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New Wacom Tablet: Intuos4

Wacom Intuos4
Wacom Intuos4 Medium

Wacom has just released its new line of pen tablets – the Intuos4.  From the product write ups it looks like it might be time for me to upgrade. I currently use an Intuos2 tablet with my desktop for all my “real” graphics work. My Intuos2 was an upgrade from an older, smaller Graphire tablet which I still use on occasion with my laptop at home and when traveling.

I must say that once I started using a pen and tablet combination for my graphics work, any time I went back to use my mouse it seemed like a giant leap backward. For the Intuos4 it looks like the biggest advances have been made in the areas of pen sensitivity and responsiveness – the very features that attracted me to the Wacom tablet in the first place. If you have never used a pen and tablet in your graphics work, take this test. First, with a pencil and paper write in cursive your signature. Then, with the paint program of your choice, write your signature using your mouse. You will see that your mouse-created signature is no where near as smooth or as natural looking as your pencil and paper signature. Writing using a tablet and pen is very much like writing using traditional media. While not as versatile as a traditional paint brush, the Wacom pen is as close as you can come digitally.

I am not going to go into a detailed list of the Intuos4 features – there is a good summary of the features at the Amazon Wacom Intuos4 Medium Pen Tablet product page.

Once you’ve bought your Intuos4, you will be able to download several pieces of software that come bundled with the product. The software consists of the following two plugins for Photoshop:

  • Nik® Color Efex Pro™ WE6
  • Wacom Brushes 3.0 for Photoshop

and your choice of two of the three following software packages:

  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 Windows or Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 for Macintosh
  • Autodesk SketchBook Express® 2010
  • Corel Painter Sketch Pad

Given that I already have the full blown versions of Photoshop and Painter, I would download SketchBook. While I wasn’t able to find any information about Autodesk SketchBook Express 2010, I did find the following about SketchBook Express 2009.

Back to the Intuos4, it is available in four sizes (dimensions given are for the active area):

The size of my Intuos2 puts it somewhere between the size of the Medium and Large Intuos4. Based on that I will probably upgrade to the Wacom Intuos4 Large Pen Tablet as it is somewhat larger than my Intuos2 and is just over $300 cheaper than the Wacom Intuos4 Extra Large Pen Tablet. Also, the footprint of the Large is a manageable 18.7 x 12.6 inches whereas the Extra Large consumes a hefty 24.5 x 18.2 inches of desktop space.

Only one question remains: when I upgrade to an Intuos4, what will happen to my old but trusty Graphire since my Intuos2 will be reassigned to laptop service.

Ad Astra, Jim

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2 Responses to “New Wacom Tablet: Intuos4”

  1. Dean says:

    Sorry to ask a very stupid question, but I am very new and unfamiliar with all the various drawing tablets on the market. The Wacom tablet, is it compatible or compliant with non Apple Mac computers or not?

  2. Plaxco says:

    The Wacom tablet is available on both Windows and Mac platforms. But it is more than just a platform issue – it is also a software issue. A Wacom tablet is optimal when it is used in conjunction with a particular graphics software program that can take full advantage of its features.

    I would encourage you to visit the following page in order to better understand what software best uses a Wacom tablet’s features:

    http://www.wacom.com/productinfo/tes.cfm