Pen Tablet recommendations sought

29 Jan 2008 - 5:58pm
6 years ago
6 replies
439 reads
Alexander Baxevanis
2007

Hi Miranda,

just bought the "Bamboo" as a Christmas gift for a friend. He is very
good at sketching in pen and papers, and judging from the designs he's
now making, it shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks for somebody
to familiarise themselves with such an input method. The tablet driver
controls the standard mouse pointer, so you can control any app
through the tablet. All serious graphic design apps are also able to
get the "pressure" information for the tablet (i.e. how hard the user
is pressing a pen) which can be used to control stroke width etc.

I think the compact size of the Bamboo is a plus, it takes little
space on a desk and you can easily drop it in a laptop bag/backpack
and take it with you. The advantages of the bigger Intuos can be:

1) possibly comes with better tools by default: double-tip pen (the
2nd tip is a virtual "eraser") or wireless mouse that can be used on
the tablet
2) better size/resolution (maybe not too useful if you're making
sketches anyway)

Hope this helps,

Alex

On Jan 29, 2008 7:28 PM, Miranda McGill <miri at alum.mit.edu> wrote:
> Our team is looking to purchase Pen Tablets (rather than Tablet PCs) for
> sketching and quick prototyping. We're not doing intricate graphics work but
> nevertheless need something that is responsive, integrates seamlessly with
> our standard UI prototyping tools (Fireworks, Photoshop etc.), and
> preferably works with both PCs and Macs. I'm researching options and so far
> have narrowed it down to either the Wacom Intuos 6"x8" (more expensive) or
> Wacom Bamboo Fun 8.5"x5.3" (cheaper) -- but I'm open to other suggestions.
>
> All recommendations gratefully received -- also, I'm rather pressed for
> time, so responses asap would be much appreciated!
>
> Cheers,
> Miranda.
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
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Comments

29 Jan 2008 - 6:48pm
.pauric
2006

I've used wacom products for years and wouldnt recommend them for
prototyping/sketching. I feel the spacial disconnect between input and
screen creates too much dissonance to make it feel natural. Sketches
have too little fidelity, handwriting barely legible.

IMHO you're better off scanning hand drawn items in, or photographing
whiteboards. Then lasso/cut/paste the elements from those images in
to your prototyping tool.

Wacoms are designed for, and best suit, high end image manipulation.
Not free form fluid sketching.

That said, this is a personal opinion, I'm sure someone out there
probably loves rough sketching on a wacom?? If so, how do you do it?

29 Jan 2008 - 7:50pm
Michael Micheletti
2006

On Jan 29, 2008 3:48 PM, pauric <pauric at pauric.net> wrote:

> Wacoms are designed for, and best suit, high end image manipulation.
> Not free form fluid sketching.
>

I'm lost without my Wacom tablet (Intuos) pen for:
- curve manipulation in Illustrator
- painting and touch-ups in Photoshop

I've tried using a tablet PC with a Wacom pen driver (IBM X60) and found it
awkward to have my hand over the screen - using the separate tablet while
looking at the screen works better for me.

The Wacom mouse is a mixed bag. Very precise, but it needs to live on the
tablet. I'm constantly wiggling it around to get it back where it needs to
be.

Michael Micheletti

29 Jan 2008 - 6:22pm
Rob Nero
2005

I have used both options that you are researching. I use an older Intuos at
work, and I just got the Bamboo Fun for my girlfriend.

A big advantage to the Intuos tablets are their size. You can get various
sizes, though they can get quite expensive. I got the 6x8 at work. Since I
work for a big company, the cost wasn't an issue. I predominantly use the
wireless mouse on the tablet, and only occasionally use the pen. Only
sometimes do I run out of room and wish I had a larger tablet. I do similar
work as stated in your email: photoshop, prototyping, coding.

At home I do photo retouching on occasion, and have used various sizes
including an older 12x12 inch tablet. For retouching and heavy photoshop
work, bigger is really much nicer!

I just got my girlfriend the Bamboo Fun (comes with a mouse) for Christmas.
She hadn't used one before, and the interactions were VERY foreign to her. I
know it is taking her awhile to get used to it and use it more regularly.
The Bamboo comes in limited sizes. I would not recommend getting the smaller
one. Though it is cheaper, I think 4x6 is too small and can get frustrating.

Couple other random notes...
I have heard of people using tablets with a pen, instead of mice, to
alleviate wrist pain. I think the interaction with a pen is a more natural
position for your hand than a mouse.

The tablets can form "dead spots" over time. I have used the same tablet at
work for 4 years now, and I do notice on occasion that my mouse doesn't
respond. It is rare though. I think their typical lifespan is much longer
than 4 years, depending on use.

With all that said.... The tablets are wonderful, flexible, comfortable, and
worth the money! If cost is a big concern, get the cheaper one, but if you
can, get the Intuous 6x8 or 9x12.

Rob
:)

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Miranda
McGill
Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 1:28 PM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Pen Tablet recommendations sought

Our team is looking to purchase Pen Tablets (rather than Tablet PCs) for
sketching and quick prototyping. We're not doing intricate graphics work but
nevertheless need something that is responsive, integrates seamlessly with
our standard UI prototyping tools (Fireworks, Photoshop etc.), and
preferably works with both PCs and Macs. I'm researching options and so far
have narrowed it down to either the Wacom Intuos 6"x8" (more expensive) or
Wacom Bamboo Fun 8.5"x5.3" (cheaper) -- but I'm open to other suggestions.

All recommendations gratefully received -- also, I'm rather pressed for
time, so responses asap would be much appreciated!

Cheers,
Miranda. ________________________________________________________________
*Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe List Guidelines
....................... http://www.ixda.org/guidelines List Help ..................
http://www.ixda.org/help

30 Jan 2008 - 8:57am
jennifer fraser
2007

Miranda, As you can tell from the price point, the Bamboo tablet is an "entry level" tablet, whereas the Intuos is geared towards "professionals". The main distinctions between the two lines of tablets are the differences in sensitivity in the interaction between the stylus and the tablet. The Intuos is twice as sensitive to pressure change and it also recognizes the tilt of the stylus relative to the tablet. Whether or not this is significant to you will depend on what applications you are "drawing" with and whether or not the applications themselves have been designed to take advantage of that range of pressure sensitivity and the tilt of the stylus when you are drawing. As for Pauric's question about whether or not people are able to draw or sketch "digitally" as well as they can with traditional media, I think that one of the galleries on the PainterFactory website is a testament to that:http://painterfactory.com/photos/adapt_2007_art_expo/default.aspx Hope that helpsJennifer
_________________________________________________________________

30 Jan 2008 - 9:21am
Anonymous

Thank you all for your helpful advice and recommendations -- it's
very much appreciated!

--Miranda.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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30 Jan 2008 - 5:24pm
Jeff Seager
2007

bq.I've used wacom products for years and wouldnt recommend them for
prototyping/sketching.

I agree with Pauric if we're talking about the smaller Wacoms, but I
think their usefulness for prototyping is much improved if you use one
of the larger -- and more expensive -- models, like a 9x12 Intuos3 at
around $450 each ...

You'll have to be the judge, Miranda, but a bigger investment in the
*right* tool can pay back major dividends.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25265

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