Thursday, August 26, 2010

My New Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet

As I'm learning SBP, it's becoming increasingly clear that I will be switching from my old animation method—drawing on paper; scan the drawings; place into program—and will FINALLY transition to the new method of drawing directly into the program with a stylus and tablet.

Now, I already own a tablet. A few years ago I bought a Wacom Intuos 2 9x12 tablet from eBay. I've used it sparingly for a few reasons: one, there was a slight lag between my hand and the result on the screen; I hadn't properly installed the software (!) so the pressure sensitivity and other functions weren't working correctly; and it's so big that it was impossible to be portable and a bit cumbersome in my limited workspace.

I was thinking about all of these issues as I was going through the drawing section of the SBP manual. Then I suddenly remembered that Wacom has small, inexpensive models of tablets. I didn't have to get their best (the Cintiqu 21UX for $1999). I learned from the Intuos that I don't need a huge drawing space on the tablet since it works relative to the computer screen.

I did some quick research and discovered that the Bamboo Pen is $69.95 and available at Apple stores. And that's exactly where I was this morning, 15 minutes after they opened, at the Apple store on 67th and Broadway (the closest one to me.) I picked it up and was back home soon, happily installing not only the driver but also Corel Painter Elements. I know it's not the full version of Painter (of which I have 18 days left on my trial version) but it's better than no version of Painter. And it, along with the trial version, will assist me in deciding whether or not I should invest in that program.

My immediate reaction to the Bamboo Pen—it's AWESOME! I was so accustomed to the poor response with the Intuos 2 that I assumed that was how all tablets and styli worked. I feel like I've entered the modern era! The performance of this tablet is wonderful. I've been testing it in SBP with the textured brushes and feel almost like I'm drawing on paper. I look forward to doing even more with it.

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