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I got a new tablet, an Intuos 4, last night, and after having messed around with it a great deal (I've nearly finished a piece with it), I felt like writing something. My old tablet, a Bamboo Pen, began to fail me and has stopped working after serving me well for most of a year, mostly as a result of a computer problem. Since we often get posts in the art forum about tablets and what kinds of tablets people should aim for, I figured I'd use this chance to make a reference tool with reviews of the two tablets I've now owned- the two that most aspiring digital artists will consider. Should anybody ask in the forum, I'll refer them to this post.
Bear in mind these are based on my experiences with each of these tablets. Not everybody may have the problems I've had and some may have problems where I haven't.
Comes with: A Bamboo tablet, a pen, installation software, two replacement nibs, and a copy of Corel Painter Essentials OR Photoshop Essentials (depending on how/where you buy it.)
It's a simple little tablet. It comes packaged in a rather mediocre manner, but it's obviously very nice and well made for its price. The tablet itself has a nice matte finish and looks rather nice, with a little white light that turns on when you touch the. The pen is fairly ugly and plain looking.
It's rather well made. The tablet itself is sturdy and feels very pleasant to touch, which is important considering how it's used. The pen has to be held in a little cloth notch on the right side of the tablet, which many might not even realize is intended to hold the pen. The lack of a proper and easy to use place to put the pen led to my losing the pen fairly often when I would take a break from drawing. The pen is somewhat unpleasant to hold.
The tablet works well enough with the software it comes packaged with, and works well for navigating in general. The workspace is very small, but that's something that one adjusts to. The pressure sensitivity of the pen is great for how simple and small the tablet is. The main problems with the tablet, however, lie in this area. It's options are hard to manage and it has a difficult time working with certain programs other than the ones it comes with. Though I tried every way possible and asked numerous people and the company itself, I couldn't figure out how to configure the tablet to work with certain programs. My tablet also had a problem with bugging up occasionally and not working in quite the right manner when plugged into certain USB ports. It would ocassionally cause this extremely odd glitch where my computer would begin to act as though it had the space bar held down. Whenever this occurred, I would have to restart whenever this would occur. In general, the tablet served me very well, despite these problems. Mainly because of my computer, partially because of the tablet itself, I lost use of this tablet a few weeks ago. That's why I upgraded to the Intuos.
The tablet is just that. A small workspace for one to draw on that comes with some relatively simple and limited software. It can't do anything besides draw and navigate. It's excellent for the purpose it serves, though.
For $70, this is a wonderful tablet, and its inclusion of software (namely software intended for beginners) adds to its value. It's well worth the money, and it's a great deal for beginners to get a feel for digital art through.
: 3.75 / 5
(That isn't an average, that's my personal scoring for the tablet.)
Make no mistake, the bamboo is an excellent tablet and it serves its purpose very well. It's intended for people who are new to digital art and it does well in acclimating those people to digital art. It's an excellent deal and I recommend it to anybody who's considering entering the realm of digital art but isn't entirely sure of how seriously they'd like to take it or are simply on a budget.
If you're a beginner, this is probably the tablet for you.
Cost: ~$350 alone, ~$400 with Corel Painter 11
Includes: Intuos 4 tablet, removable USB cable, Intuos Pen, 10 replacement nibs with various uses, pen holster, Intuos Mouse, Installation software, (if you buy a bundle) Corel Painter 11.
The first thing I thought upon receiving the tablet was "damn, this comes in a nice box." It's very well packaged. The tablet itself is very classy and sleek in appearance. The pen looks great, as does its holster. Even the replacement nibs for the pen are nicely presented, sticking straight up out of the removable bottom of the pen holster, and thusly easily accessed. There are LED displays next to each button on the tablet to display what each button does, and these displays can be customized to say whatever you'd like in accordance with how you customize the buttons themselves. The buttons and scroll wheel are well organized and look good, and are presented on a sleek area to the right/left of the tablet. Also mentionable is that this tablet is made to work perfectly well turned over for left-handed users, as the buttons are organized in much the same manner. My only complaint is that Painter 11 came in a sleeve, rather than a box, which is hardly important.
It's made of a slightly nicer, but very similar material to the Bamboo; black plastic with a matte finish. It's sturdy and very pleasant to the touch. One very nice aspect is that the sleek area where the buttons are doesn't track fingerprints as you'd expect it to. The USB cord is replaceable, which reduces risk of ruining the cord, which could be a potential problem with any device with a built in cord. It uses the same kind of cord as PS3 controllers and many phones, so finding a replacement is relatively simple. The pen holster gives a good place to rest the pen when not using it and is also made of a good, sturdy matte plastic. The pen is much nicer in quality than that of the bamboo. The mouse is nice and is made to work in a manner that won't harm the tablet when moved across it. Though I have no intent to use the mouse (I prefer my own), it's worth mentioning that the scroll wheel is uncomfortable to scroll. The pen is very comfortable to hold.
The Intuos has a ridiculous high number of levels of pressure sensitivity, and has excellent tilt detection. As a result of all the extra additions to the tablet, I find the Intuos much easier to draw with than the Bamboo. Its work space is large and is made to correlate perfectly with a widescreen setup. This could be a potential problem for those who have standard sized displays, but since most don't, it's easily considered an advantage. The tablet is customizable, and the quick keys make for easy access to any function you'd like to set them to. The scroll wheel is wonderful for navigation and incremental changes to something; it can be used to scroll, zoom, change brush sizes, cycle layers, and various other things depending on how it's customized. The wheel can be excellently convenient when drawing. It's options are varied and the tablets applications and shortcuts can be configured to any program, and can actually be made to do different things in different programs. The pen itself has an excellent eraser on the end of it that can make drawing feel more natural in being able to simply flip the pen over and erase rather than changing the tool between the brush and the eraser. The high customization and comfort of use makes the Intuos an excellent tablet to draw with and capable of suiting the needs of different users. I have yet to come across a single problem using the tablet, though that is subject to change since I haven't had it very long.
This was discussed in depth in the previous section, but the tablet is highly customizable and is accordingly capable of suiting the needs of the user. It can effectively do more than simply drawing, in regard to working within a program. Make no mistake, though, this is still a very specialized instrument, and the purpose is still solely the creation of art. The added features are simply conducive to making this more convenient. The tablet also comes If you buy the bundle with Corel Painter 11, the addition of a full-size, professional program is excellent.
: 4/5 if alone, 5/5 if bundled with Painter 11.
The tablet is excellent, but ~350 is a LOT of money. You really need to know if you want this or not before buying it, and I'd only really recommend this to people who are already used to digital media or those who already have a lot of experience and skill with art and want to go into digital work. This is a fairly serious purchase, so it should be made with care. Corel Painter 11 is a $300 program, so getting it bundled for only $50 extra is amazing. The bundle is a wonderful deal.
: 4.75 / 5
This tablet is wonderful. It's expensive, but if you know it's going to be a worthwhile purchase, it's great. My opinion could change as I use it more if I begin to run into problems, but thus far I feel that the tablet was an excellent purchase. If you like Corel Painter (it's a matter of opinion), the bundle is fantastic.
Here's hoping these opinions help someone out eventually.
Need to make a news post. I've had the same one for months. SO!
-I've been doing a lot of pencil work lately. I feel as though I need to do something digital and colorful, and I have a bunch of ideas, but I just never feel like I have time. Pencil is so much more accessible and I can do it almost anywhere.
-I don't feel like I'm improving enough. I've gotten better at some things, but I just don't feel like I'm moving forward fast enough.
-Might gain access to a new scanner soon! I'm so fucking excited!
-Wanted to go to a school for visual art, and from what I've seen I could have gotten in, but I couldn't make the audition date. I'm going to that school for music (violin) instead. I feel like this is kind of pivotal in the direction of my life, and it makes me kind of sad. It was the one time I could have taken a step towards doing art for a living and I had support for it, and circumstance blew it all up.
-Going to a school for music now. Viva la Violin.
-I saw Paramore and Tegan and Sara live. Both were pretty fucking awesome. I don't go to many concerts, but that might start changing soon.
-Started listening to Animal Collective. Never got the appeal until recently. Some of their stuff is a bit difficult to get into, but damn, they're pretty cool.
-I discovered the second piece of the broken Unicorns (the first, Alden Penner, now singing for the band Clues), and it was both amazing and disappointing. This wonder band is called The Islands, and their first album, Return to the Sea, was incredible. It felt like The Unicorns' second album, sans Penner. Sadly, the second and third albums were terrible. It's such a shame that Nick Thorburn once had a sort of musical genius and a damned interesting voice, and now he's no good. I really hope he takes a step back in the direction of what he was for The Unicorns.
-Arcade Fire released a great new album. That's a very big deal to me.
-Check out Parachute Musical. Simply perfect.
Video Game Stuff:
The first was the best game released since LOZ: Wind Waker. I fucking cannot wait.
-Persona 3 Portable is pretty great.
-Heavy Rain is a video game experience I think every fan of story in games should try. Wow. It has the most enthralling and involving story in gaming.
-Mario Galaxy 2 rocks. I will get every star (not counting green ones). I swear it.
Don't have much new digital art to post, so have my most recent one. The character belongs to Jeeshwa.
For fuck's sake, love is difficult.
That's all I'm gonna say on that subject for now.
Art stuff: My scanner broke a while back, so I can't upload any pencil drawings, which really bites because I've made lots of those, a lot of which are actually pretty decent. I'm procrastinating on all of the following digital projects:
-Finishing my Monochrome art Collab entry
-Doing a new first entry for the Notepad Drawing Collab
-Getting better at Digital Painting
-Finishing my first Pokemon Gijinka (Misdreavus)
-Learning how to actually use photoshop.
I recently became addicted to Buzzwerd's stuff. It's reminiscent of flapjack, but better and brighter. I've also had an increasing love for Lawrence Yang and Moki Mioke as of late; I'd now rate both of them within my top ten for favorite professional artists.
Music Stuff: Nothing too amazing has come across me. I'm growing to love Musicals more and more, and I've been listening to the New West Side Story (which I saw on Broadway and really enjoyed) a lot lately. It's been more than a month since I picked up Razia's Shadow, and it still has possession of my heart as the best album I own. I discovered Kiss Kiss' second album (having already owned and loved the first one), and I gotta say that it's pretty damn awesome. I suggest it to anyone who likes "spooky" music. It's technically indie emo with violin, but Kiss Kiss doesn't really feel like wrist-cutting music so much as halloween inspired music.
Video Game stuff: Recently been completely addicted to Megaman 10. I've got about 26 hours on FF-XIII, and Megaman is like the exact opposite, so it's a nice game to play in between ventures through Cocoon. I picked up Star Ocean 4, and I gotta say, it's probably one of the most mediocre games I've ever bought. Shame, because the third one was an astounding adventure. I want to pick up 3D Dot Game Heroes REALLY badly when it comes out. Still need to get around to playing God of War III and Heavy Rain. Haven't really played video games a whole lot lately, though.
And finally, I'll leave you with my first attempt at making something in photoshop. I tried out filters on it too. Can't say I'm terribly pleased with how it came out, but it's my first attempt within that particular program. It's dreadfully complex and not user friendly at all.
Here's a little wizard.
Recently, I got the greatest album I've ever had. It's even better than Act III: Life and Death by The Dear Hunter. It's called Razia's Shadow: A Musical by Forgive Durden. It's essentially a two man composition by the last remaining member of the band and his brother, telling one of the coolest stories within music I've ever heard. It's fully orchestrated, but through synthesized instrumentation that's so well done it's almost better than if it were performed by a full orchestra. The story is cut into two main parts that I won' t explain in detail (though I want to, quite badly) because that would result in too much wordiness. The first part is of the creation of a world and the rise and fall of a great angel named Arihma who creates light for the world, destroys the light when he isn't given credit where it's due, and is condemned to rule the darkness left in the world. More specifically, he creates these great creations called the lamps, and his father, O the Scientist, creator of the world, receives credit for them. He's visited by a being of pure evil named Barayas the Spider whilst in frustration of not being acknowledged for his talents, who brainwashes him into destroying the lamps, after which he is judged and condemned to remain in the dark world he's created. The second part is about a descendant of Arihma who goes forth, leaves the world of dark, and falls in love with the princess of the world of light and brings the two worlds together and redeems his family and Arihma by overcoming a massive trial. It's really well told and EXTREMELY interesting when told in detail. All the characters, which there are a lot of, are sung by different members of bands. Arihma and his descendant, Attikias, are sung by the singer (and only member) of Forgive Durden. Some of the other characters are sung by Casey Crescenzo of the formerly mentioned The Dear Hunter, Brandon Urie of Panic at the Disco, and more than a dozen other singers. This album is fantastic, and if you like rock operas or musicals, you really need to grab this.
The next thing is Final Fantasy XIII. The main misunderstanding of this game is that people seem to have expected it to be perfect or just outright thought it would suck. It's not; no entries in this series have been. It's different, yes, though it feels more like a Final Fantasy when you get into the swing of things. This game is fantastic. It has a strong story and great characters (though, depending on your personality, there may be at least one character you'll hate) and, as is obvious, beautiful graphics. The gameplay seems different, and feels different at first, but as you adjust to it, it really does feel like a turn-based RPG; just a more active one. If you think change is blasphemy (which is an idiotic view; FF7 was drastically different from every previous entry in the series, was it not?), you should avoid this. I speak from the view of someone who actually liked FFXII. If you want an enjoyable experience with a strong story and, for the most part, likable characters and are willing to see beyond changes, you should check this out.
Wall of text expressing opinions, out.
Okay. This is it. I'm applying and auditioning for the NC School of the Arts for music, to spend my 11th and 12th grade years there and most likely to spend my college years there as well. I want to do this really badly; get out of this shithole redneck town and be able to do something I love around people whoget it.
The problem? I play the violin. It's a beautiful instrument, really, but I'm not the only one with this sentiment. The violin is the most commonly played school-taught instrument out there, just about, and is the most competitive instrument in existence. The audition will be difficult, and I have only one month to prepare a standard solo concerto and to memorize a Bach Sonata. I want this really badly. To top this off, my twin brother is the only person in my life that I'm close to. He's auditioning as well, on the bassoon. He's far more likely to make this than I am, and, if he does and I don't, I'm stuck here alone in this shithole. I don't know how I'll be able to stand it.
I know nobody on this site should give a fuck, but I'm more terrified than I've ever been in my life.
EDIT: The pieces I will probably be playing are Mozart's third concerto and JS Bach's Partita #3 or Sonata #1. It's starting to look more doable, but with more reassurence also comes more things to put me down. I've found out that the first three audition dates have priority over the later ones; I've missed those dates. I've also discovered that with music programs like this, you usually end up with a lot of people who audition and, for some reason or another, have to drop out, so that's pretty nice. I've got 2 months. If there's a space for me, I think I might be able to do this!
I'm testing the quality of a drawing. In the art forum, it was rather poor in quality.