[thelist] Wacom tablets - info?

H. G. Quinn hgquinn at attglobal.net
Sat Apr 7 17:47:47 CDT 2001

I use a 4 x 5 tablet on a USB port.   (The USB tablet needs a USB powered port,
or to be on a powered USB hub -- it does not have its own power supply.  With a
newer PC like yours, you'll probably have 3 or 4 USB ports, and all should be
powered, though I'm not a hardware maven, so if I'm wrong, I hope someone will
correct me; for older PC's that have two built-in USB ports, usually only the
first USB port is  powered; if you are already using another unpowered USB
device on the first port on an older PC, you may need to get a USB hub; if you
have a powered USB device on the first port on an old PC, you'd uninstall it,
then install it on the unpowered port, to free up the powered port for the

I use both the mouse (it's still on its original mouse port), and the
tablet/stylus.  When I'm doing work with the stylus, I also use it in place of
the mouse, but not otherwise.  A tap of the stylus on the tablet is read as a
click, as is pressing the button on the stylus shaft.  I think I have too much
respect for this instrument, which is so much more complex than a mouse, to use
it in place of a mouse all the time.  However, I find the stylus is great for
browsing.  You have complete freedom as to where you place your pointer on the
web page.

Re compensation, you change the behavior of the tool you're using within your
work area by zooming in, with most bitmapped graphics apps tools.  The size of
the tip stays the same and the work area is enlarged, so effectively, you get
finer control and a smaller tip.  My 4 x 5 allows me to create work with no
compensation in a 500 px by 500 px work area at 100%, on a monitor set at the
same resolution as yours.

Re tip behavior, stylus behavior depends on the app.  In a bitmapped graphics
app like Photoshop, for example, can you tell the pencil tool (via the tool
inspector) whether style pressure should be "read" as any combination of: size,
opacity, color (when all three options are chosen, you're asking PS to do more
calculations to develop the final bitmapped stroke, so the stroke rendering may
be jumpy or slightly delayed).  Selecting size will vary the stroke width
according to the pressure.  Selecting opacity will vary the tint of the stroke
according the pressure.  Selecting color means you vary the mix of foreground to
background color according to the pressure (heavy brings up more foreground,
light more background).  However, the airbrush tool does not have a size
sensitivity for the stylus, only opacity and color, and the pen, being a vector
tool, has no sensitivity to stylus pressure, so it depends on the tool within
PS.  When using the pen in PS, and in vector drawing apps like Illustrator and
Freehand, when you use the stylus you'll work faster and with more precision,
have a more natural response of the work to your hand movement, and be able to
select and move points and handles more quickly and naturally.  In a painting
emulation app like Painter, the stylus feels begins to feel quite close to an
actual brush, as this app was designed to be used with a stylus.  I stay away
fom Painter, as it is so seductive, as I love to paint (and a stylus with
Painter needs no turps, etc. for cleanup ;-).)

Re emulating your accustomed fine pencil, the finest resulution in a bitmapped
app is a 1 px stroke, and the finest in vector apps is usually 1 pt.  The tablet
won't undo that, so you'll get as close to a .5mm pencil as PC apps will let you

If you have Configsafe, you would be smart to back up your system configuration,
and also download the most recent drivers from the Wacom site (Olly has given
the URL in his post), ahead of time -- before installing.  I needed the drivers
right away.  I also had a problem because of not being aware that there were
powered and unpowered USB ports, and I placed my tablet on the unpowered port,
originally, which hung the system.  I was able to restart in safe mode and
restore my original configuration using my Configsafe-saved registry info, then
get on with tech support to find out what was wrong and address it, so no damage
was done.

carole guevin wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> I'm considering buying an Intuos drawing tablet - either a 6x8 or 9x12.
> What I need to know is the ratio of compensation required by each size.
> Meaning on the 6x8 which I gather is the full size of screen resolution (ex,
> mine is 1152x864) or size of illustrator file (ex, 500x300)
> Also what are the pros and cons for the 9x12 size?
> Does it replace your mouse - like wacome serial port and mouse usb - is it
> one or the other or I could use both?
> Also - as for the size of line - the stylus has a quite large tip - let's
> say that I'm accustomed to using .5mm lead pencil - will I be able to have
> that kind of fine line precision with tablet?
> Any known problems - the station it will be installed on is a PIII450/384mg
> RAM/WinME?
> carole guevin
>   + new media portal + http://netdiver.net
>   + studio + http://soulmedia.com

Heather Quinn
hgquinn at attglobal.net

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