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Label: equipment

Tuesday 08th April 2014Drawing Tablets

Ever since the first days of computer graphics programs, when Andy Warhol and his contemporaries were just beginning to dip a toe into the pool that would become the wonderful world of digital art, people have struggled with input devices. The mouse, invented by Doug Engelbart, is a great device for using programs and generally interacting with a graphical user interface, but it really starts to fall down on the job when it comes to the type of precise, artistic movements that artists demand in their work. Enter the drawing tablet, stage left.

The first drawing tablet for home use was designed for the Apple II and its generation, and was known as the KoalaPad. In 1984, a reviewer in Byte magazine (one of the biggest home computing magazines of the day) was rather unimpressed with the capabilities of the technology, and said that he found he had better luck using a mouse. Those days are long gone.

For any serious digital artist, a drawing tablet is a must in today's digital world. The technology has progressed to a point where there is no way that a mouse can provide the level of control that a drawing tablet offers. Even the most basic tablets in today's market provide pixel-perfect positional control, and most (if not all) also provide some level of pressure sensitivity, allowing you an additional degree of input control. The more advanced (and thus more expensive) tablets have additional degrees of sensitivity, and many of them are even capable of detecting the angle at which the stylus is held, for a third level of input control. If you're a truly serious artist, or if you just like to have all the best equipment, it's even possible to purchase a drawing tablet that is directly integrated with a tablet computer and its screen, meaning that you can run your applications directly on the tablet, and draw right on the screen for perfect accuracy. The downside to this power, naturally, is that they are incredibly expensive.

Whether you're hoping to explore the world of digital painting (the "undo" command makes it much more accessible for beginners), or doing regular retouching work in Photoshop, a drawing tablet will completely change the way you interact with your computer. Smaller tablets can be purchased for under £100, so there's no longer any excuse to avoid having one! If you're still not sure, many shops have demo models available for customers to test, so give it a shot, and see what you're missing!

Posted on April 08th 2014 on 01:30pm
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