Graphic tablets are devices that make it easy to transform a drawing by hand into a digital image. Maximum precision is obtained through the use of a stylus, which simplifies the input process. A graphics tablet is indispensable for anyone working with graphics. It’s an excellent addition to the tools for the photographer, designer, painter, architect, and even a creator of high-quality slots for Casino National. Such a device is suitable for editing images, drawing, design work, creating 3D animation.
Characteristics to Consider When Buying
When choosing a suitable tablet, you need to be guided by your skills, tasks, and budget. There are two main categories of devices: traditional and with an LCD display. Graphic tablets are divided into three categories according to their purpose:
- Interactive are semi-professional devices for home use, which are suitable for creating drawings and simple drawings. The result of drawing by hand can only be seen on the monitor. You draw on the surface of the tablet and look at the computer monitor.
- Graphic monitors/interactive displays are for artists, architects, design engineers, animators, photographers. Professional devices which have a display for displaying information. With such a device you can select different fonts and textures, work with a rich palette of colors, reproduce and correct drawings. Without the need to look away from the computer screen, it’s much quicker to work creatively.
- Digital notebooks are used only for digital signing, not suitable for creativity and design.
The most important parameters are the size of the working area, resolution, sensitivity to pressure, type and accuracy of the pen. Characteristics such as the type of connection, the presence of a screen and the height of the pen readout are also important.
Working Area Size
The right digitizer should make working with graphics easier, not harder. For desktop tablet models, the ratio of the workspace to the computer screen is important. Failure to follow this rule will lead to distorted images, e.g. the drawn square will look like a rectangle on the monitor, the oval will be a circle, etc. Common monitor models have a 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratio.
If you are going to work on a large monitor, you need to buy a digitizer with a large diagonal. Otherwise, it will make it more difficult because when you draw small strokes on the tablet, you will see them larger on the monitor and vice versa. If the aspect ratio of the tablet does not match the monitor, you need to install additional software to correct the distortion.
The size of the workspace is measured in inches diagonally, but manufacturers also often specify a paper size match, from A7 to A3. It is necessary to choose depending on the application. For example, it is difficult for artists to do without a large interactive display because you need to see the whole picture.
For photographers who work with retouching, detailed pictures are important, so it is better to choose a model of high accuracy, which clearly reflects small elements. For home use, as well as for beginners is quite enough diagonal 7-8 inches, format A7, A6.
Let’s look at how manufacturers have defined the purpose of tablets of different formats:
- A7, A6 are miniature models for processing graphic elements with low accuracy, but when creating large images you need to constantly change the scale and move the canvas.
- Digitizers of small size A5, easy to work with, allow high-quality detailed processing of images. Ideal devices for artists for price and capabilities.
- A4 are high-precision graphics tablets, which are used in professional work by designers, constructors and architects. They are good because when working with small details they allow you to keep the whole picture in front of your eyes.
- A3 – models for architects, suitable for working with any drawings.
Depending on the model and manufacturer, the dimensions listed in the table may differ in part from the actual tablet specifications. At the same time it is easier to choose the right working area.
Some artists prefer to create with digitizers that have a small active area (A6). The miniature devices are easier to carry or take with you on trips and are perfect for sketches, quick sketches and photo retouching.
A large tablet is not always better and easier to use. Your hand gets tired on the A3 workspace because it takes a lot of effort to create a drawing, but the A7 format isn’t enough for designing and creating complex landscapes. Medium-sized devices are versatile and suitable for most purposes, easily adjusted for monitors and laptops with any diagonal.
LPI refers to the number of lines per inch that the tablet recognizes when you move the stylus. For example, if you draw a 1-inch line on the working area with a resolution of 5080 lpi, the device recognizes 5080 touches. The parameter determines the density of active sensors on the active area of the display. The high resolution of the screen produces high quality and sharp images.
Together with the high accuracy of graphic tablets the price grows, so if you are a beginner in this business and do not want to buy an expensive model, choose among the products with a resolution of 2540 lpi. This is enough to start drawing and creating drawings. Do not buy a device for growing up, because technology does not stand still and after a while it will be obsolete. Therefore, combining three main criteria: budget, skills and goals, you can make the best choice of a tablet.
Digitizers can be divided into three categories according to the number of dots per inch:
- 1000-2000 lpi is satisfactory, but the lines are too wide and the outlines are sloppy.
- 2000-4000 lpi – mid-range devices, the most popular of all, as they are used for drawing and painting.
- 4000-5080 lpi are professional devices, which allow creating images of high precision and quality.
The resolution of the tablets is an important indicator when choosing when the device is needed for a professional activity. If detail, smooth lines and high accuracy are important, it is better to give preference to 5080 lpi. For portraits and landscapes it is also better to use graphic tablets with high resolution.
Type of Connection
As a peripheral device, portable digitizers are connected to your computer with a USB cable or wirelessly. In the first case, they are usually not equipped with their own power source. The wireless connection is made via Bluetooth, but such a tablet needs to be recharged once a week, as most models have a battery that can work 40-50 hours.
There is also a mixed connection option that combines both methods. This means that when the wireless digitizer runs out of power, you can connect it to a computer or laptop via USB for a while and continue your work.
Maximum stylus reading height
The value that determines how far from the working area the stylus is detected by the tablet. For convenience, the maximum stylus reading height should be 6-7 mm or more (up to 16 mm). If it is lower, there is a chance of accidentally touching the surface and drawing an extra line.
The result of work depends in many respects on the quality of the stylus, its accuracy and ergonomics. According to the type of connection, pens are divided into three types:
- Wired are connected by cable to the device.
- Battery-powered are powered by a lithium-ion battery, charging is done via USB.
- Magnetic resonant – powered by an electric current in a resonant circuit created by the electromagnetic field of the tablet.
Wireless magnetic resonant pens are more expensive, but lighter and more compact. Stylus pens with a battery drain quickly if you use them intensively.
The stylus is usually sold with a replacement set of tips. When buying you should pay attention to the material of manufacture. Some stylus tips wear out quickly and need to be replaced. The usual imitations of a pencil, pen or pen can be chosen according to their shape. Soft nibs wipe off quickly, hard ones can leave scuffs on the surface of the working area.
A pen should be light in weight, ergonomic, preferably with a non-smooth surface that will let you easily hold it in your hand without a chance of slipping.
It is good if the back end of the stylus recognizes the “eraser” function and turns it on in the graphics editor. This is a handy option that makes it easy to make corrections.