You decided to buy the first graphics tablet of your life. How to choose such a device? What characteristics should it have, what requirements should it meet in order to become a truly faithful companion and assistant to a novice designer? We are ready to answer these questions.
What is a graphics tablet
A graphic tablet is a device when drawing on which the drawing on the display is converted to a digital image. A graphic tablet is distinguished from a regular tablet or smartphone by a high input accuracy, and the process itself is simplified since such drawing uses not a mouse or touchpad, but a special stylus
Actually, it was graphic tablets that in their time became the prototypes of modern “tablets” with touch screens, since this gadget is quite old – the first such devices appeared back in the middle of the last century.
So, as you might guess, a graphics tablet consists of two parts: a display for drawing and an electronic stylus. In addition, usually a special stand for an input device, as well as a wireless mouse, is included in the package of a graphic tablet.It is worth noting that modern graphics tablets have long gone away from narrowly professional use only in design because today they have all the qualities of a good computer. That is why these devices are actively working in many other industries, for example, in pedagogy.
Nevertheless, a graphic tablet remains as a practically necessary gadget for an artist who sells his pictures via the Internet or draws to order, because on the tablet you can draw something very quickly, in high quality, and there is no need to digitize something.
What are the best graphics tablets?
What parameters should an ideal graphic tablet for a beginner meet? It is no secret that for most of the beginning artists, the main parameter when buying is a low price . The simplest tablet models cost from 3000 rubles. – for example, Genius EasyPen i405.
However, other qualities are equally important, for example, the correct operation with any type of image, the absence of false positives for accidental contact, the speed of work, the presence of express buttons, the battery life of both the tablet and the pen, its sensitivity, presence (or absence) ) display display …. You can list for a long time.
However, understanding all of these features and exactly what criteria your ideal graphics tablet should meet is a matter of the future. In the meantime, we will deal with those parameters that lie on the surface. For example, with size.
When choosing a tablet for a beginner, of course, it is just necessary to take into account this particular factor – the screen size . For graphic tablets, this parameter is measured in the same way as for monitors: diagonally and in inches . However, strangely enough, in the case of this type of gadget, the large screen does not guarantee the quality of the picture at all, because it can not guarantee anything at all, except for your skill and talent. For a beginner, 4 ″ by 5 ″ or 6 ″ by 8 ″ will be sufficient . At the same time, many even experienced artists prefer small graphic tablets, when using which you practically do not need to move your hands.
Such gadgets, according to developers, are intended for home use, but this is exactly the case when the real scope of the device is wider than planned at the time of creation. Although their size does not exceed the parameters of sheet A4 or A5 , however, ease of use redeems everything. Models of the A3 format , which are equipped with a sensitive stylus , working in high resolution , are usually used not in drawing, but rather in engineering and construction.
Of course, the tablet screen resolution is also important: the line sizes depend on it, it affects the sensitivity of the stylus. Again, we recommend that you do not try to immediately buy a professional device for many thousands of rubles. For a beginner, a resolution of 2–2.5 thousand lpi (lines per inch, in contrast to dpi, pixels per inch) is enough, although, of course, if you like to draw on a tablet and you will do it professionally, you will need to upgrade the device choose a gadget with lpi from 5000 and higher.
When buying a graphics tablet, you also need to consider such a criterion as the display form factor . They can range from almost square (4: 3, 16:10) to widescreen (16: 9). In fact, when drawing, this characteristic is not particularly important, but when connecting the tablet to the monitor – very, very. If the form factors of the paired devices do not match, it is likely that the output to the screen will be significantly distorted, and this is insulting, agree.
Joystick for a designer
Understanding what parameters to choose a graphics tablet, you can not say a few words about digital pens . Although the stylus, or digital pen, looks like an imitation of a pen, it is not. In fact, this is such a multifunctional joystick for the designer , probably the most important feature of which is pressure sensitivity . It is measured in levels and ranges from 512 to 8192 .
The average home devices for novice designers have a sensitivity of 1024 or 2048 levels . Any of these two numbers will suit you, but very thin single-pixel strokes are almost never used in amateur drawing, and the variable sensitivity of the stylus is not really needed – this is the only difference between highly sensitive styluses of expensive professional models and a stylus with 1024 sensitivity levels. It gives sufficient control of pressing, and the width of the brush here varies in the range from 20 to 50 pixels.
In addition to the sensitivity factor to pressing, the pen can recognize the angle of inclination, switch between different operating modes, etc. – to lose or break this device for the artist is a big problem, although, of course, styluses are sold not only complete with graphic tablets, but also separately.
Each manufacturer strives to make the digital pen for their tablets as light as possible . The undisputed leader in this matter is Wacom , which has developed such styluses that do not need either batteries or batteries. Also, they are not connected to the tablet by any wire, which makes it easier for the artist to draw.
Drivers and Interfaces
In order to “make friends” a graphics tablet with a computer and try out all the richness of its functions, you must install the appropriate model drivers. Usually they come immediately complete with a tablet, and we strongly advise against ignoring this step. The fact is that it is the drivers that control many aspects of the gadget, allowing it to be adapted to your needs as much as possible, to set up menus, function buttons, and so on.
In addition, manufacturers usually attach the necessary “creative” software to tablets, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter Essentials and others.
As for the interfaces, modern tablets in most cases are equipped with USB. By connecting the tablet to the monitor using a wire, you can move the gadget on the table or even work on your lap – a matter of taste.
Of course, there are tablets with a wireless connection. It can be Bluetooth, a radio connection or Wi-Fi, but such devices are much more expensive.
So, you are almost ready to purchase a graphics tablet: which one to choose is not a secret for you. And yet today there are many different manufacturers offering these types of gadgets – from not at all expensive to professional, whose cost is comparable to a helicopter rotor. Let’s figure out for which target audience each of the developers is trying.
Deservedly the leader in this sector, of course, Wacom . This supplier produces a variety of models, but does not change its course on quality and convenience. The tablets he produces can work under Macintosh and Windows. Probably the most popular rulers for beginners here are One by Wacom , as well as Bamboosmartpads that combine Multi-Touch technology and the functions of traditional pen tablets. The vast majority of devices from this series are equipped with 4 programmable buttons, have A5 and A6 format, a resolution of 2540 lpi and 512 sensitivity levels.
The more professional Wacom tablet line is Intuos . Of course, it differs from Bamboo, which were originally designed as children’s devices, with a wealth of functionality. For example, Intuos5 allows you to draw directly on the touch screen. These are professional tablets with a resolution of 5080 lpi and pen sensitivity from 1024 to 2048 lpi. The sizes of the working surfaces that respond to a significant inclination of the stylus vary from A3 to A6.
Popular among aspiring artists is Genius . This, indeed, is a great option for beginners – although the digital pens of this manufacturer work on batteries, which makes the stylus heavier, but the low price atone for inconvenience. I would like to mention the Genius EasyPen i405 model , the size of which is equal to A4 format, the stylus works with 1024 pressure levels, and the resolution is 2540 lpi.
In recent years, graphic tablets from the Chinese manufacturer Huion have also enjoyed success . The prices here are really quite affordable, and the desire to use the latest technical developments justifies some of the roughness in the operation of the devices.