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  • Wacom Tablets

    Hello. I was just wondering who here uses a Wacom Tablet or something similar and who uses a mouse? I've never used a tablet because I don't really use Photoshop for a lot of drawing and figured it was more of a tool for a real artist. The other thing is that I really, really like my present mouse and don't want to get rid of it.

    So for those of you that have made the switch, am I crazy for not having one? If it's something that you feel is worth the investment, what size tablet should I get? The 4x5 ones look like they would be hard to work with. But I can't really afford a huge one either (actually I shouldn't even be thinking about buying one at all because I'm broke!)

    Also a question for people that have the tablets that came with a mouse - can I switch out the wacom mouse and use my mouse instead? My mouse has 5 buttons and a scroll wheel and the wacom ones are only 3 button mouses. Being someone that also designs webpages and surfs a lot, I can not live without those 2 extra buttons! I know it sounds ridiculous, but I would hate not being able to use my present mouse.

    Does a tablet help you work faster or does it just make your work easier? Do you feel like there's anything you do with the tablet that would be impossible with a mouse?

  • #2
    Try reviewing the post below as it has a lot of info on tablets and who here uses what.

    Click here for more info.



    • #3
      Thanks, that gives me some idea on the size, but I still would appreciate some answers to my other questions.


      • #4
        I just got my Wacom Tablet not too long ago and I am just now experimenting with it. So far I really like it, but old habits are hard to break so I am slowly training myself to get comfortable with using the tablet.

        As for speed, once you get comfortable with the new layout I think you will find that it truly does speed up your performace.

        As for your mouse question, I use my original mouse as I normally would and not the Wacom mouse (again habit). So far it doesn't cause any problems or conflicts; but note, that I am using it on its own and not with the tablet. The tablet will only function with the Wacom pen and mouse. There is hope though, because Wacom does have a 5 button mouse. Click here to view information about Wacom's 4D mouse. Please note though that they are for use on Intuos2 tablets only and will not work on Intuos, Graphire or Graphire2 tablets.

        Hope this helps some.

        Last edited by T Paul; 12-17-2002, 12:43 PM.


        • #5
          Hi Alceria, I may be able to put one question to rest. I just bought the Wacom Graphire2 tablet. I too have a 4 buttom Microsoft wheel mouse and didn't want to give up the back button I have grown fond of. I don't know what operating system you are using but if you use Win98 SE and above you can use the USB version of the tablet. This means that when you are through using it you simply unplug it and put it away until you need it. To use it again you simply plug it in and off you go.

          I haven't used mine enough to be any good in the advice department. I bought mine so I could get it and a copy of Knockout2 for 200.00. I think that was one whale of a deal since I wanted both of them anyway and I saved over 200.00.


          • #6
            Hi Alceria,
            Welcome to Retouch Pro. I have a 6x8 Wacom Intous and also an optical mouse. I use both but when I'm doing most things in Photoshop, I use the pen tool. It's not just for drawing at all. Have you ever tried to make a precise selection? The pen tool gives you so much more control. That's just one example. There are others. Like the pressure sensitivity.
            People who use the graphire love it and see no problem with the size but I can't say since I only have experience with the one I bought. The decision is up to you. Many don't feel the need to get one but I personally can't see how I got along without mine.


            • #7

              I use graphire 2 4x5 USB and Logitech trackball. I don't get any conflict with this setup. I tried using the mouse that came with the tablet but I ended up using a dedicated mouse. One thing you have to be careful about is the switch on the pen. Sometimes I click on the those with meaning to.



              • #8
                Hi alceria,

                I currently have a Intuos 2 6X8 tablet. For "years" I used a mouse for Photoshop, and had reasonable results. I too, often wondered, "why use a tablet?", when I seem to get the job done with a mouse.

                Make no mistake, a tablet is the "only" way to go if you are serious about Photoshop. Look at it from this perspective, can you imagine drawing with a bar of soap instead of a pencil? This is what you are doing comparing a mouse with a tablet when you are in Photoshop or a paint program. All movements that you make for shading, erasing, drawing selections etc. are much more natural using a pen (not to mention quicker and more accurate). Most tablets have a long USB cord, which allows you to sit back, place the tablet in your lap, and "create".

                Then there's "pen pressure" and "tilt", (not really possible with a mouse) this makes retouching and creating much easier than using a mouse for many different instances. There are also programmable shortcuts on the top of the drawing tablet area so you don't have to go back to the keyboard as often.

                I realize this is subjective, but I find the 6X8 tablet to be ideal for myself. The drawing area is perfect for me. When I'm not using the pen I can use the Wacom mouse, and the usable tablet area is about the same size as any mouse pad, so you don't have to adapt to something smaller. You can also trace items by inserting them under the drawing area film.

                Wacom makes a four button mouse which has five programmable buttons. This goes for $69.95 and can do everything that any other 5 function mouse can do.

                I also have a Microsoft wireless intellimouse which I use as well, when I have no plans of working in Photoshop and just want to get from point "a" to point "b". It isn't necessary to unplug your tablet, simply take the mouse or pen off the tablet, set your tablet aside and use your own mouse (why spend the extra bucks if you are already happy with the 5 function mouse you have?). There are times when I actually use both. This seems to work just fine as well (but it does takes practice).

                Bottom line . . . it's a tool. You don't have to have it, but it is better and more efficient than a mouse when you are in a Photo or drawing program.


                • #9
                  Re: Wacom Tablets

                  Originally posted by alceria
                  If it's something that you feel is worth the investment, what size tablet should I get? The 4x5 ones look like they would be hard to work with. But I can't really afford a huge one either (actually I shouldn't even be thinking about buying one at all because I'm broke!)
                  Alceria - You might want to check out the reviews of the Graphire David and myself have written located here. (scroll to the bottom for links to the actual reviews) They might help answer some of your questions as to whether the smaller tablet is the way to go.


                  • #10
                    Personally, I can't work without the tablet (and I've tried). Once you get used to using a tablet, you'll wonder how you ever did anything without it. It's really a more natural way to work.
                    As my son once said, using a mouse is like working with a bar of soap. (special note to Jak, who knew she heard that analogy before but couldn't remember where).
                    Initially, it takes some getting used to, but probably no more than it took to get used to using a mouse.


                    • #11
                      My tablet

                      I've got an Intous 9x12, and for some time had thought as you did...that I wasn't "artist" enough, or why should I??

                      Now that I have it, I'm like some of the others, learning, or re-learning to use it.

                      Using the Pen tool is SOOOO much better, picture yourself with a paintbrush type tool vs (to borrow a quote) a bar of soap!

                      It does take getting used to and I haven't even begun to take advantage of all of the niceties...the Tilt, Pressure, etc, but I am definitely using it more and more. It is so much better and easier in those tight situations, whether it is in your Selections, Masks, painting and a whole lot of other situations.

                      I'd recommend heavily, as to size, even though my desk/office layout REALLY needs a heavy rework, the 9x12 in my lap allows me to sit back and work away. Now if I can just couple that with a 21" or larger monitor!!

                      Good luck!


                      • #12
                        Yeah, I think I would be using it on my lap too. Desk space has become a premium at this point! Hrmm, after reading all these reviews I definately want one - I should have never started thinking about this before Xmess - must buy presents instead! lol

                        Thanks especially to the person who said they were still able to use their original mouse. I've seen the 5 button mouse on the wacom site but I'm really not impressed with it. I have one of those optical intellimouses and the extra buttons are where the thumb rests, which I think is the most comfortable place for them. The extra 2 buttons on the wacom mouse are behind the regular buttons on the top and I think I would really hate that.

                        How does one switch between pen and mouse?


                        • #13
                          Well here's an update - I found the Aiptek 9x12 tablet on amazon for $130. I couldn't find a lot of info about it, but it did get favorable reviews on (I searched the forum here too, but could only find one thread about it.) It differs from the wacom in that:

                          -it has 512 levels of sensitivity (same as Graphire, but half as much as Intuos2 line)

                          -the eraser function is different (I think you click a button on the pen to switch back and forth - not sure exactly, I couldn't find good info on that)

                          -the pen requires a battery (at least the smaller models did, but the 9x12 looks like a newer model, the design is a bit a nicer, and it didn't say anything about needing a battery on the aiptek or amazon sites)

                          -it's about $300 cheaper

                          I figured I'd give it a try and if I hate it I can always return it or sell it and wait until I have more money and can afford the wacom. I recently quit my job so restorations are my only income for the time being, so things are a bit tight right now.

                          It's supposed to arrive in two days and once it gets here I'll update with a review and perhaps post something to the review section of this domain.


                          • #14
                            When you get the Aiptek, don't forget to write a review about it or at least tell us whether you like or not.


                            How does one switch between pen and mouse?

                            Just place the mouse on the tablet.


                            • #15
                              Cool, hope you enjoy your new toy. We hear so much about Wacom that it's nice to see what else is out there and what options you get and how well it works for you. You know how we love to hear about new toys here.


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