Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My New Toy: A Wacom

I received a mysterious package yesterday from Amazon.co.uk. What could possibly be inside? Must be my new toy! *insert evil laugh*

Amazon.co.uk is probably my favouritest online vendor in the UK. I've bought so many of my electronics & gadgets from Amazon. So far I've been satisfied with their reliability. I ordered this product on Friday night, and received this package on the Monday. Not bad, considering it was a weekend. Also, I got this for £10 less than most places I visited on the internet.

Step 1: Opening Amazon's package. Yup, it's a Wacom Volito2 Graphics Tablet. A graphics tablet, to put it simply, replaces the computer mouse with a pen-like interface. Its primely used in photo-manipulation applications like GIMP and Photoshop (among many others) for better brush and cursor control.

Having said that, the graphics tablet could also completely replace the mouse for control of your computer too. Imagine being able to use gestures in web browsers like Opera and Firefox with a pen interface!

Consider this: using a mouse planes of movements are limited due to the mouse's size and shape. With a pen interface though, one is able to have finer control utilising small muscles of the fingers, and more freedom of movement in the wrist (that's the theory anyway).

The small-ish box, with a professional looking design outside.
I chose Wacom because it's the most famous (Japanese) brand used and recommended by many Photoshop and GIMP professionals. Also, I am very attracted to the technology: The Wacom pen, although wireless, requires no batteries. It uses a technology called "resonance coupling" which means that the tablet provides power to the pen through electromagnetic resonance (how cool!).

The pen, now visible, and the all-important User Manual.
Using a graphics tablet is slightly different than using a mouse and does require some getting used to. The dimensions of the tablet corresponds to the dimensions of the computer screen, so placing the pen over the top left corner of the tablet will immediately place the screen cursor right at the top left corner too.

Also, movement of the cursor on-screen is achieved by hovering the pen 3-5 mm over the tablet surface. A tap on the tablet with the pen would be equivalent to a left click of the mouse.

The cute little pen and tablet
I bought the Volito 2, as it is the entry-level (meaning: the cheapest) model. The entry-level model only offers an A6 surface area to work on and the pen does not have an eraser function (unlike the Graphire model, with which one could invert the pen to use as an eraser) . At first I was concerned by the very small working surface - less than an A4 paper!

In practice though, the A6 working area is MORE THAN ENOUGH. In fact, because you are controlling a pen, pointing the pen from one side to the other takes a lot of travel which means very high sensitivity, crucial in fine GIMP and Photoshop projects.

The Volito 2 Pen
The pen is very lightweight (comparable to a normal Parker pen) and is wireless. The tip is pressure sensitive up able to detect 512 degrees of pressure. Applications like GIMP and Photoshop Elements 3.0 (both of which I currently use) are able to utilise this pressure sensitivity. Coarseness and thickness of a brush strokes and depth of colour correspond to the pressure applied on the pen tip. This functionality works in GIMP and Photoshop right out of the box after a speedy 5 minute installation of the drivers.

Notice the pen has 2 buttons. The functions of these buttons are customisable using the driver software. The default functions of these buttons are: a "right click" and a "double click". I immediately changed the "double click" to a "middle click"

The Tablet
The tablet connects to the PC via a USB cable. No external power source is needed and the tablet worked fine on my PC connected via a USB hub.

All-in-all, using the Wacom Volito 2 is an absolute pleasure in GIMP and Photoshop. The fine control of brush strokes is DEFINITELY and noticeably improved. The control of brush strokes feel much more natural using the pen than a mouse. Also, being able to use the pressure sensitivity feature makes using the brushes in GIMP almost exactly like using a real brush. The control is so good, that drawing and writing with the tablet is almost like drawing and writing on paper. The accuracy and sensitivity is better than my Pocket PC PDA, I think.

How easy is it to get a hang of? It is quite instinctive that Sarah (my almost-3 year old) became adept with just a few minutes of playing with the pen and tablet. However, thanks to the tutorial given right after installation, most users would find little difficulty in adjusting to using the tablet, in my opinion.

If you couldn't yet tell, I am absolutely enthusiastic about this Wacom Volito 2 graphics tablet, and I feel that if you are serious about GIMP or Photoshop and would like to take it to the next level; having a graphics tablet would almost definitely be an improvement over a mouse. It costs £27 from amazon.co.uk, with free delivery. It comes with ArtRage - an art software.

My new banner was made using GIMP and the Volito 2 graphics tablet.

Other reviews:
Review 1: 3D Velocity.com
Review 2: Photography Reviews


nnydd said...

Sign up for Quidco, Mynn. Banyak £££ boleh dapat balik kalau you buy things via them. (More to be sedeqahkan, that is!)

OK said...

Hmm kan bagus kalau kita semua berjiran.. hahaha.. bila travel sewa sebas... camera main pinjam2 jer... nak photoshop ambik gadget muhaimin... hehehe

dr in the house said...


I use a Wacom tablet at work but its bigger and called a Wacom board. It's good coz I can draw whatever lesions I see on the patients for record sake.

dr in the house said...

ps. Tell Nisak, I've been unable to comment at her site. The comment board is not found, :(

dr in the house said...


pps .

Been admiring the beautiful banner. And its so symbolic, as tho saying please scratch the guy standing on the right!! haha!

dyanna said...

Banner: GIMP diri sendiri? Nampak macam anti social.. * hohoho..

pycnogenol said...

DITH - The guy standing on the right may already be scratching. Just look at those hands carefully. One is in the pocket, the other is quietly, but surely scratching the b*m.

Ah well...Happiness is when you have a scratch to every itch. ;)

fm said...

mynn- nice banner. congrats! surely econazine is not effective for your 'merenyam' type...:-D

wrt Quidco..I'm a bit caution when someone can give you money when it seems that you give them nothing in return - except that they r investing your money in a pool of businesses to generate more money-and the businesses might well involve riba' or at least non-halal commodities, notably alcohol n etc...wallahua'lam

Anyway, as I may not be aware of any hukum upon this kind of trade, I prefer not to indulge in it...maybe Nnydd boleh jelaskan

TQ for d trades-offer info, but it is specially catered for a partner (2adults)...though some leniency is expected..terbaca FAQs dia.

OK- ada rezeki, dan panjang umur, InsyaAllah kita2 akan berjiran jua (jarak 40 buah rumah masih kira jiran kan)...kesian OK kena ber'jiran' jauh dengan KKL :P

Anonymous said...

bila malam nisfu Sya'ban di UK? ghasa macam malam esok (hari jumaat malam sabtu?)

Mama Sarah said...

dooooooccccc!!!! (DITH) why can't you leave comments in my 'new' beta blog? i miss your comments laaahhh...

streamyx alright now?

mynn said...

wow, interesting jugak the quidco concept. so have you signed up? and how much have you gained so far?

i've thought the same:) kalau berjiran best jugak -- boleh pool up our gadgets, haha. i'd love to copy pictures off your camera.

1. there's a better way to record the lesions dith: it's called taking a picture with a digital camera, LOL ... :p

2. i wonder why you couldnt leave comments at mama sarah's blog, i think she's tested the comment box and it works. probably the dial up?

3. tergelak besar reading your 3rd comment! that's why we miss our "ustazah yang kelakar" so much. hope you'll get your broadband back soon.

dith, dyanna, pycno & FM re: the banner
thanks for the comments. haha, i wonder why i'm getting so much flak though. at first i wanted to put a sign saying "powered by:" and the sign would be pointing to the guy on the right ... but i scrapped that idea.

the guy on the right is separate from the rest to show he's the owner of the blog lah. Not because he's flying solo...

my gosh, even FM is starting to think i am the merenyam type -- as far as i know, i haven't been flirting with anyone at all ... is it the way i write? is it the pictures? i'm wondering why people think so (hmmm probably the blog name kot?)

nisfu syaban di UK tomorrow

ps - i'm married with two kids!!
(that's a joke lama, to those of you new to the blog)

Uncle De said...

pasal quidco tu, from what i understand how it work is that whhen u buy from an online retailer (yang affliated) through them, they will earn a commission. but instead of keeping the commission, they'll pass it on to you(according to them 100%). all they keep is £5/year and thats if u earn £5 or more, kalau tak tak tolak.

dr in the house said...

Mynn...boss supply Wacom board je...digicam dia tak supply..hehe..and when I say record sake, its mainly for my convenience and not medicolegal-wise. Police cases refer hospital. Factory accidents, boss deal...so I am safe with my cartoon drawings on the board! haha

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nnydd said...

I have sign up indeed since they started but I am yet to find a need to shop for things. I am recommending it to you since I notice that many of the stuffs you buy could be bought via Quidco. Well done Uncle De - it is not rocket science to understand this thing! I also suggest you combine use of Quidco with HotUKDeals - the forum where members advise each others what promotion is eligible and advisable to be done through Quidco.

nnydd said...

I know banyak benda2 macam ni, but I rarely use them e.g. how to get 1/2 price Heathrow Exp, Gatwick Exp, Stansted Exp. etc. The only one that I regularly use is the First Great Western Forward loyalty scheme since I use train regularly (I coud have used Quidco but I overlook that thetrainline is affiliated, and because someone convinced me that buying via trainline, unlike other rail sites, incurs booking fee, which only last week I find out was a great myth - only credit card fee, not booking fee).

Uncle De said...

I would like to warn anyone wanting to go to hotukdeals.com....bukannya apa....kalau senang terpengaruh byk benda nanti nak beli...hahaha... tapi seriously good website to find great deals in the UK.

nnydd said...

i have been wusha-ing the site for as long as it exists, but have not spent a penny on anything yet but profited somewhat on promotional codes and quirky free stuffs there. but i second uncle de. uncle de sounds like he has fallen into the trap?!

Uncle De said...

not really, but very tempting, the best way i guess is to know what you want to buy first then go there to see if there are any deals.

Anonymous said...

it is not rocket science..but just to remind myself, there is material science (which has component of materialist n materialistic) n 'life' sciences as well which is even more difficult to handle. trying bridging the gap between the two is highly complicated without scrupulousness, the latter is principally essential to survive for akhirat science.


nnydd said...

Oit stranger! Thank you you for being immensely insulting and irritating. Take your verbal vomitus elsewhere. I was talking to Mynn and Uncle De, not you.

mynn said...

nydd & uncle de
thanks for the links! however, isn't it abit dangerous recommending a shopping website to yours truly??

piece on earth!

why so hostile?

nnydd said...

If you are mmg bound to buy certain stuffs e.g. mobile phones, or in the case of Uncle De, a spanking new glasses, it certainly makes sense to use Quidco, (though why I did not escape me :P).

For the sake of testing the system, I signed up for 2 new registrations (which do not require spending) and within 3 hours, my account showed 'tracked status' for both of them, and by the 5th hour one of them was showing 60p payment, due by November 2006. Wah, lambat jugak but at least the system IS working.

Donncha said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog and linking here! I've just ordered the Graphire4 from Pixmania and it should arrive early next week. I *must* resist the urge to open it and play with it before Christmas!


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