This is the first in a series of reviews and tutorials I will be doing for Renderosity. Some of you might remember my columns from about two years ago. I am always interested in readers' input and I hope you will let me know what type of columns you would like to see. My columns will deal with a number of Poser and Vue tutorials in the near future as well as a special on Corel's Painter IX.
I am still surprised when I speak to fellow graphic users and they do not know what a digitizing tablet is. I have been using one for the past fifteen years and don't even leave home without one. I have a 6" x 8" older model Wacom that I carry with me in my laptop case. Try writing your name the width of the lead from a #2 pencil with a bar of soap. Then try doing the same with that #2 pencil. Take the test. If you do not use a digitizing tablet, your mouse is your bar of soap. I'm not saying you cannot work in graphic programs, but you are soooooooooo limited. Digitizing tablets are pressure sensitive. There are over 100 programs that accept pressure sensitivity. On Wacom's website, you can check whether your favorite program has that capability. Go to: http://www.wacom.com/productinfo/tes.cfm
Below are some examples of brush strokes from Photoshop CS and Painter IX that demonstrate pressure sensitivity.
|Some Pressure Sensitivity Controls and Examples
For those who do not know what digitizing or graphic tablets are, they are tablets that connect to your computer, now through the USB port, and interact with a special electronic mouse, pen, ink pen, or airbrush tool to create lines that appear on your screen. The pressure imput or tilt of the stylus causes changes in the output as seen by the examples above. There are even some graphic tablets that double as your computer screen, but, I am not discussing those. They are the Cintiq series. This article addresses the Intuos 3 which is the latest in the Intuos line.
The Intuos 3 comes in three sizes (actual working area): 4" x 5" for $219.95, 6" x 8" for $329.95, and 9" x 12 " for $449.95.
A mouse and a grip pen come with it as well as a number of excellent graphic programs. Other accessories can be purchased separately. The full line of accessories are:
Once you purchase a digitizing tablet from Wacom or if you already own one, certain software can be purchased at reduced prices. For more information got to: http://www.wacom.com/intuosprivileges/index.cfm. Also, one can purchase Painter IX and an Intuos 3 at a tremendous savings. See Corel.
If you look at the picture of the Intuos 3 above, you will notice tablet keys to the right and left of the pressure sensitive pad as well as the Touch Strip.You can customize the keys. So, for example, if you do a lot of undoes, you can customize a left key for undo and its right equivalent for something else. Really a nice time saver! If you will notice, in the menu below next to applications, the selected icon is Painter IX. You can individualize the tablet keys and the touch strip for different programs. Or you can apply them to all programs. The touch strip is especially good for zooming and scrolling.
Some of the other features of the Intuos 3 are:
- "Ergonomic design with sloping, contoured palm rest for comfort
- Multiple cord positions for greater workspace flexibility
- 8 ft. cable allows you to kick back while you work
- 1,024 levels of tip and eraser pressure sensitivity for control
- Cushioned, contoured grip with programmable DuoSwitch™ for comfort and productivity
- Three nib styles included for a variety of "feels"
- Tilt sensitivity for even more control"
(From the Wacom website)
For more information, go to the Wacom website of http://www.wacom.com. There you will also find tips and tricks and a lot of other information. In addition, Wacom sells refurbished tablets.
I cannot imagine using any type of graphic program without my digitizing tablet. It has become an extension of my arm and hand.
© Paula Sanders 2004
The Paula Sanders Report
is a regular Renderosity Front Page featured column,
where Paula investigates and comments on
graphic software, techniques, and other relevant material
through her reviews, tutorials, and general articles.