Need New Graphics Tablet
May 27, 2004 8:28 AM   Subscribe

I've been drawing a comic book, and I'm assembling and coloring the pages in Photoshop. My old 4 X 5 Wacom Graphire 3 tablet seems to be falling short of my needs (poor tracking, and meager pressure sensitivity), and I was looking for opinions about replacing it with a 4 X 5 Intuos tablet (twice the pressure sensitivity) or a larger Graphire 3 (6 X 8)?

posted by jpburns to Shopping (10 answers total)
If you're concerned with pressure sensitivity, get the 4x5 Intuos2. It's a trade off between size and quality here, and it sounds like you're more concerned with quality.

I've found the Graphire feels really loose compared to the Intuos (though I'm not a visual artist, just an input device junkie).

Gabe over at Penny Arcade does nice work with his 12x18 Intuos2. The only difference between the 12x18 and the 4x5 is size (and, well, price). Pressure levels, resolution, accuracy, etc. are all the same.
posted by amery at 8:50 AM on May 27, 2004

I have a 9x12 Intuos and a 4x5 Graphire. The Intuos feels better, both in terms of sensitivity and quality of parts. The Graphire pen and entire tablet area just feels cheap to me. And as an additional downside, none of the fancy Intuos accessories are compatible with the Graphire.

If you're going to invest in a new tablet, I'd go for an Intuos2 in as large a size as you can afford & are comfortable with. The Graphire (regardless if it's larger than your Intuos purchase or not) is better suited as a travel tablet.
posted by Sangre Azul at 9:07 AM on May 27, 2004

I LOVE Wacom tablets and can't imagine living without them. Having said that, I feel like I wasted my money when I upgraded from a 4x5 Intuos to a 12x18 one. This is because when I draw, I tend to only work on about a 4x5 area of the 12x18 tablet.

But I'm sure this comes down to drawing style. Mine is pretty tight. If you like to make big, expressive brushstrokes, you'll want a larger tablet.
posted by grumblebee at 10:00 AM on May 27, 2004

i'd agree with grumblebee - 12x18 is a bit large. as a kid i mostly drew on standard A4 paper, and now i find that i don't naturally use larger brushstrokes. it sounds like your primary concern is better pressure sensing and so on - go for the intuos. it really is better. since you're already used to working with a 4x5 tablet, and it doesn't sound like you've too many complaints about the size, go for the quality.

[i've been looking longingly at the intuos tablets myself - they make my first-generation 4x5 wacom tablet seem so crude. perhaps when i'm less broke.]
posted by ubersturm at 10:48 AM on May 27, 2004

if there is any way, go for the intuos and get a large enough tablet that it doesn't do any proportional scaling. I think 9 x 12 is perfect size. I wouldn't know what to do with something larger, but always felt consticted with anything smaller(I have slowly worked my way up to to 9 x 12 from 4 x 5).

I think the 9 x 12 is kind of expensive but I really beleive its worth it, particularly for long strokes and a sense of WYSIWYG between tablet surface area and screen area.

good luck with the comic!
posted by darkpony at 12:23 PM on May 27, 2004

I have a 9x12 Intuos. It's quite old (serial, before they had a usb tablet) but works as well as the day I got it -- sturdy and reliable, and quite precise. I've found that it's very difficult to get an exact mark with a 4x5 tablet. I'm astonished at grumblebee's ability to work with that, but different strokes for different folks. (Haha, strokes! Strokes! Get it? Er..)

Perhaps a used/older Intuos would make a larger one affordable. They really do hold up well.
posted by Hypharse at 12:24 PM on May 27, 2004

I don't work with it, I work on a 12x18, but I never touch the majority of the space.
posted by grumblebee at 12:38 PM on May 27, 2004

i like the 6x8 for comic work [flatting].

a couple of things....if you color your comic the real [industry standard-ish] totally turn off all sensitivity while you do your color flatting. It is all just selection areas and solid colors.

for doing the coloring ['rendering', shading, etc...] it depends on your style....but a lot of your initial work can also be done with low sensitivity using selection areas and grads.

once you get to the rendering with brush strokes phase...that is where you may want a bigger tablet and bigger display. [bigger display allows you to have more pages up at once, makes for better color/mood matching thru the book.]

you may just need a slightly bigger tablet and some practice with it.

if you want some sort of tutorial advice on how to flat and color just email may be doing a lot of extra work-- depending on your art style--and running into problems that have already been solved.
posted by th3ph17 at 3:18 PM on May 27, 2004

I use a 4x5 intuous2, but basically it depends on your stroke size and desk space. If you use very large strokes you might need a larger one, but remember when you are working on the computer, the pad maps to the screen, not the drawing, so you can always zoom in or out. I have a friend who is a more serious artist with the 12x18 and he says it is way too big. I thought the 4x5 would be too small, but its perfect for me, since i usually work in small notebooks.

See if you can have a demo of a couple different sizes somewhere, if they only have the small one, see how it feels and you can always take it back (if you buy it from the right place).

But, yeah, tablets change the desktop experience so drastically, you will wonder why you didnt get one sooner.
posted by lkc at 1:14 AM on May 28, 2004

Thanks for the suggestions. Most helpful.
posted by jpburns at 6:08 AM on May 28, 2004

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