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Author Topic: Advice for first graphics tablet  (Read 3355 times)

Z

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Advice for first graphics tablet
« on: March 25, 2012, 07:58:46 AM »
I've been putting off the purchase of a graphics tablet for some time, for a couple of reasons (they're quite expensive, mixed reviews for anything but the really expensive ones, fear of the unknown etc.) but have decided I must stop editing with a mouse because I feel like it's taking me far too long to mask properly in CS5.  Does anyone have any recommendations for a graphics pad?  I'm a firm believer in buying something that's meant to last and not to compromise on functionality - after all, even the cheaper graphics tablets are expensive.  I'm aware that Wacom are the leading brand in this line of equipment so that's what I've been looking at so far.

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Advice for first graphics tablet
« on: March 25, 2012, 07:58:46 AM »

JerryKnight

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Re: Advice for first graphics tablet
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2012, 08:16:32 AM »
One word: Wacom. (Edit: Just affirming what you already know.)

They are simply the best when it comes to graphics tablets. You don't have to get a monster Intuos 5 or Cintiq monitor right away, because the older Intuos 3 & 4 are equally good for pen input. The newer, more expensive models are improved in other options (wireless, macro buttons, etc.) but the pen input has not changed much since Intuos 3.

In fact, a Bamboo tablet is probably excellent to get started without breaking a budget. They are still the most accurate and sensitive pen technology out there, but their Intuos tablets will last a very long time. I still have my old 4x6 Intuos3 tablet, and I can even still buy replacement parts for it from Wacom.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 12:09:55 PM by JerryKnight »

sanyasi

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Re: Advice for first graphics tablet
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2012, 08:21:09 AM »
I can't draw a straight line, so I may not be the best source of advice.  I did, however, want a tablet for more precise minor touchups.  Given those facts, I did not do a comprehensive review of what was on the market--I bought the Wacom  PTK-640, which is in the middle of the line.  I did read user reviews before buying.  The consensus view was basically a three-bear one.  The big one was too big and the small one was too small.    I have found the middle size to work fine for my purposes.  Using a pen definitely allows more precision editing.

Maybe not the most helpful comment, but another datapoint for you.

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Re: Advice for first graphics tablet
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2012, 02:29:27 PM »
I've the Wacom PTK 640 that I bought used for $250 on craigs list.  It had a full version of Adobe Illustrator with it, I don't use it, so I sold it for $300.
 
Many buy the tablets and then never use them, so keep a eye on Craigslist, or even advertise for one.

pwp

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Re: Advice for first graphics tablet
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2012, 08:31:17 PM »
Simple. Wacom. Which Wacom? Any Intuos from my personal favourite the Intuos3, the Intuos4 or the recently announced Intuos5.

I hardly use a mouse at all these days. It’s really worth the learning curve
to make a Wacom Tablet your mouse replacement. I have an Intuos3 6x8. For
those who have never used a tablet, at first it is much weirder than the
very first time you ever used a mouse. The curser scoots all over the
screen, and any concept of precision work looks totally unachievable. Use
pen mode.

But stay with it. Other advantages of a tablet include wrist injury. When
you hold a mouse, your hand is more or less horizontal. Put your hand flat
on the table. Do it now. Physically, this is a twist. Now put your hand
vertically on the table (pinky on the table, thumb up) This is the natural
resting position. This is basically how you will hold a Wacom pen. Prolonged
mouse use did give me carpal tunnel pain, but with the tablet pen, there is
no problem at all.

Another advantage of the tablet, provided you get the premium Intuos3, 4 or 5, is
the array of programmable buttons. Once you get these configured to your
workflow, it even makes keyboard shortcuts seem slow. The Wacom software
allows for a different set of commands for individual programmes. So I have
custom setups for Photoshop, Lightroom, Bridge and PhotoMechanic, plus a
default for all other programmes. It’s  F A S T !

Learn from serious gamers. They tend to steer well
clear of cordless mice & keyboards. A corded mouse will always be more
responsive than a cordless. A corded mouse with slowed down curser speed can
be a superb precision instrument.  Do a Google search for specialist gaming
mice. There are specialist manufacturers outside of the Microsoft/ Logitech
duopoly. We have five of these very high performance, corded Razer mice. They're plain looking but brilliant.

Try here: http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=12867

Paul Wright
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 10:51:58 PM by pwp »

pwp

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Re: Advice for first graphics tablet
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2012, 08:34:27 PM »
If you use a Wacom Graphics Tablet and also tend to use a lot of keyboard shortcuts, here's a productivity tool that has transformed the way I work. It's the Nostromo from the gaming device company Razer. Google it. If you have a Wacom and don't use it very often, this may be the perfect companion to get you to use it all the time. It's comprehensively better than using the buttons on the Wacom. The only button I use on the Wacom Intuos4 now is the Touch Ring for brush size.

http://www.pwp3.com/nostromo.jpg This image shows how I have it set up. Of course there is a mouse on my right as well. They don't conflict with each other. When you have the Wacom pen in your right hand, it's brilliant to have a scroll wheel and an enter key on the LEFT side. Plus, every one of the buttons on the Nostromo can be custom configured to execute keyboard commands...single keystroke keyboard shortcuts. You can set up a custom set of commands/macros for each program that you use, like the Wacom. So I have a set for Photomechanic, Lightroom & Photoshop. The Nostromo detects which program you're currently using and switches more or less instantly. If you work through large folders of images every day, this gadget will be your new best friend. I doubt Razer had non-gamers in mind when they made the Nostromo, but hey!

The only downsides are that your teenage kids will want one for themselves for gaming. But the cost is around the same as a decent mouse. The irritating teen focused blue glowing lights can be turned off. The other slightly baffling oversight is that you can't save/export/import your custom settings. I've bought another unit for a second workstation and have had to manually configure each command and macro again. So there you have it! For me this is a cool toy and a useful, incremental productivity breakthrough.

Paul Wright

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Re: Advice for first graphics tablet
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2012, 10:09:07 PM »
The bigger your screen (or screens if you have one table covering multipl) the bigger of a tablet you'll want. Unless your amazingly steady, using the smallest sizes on the largest monitors (2560 x 1600) can be difficult.  On the other hand, having a large tablet means moving your arm a lot more....it can leave you tired over time.

So far, the medium Wacoms seem to be a good compromise. I'm currently using a PTK-640 and I'm very happy.

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Re: Advice for first graphics tablet
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2012, 10:09:07 PM »

pwp

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Re: Advice for first graphics tablet
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2012, 10:40:59 PM »
The bigger your screen (or screens if you have one table covering multiple) the bigger of a tablet you'll want. Unless you're amazingly steady, using the smallest sizes on the largest monitors (2560 x 1600) can be difficult.  On the other hand, having a large tablet means moving your arm a lot more....it can leave you tired over time.
So far, the medium Wacoms seem to be a good compromise. I'm currently using a PTK-640 and I'm very happy.

Don't necessarily agree with this. My 6x8 is ideal and  I run a Dell 30 inch with a second Dell 20 inch rotated to vertical alongside (they're a perfect height match).

For photo retouching I really wouldn't want anything bigger than my 2 current 6x8 Wacom tablets, an Intuos3 & an Intuos4 at an identical workstation alongside. This is completely workable right down to pixel level even when doing extremely accurate selection paths.  A benefit of the 6x8 over larger tablets is that it is small enough to sit in front of the keyboard, and still be able to use the KB comfortably. http://www.pwp3.com/nostromo.jpg

However if you are an illustrator or designer the bigger tablets could be a genuine advantage. Serious illustrators will dig deep and go for the extraordinary Wacom Cintiq http://www.wacom.com/en/Products/Cintiq/Cintiq24HD.aspx

Don't be swayed. Go for Intuos over the Bamboo models. You'd choose L glass wouldn't you?

Paul Wright
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 10:47:10 PM by pwp »

Z

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Re: Advice for first graphics tablet
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2012, 01:43:58 AM »
Thanks to everyone for their responses, especially taking the time to post those photos, Paul. Since the intuos 5 range has come out it seems the intuos 4 are being reasonably discounted, so it seems likely I'll go for one of these.  The nostromo is an interesting idea!

samueljay

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Re: Advice for first graphics tablet
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2012, 04:17:10 AM »
I have a Wacom Intuous4, and use it at work all the time, you'll love it! :) Very nice tablet, mine is the medium size, I wouldn't want a smaller one, I find the medium to be the perfect size!
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Re: Advice for first graphics tablet
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2012, 04:17:10 AM »