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Community => General Discussion => Topic started by: InCreator on 14 Sep 2010, 10:12

Title: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: InCreator on 14 Sep 2010, 10:12
I want one.

Should I buy one?
----------------

That was my whole point in 2 sentences.
But really, I do want one but I haven't used one and not quite sure is it worth it.
Will it get daily usage or act as expensive dust collector?

So, if you have one, tell me which case is yours?
Please dont' give me "it depends....blah blah" replies. A quick search in Critics Lounge shows clearly what I do, and how I draw.
I'm drawing something about 3-4 times a week. Enough to justify Photoshop installation. And I want to become an awesome 2D artist.
So be down-to-earth-honest.

Also, how important is the size? Wacoms are either really tiny, or really expensive.
Is there noticeable difference between A4 and A5, for example? It's half the size  I know, but does it matter somehow?
Also, is name of Wacom foolproof quality guarantee or it varies greatly by models also?
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: juncmodule on 14 Sep 2010, 11:29
Well...it depends...

j/k

You are trying to buy a tablet at the worst time possible. Every vendor under the sun is about ready to start a mad rush to sell these things. I say give it 6 more months to a year. You will have a choice with lots of reviews discussing quality for price. Not to mention artists that might recommend one over another. The iPad will benefit this market a great deal. Ideally, you would want to wait for the second generation iPad and see what kind of responses other companies have come out with. That way the market will be well established.

later,
-junc
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Snarky on 14 Sep 2010, 12:00
There's a big difference between a Wacom-style drawing tablet and an iPad-style tablet computer, juncmodule. InCreator was asking about the former.

I say go for it. If you draw 3-4 times a week you'll definitely get enough use out of it, and after you learn how to use it it really does make computer drawing more natural.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Khris on 14 Sep 2010, 12:23
My limited experience with tablets and with drawing on a table pc should justify two cents:

You'll only use it if you've already created art using a pencil or brushes. The only reason for getting a tablet is overcoming the difference in swinging a brush or pen (with your wrist) and moving a mouse (with your arm/fingers).

A5 should be sufficient big time; by default the whole screen is mapped to the whole table surface (though you can change that), and A5 is usually way more than is covered by mouse movement.

If you can test one before buying it, by all means, do. If you can't get a cheap one with a sufficient pressure sensitivity (256 should be more than enough). If you really find yourself using it all the time, you can always buy a more expensive/bigger one later.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: FSi++ on 14 Sep 2010, 12:26
Just a little rant.

I have an A5 Wacom (like this one (http://www.letsgodigital.org/images/artikelen/71/wacom-bamboo-one.jpg)) and it's, well, tiny. Although you may map the tablet to only part of the screen. Also there are two buttons on the pen which are next to impossible to press. I think they too can be mapped to do stuff you may want to do with them via its driver. But then again, they are next to impossible to press, and I think they work only when the pen is near the tablet, so I barely use them at all. I also tended to press them whenever I didn't want to.

This said, it's virtually turned into a dust collector now.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: juncmodule on 14 Sep 2010, 12:41
Ugh, sorry, my head has a hard time not thinking in the immediate new and awesome gadget. Dear god...I went back and read that post, I should not reply to threads before coffee.

I agree with Snarky. I paid $100 for a wacom tablet (3x3 I think (I guess about an A7?)) years ago and pretty much never use it. But, I don't regret it at all. When I do use it, it is nice, but not my thing to use all of the time. Heck, I even mailed it to Darth Mandarb and he used it for a few months and sent it back :)

Since you do draw a lot, I recommend trying one out, you might not like the feel. If you can't test one, just be prepared to deal with adapting to using it (I think this is where that "it depends" thing comes in a lot). On mine the surface was really slick so I used to lay a piece of paper over it, felt more natural to me that way.

Regarding size, I recommend against getting one too small. If you want to be a serious artist you will want to save up some money and dump a decent amount on it. This will, after all, become your primary drawing tool. Then again, maybe start small and upgrade later. I feel that my small wacom has kept me from using it more than anything else. Everything feels cramped. Are your options really A4 or A5, that seems off. In the US we tend to have A7 and A4 and then maybe an A3. I would recommend you go for the A4 if you can, that is the size of a piece of notebook paper, which most people are comfortable with drawing on that size surface I think.

Wacom seems to be the defacto standard. I imagine there are other brands out there that are better, but I think Wacom just has a better reputation. Just do your research in this regard. Figure out the size problems and if you want to get one at all before worrying about the brand.

Oh, and back to my original screwed up post: Have you considered that route? The non drawing tablet-tablet? One of my problems with the drawing tablet was not seeing the results on the pad with the pen, it didn't sit right in my brain. My wife is an artist and she HATES the wacom tablet (then again she mostly paints and dislikes anything digital). The pricing point on those two is about to get really close I think.

Sorry about my bashing around in your thread. :-[

later,
-junc
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Babar on 14 Sep 2010, 13:29
I have a tablet similar to what FSi posted (A5 Bamboo Fun Wacom, 2 buttons on pen, 2 on the tablet itself, etc), and my experiences seemed to have been a lot better. I've mapped right-click to one of the more easily reached pen-buttons, but don't have anything important mapped on the 2nd one, so I don't usually use it anyhow. A5 seemed more than adequate for my stuff, not that I use it as often as I'd like.


On a related topic, does someone have some links to tutorials (or is willing to gimme a lesson here :D), about tablet-styled drawing?
I mean, I did pixel-art before, but the methods don't seem to really correlate well...in lo-res, I'd have first done some sketchy line-art, then I'd add perspective lines of what I'd need, then I'd draw the properly perspectived art, then I'd fill it in with colours, then I'd do the textures. It doesn't seem to be similar with the tablet...
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: loominous on 14 Sep 2010, 14:07
You can most likely get a large wacom tablet at a bargain price, if you go with an older model, which in my experience work just as well as new ones.

Just be sure that your comp has the required ports if you go with the oldest models (which use serial ports, though I suppose there must be serial-to-usb converters out there). I have yet to see a broken wacom tablet, so I wouldn't worry much about buying older stuff.

And really, those old tablets are still great, unless you need the fancy new functions such as pen tilt detection.

Edit:

There is quite a substantial difference between a4 and a5 in how you work your arms and hands - the smaller the tablet, the more wrist/finger action, instead of mainly arm/hand action - but there are plenty of outstanding artists out there who work with small tablets, so you're hardly doomed if you end up with a smaller one.

Edit 2:

Babar: I would suggest looking up video tutorials, which there are plenty of, for instance this guy that I found the other day, who have tons of free videos:

http://idrawgirls.blogspot.com/2009/12/drawing-war-machine-ironman-2.html
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Ali on 14 Sep 2010, 14:15
I have an A5 wacom intuos 3 which cost 200 new. It's large enough for me and I use it frequently. My only regret is buying 4:3 instead of widescreen because I lose the use of part of the tablet now I have a 16:9 monitor.

I also wish I'd bought it before I made Nelly Cootalot. That would have saved me a good deal of mouse-drawing.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Snarky on 14 Sep 2010, 14:21
I have a Wacom Graphire 6"x8" (which I think is A5), and personally I find the size big enough to work comfortably. But I generally draw at a pretty small scale anyway.

I don't think the touch screen on the iPad or similar devices is all that suited for drawing (they don't work with a stylus at all, do they?), but I certainly wouldn't mind a Wacom Cintiq (http://www.wacom.com/cintiq/).
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Darth Mandarb on 14 Sep 2010, 15:54
The Wacom Cintiq is next on my "must own toys" list ... that thing is sooooooo cool!  But my stupid A/C is on the fritz and will probably have to come first (nowhere near as cool a toy but, shockingly, not much more expensive!)

My major need for a tablet is because I'm left handed and I simply cannot use the mouse with my left hand (for some reason) so "drawing" with the mouse is just not possible for me.  I can pixel fairly well with my right hand but the free-style you can have with a tablet is invaluable for somebody in my position.

junc I hadn't thought of that in a long time (and welcome back?)!  Yeah that was a cool little tablet!
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Chicky on 14 Sep 2010, 16:21
The Cintiq is great if you have somewhere tidy to use it, it's pants for use with a laptop on a sofa  :-X

Also has some annoying issues when drawing near the edges, but as i found out recently... they're beer proof!
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: InCreator on 14 Sep 2010, 19:54
Signs point to Wacom Intuos 4 Wireless (http://www.wacom.eu/index2.asp?lang=en&pid=311)... I'm not willing to spend more on something that has 50:50 chance of being great.

Even for 400 it has to be hell of an awesome thing to justify its price.
Then again, it doesn't look too crappy, if one can trust youtube and various reviews.

I guess I'm getting this as self-bought christmas/birthday present combo.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: LimpingFish on 14 Sep 2010, 20:19
I have a Bamboo Pen and Touch. Painting with your fingers is fun.

Which is nice, since apparently the new paper-like drawing surface on the Bamboo and I4 wears down pen nibs like a mofo.

Only 99 funbucks. Works well. Can't complain, really.

Besides, I couldn't really justify spending a lot on a tablet. Unless I was a paid professional. Which I'm not.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Mr Flibble on 16 Sep 2010, 03:32
I have an A5 Intuos2.

You shouldn't really get anything smaller than A5, but you don't necessarily need to get an A4. I presumed I needed an A4, but the A5 works for me just fine. My screen res is 1680x1050, and the A5 works just fine.

I got mine on eBay for a steal at like 60, but you can't rely on an offer that good coming up all the time.

Let's see... what other advice can I offer... I went out of my way to get tilt sensitivity and I never use it. You're better off getting a smaller, newer tablet than an older but larger one. I really don't think you need a big one, I mean how often do you want to draw using your whole arm and couldn't accept being zoomed out a little?
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Wonkyth on 16 Sep 2010, 05:26
I've been considering buying a Bamboo for some time now, as if I find it useful enough I can get a bigger one, but still have use for the Bamboo.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Virgil on 16 Sep 2010, 06:19
I have an Intuos4 Medium (6x8 methinks) and its lovely. I mapped right and middle click to the stylus buttons and can function perfectly without a mouse, in everything I do, which is a lot of 3d modeling as well. The sensitivity is a bit overboard (2048 dpi), but its probably the last tablet I'll buy for several years.

If you draw as much as you say, certainly look into a cheaper bamboo, or an even cheaper brand to try it out. I don't ever go into a paint program without it.

Size is a big factor, you instantly get more precision on a larger scale with a bigger size drawing surface. The smaller it is, the more you are zooming in to get more precise linework.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Pinback on 16 Sep 2010, 08:27
If  you're serious about being an artist/illustrator, and you already have a strong grounding in the traditional mediums, then I'd say definitely get one. I too was unsure about digital painting, having used mostly oils and watercolors for a decade, and simply using a mouse for pixel art. But after having borrowed a friends tablet (A3 Wacom) I have found I can't live without it now. Especially for game graphics- it's an indispensible tool.  It also helps a lot for concept art and quick colour mockups, and practicing your fundamental skills without messing about with actual paints.
For actual illustration I will always prefer the traditional mediums (Nothing beats the smell of linseed oil, and having an actual painting to hang after all your hard work), and (as is the case with many professional illustrators in the field) sketching in pencil will always be my square one, but for almost every other aspect of art, especially game graphics, you can't beat a tablet for ease of use and fast turnaround.

Bear in mind though if you have little experience with traditional mediums (ie real pencils and paints), then a tablet would probably be a waste of money for you at this point, and you should instead invest in several cartridge pads of varying sizes, some decent pencils and an eraser. Use them all up, then rinse and repeat.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: ThreeOhFour on 16 Sep 2010, 09:49
Not to contradict Pinback and Khris by any means, but I am rubbish at drawing with pencil/pen/paintbrush and paper, but still am very fond of using my tablet - and I know people who really like drawing organically and yet cannot get used to using a tablet.

My biggest advice for anyone is to see if they can try out a friend's and give it a really good go to see if it is going to be the right thing for you.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Khris on 16 Sep 2010, 12:14
Btw, after using it more as a netbook than what it's intended for, I reinstalled the WinXP tablet edition on my Acer TravelMate C110:

(http://shop.stgcomputer.de/images/Acer%20TravelMate%20C110.jpg)

It's pretty old (900 MHz, 760 MB Ram), but why buy a 900 Cintiq when you can get the same device for 259 ? (http://cgi.ebay.de/ACER-TRAVELMATE-C110-TABLET-1-1GHz-256MB-60GB-WLAN-/260664553975?pt=DE_Technik_Computer_Peripherieger%C3%A4te_Notebooks&hash=item3cb0d171f7)
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: abstauber on 16 Sep 2010, 12:21
...or you build a cintiq yourself :D
http://www.bongofish.co.uk/wacom/wacom_pt1.html


I've recently bought an Intuos3 A3 (gigantic), simply because it's cheaper (on ebay) than A4 tablets. I guess people have small desks. Before that I was happy with my Graphire4, but I only used it for photo touchups and collecting dust.

@Khris: Does this Wacom Penabled technology have pressure sensitivity as well?
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Mr Flibble on 16 Sep 2010, 20:17
I have to use tablet PCs in uni, maybe we just have bad ones, but I find them totally unsuitable for drawing. The lag is noticable between input and response, and the sample rate is hideously low (ie. how smooth a quickly drawn curve will be). That might just be the cheap HP models we have though.

I use my tablet instead of a mouse at all times now and can't imagine going back.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: viktor on 16 Sep 2010, 21:14
It's pretty old (900 MHz, 760 MB Ram), but why buy a 900 Cintiq when you can get the same device for 259 ? (http://cgi.ebay.de/ACER-TRAVELMATE-C110-TABLET-1-1GHz-256MB-60GB-WLAN-/260664553975?pt=DE_Technik_Computer_Peripherieger%C3%A4te_Notebooks&hash=item3cb0d171f7)

Because the responses differ. I'm using an old model I bought used for 100 eur. A wacom bamboo fun
It's not the best around but it gets the job done. If you buy a wacoom you ARE guaranteed a quality product. I've used a lot of wacom tablets from firends and coworkers and they all have a wacom. I tried using a Trust once and the lag was unbelivable :P. If you draw a lot then buy it. It's a lot easyer and faster to ink and color things with the tablet than with a mouse. If you're not sure try borrowing it first to see how it feels.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Anian on 16 Sep 2010, 22:08
If you're doing pixel art stuff, I acutally think it's easier to use a mouse. Mostly I draw something on paper then retrace it with tablet, then I can fix proprtions and such, color it etc. Still have to practice speed painting

Yeah, the main problme with size is that you can't really use your wrist moves, but short lines. Don't know what your financial situations is, or what the used hardware market is (in the USA and such it seems it's better to get a used bigger tablet, but if your country is similar to mine, there really isn't a used hardware market that can taken advantage of, maybe on some design forums or similar you might find something.

Small is great if you're trying it out, that way at least you won't lose that much money, in a year or two get a bigger one and problem solved.

Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: GarageGothic on 16 Sep 2010, 23:49
I must admit I'm loving my Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch to bits, despite it being the smallest (comparable to A6, though in 16:10 format) and one of their cheapest models. During half a year of owning it, the tablet's boosted my creativity immensely - I find that good tools in and by themselves beckon to be used, same thing with the digital recorder I bought leading to me playing the guitar again.

My previous tablet was a clunky, inaccurate piece of shit with batteries in the pen. Not entirely useless, I did draw this CD cover with it (http://www.progarchives.com/progressive_rock_discography_band/velislav%20ivanov.jpg), but so awkward to work with that it felt like a chore. What that tablet taught me, however, was that A4 was much too large for me. Possibly my drawing technique is simply wrong from childhood, but I've never used big arm movements when drawing - except for charcoal or ink-and-brush drawings/paintings. A6 on the other hand - perfect, absolutely right size to hold in the lap, great format for comic book panels, handwritten notes and sprites. And as for game backgrounds I've always done anything but basic composition in a zoomed view anyway, so size isn't an issue.

Overall, it really depends on your technique and what you want to use it for. Better to start out with the smallest size you're comfortable with, and then decide what your next tablet will be depending on your experience. Would suck to invest in expensive model only to find out that it's impractical to work with, or that you only use a small part of the surface anyway.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Khris on 17 Sep 2010, 12:49
@Khris: Does this Wacom Penabled technology have pressure sensitivity as well?

Not sure, probably not.

Because the responses differ. I'm using an old model I bought used for 100 eur. A wacom bamboo fun
It's not the best around but it gets the job done. If you buy a wacoom you ARE guaranteed a quality product. I've used a lot of wacom tablets from firends and coworkers and they all have a wacom.

The TravelMate's tablet tech is from Wacom, it's listed as Wacom serial bla in the Device manager :)
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Mr Flibble on 17 Sep 2010, 12:55
I forgot to mention that I got an expensive non-Wacom and it was unusuable,  prior to getting my beautiful Intuos2. To be honest, I can't see a reason not to get a Wacom.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: loominous on 17 Sep 2010, 22:18
Signs point to Wacom Intuos 4 Wireless (http://www.wacom.eu/index2.asp?lang=en&pid=311)..

I'm disappointed with the intous 4 series: the tips wear off way too fast, the chord (though the wireless version will lack one) is frustratingly placed, and the sensitivity calibration demands that you press really hard to achieve full opacity, which increases the tip wear, and makes your arms tense, and ruins all looseness. (you can alter the pressure settings, but not in a way that fixes this as far as I know).

So I would personally go with an intous 3 if you want something newish, which would be less expensive as well. One neat feature of the intous 4 is a "display toggle" button, which is great if you use more than one screen, but that's pretty much the only reason I'd find myself buying one again.

Quote
You're better off getting a smaller, newer tablet than an older but larger one. I really don't think you need a big one, I mean how often do you want to draw using your whole arm and couldn't accept being zoomed out a little?

The problem with smaller tablets is that you start relying on your fingers when you draw, which is often a recipe for losing all looseness. To get nice large natural curves, it's instead usually recommended that you use your arm as much as possible, while the fingers and wrist (depending on the size of the curve) remain fixated.

This is not to say that you can't achieve these things on a smaller tablet, but it's much more difficult. It's a bit like using a small saw vs a large one. You can technically do everything with a small saw that you can with a large one, but if you're going for a larger cut, it's likely that it'll end up jerky and uneven.

On a side note, I suspect that larger models are healthier for your body, as you get more posture variation, but don't quote me on that.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Chicky on 18 Sep 2010, 01:24
I suspect that larger models are healthier for your body, as you get more posture variation
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: Shane 'ProgZmax' Stevens on 18 Sep 2010, 07:16
Quote
To be honest, I can't see a reason not to get a Wacom.

Money is a good reason (or lack thereof) :(.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: abstauber on 18 Sep 2010, 09:27
A used, first generation Intuos isn't that expensive. They usually leave the bay for less than 100 euro. Okay, it's still pretty expensive for a 10 years old piece of hardware ;)
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: InCreator on 19 Sep 2010, 17:21
Signs point to Wacom Intuos 4 Wireless (http://www.wacom.eu/index2.asp?lang=en&pid=311)..

I'm disappointed with the intous 4 series: the tips wear off way too fast, the chord (though the wireless version will lack one) is frustratingly placed, and the sensitivity calibration demands that you press really hard to achieve full opacity, which increases the tip wear, and makes your arms tense, and ruins all looseness. (you can alter the pressure settings, but not in a way that fixes this as far as I know).

So I would personally go with an intous 3 if you want something newish, which would be less expensive as well. One neat feature of the intous 4 is a "display toggle" button, which is great if you use more than one screen, but that's pretty much the only reason I'd find myself buying one again.

Now that was absolutely unneeded... just few hours after I placed an order for Int4Wireless...  :(
Still buying it I think... It's not like I could use it very much anyway, so maybe as an amateur I won't notice such disadvantages, just like I don't understand mouse acceleration/smoothing in fps games, and still think it's just a fake "option" and doesn't actually do anything.
Title: Re: Yet another.... tablet thread
Post by: loominous on 20 Sep 2010, 12:58
Oh, I'm not saying it's a bad tablet - you're getting the top of the line wacom tablet - it's about the price to value ratio.

Like I mentioned earlier in the thread, I suggest going with large older tablets because you can get them dirt cheap, and they're still great. So you get a large tablet with perhaps 8/10th of the performance for scraps.

I guess people are used to technology getting obsolete in a year or two, so getting older stuff seems risky, but these tablets age very well in my experience.

So count yourself fortunate that you can afford it, though I would've suggested going for an A4 model for the same money.

(I still use my intuos 4, I'm just very unimpressed with it, and the main reason I haven't reverted back to my intuos 3 model is because it has a scratch in it (something to be very careful about btw, as they'll only grow with use - though I think the intuos 4 model has a hardened surface, leading to the increased tip wear)).