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Wacom Bamboo

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have been considering getting myself a graphics tablet. I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do draw diagrams doodles and mathematical formulas, and if I want those saved in digital form, I have to use the scanner (part of the printer handily tucked away all the way in with the networking gear away from my PC of course). Naturally that doesn't actually help me reduce clutter when I just keep the paper. Given the fairly light duty I am asking, I don't want or need the expensive professional models, so I was looking at the Wacom Bamboo line, (primarily at the Bamboo Capture) and had some questions.

So first of all, I am a bit unsure of how the sizing works out. I know that graphics tablets use an absolute positional system, but the tablet is roughly monitor shaped while I happen to have 3 monitors (16:9) side by side, so I am kind of wondering how that might skew things (I'm assuming it maps to the entire desktop rather than a per monitor basis, is this a correct assumption? is it customizable with Wacom's software?). Second, I am a bit unsure about the size, the cheaper models are 5.8"x3.6", which doesn't seem very big, how hard is it trying to sketch or write accurately on such a small surface like that when you have a 5760x1080 desktop? There's a bigger model (bamboo Create), but it's $200. Also, for the folks with one of the cheaper models, how damning is the lack of an eraser portion? From what I hear, only the Create has that functionality. it sounds bad to me, but then I've never used a graphics tablet.

Another thing I noticed, the only difference I have seen between the specifications of the low and mid price models is that the cheapest (Bamboo Splash) does not support touch while the rest of the line does, and this carries a $20 premium. I am wondering how well that works, if it's worth the extra money, or just go with the cheap option. I use Windows 8, and with a 3 monitor setup using those sidebar menus from the hot corners is a pain in the ass, so having a touchpad I can swipe in from the side of would be nice if that function does indeed work from the Wacom. Also, is that absolute position like the pen or relative like most touchpads?


Also, I understand the tablets are bundled with a cheap version of Photoshop. I have been using Gimp as my image editor for when I actually need to edit an image, will the Wacoms work well with that or am I stuck with photoshop which I have no experience with?
Edited by BirdofPrey - 8/3/13 at 10:01pm
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post #2 of 6
A Bamboo is plenty enough if you are not going after using it for professional use, so you're good there. I'm an illustration student (into my second year) and I use an Intuos 5 small, so I don't have much space and haven't had problems doing shading/coloring, or highly detailed perspective line work with that size (the active area on it is only, very, slightly bigger than the capture. 6.2 x 3.9). With the Wacom software, I am able to dedicate it to a single monitor, or to multiple, see the picture:



I don't use the touch available to me, but that may change soon (I'm used to using a lot of keyboard shortcuts anyway). I don't use the eraser on my pen, because you can map out the pen buttons and/or the buttons on the tablet. I map it so that when I hold one of the pen buttons (a button on the pen which I'll hold down with my thumb) it activates the eraser and I can erase. I find it quicker than turning the pen over to erase, but, to each their own. I did these same things with a bamboo before I purchased an intuos (older version than the one you're looking at).

Pressure levels are very important, and all the bamboo's have the same. I can't tell you from experience what it would be like working with Gimp on the tablet. I do know that sketchbook pro/express will work really well with the tablets though, from experience. Anyhow, good luck.
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the insight. As I said my biggest concern is if an index card sized area is going to work. I am used to scribbling on full size 8.5x11 paper. Good to hear the lack of eraser isn't too horrible. I've seen it mentioned in just about every review. I'm guessing most of that comes down to getting used to the device in that while it may look and feel kinda like a pen or pencil, it still isn't one.

If the smaller size is indeed sufficient then my next question really is just how useful is that touch feature. As mentioned the Capture comes with an older version of Photoshop, but that alone is worth more than to $20 extra, but only if I actually use it. Seeing as I have a windows 8 computer, that is likely going to come down to how the gestures perform. If having a touch pad included isn't too hot a feature I can save myself a bit of money.
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post #4 of 6
No problem. I'm used to using 18x24 inch paper for some drawings, and I haven't had a problem transitioning to my tablet. That's my experience though, since I don't know how you'll handle it I can't tell you if it'll be too small or not, but I never feel the need for more room. The bamboo capture, being $66 at Amazon (at least in the US) may work for you if you're not sure if you want touch or not.

Because of the small price difference, I would personally go for the Capture over the Splash, especially if you think you'll regret not having touch; and if you're going to be getting used to all this tablet business from scratch anyway. You may find it very useful, especially if you use touch features for other things like phones. Some use the touch feature a lot, but I just don't use it personally, yet (just need to try working with it more, the first time I tried using it I still found it faster doing everything though setting up express keys and using keyboard shortcuts).

If it's about software, I just found Photoshop easier to use than Gimp, used Gimp a long time ago. Photoshop elements is also a great software to start learning photoshop, even though it isn't full version photoshop. A comparison article between the two can be found here: http://graphicssoft.about.com/cs/photoshop/f/elementscompare.htm

That's about it, otherwise this will turn into a full-fledged opinion post tongue.gif
Edited by Sgtoku - 8/9/13 at 4:05pm
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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
It's more does it actually work as advertised really.
As I said, I have a 3 monitor setup and Windows 8, and those hot corners to bring up the side menus are a pain in the ass sometimes, so a touchpad would be a help there. I think it also depends on the touchpad responsiveness, I always plug a mouse into my laptops since the touchpad it has is glacially slow and extremely tiny. Nothing wrong with touchpads but when it takes a half dozen swipes to get from one side of the monitor to the other, it's wasting my time.

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.
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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
I went and got the Capture and have been using it a bit and I am now actually thinking it seems quite large despite being the small model. Again, while I am by no means an artist, I do still have muscle memory from drawing on paper, so I was amazed at how well the tiny movements required to use a tablet can map to the huge area of the screen. Since I have a widescreen 3 monitor desktop I actually have most of my tablet inactive since it's mapped 1:1. Obviously my first drawing looked like it was done by a two year old, but I think I am getting used to it; I've been trying to use the pen for other tasks as well to get used to it. I think I am doing fairly well, though I am having trouble putting the pen straight down, so I have been missing the spot I am aiming at when I actually put the pen down.

The touch interface is OK, but not awe inspiring, but I think some of that is just individual programs, some don't always zoom or scroll smoothly and Windows always likes to open the charms bar on the same monitor rather than the one closest to the cursor which negates that feature for multi monitor setups. I do like the Autodesk sketchbook program that came with the tablet, nice for quick stuff, but I need to figure out how to get GIMP to work right, it's responding to the pressure on the pen, but I don't know how to modify the settings to make it do what I want with said settings (they have presets that don't tell you crap about what they are supposed to do)

There is one thing I need a bit of help with, right now my pen buttons are set to right click and pan/scroll. The latter lets me scroll around in the browser, the start screen, documents, etc. but I can't get it to do anything in Gimp and Sketchbook Express reads it as if I am just pressing with the pen tip without buttons. Being able to drag the canvas around with the pen would be a huge times-aver, does anyone know how I can get that to work in drawing/image editing programs?


On a side note, I used to think Opera's mouse gestures were useless partially because of hotkeys but mainly because my mouse has a dozen buttons (not hyperbole), but it's really neat to use with the pen. now I wish more programs had gestures.
Edited by BirdofPrey - 8/25/13 at 3:35pm
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