connection to work I believe). Laptop tablets function in the same way as tablet PCs, giving you a either a bolt accessory option or a true laptop with touch screen option. The only difference is...well, it's a laptop and is designed for maximum portablility.
TabletPCs today come in two flavors:
A) The most common and widely used kind of TabletPC is a normal laptop where the double hinges have been replaced by a single swivel-hinge and there has been a Wacom sensor board placed behind the LCD.
These are called convertibles, because you can convert them from a normal laptop into a "slate".
B) The second kind is called "slate" and is basically a laptop without a keyboard (you only get the lower-right from the picture above) + the Wacom sensor board.
They are usually lighter than their convertible counterparts, but on the downside there is no keyboard/touchpad/trackpoint and the screen is unprotected because there is no base to fold it down upon.
What both kinds of TabletPC have in common is that they are fully functional laptops that work exactly like you'd expect from any common laptop.
If there are professionals out there that want to chip in their professional experiences with their tablets, the sizes, and how long you've had them, That would be very beneficial.
Disclaimer: I did not include pricing in this post, as I just wanted to get the information across. Also, the words "he/his/him" are not sexist and is used as a generalization of the artists culture as a whole. And last, I am not a professional. I made this thread so that new comers who visit this site will have some kind of information on what they may want to do next.
Thanks to several CA.org members who have sent me PMs with additional information and to those who have posted their personal experiences with these tools. Appreciate it everyone.
Last edited by Stark; December 26th, 2007 at 06:50 PM. Reason: title and additional information.
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November 1st, 2007 #2
I remember when I made this thread. lol But always good to have another
* Help a CA artist! Visit the Constructive Critique section! *
November 2nd, 2007 #3
November 2nd, 2007 #4
Well, I did this rather quickly. I'll go into more depth soon but if anyone has any more to add, PM it to me and I'll throw it in the first post. Also, anyone who uses a tablet of any kind, size, model, feel free to add information that I may be missing.
November 2nd, 2007 #5
November 6th, 2007 #6
Instead of creating a new thread I'll ask my wacom question here in here if it's ok with you guys.
I have a intous3 a4 and I like it quite alot. However after using it more than 2+hours the cursor starts 'shivering'. Not alot but still enough to make straight lines look bumpy. Have anyone else experienced this problem with the intous3 series and is there a solution to it? I tried replacing the tip but the problem remains.
November 6th, 2007 #7
Aiptek Hyperpen Line
Cheap Taiwanese graphics tablets that pale in comparison to Wacoms, and which may suffer numerous and annoying faults such as low precision, or wavy line input. Often repackaged under different names, a prominent example being Trust. Avoid unless absolutely broke and in need of a tablet.
November 6th, 2007 #8
wasker, it sounds like you may be the problem. 2+ hours shouldn't cause your wacom to start 'shivering'. Take more breaks if needed to calm your nerves and then try again.
November 6th, 2007 #9
November 7th, 2007 #10Registered User
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Wasker, i had problems with shivering cursors once. took me a bit of time until i noticed that it happend only when i placed my wacom on top of the keybord of my laptop. in the area of the wacom overlapping the laptop the shivering ocurred. maybe that could be your problem?
November 8th, 2007 #11
I've got a pretty large CRT monitor and I find that if the tablet is too close then you get some cursor shake. It's probably something to do with the magnetism or radio waves given off by other electrical equipment. Or it could be you have low blood sugar levels I had the shakes yesterday because I forgot to eat.
December 7th, 2007 #12Vagabond
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hello, i'm new here. i'm buying a new tablet and i like some advice from anyone who has experience. i like to buy tablet from wacom graphire series.
in my country, graphire 3 cost around 380 bucks, while grphire 4 cost around 580 bucks. however, wacom bamboo was release recently, with the 4x6" costing 390 and the 6x8" costing 690. since wacom had stop manufacturing graphire (i think), does this means bamboo is better than graphire?
currently i'm doin both 3D and 2D graphics. i'll be buying a new pc along with my tablet. base on my budget, if i get a better tablet, i'll be sacrificing my pc specs (a bad thing for doing 3D) and vice versa. on sidenote, i'm a student with some financial concerns. the things i'm buying will be sticking with me for a few years and i can't afford to buy a new one.
thanks for the advice and have a nice day.
December 7th, 2007 #13
Has anyone bought a tablet on Ebay? Did you experience any problems? Should I be wary of tablets that seem too cheap?
December 7th, 2007 #14
I've been wondering this:
I have a grapphire 4 tablet, a6 size. What I hate about it is that it's too small, I'd like it to be like a4 sized. But buying an a4 size wacom is VERY expensive.
However, buying a Trust a4 tablet would cost me just 90€ (130$). Is this a viable option? I mean, I haven't got an intuos anyway.
December 7th, 2007 #15
I bought a Trust some years ago, it was pretty useless.
December 8th, 2007 #16
Occidental Martyr: I had actually been bidding on a Volito a few months ago. It was really cheap but when I went threw the description again I noticed that the pictures of the tablet had no label on them, though the WACOM label was all over the page. I asked the seller specifically if it was an original and he replied really weird. So after one or two more mails I just decided not to pay and never heard of him again...
I think it's important to really watch out for the exact description, since in this case, indeed the label was on the page but it didn't say with one word the tablet was actually a wacom and even went something like "similar to volito".
So, doublecheck that.
Apart from that I'm also planning to get an Intuos3 in A4 and the prices vary from 400-420 € on ebay. You can be lucky with a used one but the cheapest I saw there was 260 for A5. So, if something is way cheapr than that, I'd be careful.
I always google the shops and see if there are forum posts or something by customers.
December 8th, 2007 #17
The Intuos3 I bought was off of ebay, brand new with everything included. It cost me around $285.xx. It really depends on what you need and how skeptical you are of buying off of ebay. I know there are some really good deals on there but make sure you read what you are buying. Some people don't look into the description far enough and end up buying just an image of the tablet. Check the first post for more information.
December 8th, 2007 #18
Yeah, along with a wireless LAN cable.
Bah. Just checked ebay.com and the US prices are so much lower than here in germany .
Unfortunately most stores don't seem to ship outside of the US and I guess shipping and taxes would be increasing the price again. Oh well, the strong Euro is anyway not good for economics.
Last edited by DigitallyDumbfounded; December 8th, 2007 at 02:38 PM. Reason: can't type
December 13th, 2007 #19
December 14th, 2007 #20
Why oh why do the new Intuos Tablets no longer have a built in pen-holder?
I love that one on my Graphire, it's perfect if you travel around with your tablet or are just messy.
Well I guess my old tablet will just have to last long enough until they invented another one with that tool. ;o)
(That said, I have to admit that the new design looks fashionable indeed! )
December 14th, 2007 #21
Shivering of the cursor usually has to do with interfearing magnetism (had this once with a wacom on top of another wacom (different tablets, so the pens didn't match) and with wacoms next to each other.
Why it starts only after a few hours I don't know. I have an Intuos 3 A4 here at work and I can use it all day long.
They have a little 'inkwell' like penholder that comes with the intuos tablet btw chocolatejunkie
December 14th, 2007 #22
December 14th, 2007 #23
Ocicdental martyr: Ah, cool! Congrats.
I'm continuing my strive for the a4, but probably I'll be lucky after christmas when people sell their unwanted presents.
And I also just figured out I can log into ebay.nl and .at .
Didn't know that.
December 14th, 2007 #24
Cintiq 12WX 999$(700€ ish minus transport costs) in america, 1200 euro(not $ with transport costs) in europe.
December 22nd, 2007 #25Vagabond
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i just bought a graphire 4. considering the product has been discontinue, it's still freaking expensive in my country. heck, the only thing i can do now is to treat it as an "investment". at least i have fun using it.
February 17th, 2008 #26
I will throw in some info on my tablet.
Right now I have a UC-Logic WP8060.
It's very bare bones as far as features go, 1024 pressure levels, 3 button mouse, 2 extra buttons on the stylus (a right click and a middle click), powered by USB connection. It has some space reserved around the outside of the drawing area for virtual shortcuts, but they are very small and difficult to hit, so I end up not using them. Most reviews I have read say "Don't do it! Get a Wacom," but this little guy has lasted me for about 1 1/2 years, and I have had lots of fun with it and never had any technical difficulties. I can't say I regret buying it, it was only $50 and I was able to learn a lot about creating digital art with it. That said....
Right now I am getting kind-of tired of it. My brother got a graphire4, and I wish I had never tried it, they just feel better, I think it's the better response rate. I also like how the Wacom doesn't have batteries in the stylus. The UC-Logic Stylus has a single AA battery in it, and feels a little funny with all that weight at the top. I suppose I would only really recomend it to someone if their budget was $55.
Know, a request for suggestions:
I use my tablet a lot, and am looking to upgrade. I can get a 6x8 Intuos3 for 200 US dollars, or a 6x8 Graphire4 for 80 US dollars. Would the tilt sensitivity, extra pen nibs, and touch sliders/button things be worth the extra $120? I guess what I am getting at is how often to you use the extra features?
Last edited by CapitanoPablo; February 18th, 2008 at 10:36 AM.
February 18th, 2008 #27Registered User
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I use the extra features approximately once every 2.4 seconds. Save, alt, brush size, and zoom on the touch strip. They really do help a lot. Intuos3 all the way.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
-T. S. Eliot
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