Wacom tablet advice please?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by boss.king, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. boss.king macrumors 68040

    boss.king

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    #1
    First of all, I hope this is the correct place to post this, if not, please report it to be moved.

    I am looking at getting a Wacom tablet for use in my creative design and advertising papers at university (mainly using Photoshop and Illustrator). I only want the basic pen model as I am fairly good at using keyboard shortcuts, so I don't need extra buttons on the tablet itself. That said, I have a few questions:

    1) What is Wacoms release schedule like? Are they fairly predictable like Apple, or do the releases come at random?
    2) Anything you think a first-time tablet buyer should know?
    3) Has anyone here bought a tablet for design and found it difficult to get used to?
     
  2. z3r0inc macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    #2
    1) the first one i am not to sure. they do not seem to release huge updates to any of their devices consistently and they seem rare to begin with. they do tweak the design a tiny bit once a year i think. software patches dont come often either.

    some first time advice... im sure you have looked into it but there are basically 3 series: bamboo, intuos, and cintiq. youll have to find the write balance between the feature you want and how forgiving your wallet is.

    if you havent used any of them before, theres a huge learning curve with the bamboo and intuos. you have to get adjusted to looking up on the screen and not looking down at the tablet. seasoned artists seem to get adjusted quickly but its harder for graphic designers who focus more on design rather than practice their free form drawing techniques.

    the cintiq's best feature is to counter the problem above. however, and im not sure if they adjusted this since i havent touched one in a while, there is still space between the lcd screen and the glass that you are drawing on. it gets frustrating when the pixels rendered dont line up exactly to the tip of the pen. this can be adjusted to your preferences but it is still not perfect.

    i am going to assume you wont be do as much free form drawing since you mentioned you were working on advertising papers at the university and work on creative design. if you use it everyday, i would say... intuos. they come in varing sizes too. you can get by fine with the bamboos though. they are a bit small.

    these are things i wish i had known before i got my bamboo and cintiq. i started to get frustrated as i learned of these little issues. they are still great tools but they are regrettably still far from paper and pencil... im so sad...

    good luck! try to find rich friends that have these devices and test them out if possible. nothing is worse than being incredibly excited about something and finding out later that there are a lot of adjustments you have to make.
     
  3. boss.king thread starter macrumors 68040

    boss.king

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    #3
    Thanks for the reply. I have used an Intuos 3 (the medium one I think) before, but for my needs it is a bit too big and expensive. I'm looking at the Bamboo Pen, possibly the Pen&Touch, but probably not.

    Really appreciate your input though
     
  4. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #4
    Wacom does not release new models regularly, there just isn't enough changes to warrant it.

    I've been using Wacoms since 2003 and I've only seen 2 upgrades to the Intuos line (From 3 - 3 wide screen and then to Intuos 4), 1 upgrade to the Cintiq line, and I don't follow the bamboo line so I'm not sure. Wacoms are not something that goes outdated.

    As others have stated there IS a learning curve. It will take some time to get used to, but once you do its a great device and indispensable for some work.
     
  5. ersatzplanet macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    #5
    I have 2-3 Wacom tablets of different sizes. It doesn't take long to get used to using them and you always can have a mouse plugged in at the same time. I commonly go to the mouse for accuracy of placement when needed. I mainly am a photoshop person and the Wacom really shines there. Doing color correction and brightness corrections are much easier with a sketching type action with pressure controlling levels. I first got a tablet for a completely different reason though - carpal tunnel avoidance - at the time I was a heavy AutoCad user and my day was filed with thousands upon thousands of mouse button clicks. After a couple of crunch days I would have a very sore set of tendons in my hand. The decades of training my hand has had from the act of writing makes doing the same amount of work with a pen much less straining. A must-have to alternate to during large photo touch up sessions.
    The only things that really has changed over the years of using Wacom tablets have been mainly the connectors (from serial ADC through to USB - probably not gonna change there now), the resolution (which is plenty high now), the size (many to choose from), Pressure levels (which also is probably as high as it can go now at over 2000 levels), and the added bells and whistles like pen angle and extra buttons. I am using a fairly old set of tablets now and see no need to get a newer one. If I got one from the current crop I would probably never need to replace it unless it broke. I can't see an feature they could add that would make me feel I needed a new unit.
     
  6. bluap84 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    im looking to get one also, mainly for FCPX and a little bit of photoshop...i was looking at the bamboo as they are well priced on amazon

    but i was worried about the lack of sensitivity compared to the intous? Would this be a worry? Ill be using it for FCPX manily and a little retouching in PS
     
  7. boss.king thread starter macrumors 68040

    boss.king

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    #7
    Ok, so I got the Wacom Bamboo Pen. Had a slight issue with my dual monitor setup, so I currently have it set to only work on my larger monitor (the one I do my design work on) and it's great. For Windows users, I suggest using http://www.moonrat.co.uk/apps/wacom-bamboo-monitor-switcher/, it's a cool solution.

    It's amazing, I'd recommend it to anyone looking to find a replacement for a mouse.
     
  8. z3r0inc macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    #8
    for what you are using it for, i wouldnt worry one bit. with retouching, you can always adjust some brush settings during the rare occasion the sensitivity isn't enough.
     
  9. mofunk macrumors 68000

    mofunk

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    Americas
    #9
    Congrats.

    If you decide to move to a Mac.. Apple has a program installed in their OS called Ink which allows you to use your tablet in other Apps. And it works great with the touch features on the Mac. ;)
     
  10. Contiguous macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    #10
    I have the giant Intuos3 tablet. I use it for Photoshop and Illustrator, especially retouching. When it comes to drawing from scratch though, I still prefer to do it on paper and scan it in - I can't replicate the naturalness of pencil and paper with the stylus.
     
  11. jeremy h macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    I have had a few over the years - currently got the wireless one. (Weirdly was cheaper than the wired version when I bought it.)

    My big tip is bigger isn't always better. I've found for general use (not day in day out drawing) you want an active area your hand can cover by stretching your fingers with the pen. Not too big - not too small.

    My current one is perfect - I found an A4 far too big (Constantly having to make sweeping arm movements) and the small bamboo too small. (I've got long fingers and the pen always just skated off the top edge.)

    Having been caught out before this time I went on the Wacom site and cut out some bits of paper to the various active area sizes and then using a pencil checked which 'fitted' my hand the best.
     
  12. ersatzplanet macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    #12
    I must admit that most of the time I use my tablet it is with a piece of paper taped to its surface - I just can't get away from the friction of the paper. The stylus is just too "slippery" feeling without it for me. Old school I guess...

    -James
     
  13. ohertel macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #13
  14. Contiguous macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    #14
    Hey, that's a good idea, I'll have to try that. You're right, I don't like the plastic-on-plastic feeling.
     

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