Stylus and pad suggestions for Adobe Illustrator?

Cerulean

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Greetings,

I have a close cousin who is having tough times with pen tool in Adobe Illustrator using a plain ol' mouse and have interest in gifting her a stylus and pad that is suitable for this kind of work.

Suggestions on a good product?
 

Gookitron

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What's your budget?

I've had great success with the Wacom Intuos series. a small old one (intuos3/4) can be had for cheap on auction sites. Their new bamboo line is equivalent to the older Intuos series. It lacks some hotkey functions on the pen and pad though. Added bonus with wacom: no batteries required for the pen.

If on a modern system with wide screen then I recommend the intuos4 or bamboo series as the pad can be mapped 1:1 with the screen if your cousin works in that fashion.
 

dr.stevil

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Honestly... as much as I like Wacom and their tablets, I really wouldn't recommend one for illustrator work. Illustrator, and more importantly the pen tool, is based on bezier curves so a mouse really is the ideal input device for it. Having to use a tablet to input and edit the curve vertices would be a huge PITA, as would switching back and forth IMHO.

If this was for digital painting and such (Photoshop, Sketchbook, etc), then the tablet would be great. I should also note that, if she hasn't use one before, the learning curve can be quite difficult for the Intuos/Bamboo style tablets. It's off putting drawing with a pen while looking ahead at a monitor... it's sort of like patting your head and rubbing your stomach.
 

Zepher

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Honestly... as much as I like Wacom and their tablets, I really wouldn't recommend one for illustrator work. Illustrator, and more importantly the pen tool, is based on bezier curves so a mouse really is the ideal input device for it. Having to use a tablet to input and edit the curve vertices would be a huge PITA, as would switching back and forth IMHO.

If this was for digital painting and such (Photoshop, Sketchbook, etc), then the tablet would be great. I should also note that, if she hasn't use one before, the learning curve can be quite difficult for the Intuos/Bamboo style tablets. It's off putting drawing with a pen while looking ahead at a monitor... it's sort of like patting your head and rubbing your stomach.

The intuos one with the screen is pretty sweet, but well over the ops budget.
 

Cerulean

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Honestly... as much as I like Wacom and their tablets, I really wouldn't recommend one for illustrator work. Illustrator, and more importantly the pen tool, is based on bezier curves so a mouse really is the ideal input device for it. Having to use a tablet to input and edit the curve vertices would be a huge PITA, as would switching back and forth IMHO.

If this was for digital painting and such (Photoshop, Sketchbook, etc), then the tablet would be great. I should also note that, if she hasn't use one before, the learning curve can be quite difficult for the Intuos/Bamboo style tablets. It's off putting drawing with a pen while looking ahead at a monitor... it's sort of like patting your head and rubbing your stomach.
Anyone have any comments on this response? :? I would like to hear more from others on this -- is mouse or tablet better for Illustrator and pen tool?
 

Gookitron

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If this video is a good barometer of the Pen tool

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXxmKZtFutI

Then I have seen such actions being done using a tablet pen for drawing curved lines and such. The tip of the pen acts as the left click (or right click, if you program it so). And the higher end tablets have 2 buttons on the side of the pen that is programmable. With a steady hand, a person can click accurately without having to touch the pen tip to the pad.

Dr. Stevil brings up a good point with the function of the mouse being equivalent. It all depends on how steady your cousin's hands are.. you would need quite a soft touch to use the tablet pen while just "hovering". There is an on screen cursor to help with precision and placement of the pen, but unless the pen is already touching the pad, the act of pressing down to click will cause some cursor movement.

Also consider there will be a learning curve with a new input device. 1:1 mapping will definitely help with precision (also turning down cursor speed) if you decide to pursue this. Which means you might need to get a larger sized tablet surface.

Ultimately, because you are not the end user, you'll have to buy and see if your cousin takes to the new input method (after a learning curve of course), so plan to buy somewhere with a nice return policy.

My 2 cents. (I have 2 Intuos3. One of which is from a family member who upgraded to a cintiq).
 

dr.stevil

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Anyone have any comments on this response? :? I would like to hear more from others on this -- is mouse or tablet better for Illustrator and pen tool?

I know you want others to respond, but I'll try to elaborate a little why it might not be the best choice for this type of work.

Every time you lay down a line, curve or shape in Illustrator (and any other vector art software for that matter), it doesn't exist as a static brush stroke like it would in Photoshop or digital inking suite. It remains, and will always remain, as an editable object made up of points and line segments that you can manipulate.

So in a sense, you never have to worry about getting the perfect brush stroke as you can move points & segments endlessly by just clicking on them and dragging it to a new location. You can continue tweaking these until you get it 100% the way that you like it and that's really how the software is designed to be used.

Here is a gif showing the pen tool


Another reason why she might not like it is, ever since Illustrator version 11 (IIRC), Adobe has made these vertex's that you have to grab with the mouse incredibly small (as you can see above). I find it tough to use and I've been using Illustrator for quite a long time. You can 'enlarge' them under settings, but even that is inadequate IMO especially on a high resolution display and it would be even more difficult/frustrating trying to grab these with a stylus IMO. For this reason, I actually don't use it much anymore... I prefer InkScape as it has large handles/points, and it also has the ability to outline existing images. Illustrator removed that functionality a while ago. Have her check it out.. it's a nice piece of free software and runs pretty much identical to Illustrator.

If you want my honest suggestion, get her a really nice high precision mouse and mouse pad and help her setup the DPI to what she finds most comfortable. Extra buttons are nice too so she can bind commonly used functions (undo, redo, etc) to them.

EDIT: A tablet is nice too, don't get me wrong. I've owned an Intuos2, an Intuos3 and a Cintiq... but where they really excel is digital painting and that type of work. For Vector software, it will work... but it'll be like using a butter-knife as a screwdriver lol Not the best tool for the job.

Good luck either way
 
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