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When would a game artist use a tablet?

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Being more into the programming side I really don't know much about the art side, apart for algorithims, effects, formats etc.

 

So I was watching a short documentary, 'The making of Unreal Tournament' and noticed some artist in the background using full sized tablets, is this just for concept art or can you actually create models, 2D or 3D with them, or maybe you can touch up meshes/wireframe models....?

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They're used for pretty much everything where there can be some form of strength or intensity variable. The pens are pressure sensitive, meaning you can "click" with different strengths. It can affect things like the size of a brush, the opacity or the sharpness depending on what tool you are using. I have an old Wacom tablet, but I find it kindof difficult to use since you can't see what you are drawing on it. Now that I have a Surface Pro which came with a Wacom pen, even I can somewhat effectively use those features.

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Yes, tablets are almost mandatory for any 2D / 3D artist unless you do strictly pixel art. Tablet makes drawing with a mouse feel like a total waste of time.

 

For 3D they are used for texture painting (color and normal maps) or digital sculpting that is used to bake textures for lower resolution. Seamlessly control the opacity/size/strength of strokes and use the pen drawing motions you've practiced since you were a toddler...again there is no way you could get same results with a yanky and inflexible mouse.

 

For me it hasn't replaced mouse but I know some of those cases too. I find navigating 3D softwares too hard since pen+keyboard lacks scroll which I find essential in my work. Pressure sensitivity isn't needed outside painting/sculpting so mouse+keyboard offers more suitable forms of input. Also many use tablet+pen but I use too many keyboard shortcuts for tablet use.

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A tablet can be used for anything a mouse can.  To get used to their first tablet it is common for the artist to use it to play mouse-driven games with it.  College professors use tablets as a virtual laser pointer or to add hand-written notes and arrow/circles/etc. to powerpoint projections.

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Actually, if you have troubles using Pen+Mouse, try Pen+Space Navigator. That is the ultimative combination for 3D Work, especially sculpting, but the Space Navigator also works fine in Blender.

 

While all Space Mice are kinda expensive (3DConnexion has no competition at the moment, meaning they can charge whatever people are ready to pay... and the CAD Pros can pay a lot it seems), the basic versions are in the not-too-expensive category at around 125 bucks (at least here in Switzerland).

 

Takes some time to get used to, but then you will never ever use your Mouse again for navigation in 3D Space...

 

 

On topic, I am a humble Programmer myself, but do a lot of art too as I am developing on my own at the moment (and really like to draw and sculpt). I splashed out the lofty sum needed for a Wacom Cintiq 24HD at christmas 2 years ago and it was one of the best investments in my life.

If you draw a lot digitally, do 3D Sculpting or other stuff like that, there is no way around a Pen Tablet. And if you have just a little bit of artistic talent like me, but lack the time and expierience to learn to draw with a mouse or even just do the Hand-Eye coordnation stuff needed for a "normal" Tablet (like the intuos series), a pen tablet screen like the cintiq will really take your artistic work to the next level.

 

 

I know there are a lot of Mouse Users out there that will say something different. For me, its clear: I really like my cintiq!

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I use my tablets for literally everything I do on the computer. Even in most traditional 3D applications (though I usually sculpt), there are ways to zoom around using a keystroke+a swipe of the pen or the pen button, so no scrolling is no issue for me, personally.

Mind you, I've been using a no-screen tablet daily for like 6+ years now, so there's also that. Anyway, they function as a mouse, too, so many artists use them for more than just drawing and painting. smile.png

 

 

Edited by BagelHero

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Our artist uses a Cintiq for all the sketching/painting/texturing stuff. It's all mouse for 3D work though.

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I've seen a Wacom surface and the pen tilt used to adjust multiple aspects of music production with different elements linked as custom keys, like scrubbing through a timeline, pitch adjustments, BPS all the while leaving marks in the timeline to make notes for later. I've also watched video production use it the same way. Users can bind key strokes or macro key combinations to most tablets custom keys and since the Cintiq is a second monitor a user can have it as a entirely custom UI for most anything. It was pretty fun to play Supreme Commander with one back in the day since the game was designed with multi-monitors in mind. It's a pretty powerful tool since so many people are so accustom to using a pen and combined with multi-touch with Pen priority on a light weight OS a user can have portable tablets and even link those tablets with PCs for added functionality.

 

Now with so much writing recognition software algorithms could be written out (less fussing with keyboard symbols) using a tablet and convert the writing to text to add to software. I don't know if this is actually faster but I imagine it could be.

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A bit offtopic but tell me - Screen tablets like Cyntiq can work standalone with no pc ?

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A bit offtopic but tell me - Screen tablets like Cyntiq can work standalone with no pc ?

 

 

Only if you pick the Cintiq Companion. This is a "Tablet" in todays meaning of the word, which means a mobile device with an integrated screen, touch and in this case pen digitizer, and all the internals needed (CPU, GPU, Memory, SSD Storage) to run standalone.

 

There are two versions: The companion, which is a mobile Windows Workstation with the internals of a typical Windows laptop, and the companion hybrid, which is the Android version with the internals of a powerful android tablet, and the ability to be turned into a normal Cintiq "Graphic Tablet" when hooked up to your PC.

 

Both are virtually identical outside besides the ports to the Cintiq 13, which is the smallest of the "normal" Cintiqs of the current Cintiq Line.

 

 

"normal" Cintiqs are just screens with a digitizer layer over them. So they cannot work without being hooked up to a PC as they have no CPU, GPU or Memory in them.

 

The companions cost around 1200-1500$ for the Android version and around 2000-2300$ for the windows version, depending on internal SSD Size.

The normal Cintiqs cost around 900$ for the 13HD, around 1800$ for the 22HD and around 2300 for the 24HD version. There is a newer version of the 24HD incorporating Touch and a 10bit Panel, this is conisderably more expensive than the 24HD costing over 3000$ though.

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Take it from me, (somebody who uses the mouse and keyboard exclusively for 10 years), when I purchased my Cintiq 24HD I was crying at the price. That said, I would pay it again and again 50 times over!!!! Seriously!!!!

 

Recently I was deployed on a ship and decided to not take my tablet. I tried to do some work while in that type of environment and it felt impossible. The efficiency and the ease of flow is considerably greater when you have a tablet in your art pipeline. I can throw down concept sketches in seconds and the clients ( or even me ) are able to see what ideas are being worked on. There is very little that can match the feeling of pen and paper, but the tablet setup gets you pretty damn close. So, without giving you a 50 page document as to why you should.... i 100% suggest you get one if you want to anything art related.

 

To answer the other question, the only one that can work standalone without a PC is the new Windows ones. The android one that is cheaper requires you to be plugged into a computer but the expensive windows OS one can be used without being on a PC. The 24HD and the 24HD Touch require you to be plugged into a computer and act as another monitor.

Edited by riuthamus

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Our artist uses a Cintiq for all the sketching/painting/texturing stuff. It's all mouse for 3D work though.

 

I have migrated to using the tablet for 3d as well. Unless... I am trying to retopo, that would be annoying as hell to do with the pen tablet!

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I have migrated to using the tablet for 3d as well. Unless... I am trying to retopo, that would be annoying as hell to do with the pen tablet!

 

 

Personally, I added a 3D Navigator from 3Dconnexion to my toolbox some time ago. Its far superior for Navigating 3D Space than both the mouse and pen.

 

For retopos I use the Tool "3D Coat", which is pretty good for that kind of things. And its fully optimized for Pen use, so I do my retopos with the Pen for placing the the retopo geometry and the 3D Navigator for rotating/zooming/translating the view. I am decently efficient with it I would say, and its far less of a nightmare to me than trying to navigate the Blender UI with the mouse and numpad alone!

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As a 2D and 3D artist, I would not be able to work without a tablet. Bamboo if you do photography.  Intuos or higher for the rest. you can probably get away with bamboo but if it's a career, why not work with the standards. right?

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I use a tablet for pretty much everything graphically related, 2d, 3d, retopo etc. I use a Wacom Pro but I started with a Monoprice for very cheap. For anyone unsure I would suggest it over a bamboo anyday, I had it for 2-3 years and it was still kicking when I replaced it. Cheaper than a bamboo, more surface area, and just as sensitive.

 

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=113&cp_id=11303&cs_id=1084101&p_id=6251&seq=1&format=2

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extremly addictive is two hands solution of - pressure/mouse. Imagine you hold mouse in right hand and left hand just pushes touchpad immediate pressure value= zbrush utopia

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extremly addictive is two hands solution of - pressure/mouse. Imagine you hold mouse in right hand and left hand just pushes touchpad immediate pressure value= zbrush utopia

 

What you describe is just a Pen on a pen tablet. What is the point of having such a complicated hacky solution when every bamboo wacom tablet will give you better solution?

Or do you simply dislike pen tablets (I don't, but I could understand that)?

 

Really, that second hand should be holding a space mouse / navigator while you draw away on your tablet. This, to me, is 3D Sculpting heaven!

Edited by Gian-Reto

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What you describe is just a Pen on a pen tablet.

In my experience, emitting pressure on the same pointing device is - quite exhostive and faulty. Not speaking, that if you handle pointing device to be pressured well without altering pointage, then you can assign 4th value to it (brush depth or brush size?). It is in the end about will to soft calibration, but each artist is compromising between his idea and work exhoust, or its smoothiness and flex.

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What you describe is just a Pen on a pen tablet.

In my experience, emitting pressure on the same pointing device is - quite exhostive and faulty. Not speaking, that if you handle pointing device to be pressured well without altering pointage, then you can assign 4th value to it (brush depth or brush size?). It is in the end about will to soft calibration, but each artist is compromising between his idea and work exhoust, or its smoothiness and flex.

 

 

Agreed, If you want to use the full pressure range, you will have to press hard for higher values. But most good applications will give you the option to adjust the curve, you can do that in the Wacom System Settings AFAIK, and then you also can just increase the strength of your stroke in your application (which does only take a second in 3D Coat Sculpting for example).

 

All this can be done, without needing the second hand off more important tasks, like using modifier buttons (alt and ctrl... couldn't live with that in 3D Coat for example), or always being ready on the space navigator to rotate / translate the model in no time while the pen hand does not need to do anything (you can even work in some applications with the Pen while the Space Navigator moves the model under your pen).

 

This will be highly subjective of course.... but I rather take some additional steps to prevent fatigue than taking my off hand off my space navigator. Now, I still need to find out how to bind ctrl and alt to that damn two buttons on the space navigator that I never could get to work, then I reached my personal 3d modelling heaven smile.png

Edited by Gian-Reto

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