Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Shopping for a Tablet PC
dgriff13 at 3:01PM, July 9, 2008
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Hey all. Looking into a Tablet PC. Don't want to spend over $1,500. Need the stylus/pen sensitivity to be as high quality as possible, as I'm used to my wacom tablet. Here's the ones I'm considering:

Levono Thinkpad
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2195370,00.asp

HP tx2000
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2242952,00.asp

Gateway C142 XL
http://www.gateway.com/systems/series/529597319.php

Thoughts? Anyone have one of these?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:10PM
BlkKnight at 3:50PM, July 9, 2008
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If they still make Thinkpads like they used to, it should be a tank in terms of durability.
That's “Dr. BlkKnight” to all of you.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:26AM
dgriff13 at 9:50PM, July 9, 2008
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BlkKnight
If they still make Thinkpads like they used to, it should be a tank in terms of durability.

I have heard that about Thinkpads. Thanks BlkKnight
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:10PM
ozoneocean at 12:25AM, July 10, 2008
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I have some thoughts… I WANT ONE TOO! :)

Tell me how good whichever one you get is so I can better make up my mind ^_^

-As to those ones there… the Thinkpad seems to be more expensive but have the lowest specs- smaller hard drive, slower processor etc.
Thinkpads as a species are fairly durable though. My dad still uses one he bought in 1996.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:31PM
mattchee at 9:04AM, July 10, 2008
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I tested out the HP one at best buy, it was pretty nice, although it had next to zero applications on it that i could give it a good test (to give you an idea, i had to test the pressure sensitivity with the handwriting recognition software…) Also, no one there could give me a straight answer about whether there was a Wacom inside it or not (found out later, yes, it is wacom inside).

My guess is it would work pretty nicely with other programs… but I'd like to read some reviews first. Oddly enough most people who review these things dont care about their performance as far as art goes. Weird. I guess they defer that to the Axitron Modbook? (nice if you have 2000+ to spend)

Anyway, also, FYI the Levono is also listed on Wacom's site for components. The Gateway is not. I, personally, would only go for models with a wacom inside….

if i had the money!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
SpANG at 9:54AM, July 10, 2008
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mattchee
Anyway, also, FYI the Levono is also listed on Wacom's site for components. The Gateway is not. I, personally, would only go for models with a wacom inside….
My brother has that Gateway listed. I'm pretty sure the Wacom sofware/compatibility issue was not a problem for him. (EDIT/// The specs list “14.0” WXGA TFT Active Matrix (1280 x 768 max. resolution) w/ Gateway Executive Stylus (by WACOM) " )
It's got 256 levels of pressure sensitivity, and something like a 4 hour battery. It's quite nice.

Does the thinkpad have a rotating screen? It doesn't show that in the pictures. I would think that is a detractor, that it does not really fold to a ‘tablet’ position.

The biggest thing I can see though is the puny 12.1“ screen on the HP and Levono models. That Gateway has a 14” widescreen. The only thing about the Gateway is that I it's a little heavy for some people. :(
“To a rational mind, nothing is inexplicable. Only unexplained.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:53PM
mattchee at 10:06AM, July 10, 2008
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I'm not doubting the usefulness of the gateway. I was just saying, if I had a choice, wacom components would be one of the deciding factors…

Here's a link to the list of tablets that are integrated with wacom components:

http://www.wacom-components.com/english/partner/index.html

I'd also like to follow up my previous statements noting that, the HP tablet I tested did have some weight to it (and when i tested it, the battery was OUT). But that will be a factor with any of them, I'd imagine, with the very nature of what they are…


last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
mattchee at 10:08AM, July 10, 2008
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I just saw your edit… the gateway is wacom integrated?!?! Even better!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
dgriff13 at 11:35AM, July 10, 2008
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wow, thanks guys, very informative. Now I'm leaning towards the Gateway. My only concern is that even though it's wacom integrated, it only has 256 levels of P.S… whereas my current 4x5 wacom graphire has 512. I'm already annoyed with my little wacom- mostly because it's too small and the cursor goes screwy at times- but I'm wondering if half the sensitivity will make things even worse? Last thing I want to happen is to get it and not care to use it.

Guess that means I really HAVE TO test it out first. Any suggestions where/how I can do this?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:10PM
FAL at 1:37PM, July 10, 2008
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Hey, I have the HP tx2000! You really have to get used to using a tablet, it's not like using paper as there's a thickness to the screen there's always a certain offset between the pen tip and the pointer on the screen even after calibrating it, be warned. The center of the screen is pretty precise but the offset increases the more you get to the borders, this is true for ALL tablets so don't worry about it.

Even with this I use it a lot, on the couch, laying in bed etc. it's great to be able to draw anywhere. I still prefer the iMac with the Wacom due to the screen size and viewing angle and I also found out I like not having my hand “in the way” of the screen. The tablet is great because you can move it around and always find the best angle for your hand to draw. I also like the fact that it's a convertible and it's great to surf the net with your fingers!

Really don't pay much attention to the sensitivity levels. I had the same concerns, I found various tests and opinions from professionals on the internet and they all said that it's unnoticable, the precision of our hand muscles can't even use a portion of the sensitivity level offered. I tell you I don't feel any difference between my Intuos 3 and the HP, the last three pages of my comic I did with a combination of both without any trouble.

Hope it helps, just ask if you have any question. I find myself using the HP more and more each day, I think with an external monitor to double check the colors I won't need anything more! I like the fact of being able to put your whole studio in your backpack!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
SpANG at 3:29PM, July 10, 2008
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dgriff13
wow, thanks guys, very informative. Now I'm leaning towards the Gateway. My only concern is that even though it's wacom integrated, it only has 256 levels of P.S… whereas my current 4x5 wacom graphire has 512. I'm already annoyed with my little wacom- mostly because it's too small and the cursor goes screwy at times- but I'm wondering if half the sensitivity will make things even worse? Last thing I want to happen is to get it and not care to use it.

Guess that means I really HAVE TO test it out first. Any suggestions where/how I can do this?
Heh. From what I've read, the only laptop out there with 512 levels of pressure is The Modbook and that's like a grand over your budget.

I would tend to think that 256 levels is just fine and dandy. Most people probably never even use 100. ;)
“To a rational mind, nothing is inexplicable. Only unexplained.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:53PM
ozoneocean at 4:56PM, July 10, 2008
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SpANG
I would tend to think that 256 levels is just fine and dandy. Most people probably never even use 100. ;)
I notice the difference between the 512 on my Graphire and the 1024 on my Intuos. (or whatever the levels are… I do notice the diff in sensitivity).

Those modbooks look nice, but not shipping until September? … Bit of a wait if you buy one now.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:31PM
dgriff13 at 10:42AM, July 11, 2008
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FAL
Hey, I have the HP tx2000! You really have to get used to using a tablet, it's not like using paper as there's a thickness to the screen there's always a certain offset between the pen tip and the pointer on the screen even after calibrating it, be warned. The center of the screen is pretty precise but the offset increases the more you get to the borders, this is true for ALL tablets so don't worry about it.

Even with this I use it a lot, on the couch, laying in bed etc. it's great to be able to draw anywhere. I still prefer the iMac with the Wacom due to the screen size and viewing angle and I also found out I like not having my hand “in the way” of the screen. The tablet is great because you can move it around and always find the best angle for your hand to draw. I also like the fact that it's a convertible and it's great to surf the net with your fingers!

Really don't pay much attention to the sensitivity levels. I had the same concerns, I found various tests and opinions from professionals on the internet and they all said that it's unnoticable, the precision of our hand muscles can't even use a portion of the sensitivity level offered. I tell you I don't feel any difference between my Intuos 3 and the HP, the last three pages of my comic I did with a combination of both without any trouble.

Hope it helps, just ask if you have any question. I find myself using the HP more and more each day, I think with an external monitor to double check the colors I won't need anything more! I like the fact of being able to put your whole studio in your backpack!


all very interesting points FAL! Between what you and SpANG said, I think the PS isn't as important as I thought… I probably won't notice it, especially with the simpler style I have. It's not like I;m doing fine art, painting and such. The best thing about a tablet is the freedom it gives you! I think I'll probably go with which ever I can get cheaper, the HP or the Gateway. Seems like a toss-up.

You guys have been a big help, thanks!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:10PM
mattchee at 1:54PM, July 11, 2008
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ozoneocean
I notice the difference between the 512 on my Graphire and the 1024 on my Intuos. (or whatever the levels are… I do notice the diff in sensitivity).

Those modbooks look nice, but not shipping until September? … Bit of a wait if you buy one now.

Are you speaking in regard to line weight, opacity/flow, both, or neither? I'm primarily concerned with line weight. I've been considering a tablet pc, but I'd be pretty disappointed if I were that much worse of than my graphire… especially considering I'm an Mac (did you see me in Die Hard 4?) and I'd have to re-buy programs (expensive ADOBE programs) for Windows…. At that point i might be better off with the Modbook and its 512 levels…. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that the modbook is built more with the artist in mind as opposed to any windows tablet.

By the way… this is all pretty fantastical talking (typing) i'm doing here. I'm sure by the time I'm ready to purchase one of these, it will be a whole other set of hardware that's available.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
ozoneocean at 11:17PM, July 11, 2008
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mattchee
Are you speaking in regard to line weight, opacity/flow, both, or neither?
Both. You get used to it and adjust of course, but with me using both tablets constantly every day (the big Intuos at home, the smaller Graphire I take to work), it's always apparent to me. It's not massive and After a while it's fine.

With me, I'm in the opposite position-> quite well set-up for Windows products… I'd prefer the Modbook because of its features, specs etc. And it's pretty. :)
—————————-

In the end though I might try something different and cheaper… The ultra small eepc by Asus, it seems powerful enough to handle quite a bit. You can bulk up its ram too. I wonder if that'd be a nifty little portable solution with my Graphire?
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:31PM
mattchee at 8:13AM, July 16, 2008
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FAL
Hey, I have the HP tx2000! You really have to get used to using a tablet, it's not like using paper as there's a thickness to the screen there's always a certain offset between the pen tip and the pointer on the screen even after calibrating it, be warned. The center of the screen is pretty precise but the offset increases the more you get to the borders, this is true for ALL tablets so don't worry about it.

Even with this I use it a lot, on the couch, laying in bed etc. it's great to be able to draw anywhere. I still prefer the iMac with the Wacom due to the screen size and viewing angle and I also found out I like not having my hand “in the way” of the screen. The tablet is great because you can move it around and always find the best angle for your hand to draw. I also like the fact that it's a convertible and it's great to surf the net with your fingers!

Really don't pay much attention to the sensitivity levels. I had the same concerns, I found various tests and opinions from professionals on the internet and they all said that it's unnoticable, the precision of our hand muscles can't even use a portion of the sensitivity level offered. I tell you I don't feel any difference between my Intuos 3 and the HP, the last three pages of my comic I did with a combination of both without any trouble.

Hope it helps, just ask if you have any question. I find myself using the HP more and more each day, I think with an external monitor to double check the colors I won't need anything more! I like the fact of being able to put your whole studio in your backpack!

Which programs do you use, and how well do they work? I'm thinking (more seriously now) that if I did get one I'd have to go free (GIMP, Paint.net, pixia) or cheap (Photoshop Elements, Manga Studio). While the levels of sensitivity may not be as big of a concern, a program's responsiveness is….

What do you use, and what is best?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
FAL at 9:07AM, July 17, 2008
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That's just personal preference, the best is that you download a demo of all the programs out there and see what's best for YOU.

I personally use Flash. On my desktop (iMac G5) I tell you it's frickin' slow when you have too much layers on a page: you have to draw a line, wait until it appears on the screen and then prey it landed where you intended. On the laptop here it works perfectly. I really don't recommend it though, using a vector program like Flash or Illustrator your page can end up looking like digital crap if you don't know what you're doing, specially coloring with gradients, you have to be really subtle.

If I went raster I would probably use Corel Painter because I like the selection of brushes, or Adobe Photoshop which I think is the absolute best if you take the time to learn how to use it properly.



last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
mattchee at 1:25PM, July 17, 2008
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FAL
That's just personal preference, the best is that you download a demo of all the programs out there and see what's best for YOU.

I personally use Flash. On my desktop (iMac G5) I tell you it's frickin' slow when you have too much layers on a page: you have to draw a line, wait until it appears on the screen and then prey it landed where you intended. On the laptop here it works perfectly. I really don't recommend it though, using a vector program like Flash or Illustrator your page can end up looking like digital crap if you don't know what you're doing, specially coloring with gradients, you have to be really subtle.

If I went raster I would probably use Corel Painter because I like the selection of brushes, or Adobe Photoshop which I think is the absolute best if you take the time to learn how to use it properly.

I guess maybe I phrased my question wrong. What i wanted to know, is, since you've got the HP, what programs have you used on it and how well did they work?

I already know what works for me: Photoshop. I do pretty much my whole comic in PS on my G4 with a graphire. My concern is, I might have to switch that up if i were to get a tablet PC, since the thought of buying Photoshop again (for Vista now) is not exactly a happy thought (especially after i fork over for the tablet pc).

So I wanted to get an idea of how well whatever programs you use work for you on your HP, in your experience. When I tried to check it out at best buy, the extent of the software I could test was MS Paint and the handwriting recognition. I'd rather not buy the dang thing and find out it can't do what I want…

What I'm truly looking for is quality line weight control via pressure sensitivity in a raster program.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
FAL at 2:34PM, July 17, 2008
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I didn't really try any of the programs you mention, I tried Photoshop CS3, Corel Painter X and Alias Sketchbook. They all work fine, infinitely better than on my iMac which is not saying much as it's old… no perceivable slowdowns except for some heavy brushes in Corel Painter.

As I said, I don't really feel much difference from my Intuos 3. I think the biggest problem is getting used to the “imperfect” calibration these things have and the limited viewing angle, I almost returned the HP to the store the first week because of these things, but now I'm glad I sticked with it. I'm getting the hang of it, I remember the first time I used a graphic tablet I couldn't draw a straight line to save my life but now it feels pretty natural.
Don't know if I answered any question…

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
mattchee at 8:44AM, July 18, 2008
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FAL
I didn't really try any of the programs you mention, I tried Photoshop CS3, Corel Painter X and Alias Sketchbook. They all work fine, infinitely better than on my iMac which is not saying much as it's old… no perceivable slowdowns except for some heavy brushes in Corel Painter.

As I said, I don't really feel much difference from my Intuos 3. I think the biggest problem is getting used to the “imperfect” calibration these things have and the limited viewing angle, I almost returned the HP to the store the first week because of these things, but now I'm glad I sticked with it. I'm getting the hang of it, I remember the first time I used a graphic tablet I couldn't draw a straight line to save my life but now it feels pretty natural.
Don't know if I answered any question…



yep! Thanks!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
dgriff13 at 12:33PM, July 30, 2008
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FYI guys- I went with the Gateway, and I got a GREAT deal on it. Looks like Acer has completely bought out Gateway, and I got one of the last Tablet PCs online for almost half of the normal price through a techie friend, tax-free…. wee hee hee!

(yes, this includes a 3 year warranty through Acer)


Thanks again for the advice!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:10PM

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