T Nation

Attn: Anyone into graphic design

For those involved with digital media or any kind of graphic design … Have you ever used one of those Wacom Tablets? It’s one of those pad things that has a pen you can draw with instead of having to use a mouse. It seems pretty slick to me… but how well do they work?

I’m in the middle of a 2D animation project, and I think one of these things will really speed up the process. But the 18"x12" inch one is like 800 bucks so I thought I’d ask first.

Thanks for any input.

Tablets are essential if you are a gifted pen-paper artist. Once you become versed with one, you will probably rarely use a mouse anymore.

One thing though - don’t sacrifice price for quality - read the reviews at cnet.com and other tech journals, and find out the best product that fits your needs. Shitty tablets aren’t worth squat, for many many reasons.

Just my 2 cents

I have a Wacom and a old high school buddy of mine works at Wacom.

Wacom is the tablet of choice for many illustrators, designers. They are excellent and the company works with many designers in creating it’s products.

Wacom has a website, check it out. Think about your needs before purchasing a tablet.

I’m sketching on paper, and scanning into Photoshop. Then I reduce the opacity of the sketch layer, and trace over it on another using the mouse and the pencil tool.

I bring that outline into the animation program to color it and do what I need. I’m doing pretty well so far for someone that has no experience with this… but it seems like the wacom would make it so much easier. Plus I like how you can change the pressure to adjust thickness of the lines.

Everybody that I have asked has said go with Wacom… so thats all I’ve really looked at. I saw their site, and it looks like a quality product. My girlfriend is putting up the cash, so I figure I’ll give it a go.

The wacoms are good, but I personally prefer to sketch first on paper, then scan in and ink it.

i used the wacom for an illustration job
at my agency.
i feel it works best with illustrator and photoshop, but that?s just my opinion…
i didn?t sololy rely on it to draw, but it made the coloring process MUCH easier…
it alle depends on your preferences, although it takes you a bit to get accustomed to the “feel” of the board an how much pressure you apply.

I use tablets regularly. The mouse is like drawing with a bar of soap. I even like tablets for non-drawing applicatons. It just feels more precise.

I would suggest you coinsider NOT getting the larger tablets, whether you draw or do not draw with them. Think about it… How do you usually draw? With your hand and wrist, or with your whole arm? If you are doing digital media, you can zoom in and out of the image. Your drawing movements are probably confined to a medium or small area.

I’ve used jumbo sized tablets and they were horrible, you are constantly reaching and it is uncomfortable and awkward. A 9x12 tablet is probably fine. Don’t think of the tablet as having any correlation to the size of the media you are working on, just think about the size of a comfortable drawing gesture.

i suggest you go a computer store and play with some different sized tablets, since the Wacoms are expensive, (especially the big ones) so se if you can test-drive one.

Thanks guys – I thought this thread died.

I was going to continue to sketch on paper first… I just thought inking in Photoshop would be easier with a pad than a mouse.

I think I am going to get a smaller pad. My gf is weird like that - she always tells me to get the “best” most expensive shit they have (not that theres anything wrong with that since she’s paying)… but I kind of had a feeling that might be too big.

I have wanted to try one out… but I can’t find anyone around here that carries Wacom. If I were to take a ride I could probably find a place… I’ll do that next week.

I have a 9x12 wacom tablet with a 21 inch screen. (dual screens actually) I love my tablet, the mouse was just NOT acceptable for doing anything detailed. once you go tablet you can’t go back. i use illutrator, photoshop, indesign and sometimes i just use it as a mouse. i do love the wacom, but have some issues with the driver closing out on me for no reason. i have to restart. (once in 20 startups maybe).

I only have a Wacom graphire - tiny thing, but works great, I’d imagine the more Pro models would be a treat