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View Full Version : what is a tablet?


Bendaini
12-25-2006, 10:40 PM
Alright, when I was like 13 (I'm 29 now) my teacher showed us this interesting thing called a "tablet". It was a solid piece of plastic with a button on it. You moved the pen around and the mouse on the screen moved. You pushed the button and the mouse clicked.

When I thought of getting a tablet that is what I thought of. Better, because you draw like with a pen, but you are still disconnected from your work.

Today I saw someone working on something... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Nvk7_dLclI&eurl=
He actually has a screen on a table and is drawing on the screen.

Is this the "modern" tablet? If I get any tablet is this how it works or are some like that old clunky piece of plastic with the disconnected screen? I'm probably going to be getting one within a year for my classes, so I'd really REALLY like a heads up on how they work.

Smokin
12-26-2006, 12:14 AM
WE have a good section on tablet reviews in our library that you should definetly check out. There are tons of options for all kinds of budgets. The most expensive being a tablet/lcd or tablet computer which is about as close as one can get to traditional feel (tablet and monitor is same thing) . Most work with a tablet that requires some getting used to where you draw on the tablet but look at your monitor, but for most, it feel very natural anyway.

You'll prob be surprised at how helpful you'll find this tool once you give it a chance and learn how to use it properly. Definetly need to check out the newer technology as well, they are alot more advanced now.

Edit: Just saw vid, thats the toy santa didnt manage to get me this year :((. It kinda steep, but damn nice toy $2500.

Bendaini
12-26-2006, 12:41 AM
what's it called so i can go look for it and compare?

Smokin
12-26-2006, 03:39 PM
Link to tablet reviews:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=310274

The most powerful and best tablet out on the market is a Wacom Cintique. This is where you draw directly on the screen with as much sensativity as the Intuous model. Another solid option would be a tablet PC. There are several to choose from at about the same price. You loose a lil in way of performance, but gain a laptop and portability. This would prob be a better option for a cartoonist or web designer IMO.

jhercilia
12-26-2006, 04:18 PM
What the guy on the video is using is the Wacom Cintiq which is a monitor and tablet at the same time. It is better than regular tablets in that it is more intuitive and it is as close as you can get to when you draw/paint traditionally. The monitor/tablet is like your sketch pad or drawing support. I do have this Cintiq 21x and although a bit pricey, I wouldn't change it for anything else. I love it. It feels very natural, you can tilt it, rotate it, lift it, put it on your lap, etc.

What he did was to sketch his initial drawing, then scanned it. After that, he opened it in his drawing program (it looked like he was using Photoshop) and traced each figure in a different layer. After that he colored them and added the background, again in different layers to be able to move them around for better placement.

Bendaini
12-26-2006, 10:00 PM
Thank you.

I did read the reviews but it didn't say much about how they operate, just how well people liked them.

I found the tablet PC's too... those are quite interesting and have some interesting aplications but i wonder if they are as good for art work as the cintiq... I wish there was a place nearby that I could try a couple and see how they work... If I get one it is probably going to be included in the cost of my studant loan so I better make sure it is exactly what I want.

jhercilia
12-27-2006, 12:12 AM
You can get the same work done with both the tablet and the Cintiq. It is just that with the tablet it will take some getting used to since your strokes are done on the tablet while you look at your monitor. With the Cintiq, you are making your marks right where the pen is touching the monitor, so it's more natural. Tablets are 'much less' expensive.

Smokin
12-27-2006, 01:55 AM
Tablet PCs arnt as good as the wacom's Cintiq because of the sensativity levels and screen space, but other than that there is a great plus to having the portability especially for students. It really depends on what kind of work you are looking to acomplish, The tablet PCs (or even a cheap graphire tablet) are more than capable of creating just as visually stunning work as the Cintiq can , but you sacrifice screen space as well as some sensativity levels.

Bendaini
12-27-2006, 05:19 AM
Oh, whatever I get, it's got to be so much better then using the mouse. That little fairy in my sig line with the blue wings. I did that with a photo editor and a mouse... My hand hurts just thinking about it.

jhercilia
12-27-2006, 01:25 PM
Tablet PCs arnt as good as the wacom's Cintiq because of the sensativity levels and screen space, ...

I have to clarify this. I have both a Cintiq and the Intuous 9x6. Both share the same levels of pressure sensitivity (1024) so in that respect, one is not better than the other. But the Cintiq surpass in that it's more natural to paint on it than it is on a tablet. The Graphires are the one with less pressure sensitivity (512), so they are less accurate.

The new Intuous shares the same pressure sensitivity and resolution (5080 lines per inch) as the Cintiq and now they are available at a maximum size of 12x19 active area which is even bigger than the Cintiqs (17" x 12.75"). One of the advantages of the Cintiq is that: it is also a high resolution monitor and tablet at the same time, so you also save workspace. But as you said, tablets are more portable. That's why I have both. :p

Bendaini
12-27-2006, 03:10 PM
is intuous a tablet PC?

I think I like the idea of having both as well. I use my PC's mainly at home, but I use each for their own purpose. I really like the capture software microsoft has for their tablet PC's... you just circle things and they are saved. I wonder if that tech would work with the mouse....

jhercilia
12-27-2006, 09:12 PM
Yes the Intuos is the model for the Wacom tablet (wacom is the maker). The tablets comes with a version of Painter (less features but great too). Info here: http://www.wacom.com/productinfo/intuos.cfm

Elainepsq
12-28-2006, 03:16 AM
Just my opinion. I've used large tablets, I tried the Cintique at a workshop, and loved it! But all in all, I tend to prefer the small Graphire by Wacom. I believe it is the smallest and most affordable model. (No larger than a conventional mouse pad and under $100) I use the cordless mouse, which is used on the tablet, and then switch to my pen, to draw paint etc. Being small, it doesn't take up a lot of room on my desk and I can pull it over on my lap and it is like sketching on a small pad.
Before making a large investment, you might want to buy the less expensive model and then once you see how much you will use it, you can always upgrade later.

Bendaini
12-28-2006, 05:31 PM
Does anyone know if any shops have demos of these things? I'd like to try a graphire, maybe it will do. Maybe, since their so inexpencive, I'll just get one to use until I can really afford the really big, draw on screan one...

jhercilia
12-28-2006, 06:27 PM
Remember that the Graphires has much less pressure sensitiviness (512 for a Graphire, compared to the 1024 pressure levels of an Intuos with resolutio of 5080) So the Intuos is much more accurate. This is exactly why the Graphire are much less expensive.

Chiers
12-29-2006, 02:03 PM
I have to agree with Elaine. I have used the Graphire for quite a long time now and am very pleased with it! It takes up very little real estate on my keyboard drawer too and I like that.
I have used a neighbors intuos and don't find it any more satisfying to use than the graphire, but way more expensive. Of course, if you have deep pockets and room to spare then go for it, but if not my recommendation would be the graphire.
As far as pressure sensitivity, I doubt my own hand has even 512 levels and since it's my hand that works the pen I'm not real impressed with sensitivity levels. The quality of the work produced will depend on the talent of the artist and not the tablet.

jhercilia
12-29-2006, 04:27 PM
As far as pressure sensitivity, I doubt my own hand has even 512 levels and since it's my hand that works the pen I'm not real impressed with sensitivity levels. The quality of the work produced will depend on the talent of the artist and not the tablet.
Well, I have a graphire, an intuos and the cintiq and I can tell you that I do noticed the difference between the graphire and the intuos/cintiq and was really so disappointed with the graphire that I haven't use it again.

Smokin
12-29-2006, 05:59 PM
I have to clarify this. I have both a Cintiq and the Intuous 9x6. Both share the same levels of pressure sensitivity (1024) so in that respect, one is not better than the other. But the Cintiq surpass in that it's more natural to paint on it than it is on a tablet. The Graphires are the one with less pressure sensitivity (512), so they are less accurate.


Just to Clarify, ... The Tablet PC is NOT the Intuous model, its a Laptop computer.

This is just a random link I grabbed after I did a search on Tablet PCs.
http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF04a/321957-304452-306995-304455-306995.html

I'm currently taking art classes in and around Los Angeles having a blast. But Im taking these traditional classes to ultimatly improve my digital skills. Anyway, I have seen many students and even teaches use tablet pc's to draw and sketch things out. For a student its a VERY powerful tool to have. I tried out a few of them and can notice the sensativity difference between the PCs ive seen and the Intuous Model I have, but not enough to not make buying one VERY tempting.

Anyway, I would suggest calling computer stores to see if you can try out thier stuff. Some stores do allow you to play with things, some dont, so call first. Grabbing a graphire might be your best option really. ALSO,(just thought of this) .... go take a field trip down to your school, ask the teachers to visit the lab room and pick thier brain for what you should get or what would be best. Im sure they'll be more than happy to let you try out the stuff the school has.

Smokin
12-29-2006, 06:18 PM
BTWm kep in mind there are dozens and dozen of tablet pcs available, I have NO idea if HPs models are any good(above link I gave). I didnt do any real research on the different models available, and it was actually tough finding the sensativity levels in my initial research.

jhercilia
12-29-2006, 11:45 PM
Hi Smokin,
I am not sure why you quoted me when making your comment about what a tablet pc is. All my previous comments have been in relation to wacom intuos, graphire, and cintq not the tablet pc. I know what a table pc is. I do own one myself :p and have been very pleased with it. It is a Toshiba tablet pc.

Smokin
12-30-2006, 01:18 AM
For no reason other than it seemed like there was a lil confusion as to the three options. Cintiq, Intuos/graphire tablets, and Tablet PCs.

And Im very jelous about you toys BTW!!!! So Janet, do you know how many level of sensativity your toshiba has?

jhercilia
12-30-2006, 05:00 PM
For no reason other than it seemed like there was a lil confusion as to the three options. Cintiq, Intuos/graphire tablets, and Tablet PCs.

And Im very jelous about you toys BTW!!!! So Janet, do you know how many level of sensativity your toshiba has?
I see.
As for the Tablet Pc, the pressure sesitivity is controlled by a Wacom driver but it only has 256 levels. So I wouldn't use it as my main art creation device although the tablet pc and this driver also accepts any intuos and the cintiq to be used at the same time. But the good thing about it is, as you said, portability. It is great to do some sketches on location because the only thing you would need is the tablet pc only, you wouldn't have to carry a tablet also. The need for more levels of pressure sensitivity depends on what the artist what to accomplish and the type of drawing/painting and the amount of detail needed. Then having more sensitivity is a must. But in Painter as you know, you can control your strokes with the 'brush tracking' option. Setting that will compensate for a low pressure sensitivity.

I can tell the difference when I am using 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity and when I am using the lower levels of the graphire and the tablet pc. But I can manage well.

Bendaini
12-30-2006, 09:30 PM
what does presure sensitivity do for you? Does it just mean that the tablet see;s you better? I know some of the programs used can adjust how dark the lines are, but I don't those kind of programs. I only use a basic photo editor that has an airbrush tool that I manualy adjust intensity, fading, and color.

Probably for the way I do things the sensitivity won't matter, but if I want to start using the better programs I will want the better tablet...

DSPIT
12-30-2006, 10:57 PM
[QUOTE=Bendaini]what does presure sensitivity do for you? Does it just mean that the tablet see;s you better? QUOTE]

Been watching this thread, but the information has been great so I just watched.

I can comment on the pressure issue. the pressure sensitivity works just like, lets say a piece of charcoal. the harder you press, the thicker/wider the linework will be. so, it may not be super important if you are selecting for vector lines lets say in illustrator, but if you were digitally painting, or doing digital calligraphy, I am sure you could see where that would be a benefit. Pencil sketches and all kinds of digital tools that mimick manual tools.

Now, for some folks, depending on their work, the difference between an intuous pen and a graphire, (which is half the value) doesn't matter. For those doing digital paintings or concept art, it matter a lot. and you have the ability to set where the sensitivity lies on those pens anyway.

I dont have the high end Cintiq like Janet. but I do have a 12x 12 intuous, and smaller one for my laptop.

I have heard arguments about the use or need of a larger unit over the smaller unit that has been discussed. Some time ago, on the forum I got in a "discussion" with a young man tyring to convince me that a small unit, is the same as my big one. due to the resolution and all the techno babble that could be thrown around. My point was that, I have both and the larger one, allows for you to have a more comfortable sweeping motion, where as the smaller one requires you to work within a much smaller confine. yes, you can zoom in,, on the small and zoom away. I am simply saying, that it is more relaxing to use the larger one.

I had not seen the one that you showed the video of. Very very nice piece of gear. but I would think, if you not yet a pro, or just starting out. you might be spending a little bit extra for something you may not get out of it. If you got the $,, have at it.

Hope that helps some as well as all the other good advice. seem like Janet has the corner on the toys, lol. one of everything.

Smokin
12-30-2006, 11:57 PM
Sensativity levels is = to how sensative the tablet is to how hard/soft you press your pen on the board. The biggest advantage on using a tablet over a mouse is that it acts like a pencil rather that a marker attached to a brick that is sensative to line thickness and opacity. The more levels there are, the more, ...ummmmmmmmm "give" I guess is the best way to describe it.

edit:oops, Shouldve refreashed page a while ago :P.

jhercilia
12-31-2006, 02:31 PM
I totally agree with DSPIT. Also when you have a tablet with pressure sensitivity you avoid having go make those changes manually as you mention you are doing. You can set your pen's pressure to react to different settings, like for example: opacity, impasto, color, etc. The more levels your pen supports them more smoothly the jumps are between the lowest setting to the highest setting you have set for a brush.

Regarding the size of a tablet, some people do just fine with the small one. I personally tried the smallest one and for the way I move my hand, forehand when I am drawing/painting, the bigger ones worked better. I like the freedom of moving my arm and not being contraint to a little square representing my screen.

Bendaini
12-31-2006, 03:29 PM
I think I'd prefer a medium sized one. I have small pen strokes as it is, and always expand pictures out so i can get into fine areas.

I think I also like the idea of not having to manualy adjust everything. It might save me time in the long run.


I must say thank you to everyone partisipating in this thread. I tried the other thread about reviews of tablets but it seemed you really had to have an idea of what a tablet was before you could get much out of that thread. This thread has given me a much better idea of how they work, and what to look for, and why to look for it when I finally make this purchase. Since its such an expencive item it's best to have the information before hand as well.

So thank you all.

DSPIT
12-31-2006, 07:32 PM
I like the freedom of moving my arm and not being contraint to a little square representing my screen.

Exactly, me to ( got my trial version of CS2 today, time to play).

Good luck Bendaini, let us know how whatcha git.

Bendaini
12-31-2006, 09:52 PM
it will probably be a couple months or so, I'm waiting to see what happens with my college classes.

DSPIT
12-31-2006, 09:57 PM
Well, good luck and hope for you the best. WC in amazing isnt it? I belong to a handful of great sites, but for the "everything you want to know place", this place has more knowledge than anything. keep us posted.

jhercilia
01-01-2007, 01:47 PM
Bendaini - Glad we all helped. That's what we are here for.
Maybe this thread should be moved to the Tablets' section too.

DSPIT - you'll enjoy CS2. I am sure.