Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > Curious about tablets.

Retoucher

Five Retouching

Posts: 51

Des Moines, Iowa, US

Hello everyone. Getting more and more into retouching, I'm noticing the perks of owning a tablet. I currently do not own a tablet, and do all of my editing with a mouse. Does anyone have any recommendations on a decent tablet that isn't too expensive? I'd like to get a cheaper one to get started with, and eventually move up to one that's a little nicer.

(Keep in mind I've never used any type of Wacom tablet, so I don't know what the real difference between the ones with no butons, with a few, with more, etc) So a reason explaining the perks of one tablet versus another would be amazing.

Nov 01 13 05:16 pm Link

Photographer

RovagoPhoto

Posts: 15

Roanoke, Virginia, US

If you want to try one out without big money, try this. PlugnPlay on my Win7 machine. Some included software is designed only for XP, but none is critical to linking the tab to graphics software.

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=1 … 1&format=2

Try the process and workflow without sinking lots of cash smile

Nov 01 13 05:44 pm Link

Photographer

Philip R

Posts: 597

Agoura Hills, California, US

Being left handed and working with a mouse in my right hand with no drawing skills made me buy a cheapie like the one above.

One of the best things ever!  It doesn't have the extra bells, but works great.

Nov 01 13 05:53 pm Link

Photographer

Marin Photography NYC

Posts: 7248

New York, New York, US

Wacom - Bamboo, it's night and day compared to a mouse with a pressure sensitive tip makes editing much more precise and accurate. I threw away my mouse. I don't ever use one now. I just use my finger.

Nov 01 13 06:01 pm Link

Photographer

pellepiano

Posts: 2282

Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden

I also use Bamboo from Wacom. The smallest ( A6 ) and cheapest and have done so for 5 years or so. Now Im into my second one.
The small one is good for me as I can lean back with the tablet in my lap smile, and use very small movements. Love the tablets.

Nov 02 13 12:36 am Link

Retoucher

Tincture

Posts: 110

New York, New York, US

I've never used anything but Wacom tablets, so I can't say what another brands' tablets are like.  You can get a used Intuos3 tablet for around $200 on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-Intuos3-8-I … B00030097G

It's a great investment.  I've had the same small intuos tablet for over a decade that I use at home, well worth the money I spent and then some.

Nov 02 13 09:52 am Link

Retoucher

Kristiana-Retouch

Posts: 289

London, England, United Kingdom

I have Intous 5 touch Medium

My experience/opinion:
1) Tablet is MUST have (increases work speed, hand won't get tired, better settings for brushes)
1) No need for touch - I switched it off, it's not responsive and felt weird
2) I don't use all the buttons - probably I should work on that, but I can do most of the things with keyboard or actions
3) No need for Medium size - Small is enough for standard retouching (I've set up approx. 1/4 of my tablet as active working area) Good thing though is that I can change my active area time to time just to prevent uneven usage of it)

Nov 02 13 12:06 pm Link

Retoucher

Five Retouching

Posts: 51

Des Moines, Iowa, US

I really appreciate all the info everyone. One question I do have about tablets and how the buttons work. Do you drag the pen around like a mouse and then press a button to activate it? Kind of like you would with a mouse? Does it have buttons that you can setup to act as the right and left click of the mouse?

Nov 02 13 12:44 pm Link

Photographer

Xande Assis Ret-ouch

Posts: 18

Uberaba, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Edit with tablet gives you comfort and precision. You will never touch on the mouse again. smile

Ps: Wacom Bamboo is the best deal.

Nov 02 13 01:15 pm Link

Retoucher

Abe Rempel

Posts: 96

Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Just be aware that this Wacom Bamboo many people talk about has recently been re-branded as the Intuos Pen/Intuos Pen & Touch. It's completely re-designed, but it still has the same (if not more) features for the same price. Some may prefer the old design, but I still highly recommend it.

So if you search for a brand new Wacom Bamboo, you won't find a pen tablet, since the Wacom Bamboo is now what the stylus' and touch pads are being called.

It's causing a lot of confusion among new tablet buyers since so many forums and articles suggest the old Wacom Bamboo.

Nov 02 13 08:03 pm Link

Retoucher

Five Retouching

Posts: 51

Des Moines, Iowa, US

Abe Rempel wrote:
Just be aware that this Wacom Bamboo many people talk about has recently been re-branded as the Intuos Pen/Intuos Pen & Touch. It's completely re-designed, but it still has the same (if not more) features for the same price. Some may prefer the old design, but I still highly recommend it.

So if you search for a brand new Wacom Bamboo, you won't find a pen tablet, since the Wacom Bamboo is now what the stylus' and touch pads are being called.

It's causing a lot of confusion among new tablet buyers since so many forums and articles suggest the old Wacom Bamboo.

That's very helpful, thank you very much. smile

Nov 02 13 09:32 pm Link

Photographer

Stephane Michaux

Posts: 15

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

I like using the Bamboo but I really struggle with the pen tip making the noise of a screwdriver on a slab of concrete. I wish it was softer. Fortunately, spare tips are provided.

I don't use the touch features for the same reason mentioned earlier: not responsive enough.

Nov 05 13 10:47 pm Link

Retoucher

Najan

Posts: 89

Poitiers, Poitou-Charentes, France

I have been using Wacom tablets since the past decade. I started with a small tablet, the Volito 2 A5, then had a Trust A4 lent to me while I was waiting for the Intuos 3 A5 wide. I'm now using an Intuos 5 Medium. So here the Pros and Cons of the Intuos.

INTUOS 3
PROS :
- The size, the A5 wide was as big as my 17" laptop – compared to my Volito 2 A5, it was a huge surprise.
- The buttons. It becomes so useful to just click on it and have your short cuts or actions done.
- The usable surface coating. Smooth. I rarely needed to buy nibs.
CONS :
- Buttons in both sides. So when working and using the stylus right-handed, the left buttons are really useful. The right buttons though are not practical. You have to stop your drawing gesture, then click on the right buttons, then go back to your gesture. Slightly unproductive. With time, you don't use so much the right buttons if you're right handed.
- The wire, take care of it. Don't wind it around your tablet if you travel a lot or it will dysfunction with time.
- The coating surrounding the usable surface. Some hard plastic. Looks like glass. Your hand sides which are in contact with it become sticky. Disagreeable.

Just a quick note for the Intuos 4 since I didn't bought it. Wacom corrected the button spaces to one side with led titles near it, add the touch ring which is really useful for zooming and de-zooming. Plus they add their new surface coating – which were enforcing the purchase of their nibs. Tablets become wireless. Surrounding surface still smooth.

INTUOS 5 – without the Touch option
PROS :
- Wireless, although it's a kit you have to buy apart between $40 to $70.
- The new cover surrounding the usable surface called soft-touch. Which is indeed really better. Your hand doesn't stick to the tablet any more. It's slightly rubbery.
- The usable surface coating is less textured.
- No led title for the buttons.
- The touch ring, wonderful for zooming/de-zooming or increasing/decreasing your brush size.
- Always the buttons.
CONS :
- The usable surface texture coating. You have to take extra care of your nibs and to it. It scratches easily.
- The buttons. The new soft-touch coating are just covering the buttons which are 'hollowed' into the tablet – they have no hard covering. It looks fragile. I'm always expecting for it to crack, and so have difficulties using them.

So, if you want to buy an Intos, buy the new one, which now is named Intuos Pro instead of Intuos 6. It's always an improvement to the last ones. I've seen for example that for the Intuos Pro, they've modified the covering for the buttons -- which can only be an improvement. Consider as well, that a Wacom needs to buy nibs regularly for its stylus. When buying a new product, you have the different nibs samples with your stylus to try with and see which one suit you the best. Still, it's another investment. Nibs are sold by pack of 5 and cost between $4,99 and $9,99 the pack.

I still prefer Wacom. The other concurrent brands use a battery for their stylus and I find it not practical and heavy. Although, I imagine that buying nibs can also be not practical as well.


ETA:

Five Retouching wrote:
One question I do have about tablets and how the buttons work. Do you drag the pen around like a mouse and then press a button to activate it? Kind of like you would with a mouse? Does it have buttons that you can setup to act as the right and left click of the mouse?

You can configure your buttons, pen pressure and touch ring functions with the Wacom properties installed with the pilot. Even delimit the usable surface. Here how it looks like : Wacom Properties (picture found here, couldn't upload mine, it's in French). You use the buttons like you will use your shortcuts. Wacom even add some patterns to the middles buttons since the I5 to use with touch recognition. So that you don't have to stop looking at your work to see which one you are using. The right click is done with the button on the stylus -- but you can change it if you wish. I guess. Never done it though.

Nov 08 13 08:33 am Link

Retoucher

RON IMAGES EDITED

Posts: 483

Miami, Florida, US

I have both the Intuos 4 and 5 ( Wacom ). would recommend.  Having a tablet will give you more precision.

Nov 10 13 07:46 pm Link

Retoucher

RON IMAGES EDITED

Posts: 483

Miami, Florida, US

RovagoPhoto wrote:
If you want to try one out without big money, try this. PlugnPlay on my Win7 machine. Some included software is designed only for XP, but none is critical to linking the tab to graphics software.

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=1 … 1&format=2

Try the process and workflow without sinking lots of cash smile

I had one of those and stop to use it after a week. If you are serious about this do not waist your money.

Nov 10 13 07:53 pm Link

Photographer

Good Egg Productions

Posts: 15707

Orlando, Florida, US

Five Retouching wrote:
I really appreciate all the info everyone. One question I do have about tablets and how the buttons work. Do you drag the pen around like a mouse and then press a button to activate it? Kind of like you would with a mouse? Does it have buttons that you can setup to act as the right and left click of the mouse?

I have the Intuous4, so I can only speak for it, but I will assume the Bamboo and the 5 are similar if not identical.

My pen has the point (used for drawing, whatever) that acts like a button when you tap.  It has an eraser on the other end that is mated to the eraser fuction.  It also has two buttons (a rocker) at the thumb area that acts as a click and double-click wherever you are.

On the tablet itself, there are 8 buttons and a scroll wheel with a center button for a total of 9 on the tablet.  These buttons are ALL completely user-defined and you can assign any function to them.  I leave them on default and just learned to use them as is.  And I DO use them almost constantly while retouching.  Not ever otherwise.

If you're serious about retouching, I can't imagine how much time you're spending doing what you can do in seconds with a tablet. 

I highly recommend the Intuous line.  A bamboo will do, but if you want to only buy once, I'd suggest Intuous.  A small is probably fine, but I have a medium.

Nov 10 13 08:10 pm Link

Artist/Painter

Crees Cove

Posts: 61

Milledgeville, Georgia, US

My boyfriend doesn't recommend the plug ins. He says it's better to go for the bamboo tablets.

Nov 15 13 10:06 am Link

Photographer

BillyVegas

Posts: 394

Chicago, Illinois, US

Touchscreen monitor > all tablets

Nov 21 13 06:29 am Link

Retoucher

Five Retouching

Posts: 51

Des Moines, Iowa, US

I seem to be unable to find where in photoshop I turn off pen pressure and size affected by pressure? (The buttons next to opacity and flow are already turned off)

Nov 24 13 07:07 am Link

Retoucher

Najan

Posts: 89

Poitiers, Poitou-Charentes, France

If it's not the buttons, then open your Brush Window and verify if the Transfer parameters are ticked. If so, uncheck them or select "Off".

http://imageshack.com/a/img690/7981/2mdk.jpg

Nov 24 13 07:34 am Link

Retoucher

Five Retouching

Posts: 51

Des Moines, Iowa, US

Najan wrote:
If it's not the buttons, then open your Brush Window and verify if the Transfer parameters are ticked. If so, uncheck them or select "Off".

http://imageshack.com/a/img690/7981/2mdk.jpg

Thanks, I ended up finding this. When I turn this off, will it turn it off for good? I feel like I did this yesterday, and then had to do it again today. But it may have been for different types of brushes.

Nov 24 13 07:41 am Link

Retoucher

Najan

Posts: 89

Poitiers, Poitou-Charentes, France

It should be. Although one could never know what will happen with Photoshop and Wacom drivers incompatibilities.

You may want to check also if the parameters are not recorded if you use the Actions. It has never troubled me but I'm always using the tablet so I might not have paid attention to it.

Nov 24 13 07:49 am Link

Retoucher

Daniel Meadows

Posts: 757

Manchester, England, United Kingdom

I started with a Bamboo, now using an Intuos4. Both small on the recommendation of retouchers who'd rather use the wrist than the full arm to retouch on a larger tablet, I'd agree with them and you definitely don't need a larger size. Someone with a bigger tablet may tell you otherwise!

Either way the Bamboo is the ideal starting point, and you don't necessarily need to upgrade. Intuos just have nicer pens smile

Nov 25 13 07:39 am Link

Retoucher

Daniel Meadows

Posts: 757

Manchester, England, United Kingdom

Personal preference here, of the two 'rocker' buttons, map the nib side button to pan/scroll and the rearmost button to right click.

Nov 25 13 07:42 am Link

Retoucher

Five Retouching

Posts: 51

Des Moines, Iowa, US

Daniel Meadows wrote:
Personal preference here, of the two 'rocker' buttons, map the nib side button to pan/scroll and the rearmost button to right click.

That's actually exactly how mine is setup. It was already like that when I first set it up, I like the layout.

Nov 25 13 09:01 am Link