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Anyone know about graphics tablets?

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#1 · Posted: 3 Nov 2004 17:05
Okay, I know that there are more than a few budding/budded artists out there, and that there are a fair number of computer users in that bunch (over-and-above the using of computers to read the board, natch), so, advice please!

I am looking to buy a graphics tablet for my Mac, and the question has arisen: A6, A5 or A4 - how important is this?

I naturally have a tendency to think that A4 is going to be better than A5, but is this really so? I can imagine that in fact an A5 may accommodate the area to be drawn in... So I’m stuck thinking that I’ll a) get the A4, and feel that I have wasted money on the extra space if I don’t need it. or b) get the A5 and feel cramped and wish I’d sprung for the larger tablet...

I’m thinking of the Wacom Intuos3 range, BTW.

Any advice gratefully rec’d!

PS: I have carefully tried to avoid all single and double-entendres about “size isn’t everything”, “does size matter?” etc., and boy was it har- er, difficult…
#2 · Posted: 4 Nov 2004 09:46
Hi jock,
If you were thinking of getting a graphics tablet I would advise that you go for an A3 size. With the larger tablets there is a better continuity with the screen, basically you have more space to draw with, rather than the enoying no space on the smaller tablets. A friend of mine had an A5 tablet and he never used it because of this.
I have a NISIS USB G6 Graphics Tablet, and I am very pleased. There is enough room to draw, and it has a pressure nib for getting a variation in line width. I bought it a couple of years ago for £100 from amazon. I ordered one from a local computer business, but I waited weeks and weeks, so I eventually ordered it on Amazon and it came the next day (and was £10 cheaper!).
I find that if your using a Tablet, they are best used with Adobe Illustrator. I found that the painful vertice pushing done with a mouse is eliminated by the graphics tablet. You can stroke the vector lines around the page to acheive the perfect curve with the greatest of ease.
I used mine to produce clearline illustrated characters for an Aztec inspired Animation for my final year at University. I could only have acheived the bold continous lines needed for the outlines of the Aztec hieroglyphs with the tablet. It would have taken weeks more if I only had my mouse. It was well worth the money as it saved me time i didnt have.
Take a look at the Nisis website, i would recommend.
#3 · Posted: 4 Nov 2004 10:17 · Edited by: jock123
Thanks, rastapopoulos! Unfortunately I have looked at the Nisis web-site, and their products don't support Mac OS, and nor do they plan to. Given the millions of Mac graphic artists out there, that seems a needless limitation, but hey! That's their look out!

Cheers anyway - I'm sure your advice will be of use to the PC artists out there!
#4 · Posted: 4 Nov 2004 11:29
Strange that they dont cater for the Mac market??? Oh well good luck. I would go for the larger tablets though.
#5 · Posted: 4 Nov 2004 13:03
Hello jock123 - I work all day (well, most of the day) as an illustrator/designer and end up using my graphics tablet a lot... and it's A6! I find it does the job just fine, though probably if I used a larger one (which increases the price substantially as you know) I'd soon think A6 was too small. But really, it does a more than adequate job, including minute detail.
Good luck - Garen.
#6 · Posted: 4 Nov 2004 22:48
I'd really like one of these; partly cos I much prefer writing by hand than typing, even though when doing that my left hand doesn't get much action. There's a program on the mac for handwriting recognition, just in case you wondered.
#7 · Posted: 4 Nov 2004 23:06 · Edited by: jock123
Thanks, Garen! That's really interesting to know - I was impressed with the work you do before you said you were working on an A6 tablet - even moreso now!

Does the software mean that you are working with the A6 tablet mapping to the area of your artwork, or does it/ can it represent an A6 sized portion of your work, which you have to move around?
Fortunately, on price, I work for a Mac dealership at the moment, so I can at least get a bit of a deal on what I buy - in fact it is one of the reasons to get it now!

Unlike rastapopoulos I don't actually mind using Illustrator with a mouse, but I have been using a Mac since 1987, and got used to pulling splines with Illustrator 1.0 on a monchrome SE, so I'm sort of used to it; however I would like to learn to draw with a tablet for using Photoshop.

Finlay, I am looking forward to trying out the Inkwell handwriting-recognition software when the tablet is installed!
#8 · Posted: 4 Nov 2004 23:12
I think in this case, size does not matter!
I use an A5 (I think, I haven't really measured), and it works really great, I don't see the difference between mine and the Wacom at school. What matters is the screen, IMO. I got me a rather large screen when I bought this comp, and I find it very comfortable, even if the tablet's somewhat small. I think i could do with an even smaller tablet, if I had to.
And I not only do graphics with it, I paint and I draw from scratch too.
#9 · Posted: 5 Nov 2004 09:03 · Edited by: tybaltstone
The A6 tablet represents the screen, so bottom left is bottom left etc... if you see what I mean. And of course, in Photoshop (or whatever), you can zoom in and get into detail.

I should say that I am still part luddite, as I do all my drawing on paper and scan it in, using the tablet mainly for colouring and only a very small bit of re-drawing.

I haven't used a bigger tablet, so I know there will be advantages to this which are lost on me, and if I had the chance to get an A4 one I'd probably take it, but the A6 one cost me £65, a huge difference to even the Intuos A5, and being happy with my Wacom A6 I've had no ambition to upgrade it.

All the best - G.
#10 · Posted: 5 Nov 2004 10:11
I have a sapphire Wacom Graphire 3 tablet. It has an A5 working space and I bought it for around $230 Aus dollars. I find A5 sufficent for using in Freehand, Photoshop and Flash but I guess I do work smaller than some people. If you don't have heaps of money get this one, its quality. I'm still getting used to the tablet (got it several months ago) but I'm learning, slowly. An Intuos A3 tablet would be great but that cost the world at the moment.

Anyone got any tips on how to more easily operate with a graphics tablet?


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