Is a Tablet PC a good solution for art and painting?

Yoma44

Limp Gawd
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Jul 3, 2008
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I do art professionally and use a Wacom tablet at work. I'd like to do a little more design around my house and I thought using a tablet pc with a camera - quick photo of the room - and then I'm drawing on it - sounds pretty good.

I've been looking into the Lenovo X61T. Might be good. Screen seems a little small for my liking, but maybe it will make it more portable. They have a sale so I wanted to figure this out right away if possible.

But I'm wondering about how good this actually works. Are there enough hot keys on the front of the computer (space bar, ctrl, alt, undo) so that I don't have to keep flipping open the keyboard? How about pen sensitivity? I'm sure it's good for college notes, but how about painting?

It sounds like most people are talking about tablets for notes and engineering and not for art.
 

GushpinBob

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Dec 11, 2007
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Just as long as the digitizer is made by wacom (the touchscreen interface) as it has better pressure sensitivity levels than any other tablet interface. I know that some of the latest Gateway tablet PCs use wacom and use 14" widescreens which would give you plenty of canvas space for a tablet (I know this as I have an older Gateway tablet PC with the same size screen, although the digitizer is made by Finepoint which has terrible pressure sensitivity). In addition to that, the Gateways come with at least 5 tablet buttons (2 or 3 of them are customizable) but if you want more than that you would either have to resort to the built in keyboard or buy a usb numkey pad or something.

Lenovo isn't a bad choice; as a matter of fact lots of people recommend them for a tablet pc. However the one that I can think of with the largest canvas space would be the Gateway tablets, although I could be wrong.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that you can use the software keyboard built in to the Windows tablet input panel, although it might be annoying to keep switching to it when you want to do any special key combinations.
 

j-dawg

Limp Gawd
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Sep 26, 2005
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First, don't worry about that Lenovo sale. It never ends. Wait for a good coupon before you buy; you can save another 10% or so.

As for art, you'll probably be more concerned with the software than the hardware. The X61 has 512 levels of sensitivity and the SXGA+ screen gives you a lot of resolution to play with, so it's fine hardware-wise. Software-wise, I'm no artist, so I'm not in much of a position to recommend. All I do is doodle. I like Sketchbook Pro (http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=123112&id=10507212) but the full version is expensive (~$200, though I'm sure it would be justified for professional work). It's got undo/redo buttons and all those little controls to switch your brushes and blah blah blah so you can do it all with a mouse. I hear ArtRage is good, too, but I haven't tried it.

The only keys accessible in tablet mode are the Esc key, the tablet menu button, the rotate-screen button, a special Ctrl-Alt-Del button, and the tablet D-pad and select button. You can, however, configure the D-pad buttons and the select button to be whatever combination of keys you want.

I actually only bought a tablet because it came with an IPS screen and SXGA+ resolution, but it's the most fun computer I've ever owned.
 

Yoma44

Limp Gawd
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Jul 3, 2008
Messages
132
There's actually a Lenovo coupon that ends today. uspgreatsavings or something.

As for software, I've got that taken care of. I have licensed versions of the latest photoshop, and I may be looking into getting the latest version of Corel Painter.

If it ran games, that would be cool. I'm starting to think I'll make a desktop be my main gaming machine and this just a satellite to play at times when I'm away. I'm not sure about that of course.

I mostly need the tablet for the next couple months. I wonder how easy it is to resell them. That would make my decision easier.
 

thrawn86

Gawd
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Nov 10, 2005
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697
most of your "key" functions are handled through the tablet input panel (onscreen keyboard).

I don't know about the professional tablets, but I can't imagine doing real "art" with a tablet. input lag (seems to be) application dependent, but even in OneNote (where its the least noticeable) its still present.

I use mine (fujitsu 2010) to take notes in class, and thats about it. there are other factors to think about for art such as calibration offset.
 

icthus13

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Jun 18, 2004
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My fiancee has a program called ArtRage on her tablet that she draws with all the time. She loves it. You could also use Photoshop, too--just make sure to install the Wacom drivers because Photoshop uses them to give you all of your sensitivity levels.
 

Herushan

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 13, 2006
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There was a story in the LA times reported by a few sites about a subway rider that draws pictures of people on a tablet PC/slate. It is really interesting and I believe he uses ArtRage to do it. You can go here to get the links and learn some more on tablet pc's in general. It seems that the tablet is only as good as the user with its art capabilities, but any wacom tablet should do you good.
 

CubicleGeek

Limp Gawd
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Jan 13, 2006
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Make sure you pick up a convertible tablet. Outside of drawing, you would really miss the keyboard.
 

BillLeeLee

[H]F Junkie
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Jul 2, 2003
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I have a Lenovo X61T. I use mine to draw, I like drawing on a computer more than on paper these days. I think the tablet has 256 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is fewer than pretty much all the standalone Wacom tablets. I have a Bamboo for my desktop, and that has 512 levels, but I am still not as used to drawing with the Bamboo as I am with the X61t, mostly because of the disconnect between the tablet and the screen. I also find that I have to set my sensitivity settings differently than when I'm using the Bamboo.

I'm not a terribly good artist, I just like how much more simplified drawing on the tablet is. Here's a quick thing I sketched a short while ago on my X61t:
http://images.dr3vil.com//files3/103/funness.png

But I would agree...get a convertible notebook with a Wacom digitizer (Penabled as they call it). Many tablets now use them, check this list for the current partners:
http://www.wacom.com/tabletpc/partners.cfm
 

HexiumVII

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 13, 2006
Messages
140
Yes and no. It will simulate the look of certain things, but it's at totally different creative process altogether. It's like swimming and sailing, they both get your somewhere, but different forms and to different places. Its really fun though, but can be expensive. Also try out ArtRage. It's really awesome for tablets, and you can use your mouse too or get a cheap wacom. Its only $25.
 

sparta.rising

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 5, 2006
Messages
134
I used to use a Motion Computing M1300 to draw with photoshop and it was fantastic. But the slate just isn't practical for day to day use. I did play with a X41T for a few days at my old job and loved it. I know the more you use a conventional tablet the more you become accustomed to the somewhat awkward interface of drawing without looking at what the pen is doing, but using a tablet is much more akin to having some kind of magical pen with unlimited brushes and colors compared to just another method of input in computer software. Thats a long sentence, I hope it made sense.
 
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