Beginners' graphics tablet to help me get a taste to see if it's for me.

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by roisin and mac, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. roisin and mac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    #1
    Hi guys,

    Soo, I am thinking of buying a graphics tablet, because I think it might be something I would enjoy using. But because I've never used one before (and have no way to try one, don't know anyone who has one I can try, and stores here never let you try so much as an ipod speaker lol), so it has to be something fairly cheap and basic, so that if it ends up sitting in a drawer, I won't have wasted obscene amounts of dough in a failed venture. At the same time, it needs to work well enough to give me an accurate feel for what it's like to work with one of these, and nt put me off it just out of the nastiness of the particular model, rather than because the entire way to work is simply not for me.

    There are two possible things I would use it for. The first one is as a way to digitize drawings; I make a lot of useful small items like card cases, portfolios, and notebook holders out of cardboard, and they seem to often attract attention and people look impressed when they find out I made them (I've even been asked to make them for others a few times) so I am thinking of writing up instructions and patterns for these and selling them for a couple bucks on Etsy or putting them up on Instructables (if I can figure out how to take pictures of my hands working without anyone else working the camera, lol). It would be handy to have a way to digitize the illustrative drawings without involving a scanner which is a pain in the neck, and at the same time making the drawings neater and make it possible to edit them, including do the lettering with regular computer fonts, rather than handwriting. My hand lettering is neat - thank you archaeological drawing classes, not to mention penmanship-obsessed french public school, lol - but the computer-generated stuff gives an extra bit of polish, I think.

    the second thing I *might* be using this for is my photography. I recently added a DSLR to my camera lineup, and I can't exclude the possibility I will be wanting to use it to edit pictures. However, with my film photography, even though I've taken classes on manual, darkroom-based photo dev & printing, and also basic editing (correcting exposure, including dodging and burning, use of papers and washes), I haven't kept up with it beyond a few months after the classes finished, until the novelty wore off; I guess I'm an all-in-the-camera sort of photographer by temperament, and not inclined to mess with my photos after the release of the shutter button. So it wouldn't appear super-likely I will use that, but it would be good to have the possibility.

    Other than above, the only criterion is that it's available on ebay by a serious seller who ships to Europe and who can be used for warranty :) That's because unfortunately, just like stores here won't let you try anything out, they also have other obnoxious habits, like overcharging to the nth degree, and selling crappy product which they then refuse to refund when it's DOA. So months ago I decided to stop shopping locally altogether, much to my chagrin since I'm all for the whole support the local economy thing, but obviously, you can only support local businesses so long as they stay above a minimum standard of customer service :p

    I'm taking any recommendations, including if someone is upgrading from a suitable tablet to something with a bit more features, if they want to get rid of their old one with me, I'm willing :)

    Thanks!!
    rois

    PS: I saw the other thread about a tablet in the same sort of level, posted by LERsince1991, but I thought that was different because it looks like he already knows what it's like to work with one, so he has a close idea of what he needs than I do, which I believed warranted a new thread. I hope it's ok :)
     
  2. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #2
    I bought a Wacom Bamboo tablet the other day when it was on sale. Not actually so much for the tablet itself but for the included copy of Photoshop Elements, too. A good deal considering you get both, so if you don't like the tablet, you've at least got some software for your money...
     
  3. roisin and mac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    #3
    wow, yeah that does sound like a great deal, especially since I've been recommended Elements several times already as a good app for people who are newbies with digital photography but not photography in general. Do you know whether it comes with the Wacom Bamboo standard or whether it was just the one you bought?

    Also, how much did you pay for it if you don't mind me asking?
     
  4. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #4
    Another vote for the Bamboo. It works well enough and for me anyway, most of the features the Intuos adds (pen tilt, increased pressure levels) make little to no difference for touching up photos.

    The Bamboo Fun (in Canada anyway) comes with PSE (although it is a version or two older than the current version) and a mouse. The normal Bamboo loses the software and the mouse. I never use the stupid mouse (it is fine but it only works on the tablet). I got a small Fun two years ago for <$100.
     
  5. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #5
    I have an intuos myself but here is a general rule with tablets:


    ...Most people HATE them at first.

    They do have a learning curve and some things are still easier done with a mouse, but for some things a tablet is a 100% must.

    One of the things to do is make sure to set it to "pen mode" not "mouse mode" which makes every point on the tablet a point on the screen. This is what people generally have trouble adapting to at first.

    Spend a few weeks with it though and youll love it.
     
  6. rekhyt macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Location:
    Part of the old MR guard.
    #6
    I bought one and hated it. :\ I'm learning graphic design but I could do what I could do on a pen with a mouse within seconds, compared to longer "stumbling" around the screen with the pen.

    I'm not sure why its' so popular-I followed through all the Wacom tutorials. No idea how to design with it. :(
     
  7. roisin and mac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    #7
    What's this about a pen tilt and increased pressure levels? Could it be something I could use for my drawings? Like something that might make it more natural for me to use the pen and tablet combination?

    Thanks for the warning! I'm glad you thought to let me know that, because now I know to stick with it for a while even if it sucks at first.
     
  8. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #9
    Pen tilt is just another axis monitored by the tablet that can control anything. The primary use would be changing the width of the pen (picture drawing with a pencil vertically vs laying it down to shade in areas).

    I have never used an Intuos, so I can't comment on the effect of the increased sensitivity. I am not perfectly happy with the way the Bamboo responds to pressure, but to save the extra few hundred dollars, I don't have a problem with it.

    If you want a pen to feel natural, put your mouse away and use nothing but the tablet for at least 2 weeks. The first bit will be painful, but you will quickly grow to love it.
     
  9. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #10
    One thing I thought I'd also mention is that for drawing, photo retouching, tracing, painting, etc, the pen is unparalleled.

    But, for some, myself included I find it difficult to click smaller menu items (tools in the tool pallet) with the pen because I'm not super steady, so I use the mouse as well. Its an excellent system IMO.

    Mouse to click and create layers etc, pen to draw and handle everything else :)
     
  10. kdb31 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #11
    I don't really have a specific model to recommend but I've found that I don't mind using a smaller tablet for airbrushing existing scanned drawings or editing photos. If that's all you're going to do I think a small bamboo would be fine to start with. For drawing (from scratch) I'd recommend a larger tablet. I find it a bit uncomfortable trying to draw on a small surface because i can't move my arm around as much to make clean lines but thats just me.
     

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