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Wacom recommendations?

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Sam FreemanWacom recommendations?
by on Sep 24, 2012 at 8:27:20 am

Hi guys,

I think I'm getting a touch of RSI in my mouse hand. Can anyone recommend a good tablet (I've always heard good things of Wacom) as I hear the change of wrist position can help.

Couple of questions...
How do you find them for AFX and editing?
What size would I need - I have a 27inch iMac and I'm concerned a small pad won't give me the detail I need...
Any pitfalls or things to watch out for?

Price wise I figure this is something that will last a while so I'm willing to invest a bit of cash. I figure I can work harder, faster and longer without excruciating pain. :0)

Cheers!


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Chris WrightRe: Wacom recommendations?
by on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:12:10 am

you could also try an intelligent mouse accelerator which would also work on the small tablet size.

It is pixel accurate in small moves but moves faster, i.e. the larger the distance you move over time, the farther it goes. I never move more than a 1/8th of an inch monitor to monitor.


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Sam FreemanRe: Wacom recommendations?
by on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:35:35 am

Interesting! I'd imagine it would take a while to get used to...?

I also have a portable setup, so a small tablet might be more useful.

Thanks for the tip!


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Walter SoykaRe: Wacom recommendations?
by on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:52:01 pm

[Chris Wright] "you could also try an intelligent mouse accelerator which would also work on the small tablet size. It is pixel accurate in small moves but moves faster, i.e. the larger the distance you move over time, the farther it goes. I never move more than a 1/8th of an inch monitor to monitor."

That means you'd have to give up pen mode, where the tablet's surface is mapped to the screen.

As a matter of personal preference, that would completely negate the value of having a tablet in the first place for me.

Personally, I use a tablet (in regular pen mode), plus the Logitech Cordless Optical Trackman, which is a really good trackball. A lot of trackballs are driven by your thumb, which I find causes fatigue more quickly than a mouse, but this one is driven by the fingertips.

I use the pen as my primary input and the trackball as my secondary input.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Matthew KeaneRe: Wacom recommendations?
by on Sep 24, 2012 at 1:11:39 pm

Hi,

I use an Intuos (the PTK-440 model) and I find it works pretty well, even on a large-ish screen. There is a 'precision' mode on this model which means that moving the stylus all the way across the tablet only moves the cursor about a fifth of the way across the screen although, to be honest, I don't use it much.

Not sure what to recommend in terms of tablet size. I quite like the size I have as it seems to give a reasonable work area, without taking up half my desk.


Matthew Keane

Freelancer based in Paris, France
- Motion Graphics, Video Editing & Effects, Watchout Programming & Live Operation.


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Walter SoykaRe: Wacom recommendations?
by on Sep 24, 2012 at 3:02:50 pm

[Sam Freeman] "How do you find them for AFX and editing?"

I love my tablet -- enough that I bought one for the office and one for my briefcase to travel with.

It'll probably take a week or two to really get used to, but if you can power through that adjustment period, it becomes a really nice and comfortable way of working.


[Sam Freeman] "What size would I need - I have a 27inch iMac and I'm concerned a small pad won't give me the detail I need..."

I use an Intuos4 Medium with a 30" monitor -- and it's a pretty good compromise. Any smaller would be too hard to control, and any larger would take up too much desk space.


[Sam Freeman] "Any pitfalls or things to watch out for?"

Don't accept the tablet defaults as the ideal -- customize the tablet for the way you work.

Personally, I have changed the down side of the stylus's rocker switch to Pan/Scroll/Hand Tool (so I can easily scroll with the pen) and I've changed the up side of the rocker to right-click with the click and tap option. I've also customized the soft buttons on the tablet on a per-application basis.

I am a huge PenMoto [link] fan. It's a magnetic ring you can wear on your finger that lets you flick your stylus out of the way for typing and pull it back for the tablet surface without setting it down.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Sam FreemanRe: Wacom recommendations?
by on Sep 24, 2012 at 3:23:26 pm

Thanks guys - that's really useful information. That penring looks awesome - so simple, but effective.

I'm just doing a bit more research and there's a lot of talk about the nibs wearing down really quickly - do you find this is a problem? Is there a way of protecting your tablet from scratching? Apparently replacement parts are more expensive over here in the UK...

Also, is it worth the extra cost for bluetooth (I know some people complain of a delay and drop out)...

Finally, am a foolish just narrowing my search to Wacom because I've heard of the brand?


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Greg LeslieRe: Wacom recommendations?
by on Sep 24, 2012 at 3:41:20 pm

Sam, I've been using a small Wacom Bamboo in AE, FCP and PP for over 4 years. I'm left-handed and started using the tablet after a bout with RSI in my mouse hand as well.

Still on my original pen nib, and yes, the tablet is scratched up from all the pen miles, but it still works as good as it did on day one.

As for the size, the Bamboo is small, but I've become accustomed to it and it's really no problem at all. My arm actually moves LESS with the smaller tablet.

I keep another one as a spare and for my road kit. IMHO, no reason to consider another brand.

(although there is some weirdness between Wacom and Premiere Pro on their user interface -- some motions don't work well at all in PP)

good luck,

Greg Leslie
Tulsa


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Walter SoykaRe: Wacom recommendations?
by on Sep 24, 2012 at 3:44:10 pm

[Greg Leslie] "As for the size, the Bamboo is small, but I've become accustomed to it and it's really no problem at all. My arm actually moves LESS with the smaller tablet."

I find the smaller tablets encourage wrist movement and discourage elbow movement, while larger tablets discourage wrist movement and encourage elbow movement.

Which one works better for an RSI sufferer may depend on the nature of the RSI, but I'm certainly not a doctor and I've never even played one on TV.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Greg LeslieRe: Wacom recommendations?
by on Sep 24, 2012 at 4:18:36 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I find the smaller tablets encourage wrist movement and discourage elbow movement, while larger tablets discourage wrist movement and encourage elbow movement."

Interesting, and I can see your point. All I know is from my own experience, and the small tablet has never caused me any sort of strain -- hand, wrist, elbow or arm. The only thing I miss is a scroll wheel (hint hint ELEMENT 3D).

It'd be interesting to hear others' experiences.


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Walter SoykaRe: Wacom recommendations?
by on Sep 24, 2012 at 3:42:01 pm

[Sam Freeman] "I'm just doing a bit more research and there's a lot of talk about the nibs wearing down really quickly - do you find this is a problem? Is there a way of protecting your tablet from scratching? Apparently replacement parts are more expensive over here in the UK..."

I haven't had a problem -- but I'm using my Wacom mainly as a mouse replacement and not for fine art use. Because pressure sensitivity generally doesn't matter to me, I'm rarely pressing down on the tablet very hard at all, and that help everything wear more slowly.


[Sam Freeman] "Also, is it worth the extra cost for bluetooth (I know some people complain of a delay and drop out)..."

I think Wacom has dropped Bluetooth. I have one of the Bluetooth-enabled Intuos4s, and it's generally perfect and only occasionally shows any lag at all.

However, the newer Intuos5s can all have a wireless module accessory added. It uses some kind of RF with a small USB receiver.

For me, I really only use the tablet when I'm sitting down at a table anyway, so going wired hasn't been a problem. Bluetooth was nice to have to free up the USB port, but that advantage is gone now with the new models.


[Sam Freeman] "Finally, am a foolish just narrowing my search to Wacom because I've heard of the brand?"

You do have other options, like a much cheaper Monoprice tablet, for example, but they generally need active styluses (which means batteries). All the Wacoms I've bought are very well-built, and none of them have stopped working yet, so I've been very happy with my purchases.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Sam FreemanRe: Wacom recommendations?
by on Sep 25, 2012 at 8:14:09 am

Thanks guys for such complete answers and suggestions - I hope computers never get too fast otherwise we'll loose Walters' wisdom during his render breaks...

I'm off to do some more digging.

Thanks!


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