Graphics Tablets

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by digitalpencil, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. digitalpencil macrumors 6502


    Jul 2, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    I've recently been trying to get into traditional illustration and am looking at getting a graphics tablet. I'm completely new to tablets but have an old Tevion MD41217 that i'm trying to get to grips with but am running into various problems.

    Basically, it's a crap tablet.. it came with no mac drivers and so after searching all over the place, i've realised that it's one of those products that gets rebadged by everyone under the sun (Tevion, Medion, Trust, Aiptek) so i've managed to track down a set of Mac drivers that get it to work but are barely configurable and present a myriad of problems. Firstly, i run a dual screen setup (MBP>22") and so it sees the top left corner of the 22" and the bottom right of my MBP screen which cause all horizontal strokes to be twice as long as the vertical, other than that, the sensitivity seems to be really bad
    and all my strokes come out really jagged.

    As a result, i'm looking at buying a proper tablet and am hoping to get some recommendations.

    Are wacoms the best and what should i be looking for as a beginner?
    how important is size, shape (widescreen etc)?
    what does 'tilt-sensitivity' get me?
    what price ranges should i be looking at (beginner)?
    are there any good, cheap wacom alternatives people can recommend?
    any guides to graphics tablets in general? tutorials on how to approach?

  2. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    I beg the mods can we please get a sticky done regarding tablets :(

    The same response as always coming here. In order of questions.

    1. Wacom are standard equipment for most designers for a reason - they really do make the best hardware.

    2. Screen aspect - best to match up widescreen with widescreen etc, although they can be used with other aspects but you will lose some of the tablet/screen in doing so.

    3. tilt sensitivity is basically the same as pressure but in relation to the angle of the pen - think of using a pencil and you get a more elliptical contact (software allowing this is the same in the programs). Rotation is useful for calligraphy style 'pens' (when software supports it)

    4. price depends on how serious you are, if you intend to keep it for a long time/work/not just for the odd drawing then an intuos would be the best option. Anything less then consider the bamboo range.

    5. not really, you kind of answered your own question with your post.

    6. probably but never used any so can't suggest any.
  3. digitalpencil thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 2, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Thanks and sorry for any redundant questions..

    I think i'm looking at the Bamboo fun (small) at £50 i can't really moan and if it's too small for my needs i can always take it back and look at getting the larger model.
  4. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    If you are serious about it then just get a 6x8 or 6x11 Intuos. They will last you for as long as USB is still around. If you are looking to spend as little as possible then look on ebay for a used Intuos 1 or 2, other than being dirty a used Intuos will operate like new since they last forever and the parts that get any wear are replaceable for a few dollars. You dont have to get a widescreen tablet, the drivers can letterbox a portion of the tablet to fit your aspect ratio if you want.

    Tilt is a gimmick not really a feature, its useless in digital painting.
  5. InLikeALion macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2007
    Greener places than I used to live
    Why do you say that? Because most programs like Photoshop don't support it? Painter does, and I've found it useful on airbrush tools. (I'm not being argumentative, I genuinely want to know your opinion.)
  6. design-is macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2007
    London / U.K.
    Completely agree.

    If you have more money to spend and you are doing this stuff professionally, maybe even look at the Cintiq models or even a ModBook?
  7. digitalpencil thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 2, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Thanks guys,

    I do work professionally but primarily as a web developer, this is more just a plan to expand my skill-set and bridge the gap between traditional and computer illustration.
    As i'm a beginner, the Cintiq's are WAY beyond my means.. I was looking at the Bamboo Fun but will search for an old Intuos instead.
  8. Mr. B macrumors regular

    Dec 25, 2005
    A bamboo is a not a bad idea.

    Alternatively buying a used intuos 2 is not a bad idea either, but may be more "power" than you need. (essentially won't notice the difference)

    Tilt is most definitely *not* a gimmick, but again, you probably won't be using it anyways.

    Aim for a the size up from the smallest size.

    Um, you wanted a hint on how to go about using it?


    Use it *constantly*.

    You will never get comfortable using it otherwise.

    Virtually replace your mouse with the tablet, at least for awhile.
  9. candyman macrumors regular


    Aug 1, 2007
    Phoenix, Arizona
    My vote goes to the Intuos3 tablet. I have two 6x8, one at my employer and one for my home freelance business. I love it. Perfect size and will not go back to using a mouse.

    Wacom really is the way to go for any drawing tablet. Intuos is the best of the bunch IMO.
  10. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    Because theres nothing tilt does that cant be done easier just holding the pen upright with more control and using the right brushes. It might be useful with some of the custom pens you can buy but with the default pen I think it just makes things harder.
  11. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    I agree and I have created this tutorial because of the answer about stickies within the last 3-4 months for most of the questions regarding those that want a tablet but aren't sure about the "widescreen" issues/format or what to do after a very nice purchase of a Wacom Tablet. Here is the link complete with screen shots:

    I hope this helps on the aspect of setting up a tablet for most of us, enjoy :)
  12. digitalpencil thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 2, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Thanks again guys, i'm still using the crappy Medion atm, as i'm still looking for a reasonably priced Intuos but am beginning to get the hang of it. As Mr B. said, i guess it's all about practice..
    Anyway here's my first attempt.

    Bit sloppy, especially around the eyes and i've no idea how to fill it but again, practice, practice, practice.. :D
  13. DigiCatRedux macrumors member


    Aug 25, 2008
    Somewhere in New England, USA.
    I've been using a Wacom Intuos 3 6 x 11 tablet for the last few months - highly recommend their products, they perform as advertised and if you do a little searching online, you should be able to find an Intuos 2 for a decent price.

    I went with the 6 x 11 size, because of my Mac's widescreen display - but even the smaller versions would suit most anyone well. Other posters have replied about what tilt-sensitivity & other things are all about, so I won't delve into that here.

    Google "Tablet Tutorials", and you'll find a body of information out there covering Wacom & others as well as varying techniques for most of the major illustration and design programs out there.

    I'd spend as much as you feel you can comfortably afford. It's an investment to aid you in doing better design, with benefits of comfort & productivity.
    Happy Hunting!
  14. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    Tilt is most useful with airbrush style tools, so it does depend on your use etc.

    Um photoshop supports tilt (and rotate/pressure) and its user configurable to what it does too, its all in the brush config section. It can give some pretty groovy effects using the airbrush tool :)
  15. onegirlcreative macrumors member


    Mar 3, 2008
    My suggestion would be if you do a lot of vector illustrations and graphics, then definitely get a larger tablet (i.e. 12x12), otherwise if you're primarily using it for web design/development, then you can most likely get away with a smaller tablet—6x8, etc.

    Remember, the larger the tablet, the MORE expensive they are.
  16. kitki83 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    A vendor I found is is here

    They sell them really cheap not sure if its older generations but I am comparing the prices from this site to ebay see what is the difference.

    Good luck!
  17. Flux1231 macrumors newbie

    Nov 19, 2008
    I have ordered from them in the past, They are by far the best I have seen around in prices as well as customer service. I ordered on a Wednesday and had my Cintiq in my office on Friday morning and the shipping was ground ($20.00).The merchadise is New Generation so they are not selling out dated stuff.

    Have a great day guy's


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