What size Wacom tablet do I need?
February 19, 2009 3:24 PM   Subscribe

Do I want a wide aspect Wacom tablet, or should I go with the standard one?

I'm going to be getting a Wacom Intuous tablet, but I'm not sure which one I should get. I was thinking of getting the 6x8, but I have a wide monitor; a Syncmaster 2493hm displaying at 1920x1200. Should I go for the wide aspect 6x11 tablet? Will it even matter? If so, how?
posted by unreason to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What do you use it for?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:29 PM on February 19, 2009

I can't imagine getting a bigger one and wishing you had a smaller one, unless desk space is at a premium. Do you wish you had a smaller monitor?
posted by desjardins at 3:32 PM on February 19, 2009

My uneducated answer, based on this review - it can be helpful. I haven't used a tablet before, though I've lusted after them. My initial thought would be that they simply provide more input space, but there is also the fact that the input space is reflected on the screen. If you will be using the full screen, it may well be a good idea.

Ideally, you'd find a place to try them out. But I don't know any good resource for finding local distributors of tablets.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:32 PM on February 19, 2009

Match your monitor.

Typically your tablet will correspond 1:1 with your monitor -- a bit of wiggle in h/w ratio is fine, but the closer they are the more natural it'll feel.
posted by devbrain at 3:32 PM on February 19, 2009

Response by poster: Sorry, I should've said what I was using it for. I'm going to be doing some sketching and art with it. I'm not a pro, but I'd like to get a nice tablet and start doing some amateur stuff. I'd pretty much decided on the 6x8 Intuous as a good compromise between the low cost Bamboos at the ridiculously expensive models, when I noticed that they have a different tablet for wide aspects.
posted by unreason at 3:36 PM on February 19, 2009

Check out this previous thread where I tried to answer this and other questions about Wacom tablets.

The basic idea is this. Get the best tablet you can get (Intuos 3) -- you will not regret it.

It is possible, in the driver, to change the aspect ratio of a non-widescreen tablet to match your widescreen display. The problem is that you will be cropping/throwing away part of your usable tablet space.

I say, if your screen is wide, get a Wacom with a matching aspect ratio.
posted by fake at 3:45 PM on February 19, 2009

Artist and designer here! You want a widescreen version of the Wacom. As devbrain said, it must match the aspect ratio of your monitor, and yours is a widescreen, not 4:3.

When I upgraded to a widescreen monitor, I had to ditch my 4:3 model (thank you, eBay), as it didn't allow me to make full use of the screen! I would actually have to literally and physically move my tablet over a bit as I worked, to get it to "understand" that I had more screen space and needed to use it. Clearly, that is absurd. Go with widescreen.

It's not a matter of how amateur you are. It's a matter of what's technically appropriate for you.
posted by metalheart at 3:48 PM on February 19, 2009

It is possible, in the driver, to change the aspect ratio of a non-widescreen tablet to match your widescreen display.

May have just been an issue with my computer or drivers, but I never could get that to work for me, personally, so it made the tablet of the wrong aspect ratio double unusable.
posted by metalheart at 3:53 PM on February 19, 2009

I use a pretty old Intuous 4:3 tablet with my 1920x1200 screen. I really can't see the bother - the entire drawing area is mapped to the screen through the driver, through a lil' stretch-distortion.

Whilst this doesn't matter to me, I'm not a proper artist / illustrator, so I can't speak for people with those skills. There may well be a mental preference for a tablet that matches the aspect ratio of the screen.

When in doubt, buy the best you can get. Wacom tablets are rock solid - mine is a good six years old and is still going strong, although my chewing habit destroyed the eraser end of the stylus a long time ago.
posted by sektah at 4:05 PM on February 19, 2009

Well, I worked with a double monitor setup (wide screen on both) AND with my 4:3 tablet and while it took a day or so to get used to it after awhile I really didn't notice it. My typical set up is drawing area on the left and tools and palettes on the second monitor on the right.

I generally recommend that people start out with the smaller tablet. The larger the tablet, the more room you need on your desk. If you think you are going to be going back and forth between keyboard and tablet, then you might want to stick with the smaller. But, I think for heavy duty sketching/image manipulation that you can work almost solely on the tablet. And, in that case, a bigger one might be more fun. Anyone care to chime in on that?

And I agree with Sektah. My tablet is awesome. I love it. And I've used it for a solid six years without it ever pooping out. I don't think you'll go wrong with a wide screen but if you need to start with something else then you shouldn't worry about it too much. How's that for a wishy-washy answer?
posted by amanda at 4:35 PM on February 19, 2009

The stretch-distortion should not be a problem. Remapping the coordinate frames of the different sensory inputs to bring them into alignment is something that the human nervous system is REALLY good at doing.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 5:43 PM on February 19, 2009

My Wacom tablet can crop part of the drawing area to match the aspect ratio.
posted by archagon at 10:36 PM on February 19, 2009

(Note: you need to install the official Wacom drivers for this.)
posted by archagon at 10:36 PM on February 19, 2009

I have a fairly big one, and only use a small part of the surface area (which I've mapped with the drivers). I would've bought a smaller one if I had known this.
posted by fantasticninety at 6:30 PM on February 20, 2009

« Older Photographer access to restricted areas   |   Getting the lard out before Lent. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.