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Wacom: Got Good Gear?

I remember the days when the video arcade was the place to be in my town and despite all of the cool 4 and 8 bit color games we played, perhaps the most memorable is PacMan. It was (is) a cool game and part of the allure of PacMan was the sounds it used. As PacMan ate his pellets, he would make this sound – wacca wacca wacca. Remember?

How can I steer this post back to reality? I’m not sure, but how about, “Wacom, Wacom, Wacom?”

If you don’t know who Wacom is and you have a talent when it comes to drawing, then you should immediately go to the Wacom website. When you’re done, come on back and read the rest…


Wacom makes about the coolest piece of hardware you’re likely to find if you’re a pen and paper kind of designer. Wacom would state (and they’re probably right) that there is still a great need for intuitive tools that augment and tap into the physical abilities that some people have when drawing/designing. So, they’ve made a business out of patented technology that allows them to have an accurate and fast surface that you draw on. That’s right – draw on… To compare Wacom products to a typical computer input device would just be plain wrong – ‘I don’t need no stinkin’ mouse!’ Instead, it’s the closest thing to actually having a pen do what you want it to do in the digital domain.

Their basic product line is the Intuos line of tablets. They come in different sizes and shapes, depending on what your needs are. For some trips, I like to bring along the 4×6 because it is small enough that I can carry it around with me as I travel. For home, I use the larger 9×11 which maps to my widescreen monitors better.

For those of you who have a lot of disposable cash, or are getting well paid, or who can support your gear habit, you probably already know about the Rolls Royce (insert your favorite, expensive luxury item here) of the Wacom line: the Cintiq. The Cintiq is a beauty to behold and even more fun to use. It’s a fast, accurate LCD panel that also happens to be a touch screen for the pen. It can be set up as like a drawing or architects table and we had one or two at the Adobe booth at NAB. During the show, I helped out a buddy by giving him a break on the Photoshop station and it had a Cintiq. I had to stop and show it off as much as Photoshop Extended CS3. It really is a beauty to use.

For those of us (meaning me) who have to use their shekels for something else, there is the Graphire line which while inexpensive is still very functional and a great tool to invest in if you’re just getting started or are an avid hobbyist.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a piece of hardware to connect you more intimately with some Adobe apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash or After Effects, this is on my personal picks list.

Happy drawing…


It would be great to see some tutorials on using a Wacom within the video workflow… such as how you might program the buttons and sliders, etc.

There’s a lot of info and tips for Photoshop and Illustrator, but not many people think to pick it up for video.

[DR – I think you may see some from Julianne Kost coming up, but I’m not sure. It’s not really under the scope of what I’m doing, but I will say that I love Wacom tablets.]

If I may add, Wacom released the Bamboo line of tablets. I purchased the Bamboo Fun, which comes with Photoshop Elements and Coral Draw Express, and it is fantastic. It is a $100 piece of hardware with several hundred dollars worth of software! Not to mention, the use of the tablet is addictive. I use it in ever application, speeding up my workflow immensely. I would definitely suggest getting one for anyone interested in Graphic Design

i’d just add – wacom rocks not only for drawing or painting. once you practice for a few weeks – it’ll make you work in any application way faster than regular mouse. i’m fllyyying with it even in maya or shake or aftereffects!

anyone should give a try. and don’t get frustrated at first – it’s quite strange feeling at the beginning however it’s only a matter of time until you’ll become addicted 🙂

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