View Full Version : The Tablet Thread

02-20-2011, 05:15 PM
I'm planning to get a tablet. What would you advise buying, and what software should I get with it? If I plan to use it for drawing, should I buy something higher than the Bamboo series? Thanks for all the help guys.

02-20-2011, 05:39 PM
Insofar, I've only used Wacom products for tablets. I started on a Graphire 4 (http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-Graphire4-6x8-Tablet-CTE640S/dp/B000BBE9DM) (discontinued and replaced with the Bamboo line) for a 100-something bucks. I used it for a little over five years. It held up great, I never had to replace the nib, and I never had a single problem with it.

About a month and a half ago I got an Intuous 4, and I like that a lot. The texture on the tablet itself is supposed to mimic paper, which is different from the Graphire 4's surface, which was just smooth plastic. I still might prefer the smooth surface to the textured surface, but I also know that I still haven't fully gotten used to it.

When I first got my tblet, I was awful with it. My lines were shaky, and my first thought was, "Oh, crap, I just spent all this money on something I'm gonna hate!" But after a month or two of obsessive use, I got used to it. XD

02-20-2011, 05:51 PM
I might be inspiring a small bit of rage, but somebody on the interwebs wrote a program called LazyNezumi (http://people.happycoders.org/kamih/wordpress/?page_id=46) that smooths out all the lines drawn by your tablet. xD

So... the Bamboo is basically an upgraded Graphire, eh? I'm thinking of getting a Bamboo Craft.

02-20-2011, 06:07 PM
I bougth the Bamboo Pen for 70$ because it's my first tablet and I'm not sure if I'm going to use it much. So far I'm very happy with it. But if I decide to go more serious into drawing I'm willing to buy an expensive one.

02-20-2011, 06:09 PM
Hmm, I'm not exactly sure if it's upgraded, per se. It definitely looks better, but I've read some reviews that the nibs wear down faster and that the quality isn't quite as good. Howeverrr, I won't personally endorse those statements, as I've never tried one. But it still sounds like one of the best options for a beginner.

And Photoshop also has a smoothing option in the brush window. I always keep it on, and I've been using tablets since 2005. XD

02-20-2011, 06:35 PM
Bamboo is pretty good. Even the small ones are decent. Got mine a few years ago for AUD$120.

02-20-2011, 10:09 PM
Okay guys, after tons of research this is what I found out:

Wacom tablets specialize in high-end performance, but there's quite a few models that function a lot better than the Wacom Bamboo namebrand. See article (http://www.graphicstabletreviews.com/guides/5-best-selling-graphics-tablets-without-wacom) for info.

Basically, what I've found out is that it's best not to buy a Bamboo.

Here's why:
Your basic Wacom Bamboo Pen - the simplest drawing Wacom - has 512 levels of pressure sensitivity and 5.8" x 3.6" of drawing area; about 21 square inches. You can get it on Amazon for $58. The Genius Mousepen has 1024 levels and 8" x 6" of drawing area = 48 square inches. You get it on Amazon for $50. Basically, a slightly lower price with double pressure sensitivity and double drawing area.

The Wacom Bamboo Fun - the best Bamboo there is - has 1024 levels, 8.5" x 5.4" = 45.9" squared. You buy it on Amazon for $160. That almost matches Mousepen stats but has triple the cost. The next Genius brand available, the Genius G-PEN F610, has equal sensitivity and is 6" x 10" = 60" squared. You buy it on Amazon for $87. That's nearly a third more drawing area at almost half the price of the Bamboo Fun.

The only drawback is that the Genius line runs on batteries. However, said batteries last an entire year and are replaceable. Also, since not that many people know about the non-Wacom tablets, these second-hand or store clearance items on eBay will be insanely cheap while the Wacoms will have lots of bidding competition.

02-20-2011, 11:12 PM
Do you really see yourself using the pressure sensitivity all that much, though? I have a Bamboo Pen and I like it just fine.

02-20-2011, 11:23 PM
Dangnabbit, I forgot to confirm my bid for this awesome new $45 F610 on eBay when bidding... CRAP... ah, well I guess I'll just have to buy something cheaper. But to answer your question, I think sensitivity helps your strokes look better. For me it's the size thing - I've read that size is best since you don't want to be compensating by scale too much. So it's cheaper, larger, and works just as well.

02-20-2011, 11:55 PM
Wow, thanks a lot. Even I'm planning to get a tablet, and I realize I haven't done enough research. I was going for Wacom Bamboo and then I find this thread. Yayy!

Well, I don't think I can buy it right now though, coz I'm poor at the moment, but later this year, with my first pay-check probably! xD
Hope better deals come soon!

02-21-2011, 12:13 AM
I haven't tried the other ones. But I really like the Bamboo. Solid device with cool design. Nice surface - almost like paper. Very confortable and light pen. No battery. Comes with Corel Painter Essentials 4 and is very easy to install.

02-21-2011, 10:08 PM
I forgot to mention that unless you have Windows 7 - Which everyone should! - you should be prepared to install drivers for your new non-Wacom tablets. Which means a very small degree of computer-savvyness. If you're a teenager or older like me you should be able to figure it out fine.

I finally chose a F610 because the active area has the exact same proportions as my screen. Also, it looks snazzy as heck (http://www.amazon.com/Genius-G-Pen-F610-Ultra-Slim-Tablet/dp/B000WEHJHG). I'll let you guys know if it's good or bad when I get it. :P

02-21-2011, 10:29 PM
If you really like to draw (and will draw a lot) and perhaps even considering professional career in field that involves drawing, I really suggest buying Wacom Intous series (the latest is Intuos 4 series, if I'm not mistaken).

02-22-2011, 05:39 PM
Wacom: Bamboo is the way to go. If you want performance for cheap, and something actually fking fits on your small ass desk such as mine? Try getting the Bamboo Pen model, it's epic.

02-22-2011, 10:58 PM
Honestly, I went for the bamboo because it was cheap and got the job done. You can adjust the colors in photoshop if you really want to experiment with pressure sensitivity and shades.

02-22-2011, 11:37 PM
All from Wacom:

Bamboo (or Bamboo Fun) -> Its spec (esp. Fun series) could be used for professional drawing, but cheap enough so it won't too much a waste if you decide tablet is not your thing. The active surface area feels like paper. Newer Bamboo series have touch area instead of ring like on its predecessor (it also have a bit higher specs but there's increase in price). Pen is very durable and light (doesn't need any batteries).

Intuos (the latest is Intuos 4) -> High spec, very recommended for professionals. Come with variety of "head" (like airbrush head) and nib, could detect rotation and direction of your pen. The specs is much higher than Bamboo (but so is the price tag). It's also feels like paper and the pen is much more sensitive than Bamboo's pen (some of my friends think it's even too sensitive). It also have lots of button and a touch area.

Cintiq: Very, I mean VERY expensive (could up to US$4000). A dream tablet for every illustrator (and really, most can only dream about it). The spec is a little bit lower when compared to Intuos, but it's like a touch screen. It's a very big high-res monitor built into your tablet >o< I think if you have this, you don't need to have a monitor anymore. For those who doesn't feel comfortable with traditional tablet (where you don't see your own hand when drawing), this could make a big difference.

And there's also a new addition to Wacom series, Bamboo Touch. The price is similar to Bamboo and the spec is about the same, but it utilize more the new touch feature. I don't really know about this one since it seems that this series doesn't enter my country (I know about this from Wacom international website).

02-24-2011, 06:51 PM
From what I've read about the Touch, you're pretty much using your fingers in lieu of a pen. With that information, I'm not too sure about the accuracy of the lines from the tablet to the PC especially for fine coloring work - you have to find a video or review online to really see how that pans out.

Anyways, the Bamboo is cool and all but I find the nib wearing out real fast as compared to the Intous' pen nib. I had to actually used one of the spare Intous nibs I had for the Bamboo pen and it's holding up much better. Speaking of pen nibs - we were talking about this before so if you need a replacement, you can use toothpicks instead.

Cintiq :droool:

02-26-2011, 10:16 PM
If anyone has questions about the Cintiq, I also know that NTop has one and would probably be happy to answer anyone's questions regarding it. :>

02-26-2011, 11:14 PM
I think the Cinitq is too expensive.
The screen and the tablet are cheaper so why so expensive when combined into a single device. It should even be cheaper. So searched the net abit and I just found these:

My birthday is aproaching and it would be a nice use of my electrical engineering skills. Looks abit complicated but people have done it so I may give it a try...

02-27-2011, 12:29 AM
I have an older Bamboo Fun. I like it.

However it's going on 6 years old now, so I'm considering getting an Intuos 4. If the new, larger Bamboo Fun came with the ability to detect tilt and barrel rotation, I'd totally go for that though.

02-27-2011, 01:00 AM
My sister has a Bamboo... but she doesn't let me touch it, look it or be close to her tablet. So yeah, I have 0 experiense with that kind of stuffs (but I might save some money for one in the future).

PS: She doesn't even use her tablet -.-.

02-27-2011, 01:09 AM
I've been using the same nib for near a year now lol.
Might be because I wore down the texture of the tablet.

02-27-2011, 01:16 AM
That's darn right terrible Clockhand!

Okay, so tablet reporting time. Genius F610: No accuracy issues present. Since the stylus runs on batteries it turns itself off when not in use and requires a short tap to turn itself on again. Every 5 or ten minutes it lags for a fraction of a moment, which doesn't bug me but might be annoying for some. Could just be my computer though. The pressure sensitivity seems all right, though it could stand to be a tad more responsive to lighter touches and some more tilt sensitivity. As a whole I'm pretty happy with what I spent for $75, and the drawing space which is exactly proportional to my screen definitely makes me happier than what I'd get with a Bamboo Pen.

I'd advise anyone willing to spend more than $300 to buy a medium Intuos4, though. I'm just not much a fan of the Bamboo series.

02-27-2011, 01:46 AM
Aren't there settings for your usual Bamboo drivers to make it proportional to your screen though?

02-27-2011, 01:49 AM
I've been using the same nib for near a year now lol.
Might be because I wore down the texture of the tablet.
Lol. I've never changed my pen nib. Ever.

02-27-2011, 02:02 AM
This thing. I want it. (Wacom Cintiq 12wx)

Tbh I think I would prefer it over its bigger version, not because its cheaper, but because of the workspace. Although haven't actually seen/used one in person, but the size of the 21ux puts me off a bit, plus I think the 12wx's portability would be useful for me... Either way, I can't afford it at the moment, but I'm TRYING to save up for it. I'm pretty freaking horrible at saving up though *sadface*

But yeah, currently I'm using a Wacom Intuos 3 Medium size. Works pretty well, I would say much better than my old Graphire 4 which died pretty easily. (tbh I wasnt taking care of it much though). There is actually a definite difference between the pressure sensitivity, etc. between the two... Although that might be just me. Plus the extra buttons help heaps with when it comes to speeding up. I hate having to press the buttons on my keyboard for the shortcuts so I use the provided buttons on the Intuos and costumize them myself so I wont have to type.

I've tried the Intuos 4 back at my Uni, and since I'm used to Intuos 3's surface, the rough paper-like imitation puts me off a bit. The buttons and other paraphernalia for Intuos 4 is pretty sexy though, but I would prefer it with the plastic/smooth surface.

02-27-2011, 04:38 PM
Hamachi said he'd recommend a medium-sized Intuous for the big spenders. I have a small-sized one because it was equal to the dimensions of the active area* of my (I think) medium-sized Graphire. I personally don't like large tablets because I am uncomfortable using rough motor skills (big arm sweeps) to create my art. I would much rather manipulate my wrist to draw because that's what makes me feel more comfortable.

And agh, I feel like a terrible person because I've have my Intuous for two months and I haven't even tried the tilt/rotation settings. XD

* Tablets aren't proportional to all screen sizes. If your tablet isn't widescreen and your monitor is, then the top and bottom portion of the tablet will be "dead" and nonresponsive in order to keep the screen:tablet ratio proportional and the device properly calibrated. The active area is the area that works when using your tablet.

02-27-2011, 04:57 PM
Aren't there settings for your usual Bamboo drivers to make it proportional to your screen though?
Once more.
Because I'm pretty sure most tablets should have that option. Do any of you ever mess with your driver settings or go into control panel? lol.

02-27-2011, 05:48 PM
There are such options on the Bamboo Pen:

Control Panel/Bamboo Preferenses/Pen -> Tracking -> Pen Mode -> Details...

02-27-2011, 05:56 PM
I'm fairly certain all tablets have that option, actually. o____o I don't know why having a tablet that isn't proportional to your screen would deter you from buying it, seeing as the driver automatically makes the active area proportional.

02-27-2011, 06:55 PM
Probably because it's Wacom quality? I bet that the touch screen isn't just a normal touch screen, and the surface doesn't feel like those cheap touchscreen either (since the surface feeling very important for drawing). Don't forget about the pen... though I must admit the tablet spec is lower than Intuos, it's still good anyway.

Anyway, I very agree with it being VERY expensive (too expensive even). Even if I have the money to buy Cintiq, I will not think twice to buy Intuos rather than Cintiq...

02-28-2011, 05:09 PM
SO today, since I'm back in school, I started to draw on paper once again.
It hasn't happened before, but I haven't drawn traditionally in a long time, but I soon realized I was looking for an undo button and there was none...
This is what tablets do to you, be warned.

03-01-2011, 01:07 AM
^ My life. XD

03-01-2011, 06:53 PM
^ Double that. I automatically tap my pinky and index finger on the table where Ctrl + Z would be. I never use the Intuos4's keys--I'm still too used to the keyboard to make the transition. I guess I could make them hotkeys for combos in Vanguard Princess. Otherwise, I stay away from them except to change the brush size, since my Photoshop (CS5 Ex) won't let me redefine the quick keys.

Anyway, I just started using a felt tip instead of the plastic one that comes attached. I like it much, much better. It feels a lot smoother and it seems easier to get a clean line, although that's probably a psychosomatic issue.

03-01-2011, 07:10 PM
Really? I found my plastic tip smoother. o___O"

03-01-2011, 07:17 PM
How much should the tip wear before you change it? I'm afraid that if I wait too much and it get smaller it'll be hard to get the old one out of the pen.

03-01-2011, 07:34 PM
Well, Undo button is one of the main reasons why I go digital ^_^ When I draw traditionally again in group devmeet, I always miss that undo button... and the layer feature.

03-01-2011, 08:09 PM
I'm the opposite, I still draw everything on paper and pencil so no automatic push for the undo. Coloring on the other hand.... Oh, how I wish there were layers! XD

@ violin
Just leave enough so you can still pull it out with a tweezer. If you go shorter than that though, you're gonna have to dig it out somehow...

03-01-2011, 08:11 PM
It should stop wearing itself down as soon as you wear out the surf texture. From then on you should be fine with just one nib for a LONG time.

03-01-2011, 08:46 PM
My wacom bamboo pen & touch just arrived.
I've got to say, I'm not exactly thrilled since it was only a last second upgrade because I dropped my (old version) bamboo fun's pen and with shipping and all a new pen would only be like $40 less than a whole new tablet. Plus the wacom website was sold out of my particular pen >_<

It's all right though. I was extremely dissapointed when I saw that you can only program the popup menu to a button on the pen, rather than a button on the tablet like I'd been using for the past couple years >_< How can that be so hard? I'm not gonna have to adjust even further. Also it would have been cool to have a completely removable cord like in the bamboo fun. If I wanted to put my bamboo fun in a bag I could put the wire somewhere safe and by itself. Now I've gotta wrap it around the tablet or something stupid which I've always disliked doing :/

Maybe it's just me though. Definitely everything else is awesome. I don't think I'll be using the touch feature much aside from for zooming/rotating in art programs, but it works well although the zooming is a little slow. It takes such a large movement for such little zoom. The little light going from bright blue to amber whenever I put my pen down is also a little odd, but nothing too crazy. Just lifting up the pen when I'm in the dark sends a flash of light hahaha

I wonder why I just wrote a review when I was intending to only say that I'm satisfied but a little annoyed.

03-04-2011, 04:06 PM
The Intous 4 is a wonderful gift sent from above. I love my tablet. There's is a big difference in sensitivity between the Intous and Bamboo. With the bamboo, I found myself pressing hard at times. Ended up making my hand and wrist sore. The Intous does a much better job with detecting pressure so I don't have to hurt my hand during the process.

I should take a picture comparing my Bamboo small to my Intous 4 Large. 8D

Am I one of those magical people who got used to their tablet instantly? It just felt natural like if it was meant to be. 8)

03-05-2011, 04:21 PM
I have a Intuos 3 4x6 Wacom tablet. It's kind of small but it gets the job done for me :D

Also, I heard mention of a program, LazyNezumi that makes your lines nice and straight. Is there anything like that for Macs? I do not have a steady hand when it comes to drawing at all sadly, and I have to use the pen tool in photoshop to make any decent lines but that doesn't always produce the most favorable or consistent results.

03-05-2011, 06:26 PM
If you hold down shift your line will be straight but I don't know if that works for tablets; I've only used it when using a mouse, but give it a try.

03-05-2011, 07:18 PM
It works the same as with mouse. But that depends on the program.

03-05-2011, 08:52 PM
I didn't mean perfectly straight lines as much as smooth ones. When you hold shift it makes a straight line but you can't curve, you can only make sharp angles with it. At least, as far as I know. LazyNezumi smooths out your drawn lines getting rid of any jaggedness from moving your hand.

03-05-2011, 09:46 PM
There's no shame in drawing multiple lines until you get it right. Even if there was, who's going to know?

03-05-2011, 10:07 PM
PS and Flash makes straight lines when you hold shift (mouse and tablet, I've tried them myself). Unfortunately it's only horizontal or vertical straight lines (so you can't make 45 or 60 degree lines, which is a shame since if they can, it will be very useful when making BG).

03-05-2011, 11:18 PM
If you want that jaggedness removed from your lines. I suggest Inkscape, Flash, or MangaStudio.

03-05-2011, 11:41 PM
Or you can make a straight line on a separate layer, then rotate it. Or you can just use the pen tool in most programs. :)

03-05-2011, 11:57 PM
Rotating a line is too much work for a single straight line... and I don't like pen tool. Still couldn't beat the old but trusty pencil and ruler.

03-06-2011, 01:07 AM
I am surprised that no one has mentioned this. To do straight lines, what you need to do is click somewhere that is your starting point. Then, hold shift and click the second point. What this does is 'connect the dots,' effectively creating straight lines in any direction easily and quickly.

As for digital tablets, two things I see people overlook are pressure sensitivity options and weight of the product. The Cintiq and Intuos4 have pressure sensitivity of 2048 levels. The Bamboo has 1024 levels (same as Intuos3). I have been painting with 1024 levels for years and that has served me well.

What I don't recommend is to get a Cintiq because of two potential reasons: heat from the screen and portability issues (bringing a powered screen everywhere really limits your drawing time). A Cintiq is good for architects and photographers...since they are on the move, but horrible for artists that are serious about doing art as they will be drawing for hours on end.

03-06-2011, 03:27 AM
Is that using brush tool? Since I believe we're talking about how to make straight/smooth lines using brush tools, not line or pen tool.

03-06-2011, 08:41 AM
Gaiz, once more it depends on the program and the way it functions. I have a feeling Sonny is talking about pS since it does require you to set a starting point, then click elsewhere.

On the other hand, there's this badass thing called SketchBook pro that I recommend you give a test drive. Why? It has a ruler tool, and a radial ruler. Meaning straight lines 360 degrees, and perfect circles, all that shite...Although its functions are minimal.

03-06-2011, 10:01 AM
Ah, yes. I am referring to Photoshop and with the brush tool. Simple dab the first dot with the brush, then shift and click the next position. You will get a straight line connecting the dots.

I also tried this with GIMP as well and it works exactly the same way. While I haven't used all the possible digital drawing software out there, I believe this leads me to believe this function is universal.

If not, it may be used with another hot key like ctr or alt. Either way, give it a shot and tell me your findings.

03-06-2011, 10:09 AM
Yea, it works with GIMP the same as PS, mainly because it's like a twin to PS lol.
Then again holding shift works for most programs too, so it kind of is a universal thing.
Holding shift makes straight lines in: Zbrush (2.5D mode, using the line brush), Sketchbook Pro 2010, GIMP, PS, SAI? I think, and MangaStudio...that's all I remember right now.

03-06-2011, 06:30 PM
I ended up getting a tablet PC when my old laptop needed replacing. If you're thinking about getting a new computer but would also like something like a Cintiq, go for it. I can just draw right up on the screen, with no extra attachment required. :D