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Author Topic: Graphics tablets for beginners.  (Read 3512 times)

Kerrin

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Graphics tablets for beginners.
« on: 26 August, 2008, 07:08:00 pm »
I've been looking at buying a graphics tablet for amateur doodlings and wondered if anyone has any advice about the cheaper end of the market. Wacom seem to have some cheapish (£50-£150) products that come with basic drawing/colour programs that get good reviews on amazon. Any advice would be greatly welcome.

It's for use with a Macbook, don't know if that will make a difference.

McMonkeyBoy

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Re: Graphics tablets for beginners.
« Reply #1 on: 26 August, 2008, 08:20:04 pm »
There's a 21 quid Trust one in ASDA and get yourself a copy of photoshop (upto you wether you choose the paying option or the keygen option).

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Graphics tablets for beginners.
« Reply #2 on: 26 August, 2008, 08:23:00 pm »
Quote from: "Kerrin"
I've been looking at buying a graphics tablet for amateur doodlings and wondered if anyone has any advice about the cheaper end of the market. Wacom seem to have some cheapish (£50-£150) products that come with basic drawing/colour programs that get good reviews on amazon. Any advice would be greatly welcome.

It's for use with a Macbook, don't know if that will make a difference.

The cut down version of Painter that ships with some of the Wacoms is essentially useless, IMO. However, the Wacom Intuos A5 that I bought recently is a great piece of kit and works a treat with my MacBook.

I've also used A6 tablets and, although they take a bit more getting used to, they are perfectly useable, so I figure this is a good option at the top end of your price bracket:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Intuos-Wide-Tab ... 58&sr=8-12

I've heard perfectly positive things about the Bamboo tablets at the bottom end of the range, but I've never used one.

For art software, I believe Photoshop Elements is the way to go unless you have a desperate need for the CMYK colour mode, so I would favour a tablet that has it bundled ...

Cheers!

Jim
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Bongo Jack

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Re: Graphics tablets for beginners.
« Reply #3 on: 26 August, 2008, 09:55:45 pm »
If you're new to the technology, there's no hurry to get anything expensive.  My first tablet was a 20 quid job from Tesco, and after bashing at it like that monkey from 2001 at those bones, I gradually got the hang of things.  Plus, some of the bells and whistles on the expensive tablets can be a bit confusing - the touchpad ones can be a nightmare to use until you figure out calibration and touch-sensitivity settings, for instance, and also might require you to upgrade your video card.  likewise, even basic models with good tech support might need a patch to run on Vista - like 99 percent of everything else on the market.
A good art programme is essential.  No illegal downloading, though - if you can blow 50 quid on a tablet, you can spend a measly 800 nicker on a copy of Photoshop.

This would be the thread to ask, I imagine - does anyone have any tips for brush settings in photoshop?  I'm trying to get something that looks vaguely like a natural brush stroke.  I've adjusted stuff like opacity, flow, changed the brush settings to a mix of multiply, burn, dodge, normal, but it all just swirls together after a while and I'm lost at this stage.
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IndigoPrime

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Re: Graphics tablets for beginners.
« Reply #4 on: 26 August, 2008, 10:08:41 pm »
Quote from: "Kerrin"
It's for use with a Macbook, don't know if that will make a difference.
I write for a bunch of Mac publications, including MacFormat. My advice: get a Wacom Bamboo (not the cheaper Bamboo One) or a Graphire4 if you can find one for under 60 quid. Wacom's kit is good low-end stuff, but is of a high enough quality to work properly with, and it's fine with Macs.

Wils

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Re: Graphics tablets for beginners.
« Reply #5 on: 26 August, 2008, 10:58:36 pm »
Another vote for the Wacom Bamboo here. I've got one of them at work and a Graphire3 at home. Both do the job I need them for and neither have failed me yet. Still can't draw for toffee with them, though. :s

James

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Re: Graphics tablets for beginners.
« Reply #6 on: 28 August, 2008, 11:08:09 pm »
I started with a Trust A5 Tablet (about £60 7 years ago).

Once I upgraded to a Wacom A5 Intuos 3 it made the Trust look like a toy. The difference was amazing.

Couple of tips. Try taping a bit of paper over the board for more friction and a natural feel and use a felt nib on the pen.



DO IT!

Kerrin

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Re: Graphics tablets for beginners.
« Reply #7 on: 29 August, 2008, 08:16:03 pm »
Thanks for all the advice peeps. Think I'll probably bite the bullet and go for an intuos 3 off ebay and try inkscape before I shell out for software.

Cheers Kerrin.

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Richmond Clements

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Re: Graphics tablets for beginners.
« Reply #8 on: 30 August, 2008, 12:36:59 pm »
Help me!

We've an older wacom, with an olde fashoned pin connection thingy, and an adaptor to plug it into the usb through.

Since having the computer debugged after a virus however, we cannot get the bloody thing running on the puter again.

I've tried the obvious routes- first installing the driver for the adaptor lead. But I cannot get any further than that, as the puter just is not seeing the wacom when I plug it into the lead.

Help please!

James

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Re: Graphics tablets for beginners.
« Reply #9 on: 30 August, 2008, 03:44:54 pm »

Bongo Jack

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Re: Graphics tablets for beginners.
« Reply #10 on: 30 August, 2008, 04:01:59 pm »
Might be an idea to download the driver for the tablet directly from the internets, then install it before plugging the tablet in.  I've had to do that a couple of times.  Also, you could try connecting the tablet to the computer directly rather than through a hub or adaptor.  If you've been fiddling about inside the PC at any point, you might have loosened pins near usb sockets, too.
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johnnystress

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Re: Graphics tablets for beginners.
« Reply #11 on: 30 August, 2008, 05:15:00 pm »
Quote from: "Bongo Jack"
This would be the thread to ask, I imagine - does anyone have any tips for brush settings in photoshop?  I'm trying to get something that looks vaguely like a natural brush stroke.  I've adjusted stuff like opacity, flow, changed the brush settings to a mix of multiply, burn, dodge, normal, but it all just swirls together after a while and I'm lost at this stage.


The cheaper tablets like Trust  sometimes don't allow for pen/brush pressure sensitivity, which renders them pretty useless.

Better off with a wacom if you can afford it

Richmond Clements

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Re: Graphics tablets for beginners.
« Reply #12 on: 30 August, 2008, 05:58:16 pm »
Quote
Also, you could try connecting the tablet to the computer directly rather than through a hub or adaptor.

If only. The computer doesn't have the connection on the back- hence the need for the adaptor.

I think the problem is with getting the computer to recgognise the adaptor...

Bongo Jack

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Re: Graphics tablets for beginners.
« Reply #13 on: 30 August, 2008, 07:57:25 pm »
Quote from: "johnnystress"
The cheaper tablets like Trust  sometimes don't allow for pen/brush pressure sensitivity, which renders them pretty useless.

Better off with a wacom if you can afford it

I'm using a Wacom 12wx at the moment - the calibration's almost useless, but the pressure sensitivity is decent enough.  Slippy-slidey working area, too.  Vista seems to have a tablet/pen driver built-in as part of handwriting recognition software that has a decent pressure/sensitivity range, so that might have offset the damage with some of my older tablets.
I used to have a few Trust ones because they were dead cheap, but they were tempermental beasts over time.  I had an XP-Pen tablet for ages, though, and if you're on a budget, I'd reccommend it over some of the more expensive tablets I'd taken for a test drive.  It doesn't have any bells or whistles, and the working area is minute, but it costs 20 quid, so you can't really say you don't know what you're getting - it's better than I expected, and I didn't feel compelled to upgrade in any hurry, so that allowed me to save up for something half-decent.

Quote from: " His Lordship rac"
If only. The computer doesn't have the connection on the back- hence the need for the adaptor.

I think the problem is with getting the computer to recgognise the adaptor...

Probably no help if you don't want to be spending money, but it'd be an idea to install a couple of (extra?) USB ports in the front of the pc for easy access.  It saved a hell of a lot of fiddling and headaches when I finally got around to doing it.  You can get second-hand ones for buttons if you know how to connect them yourself.
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Queen Firey-Bou

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Re: Graphics tablets for beginners.
« Reply #14 on: 04 September, 2008, 10:39:02 am »
It wasnt the lack of usb port that was the problem, further searchings by his ever patient lordship revealed that the adapter lead from usb to fat long pin was the problem, so we got a new one et Voila! we can draw digital again! just in the nick of deadline time too.