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Thread: Graphics Tablets and Tablet PCs

  1. #1
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Graphics Tablets and Tablet PCs

    A two-part question, if I may.

    There’s not much in the forum about Graphics Tablets. Does that mean:
    a) there’s not many people using them or,
    b) it’s so obvious that everyone has one that it isn’t worth talking about?

    And the second part is – If it’s a ‘must have’, do any of the IT experts know if I could connect up my Tablet PC to the PC and get is to behave like a graphics tablet? If so, how?

    I use a Tablet PC (HP tc4400) for work and as Colin wrote about graphics tablets in an earlier thread, you do get into a "you can take my tablet when you prise it from my cold, dead fingers" mode. I couldn’t live without it. Great for handwriting notes at meetings etc and then automatically having it converted to text. Also do a lot with Mindjet MindMapping software.
    Last edited by Donald; 8th May 2009 at 04:46 PM.

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    Re: Graphics Tablets and Tablet PCs

    I am not in any position to answer part 2; all the really technical computer stuff just goes right over my head.

    But I purchased my first Graphics Tablet around 5 years ago and wouldn't be without one now. I find the bigger sizes are a lot easier to use but the better ones are expensive and the cheapie versions only last me around 2 years.

    My first one was around 8 x 6 ins and cost £50. When that one died I bought a Wacom A5 size for around £150 (which really hurt). And a couple of days later a friend, who knew that I needed a new tablet, turned up with a Tevion 12 x 8 ins for £25, so I put the Wacom back in it's box and used that for about 2 years until it also went faulty. My friend then produced an old Wacom 12 x 12 ins, which he had previously used in his business. So we settled on £55.

    I find the bigger sizes are much easier to use as I get shaky hand results from the A5 size.

    But, and this is the important part. It all depends on what you are doing. For drawing selections, masking or brushing out parts of images/masks etc then there is nothing to beat a tablet. Try writing your name with a mouse compared with a pen (although my handwriting always looks like a drunken spider fell into an inkwell) but that is the difference.

    However, it can be expensive if you don't really need that sort of item. So what exactly do you want to do with your images, and can you afford one of the better models or would it be cheaper to keep buying the throw away alternatives.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Graphics Tablets and Tablet PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    But, and this is the important part. It all depends on what you are doing. For drawing selections, masking or brushing out parts of images/masks etc then there is nothing to beat a tablet.
    Geoff
    Many thanks for your reply.
    I was indeed thinking about the sort of activity you refer to. For example, I've downloaded trial versions of a couple of HDR packages. Have to say they don't make a lot of sense to me (but that's me and not the packages, I'm sure). What I do enjoy however is slapping a couple of images together using masks and getting the paint brush out. It's maybe the 'old-fashioned way' and slower, but it's great fun.
    So the next part of this journey of discovery is finding out if I can get my Tablet PC to perform as a graphics tablet.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Graphics Tablets and Tablet PCs

    Hi Donald,

    Here's an idea just based on a quick google with "using tablet PC as graphics tablet on desktop pc", the first answer it returned probably won't help, as it was using the tablet PC with photoshop on so you looked down at the pen to see what you're doing.

    I see a few problems with this, but putting most aside, we'll concentrate on the tablet screen not being at an ideal viewing angle (or possibly quality) to assess exposure and WB whilst revealing layers as you suggest working. It occurred to me that if you used your desktop PCs monitor (only) as a duplicate of the working screen you'd have a better monitor, at a decent viewing angle you can see all of (i.e. without your hand obscuring parts of it).

    Of course, you may not want, or be able, to put photoshop on the tablet PC and even if you did, it may run too slow for serious use. Just something to consider - and dismiss

    If Geoff hadn't warned about ths 'disposable lifespan' of cheapies, I'd suggest getting a graphics tablet for an easier life.

    Cheers,

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Graphics Tablets and Tablet PCs

    Dave

    Thanks for this.
    It's a pretty powerful tablet pc, so I think the GIMP (not into that Photoshop thingy!) would run on it. And this is one route to think about.
    I enjoy the challenge of trying to find out if the solution I asked about is possible, so will work on this for a few more days (will speak to the IT guys at work and tell them to ignore all that policy nonsense about not using the tablet pc for personal purposes). But may look into the depths of the bank account and see if there is a graphics tablet to be had.

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    Re: Graphics Tablets and Tablet PCs

    I just learned something new, had no idea what you people were talking about in this post. Then I looked it up on Wiki and, wala, there it is.

    Thanks for making this post, I am for sure going to look for one of these in the future.

    Cheers

  7. #7

    Re: Graphics Tablets and Tablet PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I enjoy the challenge of trying to find out if the solution I asked about is possible
    Donald,

    I don't have an off-the-shelf solution for you, but what you want to do is possible, and would be very similar to how remote desktops work. (Where you sit at your tablet PC, connect through to your desktop, and mouse/stylus movements on your tablet get fed through to the desktop. Sure, in your situation, you don't want the display from the desktop fed onto your tablet.) Might be worth mentioning VNC (virtual network computing) to your techies to get them thinking along these lines.

    Best,
    Graham

  8. #8
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Graphics Tablets and Tablet PCs

    Graham

    Brilliant. Thank you. Will get to work on it.

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    Re: Graphics Tablets and Tablet PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Try writing your name with a mouse compared with a pen (although my handwriting always looks like a drunken spider fell into an inkwell) but that is the difference.
    Very, very cool test.
    I have had my massive 12x9 aipitek tablet for only about 5 months now, and already I could not see myself doing ANYTHING without it.
    It can take some time to master the use of a tablet, but once you begin - 'there is no return '.

    As for quality - I took a bit of a risk with an unknown brand, while its not like the new wacom quality build - it still surprised me how well it IS built.
    I definitely prefer larger tablets after using this one - you can get far better 'long control' and detail in brush strokes etc.
    However a lot of people still think this is a littlebit big - 6x9 being the preferred size.
    Its very accurate also ( higher reso than some of the wacoms and other brands ), making it nicer to use than the 6x9 wacoms we have at school.

    For anyone skeptical of tablets?
    It is rather difficult to explain how wonderful they are to use, and like I said before: at first they are difficult to use, and it is not apparent that they are such a powerful tool.

    Couldn't get by without it .

  10. #10
    Antonio Correia's Avatar
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    Re: Graphics Tablets and Tablet PCs

    I have been reading this with care and I wonder if a tablet isn't also a way to avoid tendinitis on our arms...
    My right arm is beginning to warn me that I am pushing it too hard. I have a small pain even on my back sometimes ...
    Thank you for the posts. They have been very useful.

    Googling look what I found.
    Wacom

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