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View Full Version : Tablet, Stylus, and Software Recommendations



BlueApple
01-03-2012, 09:06 AM
There are rumors that Apple is going to announce a pair of additional iPad models in the upcoming months, and that the current iPad2 may get a price drop. Adobe has a number of tablet apps including Ideas, though I've used SketchBook Pro on my computer and think it's pretty nice. I've heard good things about Artrage as well.

I want a tablet that I can use to make detailed illustrations on the go, and easily transfer the image file to my computer for further editing without paying for a cloud service. What tablet/software/stylus combo do you all recommend?

wibly wobly
01-04-2012, 05:48 AM
I've wanted something likea portable Cintiq for years. You know, like a laptop version of it? Basically, everything I've seen is either really underpowered, doesn't support pressure sensitivity or is a wierd hack job of a sorts. The closest thing I've seen is this.

http://www.axiotron.com/index.php?id=modbook

BlueApple
01-04-2012, 07:59 AM
The modbook would be awesome, but I think that begins to get outside of my price range.

I am going to put Artrage and SketchBook Pro on my wife's iPad and drop some cash on a stylus. The Bamboo seems to get good reviews, so maybe I'll try that first.

The loss of pressure sensitivity will be a bummer, but perhaps I can still manage to cobble some drawings together without it.

jburford
01-06-2012, 11:48 AM
I stumbled accross the Sony S - Tablet, looking pretty nice runs Adroid and specs look pretty good.

http://www.sony.co.uk/hub/sony-tablet

Burchigb
01-06-2012, 06:39 PM
HP has a EliteBook 2740p. Small, but neat to work with

Philbert
01-06-2012, 07:45 PM
I have a Xoom that I won along with a stylus from Best Buy. If I were to choose a mobile OS tablet right now it would be the Galaxy Tab 10.1. If I was picking a serious tablet to do work on though it would probably be the Samsung Series 7 Slate (http://www.theverge.com/2011/08/31/samsung-series-7-slate-specs-release-date-hands-on/). However it might be better yet to just wait a little while, when Windows 8 comes out a slew of real work horse, artist friendly, tablets will come out.

gerry_g
01-07-2012, 04:14 AM
All current tablets are dual core and a bit laggy, event the well optimised ones like the iPad, I'd wait for the quad cores to hit in the spring, also buy a stylus, fingers are great for blocking in but detail is hard to do without one, and of course don't forget your software needs, a good tablet is just a good tablets if you have limited access to software.

Greenlaw
01-07-2012, 04:24 AM
I've wanted something likea portable Cintiq for years. You know, like a laptop version of it?
I use an HP tm2 which has both genuine Wacom stylus and touch pressure sensitivity, and you can actually use both at the same time. This is especially fun with ArtRage Studio Pro where you can draw with your pen and move/zoom/rotate the canvas using the fingers of your other hand. The pen that came with the tablet is not very good but after I added Axiotron's 'Wacom' pen (purchased from eBay), it worked great. It has a decent graphics card for a tablet (ATI Radeon HD 4550) which can switch to Intel on-the-fly if you need to conserve battery life.

I use it nearly everyday with programs like Photoshop, Storyboard Pro, Manga Studio EX, Lightwave, Modo, Motion Builder, Maya, 3D Coat, SoundForge, Vegas and Fusion. It's not the fastest or most powerful computer (it's a dual core with 4GB RAM) but it's fully capable of doing real work. For example, a lot of Happy Box (http://bit.ly/uXmKJq) was created on this tablet. When in ATI mode, latency really isn't an issue with this tablet.

Unlike the Cintiq, the tm2 has no Expresskeys on the bezel but I've managed to work around the issue using the free programs Modlock (onscreen modifier keys) and Gmote (stylus gestures).

If you're curious, I made this video a while back of me using the tm2 to draw one of my comics: Studio Sessions 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYRXpRaVc1g&feature=plcp&context=C3fba4cbUDOEgsToPDskJE8a8tqEdJwxqS3PTkt_25 )

Unfortunately, HP abandoned this tablet a while back. I was hoping they would continue to develop this tablet because, for me anyway, it's been the single most useful mobile device I've ever purchased. Oh well, it wasn't the only 'brilliant' decision they made last year.

G.

COBRASoft
01-07-2012, 04:35 AM
Bought the Sony S for my mother yesterday, works very nice. Slick design. Android has become amazing. In 9 days I was able to develop a complete demo app for my customers from scratch on my Smartphone! My bet is on Android for the coming future. Perhaps Windows 8 can be a real challenge later. Apple has to change their philosophy about apps or they'll lose their market share rapidly. Lucky for Apple, a lot of people are still a bit 'braindead' and believe only Apple is superior :).

Rayek
01-07-2012, 07:22 PM
I've wanted something likea portable Cintiq for years. You know, like a laptop version of it? Basically, everything I've seen is either really underpowered, doesn't support pressure sensitivity or is a wierd hack job of a sorts. The closest thing I've seen is this.

http://www.axiotron.com/index.php?id=modbook

I can say that the Asus EP121 comes very, very close - I've owned one for 5 months now, and it acts like a portable cintiq.

Someone made a comparison:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAZg9bEPm1E

4gb, ssd, Windows 7 64bit, and an i5, and wacom made touch/pen screen (256 pressure levels, which is enough for most work). Everything chugs along nicely on this little machine. Windows starts up in 25 seconds. However, main drawback: intel graphics. Photoshop runs fast, and responsiveness is good.

So for most 3d this is a big no-no. Except zBrush, which works like a charm, and runs smooth, since it does not require 3d hardware acceleration at all.

Because the original pen lacks shoulder buttons, I purchased a bunch of replacement pens (with buttons) on ebay for $15. You should've seen the look on people's faces when I attended the zBrush sessions at Siggraph: I was the only one in the audience capable of following and testing the stuff the speakers were showing!

In my opinion (and according to a animation director friend of mine who works on Cintiqs), it IS a small portable Cintiq. I love it, and he wants one! ;-)

PS: quite affordable machine at can$1200.

Rayek
01-07-2012, 07:26 PM
Unlike the Cintiq, the tm2 has no Expresskeys on the bezel but I've managed to work around the issue using the free programs Modlock (onscreen modifier keys) and Gmote (stylus gestures).


G.

Thank you! I looked and looked on the net for an app like Modlock - lifesaver! I was using the onscreen keyboard, but it's a major hassle. Thanks again!

Greenlaw
01-07-2012, 07:36 PM
In my opinion (and according to a animation director friend of mine who works on Cintiqs), it IS a small portable Cintiq. I love it, and he wants one! ;-)
That's exactly how I feel about my tm2! :)

I actually have a Cintiq at home (the smaller one) but I use my tablet PC most of the time because I like roaming around the house with it and wind up doing a lot of my work lounging on the sofa. I sometimes take it to a local coffee shop to draw my comics or to my daughter's gym class or draw during my lunch break at work.

It's funny that I originally purchased the Cintiq thinking I could carry it around with my old laptop, not realizing the Cintiq is attached to a separate breakout box with four cables dangling out of it. Definitely not designed for portability. The tm2, on the other hand, met all my expectations and then some.

The tm2's Wacom screen has 512 levels of pressure by the way. I was surprised to read Axiotron's claim that the Modbook is the only tablet with this feature but since HP discontinued the tm2 last year, I suppose that claim may be true now.

G.

Greenlaw
01-07-2012, 07:40 PM
Thank you! I looked and looked on the net for an app like Modlock - lifesaver! I was using the onscreen keyboard, but it's a major hassle. Thanks again!
Glad to help! Yes, Modlock (http://www.shepy.co.uk/blog/modlock/) is awesome. Be sure to check out Gmote (http://www.handform.net/gmote.php) too. The combo of these two programs really make the tablet computer experience complete for me.

G.

Philbert
01-07-2012, 07:48 PM
I can say that the Asus EP121 comes very, very close - I've owned one for 5 months now, and it acts like a portable cintiq.


I would've suggested the ep121 myself but it's been out for a while now. The Series 7 is a little more powerful I think and has a longer battery life, although it is lacking in some other things like an extra USB port. It's a tough choice between the two.

Rayek
01-07-2012, 07:49 PM
Just installed ModLock, and it's awesome - 10 times better usability in Photoshop and Blender.

A year and a half ago I almost bought the tm2 - held it in my hands, tested it, and really liked it. Alas, problems of the monetary kind prevented me from making a purchase, and a little while later the tm2 disappeared off the market.

The ep121 is quite similar in approach, minus the keyboard. This type of machine (like the tm2) is not for everyone, but it's ideal for anyone even remotely interested in drawing/painting digitally. And after installing PlasticAnimationPaper 4 Pro (free for a while now), quickly sketching out an animation or two on a small tablet, is just plain fun.
http://plasticanimationpaper.dk/

That animator friend of mine wouldn't give it back to me the first time he tried it out - I literally had to use a bit of force :-)

Greenlaw
01-07-2012, 07:54 PM
I can say that the Asus EP121 comes very, very close - I've owned one for 5 months now, and it acts like a portable cintiq.
Just watched the video...will have to consider something like this if I ever need a replacement.

However, I was surprised to see the colors in the video being so off between the two devices, especially after the guy mentions they are calibrated. I suspect his tablet wasn't properly calibrated because they really shouldn't be anywhere near that off. I use a Spyder Elite to calibrate all my display devices, and they are pretty darn close to each other, even the tablet PC which being a mobile device should be the least manageable.

G.

Rayek
01-07-2012, 07:57 PM
I would've suggested the ep121 myself but it's been out for a while now. The Series 7 is a little more powerful I think and has a longer battery life, although it is lacking in some other things like an extra USB port. It's a tough choice between the two.

Wasn't aware of that newer model - hardware-wise it looks almost identical to the ep121, with slightly updated graphics (intel hd3000).

Battery life doesn't seem to be much better than the ep121, though: 3.33 hours (http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/16/samsung-series-7-slate-pc-review/)

The screen used looks identical.

Btw, Bestbuy sells refurbished ep121's for $699 now:
http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/asus-asus-eee-slate-12-1-64gb-ep121-tablet-with-wi-fi-ep121-refurbished-ep121-1a005m/10188275.aspx?path=84b8dbfa97564c31319c9141654d633 5en02

Philbert
01-07-2012, 08:06 PM
I might have to go for that if I get some good work in soon. I'm always wary of refurbs though.

Greenlaw
01-07-2012, 08:58 PM
The one thing I'm wary of with the EP121 is Intel graphics. Having both Intel and ATI graphics onboard the tm2 allows me to compare directly, and it's really no contest. Photoshop runs just as smoothly under ATI mode as it does on my desktop computer but it's a bit laggy under Intel mode. 3D Coat is very useable under ATI even for voxel sculpting but forget about it under Intel.

I think if Asus ever offers this slate with Nvidia graphics, I'd be all over it.

G.

Rayek
01-07-2012, 11:02 PM
The one thing I'm wary of with the EP121 is Intel graphics. Having both Intel and ATI graphics onboard the tm2 allows me to compare directly, and it's really no contest. Photoshop runs just as smoothly under ATI mode as it does on my desktop computer but it's a bit laggy under Intel mode. 3D Coat is very useable under ATI even for voxel sculpting but forget about it under Intel.

I think if Asus ever offers this slate with Nvidia graphics, I'd be all over it.

G.

Yes, the ep121 deal is a tad marred because of the intel graphics. Though Photoshop, zBrush and any other 2d app runs very smooth. Some low poly modeling is also quite possible, but do not expect too much.

Then again, I use it for digital painting, drawing, animating and reading. For the heavy duty 3d stuff I use my desktop. I never understood how anyone can do 3d work on a laptop or notebook?

PS I just got 24gb ram! Bit of a mistake, since officially the board should not support this (see sig) - I blundered and bought 3x8gb modules, while I should have gotten 6x4gb sticks. But low and behold: it works! Now I start wondering if I could add another 3x8gb for a 48gb machine - probably would be the only one running 48gb on a x58 board on the planet. ...yes, I am a geek.

Philbert
01-08-2012, 10:36 AM
It depends on the job but frequently my jobs are just making a model for the client to animate. Stuff like hat is perfectly doable on a laptop.

wibly wobly
01-08-2012, 12:57 PM
I've seen a few models out there that come pretty close. One of the big things that I want are at least a couple of programmable buttons that I can use to make up for not having a keyboard when you don't need more then a couple of buttons. Like what the Cintiq does with Photoshop. That and having some 3D power. I'd love to just sit down on the couch with something like that and do some texturing. There was an Asus model that looked really, really close to what I was looking for. I think someone did a hack to put in a larger HD then was was avail as stock and it worked well. I forget what it was called.

I think it was one of these
http://usa.asus.com/Eee/Eee_Pad/Eee_Slate_EP121/#overview

I'd really like a 15" screen. Drawing on something as small as a 12" or a 13" isn't all that appealing. A 17" would be great but, you totally loose the portability. With all the tablet fad flying around, someone's bound to make what I'm looking for soon. I just need a project that justifies buying one. :/

Philbert
01-08-2012, 01:00 PM
Yeah we were just talking about the ep121. I think once Windows 8 comes out yyou will suddenly see a huge influx of powerful tablets (or "slates") hitting the market and will have a nice selection to choose from.

wibly wobly
01-08-2012, 02:29 PM
hehe, I realized that after I posted you were talking about the same thing I'd seen. It's interesting what people have done with some of these tablet and Cintiqs. Probably my fav mods have been people slapping them into animation discs. Really slick stuff there to work with.

http://inklingstudio.typepad.com/chronicles/2006/07/21st_century_an.html