Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Axiotron Modbook
plas at 3:48PM, April 5, 2008
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Not sure if this is the right forum for this but here goes…


I've been watching the development of this computer with a lot of interest because I'm a Mac user and I have always been sort of curious, considering they are conventionally thought of as THE platform for artists and graphic designers, why Apple has never come out with their own tablet PC.

For those of you who are unaware of this computer, here are a couple of links:

The Axiotron Modbook page:

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

Some YouTube videos showing the Modbook in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIPkWaR7jDw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN_e_Y1oIp8&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfX8mVicTcQ&feature=related

Review from Slashgear (2 part):

http://www.slashgear.com/axiotron-modbook-review-part-1-2010371.php

http://www.slashgear.com/axiotron-modbook-review-part-2-im-sad-to-see-it-go-2710489.php

Basically the concept is that you order the Modbook through one of two companies (one in the US, and Carbon Computing in Canada) and they buy a Macbook (the smaller 13-inch version) and make it to whatever specifications you want (i.e. you can add more RAM, a larger hard drive, etc…). They take the Macbook apart and rebuild it to your specifications as well as adding the tablet technology into it. So essentially the end product is a Macbook without a keyboard and with tablet technology built in. As with all Apple products it is rather pricey, but from what I can see it is wholeheartedly worth it if you want a top-end Tablet PC.

I'm considering buying one in the far future (i.e. a year or so), but I was just wondering if anyone had actually used one or any tablet (I'm really unfamiliar with the technology thus far) and had any comments or suggestions. To me it looks like a really solid choice for someone who needs a tablet, but the price tag makes me a bit weary (around $2500) and I don't want to go wasting all my money…

I really need a new computer right now because my current one is a bit old and I'm on the move alot and away from home and this current one isn't quite as portable as I'd like. So I'm going to be buying a new computer within a year regardless, It's just a matter of whether I go the conventional laptop route, buy the Modbook, or pick up a PC Tablet (Wacom or something along those lines.)

Any response would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

- plas
I has no picture :(
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:46PM
Hawk at 10:07AM, April 6, 2008
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Well, Wacom's Cintiq tablets, which essentially function as an additional monitor with pressure sensitivity, cost $2500 for the 21.3“ version and $1000 for the 12” version.

I like this option more than the TabletPC and Modbook options because it leaves the tablet separate from the computer. When the PC needs upgraded, you don't need to repurchase the tablet portion. And when you repair or replace your tablet/monitor, you still have your computer to use for other purposes.

Plus, those Cintiqs are Mac and PC compatible.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
fazz33 at 1:48PM, April 6, 2008
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The problem with the Cintiq is that it lacks real mobility like a modbook or tablet pc. I'd say that if you aren't really in need of a truely mobile drawing solution the cintiq is a better option, giving you more pressure levels and tilt senesitivity (I think). But if you are more on the go, grab a tablet pc or a modbook. If you really have that kind of cash for the modbook, go for it, but beware of long delays between ordering and recieving (I hear that there are frequent delays). I'm currently using a cheap tablet PC for my comic and I'll say its a godsend, with the right programs that is. I use sktechbook pro 2, which is designed for tablets and woun't break your wallet (100USD for students, 200USD regular).

I suggest for tablets the lenovo x61 series (its batterylife is very good and can be customized to exactly your needs, and its very portable), but if you really need one with a dvd drive look up the HP xt2000 series (NOT tx1000 series!!!), those are cheap, like dirt cheap. But if you want a more reputable tablet company look for a fujitsu series lablet(Can be had for less than 1000 before taxes), I'm currently waiting for my T2010 to ship.

Again if money is the main worry go for the TX2000 series, its cheap and well featured, But the battery life on those models is more limited than with equivilantly equiped models, pittering out at about 3 hours with the regular battery and 5-6 with the extended battery. To give some reference, my fujitsu T2010 is expected to give 6-9 hours on the normal battery and 9-12 on it's extended, these numbers are also similar for the ibm x61 tablet series.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
Hawk at 9:04AM, April 7, 2008
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I just thought of this, and I don't want to make this a PC vs. Mac thread… but I've realized that I've been able to handle all my graphic and animation programs just fine on a PC. If you're really wanting something with the functionality of a TabletPC, you may just want to go for the TabletPC. That is, unless you much more prefer the interface of a Mac, I guess. But if you're worried that graphic programs don't work as well on a PC as they do with the Mac, I can assure you that's not the case. I think it used to be, but artists and graphic designers are using Macs more out of habit than anything these days.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
fazz33 at 2:35PM, April 7, 2008
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Mehh, I've used both mac and pc photoediting/drawing software. I can agree there is not much difference between the 2, however if you do end up getting a tablet pc, there was one program that stood out as a “just tablets” program. I mentioned the name before and its Sketchbook pro 2. The interface is streamlined for use on tablet pc's or cintiq screens, this makes the world of difference to me in terms of ease to use and intuitiveness. But thats just the interface, the actual program itself handles like others once you look past that.

If you do end up with the modbook, I have heard that the modified tablet software on it is actually also very intuitive and easy to use, so I probably woun't make a difference.

By the way, Hawk, love the comic :D I don't mean to Hijack the thread but do you use a cintiq? If not, what do you use?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
Hawk at 3:59PM, April 7, 2008
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fazz33
By the way, Hawk, love the comic :D I don't mean to Hijack the thread but do you use a cintiq? If not, what do you use?


Thank you :)

I just use a Wacom Intuos 3 with Macromedia Flash. I did get quite a bit of experience with the Cintiqs in a Painter class in college, and I really liked the things, expensive as they are.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
fazz33 at 6:55PM, April 7, 2008
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Ah cool ^_^ I'm a tablet pc'er. So I get the sensistivity but non of the fancy tilt stuff, lemme ask, does it really make a difference? I've never used one of those before.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
plas at 11:48AM, April 8, 2008
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Thanks for the info guys. You brought to my attention a couple of factors I hadn't considered yet, such as pressure levels (the wacom has about double the level of pressure sensitivity that the modbook has 1000+ to 500+). If I was going to go for the wacom the only problem is I would have to get one that has the actual computer built in. I'm on the go and away from home far too much and it would be too much hassle to have to carry around the tablet interface and a computer, both built in would just be more convenient (though you do make a good point about upgrading).

As of right now I haven't made any decisions, but thats fine because I'm not looking to buy either one for a couple of months, I've got to save my pennies first regardless. The price tag on it really isn't an obstacle tho.

I have to say, tho, I'm leaning towards the modbook if all the specs check out. I was a PC user before I got this mac and I don't know if I could go back just simply based on the security issue. Towards the end of my time with my old PC I was reinstalling my OS on a monthly basis and even despite that the hardware was failing on me, then again that was a Dell and not the highest quality model I could get at that, so that my have had something to do with it. But in the time I've had my Mac I've only had to reinstall the OS once and that was when I upgraded to leopard. That aside the other thing holding me back from getting a PC is Vista, which I have only heard bad things about…

No decisions yet though. If I do end up with the Modbook I'll make sure to post about the functionality of it and see whether it really deserves the positive reviews its been getting. In the meantime I'm just going to keep surfing for reviews.

I've got a whole lot more new things I have to consider now. This may make me sound like a huge geek but I'm actually looking forward to weighing all the options. Buying a new computer is alot of fun, like picking out a car for geeky people :P I'll have to suppress my instinct to get one with all the bells and whistles and pick one which is the actual best fit.

Thanks again for all the help!
I has no picture :(
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:46PM
fazz33 at 8:52PM, April 8, 2008
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I realise I'm probably going to get the hell of a flaming saying this. But Vista does actually grant GOOD tablet functionality. If it did anything at all right, that is it! The tablet elements of vista are very good, penflicks and general tablet friendlyness of the OS is not bad. Generally much better than on XP.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
plas at 11:54AM, April 9, 2008
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Vista is actually good at something… wow…

:P

Thats actually frankly surprising as far as Microsoft goes, if there was one thing I was expecting Vista to be good at it wouldn't be tablet functionality. I have a friend who has Vista though, and she hates it. Moreover she found that she is actually not capable of uninstalling it to just install XP. Then again she's not exactly the most computer literate person so maybe she just doesn't know how to use it. I seem to remember her saying something about her having to be an administrator every time she needed to do anything, but never being able to sign in as an administrator because the computer locked her out… Now that I think about it, she probably just has no clue what she's doing…
I has no picture :(
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:46PM
fazz33 at 4:50PM, April 9, 2008
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Well, Vista is attempting something that most other modern OS's are trying even OSX is doing it. Restricting admin access, admittingly the Vista method isnt the best but it really is better than before, as annoying as it is. Admin access is what generally gets PC users in trouble. Thats why vista wants to clarify if you really want to use admin powers, or if something else inside the computer wants it to reak havoc.

That aside, yes vista has good tablet functionality, microsoft is really pushing the platform. I think thats a good thing because it really does make computer use more natural.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
ozoneocean at 8:08PM, April 9, 2008
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This would probably go better in the tips and tricks forum. We usually discuss materials, programs, hardware, techniques etc there.

At home on my nice new, expensive, fast PC I use my Wacom Intuos. When I go to work I take my Graphire and a little USB flash drive, so I can do my comic stuff just fine as well as my normal Graphic Design work. The work PC isn't as good as mine and it runs XP. Still, I can do my comic on it just as easily. My Vista PC works fine for art as well. :)

Tablets look great, but with them you have all the limitations of a laptop-> more vulnerable to damage, more expensive to repair, less options on upgradability, a lot less secure: physical security is more important than network security, computers are much easier to hack if someone can do it in person.

The portability is what's important. I solve that myself with a tough little Graphire and a teeny little flash drive, but that relies on having another computer on the other end of your journey (any OS), and some compatible programs to work with. And you have no portability within that environ and no work time while you travel. That's fine for me since the journey is very short, and I work fine at my desk; but for roaming more randomly I'd definitely advise a Tablet computer.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
cartoonprofessor at 5:32AM, April 10, 2008
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I use a Cintiq and consider it by far the best investment I ever made.

I too have looked with interest at the modbook, It would be so ideal to have such a device… I could work anywhere as well as I work at home. The sensitivity thing though would be an issue, even with my 21UX Cintiq I sometimes get slightly frustrated with it… at least I did until I got used to it.

Wacom have released a mobile Cintiq… haven't read much about it yet though… it draws power from your laptop I think so could be pretty draining on your Battery…
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
plas at 10:51AM, April 10, 2008
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Thanks for moving this over for me ozoneocean, I didn't even notice this forum when I posted this topic. what can I say, I'm a nublet :P

Now back on topic. Yeah the mobility issue is really the biggest factor for me. I work the night shift so I end up having the entire day free and I don't really like to spend it stuck in my apartment so I generally hole up in a cafe somewhere random and work on stuff. As it is right now my computer isn't portable so I do all of my work on paper, which is fine for now because I'm getting the particular nuances of style down for my art as well as scripting drafts of the first couple of story archs. But ideally I'd like something that I could take with me out into the world and then bring to work so I can work there too, so I would need something that is a computer/tablet in one as opposed to just a tablet interface. Plus the computer I use at work has no graphic software on it and no capability to install programs, its built just for editing text.

So now its just a matter of figuring out which one to get, and I'm leaning toward the modbook, i'll be honest. I just wish I could get my hands on a couple of tablets and actually use them so I can compare the functionality of them.

oh, and the modbook is made from the same material as airplanes. thats just damn cool imo… :P

plus it has GPS! :D

yeah i'm a huge geek, I'll never use either of those functions to the fullest… but hey, now when I'm riding the subway I'll be able to pinpoint my exact location with GPS!
I has no picture :(
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:46PM
FAL at 7:43PM, April 12, 2008
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Hey, I'm also a Mac lover but I tell you what… I just bought an HP tx2000 Tablet PC with Windows Vista! It costs 1099 Euros here.

As cool as Mac OS X is, Vista stomps all over it in terms of tablet support. Just look at this video as an example of what I'm saying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCHqMENtKkA

I've bought it two weeks ago and I'm loving it so far. I'm still getting “used to it” but I think it will enable me to work faster and anywhere I go.

Be aware that the screen's viewing angle isn't that good and there's no programamble buttons on the screen edges (very useful for zooming etc.), but it'll serve me well until Apple decides to enter the market with a tablet with decent OS support.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM

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