Wacom bundled software: what to choose?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by macstatic, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. macstatic macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2005
    I just received my Wacom Intuos 4 drawing tablet and found out that when I register I get to download free software. I have to choose from one of the following:

    - Autodesk SketchBook Express 2010
    - Corel SketchPad
    - Adobe Photoshop Elements 6

    I already have Photoshop CS4, so I suppose there's no reason to get Photoshop Elements (unless there are some tasks it does better, or is more comfortable to use for "everyday tasks" where CS4 is more time consuming/advanced?).

    I don't know anything about the two other apps. Is Corel Sketchpad the same thing as Corel's Painter Sketchpad? If that's so I could download a trial first.
    As for Autodesk Sketchbook Express 2010: I searched all over their website but could only find Sketchbook Pro. But at Axiotron's website however there's a Sketchbook Express 2009 (not 2010) download, but it's only available for current Modbook owners.

    So, assuming no trial versions are available, can someone please tell me what these apps are for, and which one you recommend I go for?
  2. platypus63 macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2006
    Zanzibar Land
    I had the same exact dilemma 2 weeks ago.

    Autodesk sketchbook and corel sketchpad are pretty much the same thing. I could find a demo for corel but not for autodesk, and stupid me decided to download the autodesk one anyway. I liked the corel one better. But it doesn't matter because i can easily sketch in pshop or illustrator. But between those two i would recommend the corel. But out of the 3, if you have to choose only one I would get Pshop Elements and use it on an extra computer or give to a family member for easy edits. Though don't you get to choose from 2 of the 3 choices?

    Good luck with your decision, and make sure to try corel sketchpad first.
  3. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2005
    I've downloaded demos of all three and tried them out and was going to say that Corel Sketchpad is totally useless (at least on my 1.67GHz Powerbook G4) because of an enormous time-lag when drawing. Then I discovered a setting in preferences (Sketchpad-Preferences):


    By changing "Brush ghost" to "Cross hair" or "Single pixel" it worked a lot better.

    Both apps seem to do the same thing but have slightly different user-interfaces. In my opinion Autodesk Sketchbook seems more professional, but perhaps that has something to do with it being "Sketchbook Pro" as I couldn't find any "Express" version anywhere.
    Why did you like Sketchpad better?

    As for Photoshop Elements: the trial version looks good and has a lot more features which only the full version Photoshop used to have. But I don't have any family members who would need it, and as far as I can see it doesn't have any advantage over Photoshop CS4.

    PS: I got a very nice application for free via Macheist recently called Scribbles. It's very easy to use and is great for scribbling down ideas etc. I suppose the two abovementioned apps do more or less the same thing, perhaps with a little more advanced features.
  4. platypus63 macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2006
    Zanzibar Land
    I also found the demo for Sketchbook Pro, but no demo for the Express version. The autodesk sketchbook express version was quite dumbed down compared to the pro. Even more so than the corel sketchpad light version.

    Though if you have Scribbles, Photoshop, etc. those two sketch programs are kind of useless, so you won't be really doing harm in picking the "wrong" one for your needs. I think i picked the "wrong" one for me, but don't even notice since i use illustrator and pshop to sketch anyway.
  5. definitive macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    why bother? you already have photoshop cs4. that should be more than enough.
  6. teamzissou macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2009
    I have had a chance to try the demos of both Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and Corel Sketch Pad (which I really suggest that everyone do before they make their decision on what to get with their Wacom tablet -- these two program are quite different). Here are the major differences that I have observed:

    Value-wise, it seems that the Corel program is a better deal than the Autodesk one, because Sketchbook Pro and Sketch Pad are are both $120 programs. Since you get the full version of Corel Sketch Pad with your tablet, but only the Express version of Autodesk Sketchbook, you theoretically get more for your money if you go with Corel.

    I am going to assume (as I have heard) that the only difference between Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and Autodesk SketchBook Express 2010 is that you are limited to only 3 layers in the Express version, where layers are unlimited in Pro. If you think you need more than 3 layers, you may be disappointed in Express.

    Autodesk Sketchbook has a super clean user interface. Space is utilized extremely well, and it just looks professional. The program takes up much less space than Corel Sketch Pad because it is streamlined and simple. The one tool that rocks in Autodesk that doesn't even come close in Corel is the pencil tool. It looks and feels very realistic. In Corel your pencil tool is nothing more than a jagged line full of gaps and pixels. Pencil is smooth and flawless in Autodesk.

    Autodesk also allows you to draw elipses and straight lines easily. In Corel, I can see there are selection tools with these shapes, but so far I haven't seen any feature with allows you to draw paths. It looks like you can only paint within the selection, but not along the lines of the selection.

    Corel Sketch Pad is more the painter-type artist. It has a lot more different brushes than Autodesk. It has a nice inking pen for people who like to draw cartoons. There are several realistic looking painting tools in Corel such as water colour, acrylic, and oil paint. The oil paint acts like a real oil paint brush where it runs out of a paint as you make your stroke, and you have to keep touching the colour palette in order to get more paint on your brush. Personally I find this annoying because it runs out after only a short stroke. It also picks up colours underneath it on the canvas to give it a realistic effect.

    The user interface in Corel is not as nice as in autodesk. It has these silly round palettes which take up space. The canvas size is small too, but the round palettes still overlap the drawing space. What is neat though is that you can chose a texture for your paper, and many of the brushes interact with the texture. Corel doesn't run as smoothly either, and there seems to be some bugs in it, but perhaps that is just because I am using the demo version. The program data is more bulky than Autodesk.

    In summary, Autodesk would be suitable for a pencil artist and drafter (or person who has a slow computer). Corel is more suitable for a painter or cartoon artist.

    I hope this helps for people who are trying to make the same decision.
  7. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2005
    Excellent run-through! :)
    Much appreciated.

    I get the same general feeling -that Autodesk Sketchbook express is a more "pro" application than Corel's Sketchpad, so I'll probably go for Sketchbook.

    .. although I do like the pens/brushes available in Sketchpad. As I already have Photoshop CS4, do you know if it's possible to get the following types of brushes which Sketchpad has (or even add them to Autodesk Sketchbook)?:

    - chalk
    - watercolor brush
    - acrylic brush
    - oil brush
    - inking pen
    - marker

    I'm sure they could be made from scratch, but I personally am not up to that experience level in Photoshop yet.
    The paper textures of Sketchpad is indeed quite cool, and would be great to have in Photoshop and/or Sketchbook, but I'm assuming it's a specialized feature which is hard to add to other software?

    Thanks again!
  8. teamzissou macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2009
    You're welcome. :) Sorry, I'm not an expert either, but it would make sense that some such brushes for PS would be available for download somewhere on the internet. They probably wouldn't be exactly the same as the Corel ones as the designs would maybe be proprietary, but I'm sure there are good ones out there, or maybe even better. There may even be paper textures available as plug-ins, but who knows.

    I wouldn't think different brushes would be as readily available for Autodesk, at least not from third parties, since it's not as popular a program, but you never know. I haven't checked it out but perhaps Autodesk offers brush plug-ins.

    By the way, I also tried that Scribbles that another poster mentioned. It's a very cool little program and you can use it for free albeit with a few limitations, but it's only $20 to buy. Again, completely different from all the others we've talked about. Not feature rich, but well designed. Pretty much made to have fun with though. I love my wacom!
  9. gasport macrumors 6502


    Mar 10, 2007
    Looking at the Wacom Intuose 4. You have a choice of 2 software items.

    1. Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 MAC and 7 PC (no version 8 available at this time per my chat with Wacom.

    2.. Corel Painter Sketch Pad

    3. Auto Desk Sketchbook express

    I already have Photoshop Elements 8 for the MAC and have given 6 away. I aslo have Photoshop CS3.

    Sad, but the choices do not seem that great based on what I have read so far.

    Any updates from owners.

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