Entry Level Pen Tablets: Making the Artist's PC-Life Easierby Laura Wilson on December 6, 2003 9:01 AM EST
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Somewhere, someone is gripping a joystick. Down the street, another person scribbles onto his Palm Pilot while the next-door neighbor finishes uploading music onto her new mp3 player. Somewhere, there is an irate gamer slamming his keyboard onto the desk and shouting into his monitor, “Headshot!?” And perhaps right now, there is someone scrolling down this page with his or her handy mouse wheel, looking for something interesting to fill up the next ten or fifteen minutes of a boring work day.
For those of you who are dying to find one more way to clutter up your PC work space, there's a fabulous piece of hardware that might even prove to be worth the money and effort required to familiarize oneself with it: the drawing tablet. There are several companies developing new products in this area, each with its own claim to efficiency. Traditionally, the technique for illustrating, photo editing, and the bulk of artistic computer interfacing involves a scanner, a printer, and Photoshop. To get an image from your hands to your screen, a lot of work had to be done, mostly in the area of scanning it, then working out details on the computer. In some cases, the drawing tablet eases this process and/or removes a step or two. Illustrations normally done by hand can now be directly inputted into the computer instead. The scanner can't be tossed out quite yet, however, as the tablet will not replace its photo abilities. But just what hardware can these tablets replace? And what kinds of people can benefit most from this technology? Are these tablets really worth their price? Hopefully, this review will give some answers to these questions, and maybe you will find a new product to check out for yourself.