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Thread: Considering a Tablet PC to replace conventional 'Sit at home in front of the Intuos3'

  1. #1
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    Considering a Tablet PC to replace conventional 'Sit at home in front of the Intuos3'

    (Also posted on deviantart forum,don't mind the copy paste )

    Hey all!

    I have trouble gathering up my motivation to work on art, though it's what I want to do.. I have lots of plans for art projects, but rarely do I follow through with them or get them off the ground.

    One of my problems is that these days, most of my free time is spent out and about, to and fro work and wherever... Summer's coming and I certainly don't want to sit my ass in front of the depressing computer at home.


    I'm looking for a tablet PC, that:
    - will run large ArtRage files without lag,
    - can match the quality and precision of an Intuos
    - aaand.. well I guess a colorful, higher def display is absolutely necessary

    I know next to nothing about tablet PCs... I was hoping Wacom had products out there, but looks like they don't.
    I'd love to have the new Cintiq, but honestly the Intuos 3 is good enough.. I'm only lacking in my ability to rear up my will to do more art... I think an 'on the go' ability to do what I love would greatly improve my life, and my art.

    Can anyone give me the skinny?

    Price is not an issue.... well, it could be, but I want to know what's out there before I set limits..
    If it can do artrage and maybe flash or manga studio or something, it could seriously replace my desktop, .... which is a huge ass laptop with no battery life.

    My future is in your hands!! Thanks guys!




    Oh, and I'd seriously consider duct taping a Cintiq to a powerful tablet PC, or some kind of PC with a flat,book like shape, if that would be my only option...

    What do you guys think? My technical knowledge isn't so high... which is why I really enjoy Artrage! (though I wish it had a selection/move tool)

    Your help is greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Hi,

    As you found out, Wacom doesn't make tablet pc's. However, all the screen in tablet pc's that aren't N-Trig are actually Wacom screens. So, that's good news.

    I own a Lenovo x200t and love it. Some others here own the Asus ep121 and like it. I know others who own the Samsung S7, and a host of other tablet pcs- Fujitsu's, HPs, etc. I run large canvases (4000 x 4000) with what I consider reasonable lag or lack thereof. It's core2duo and its got 8 gb of ram. Lag is much better now that things are multicore. It's got a beautiful screen. And I love painting directly on the screen.

    Having said that, if you're expecting something similar to the experience you might get from a desktop computer with an Intuos I think you'll be dissatisfied. Tablet pc's only have 256 levels of pressure, no tilt functionality, and no rotational ability. They also use mobile processors which aren't as powerful as a desktop that can draw power directly from a wall, have a giant fan, and not worry about battery life.

    Having said that, I still love my tablet pc and it serves my artistic needs fine. There are a number of videos out there that demonstrate the full pressure range of 256 levels-- the debate, of course, is how much do some people feel the difference makes. The answer? Often that there is a difference in the experience of using the tool, but that it doesn't really make a difference in terms of the final product of the art you're creating. As for tilt and rotation, they're usefulness really depends on each persons typical usage patterns. Sometimes, it's having the tool with you that matters, more than the bells and whistles.

    A good place to go and research and ask for help is tablet pc review. It's a very active forum.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Steve. Seems the Slate 7 is one of the better ones on the market, but at that price and without the real depth of an intuos, it doesn't seem to be a wise investment... I'm probably better spending my money on a Cintiq HD, though it was satisfy a different need.


    Intuos really aren't all that expensive... How hard could it be to pair that with a computer built for some general painting programs? Should sell for 800 bucks or less. I've had my intuos for more years than I remember... Why couldn't this old technology be slapped under a screen of a tablet pc? This should be a cinch. I'm sure artists out there are dying for the product.... Guh!

    I guess I'll keep waiting, though if I ever fall into some money, I might consider one anyway. I'm curious to see how well I could handle only 256 levels of pressure.. Maybe I wouldn't even notice a difference? Do you, personally?

    I'd love to fill the gap in my life of not having the ability to do art on the go (I'm afraid of pencils and paper for some reason), without sacrificing quality of the home experience.

  4. #4
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    Hi Polioliolio
    At home I have an Intuos 3, Cintiq 21UX and the Asus ep121.

    If being tied to a desk is a big issue then a Cintiq definitely wont solve that for you; the 21UX weighs in at 22.4 lbs with stand (10.2 kg) and the 24HD weighs in at 63.8 lbs with stand (29.0kg).

    Cintiq's are by no means perfect, aside from being extremely heavy, they throw out a whole lot of heat and do have some minor EM interference at the extreme edges of the drawing area. Having said that though, it's hard to get a closer experience to drawing/painting with real media than the Cintiq offers. The flat surface across the draw area and sides allows you to use T-squares, set squares, french curves etc right on the surface which is great.

    I'm thinking about replacing my 21UX with the 24HD later on in the year for 2 main reasons. Colour Calibration (only available on the 24HD), and the stand allows for sitting the tablet off the edge of the desk and finding the perfect drawing angle with big wide sides that you can rest your arms on while you work. With the 21UX you cant really make the most of the express keys and 180 degree free rotate unless you lie the unit down at near to its lowest angle and work on a drafting stool.

    I looked at replacing my ep121 with the Samsung Series 7 but I decided against it. They are almost identical spec wise, the S7 does have a larger SSD drive on offer, but its no problems to replace a drive in the Asus should I require more storage space. What was the issue for me is that the S7 tablet on its stand sits upright like a labtop screen while the asus stand/cover allows it to be used at an angle more suited to drawing.

    As Steve pointed out these tablet PC's while wacom pen enabled do not support the same pressure sensitivity lvl's as a cintiq or intuos tablet. This is not a huge issue. If you imagine 256 greyscale levels going from white to black and then try to adjust your hand pressure from lightest pressure (1gram according to wacom) to heaviest pressure at black you will have trouble finding 256 distinct changes in your hand pressure. What is more of an issue is they dont have the same 5080 lpi resolution which determines how accurately the tablet can track the pen.

    Another thing to consider with these tablet PC's is that they are very powerful with (core i5's) in them and that the 'trade off' for that level of power is battery life. This to me is a non issue as they are PC's which means you can use external labtop batteries with them. Also when out and about there's usually somewhere you can 'plug in' for a recharge. Still its worth consideration.

    There are several things I just love about my ep121. The ability to work outside, infront of tv, in bed... anywhere i feel like. If you deal with clients you can show off your work and make any adjustments infront of your client without having to return to your studio.

    Because they are powerful tablets, the ability to run real full applications on such a portable form factor is a joy. On my tablet i'm running Artrage Studio Pro, Photoshop 5.5, Illustrator 5.5, Painter, Sketchbook Pro, Sketchbook Designer, Corel Sketchpad, Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Design and Expression Encoder (full) and OneNote as my main applications.

    Because they run windows 7, networking to my desktop machines was a breeze and transferring files to and from desktop to portable using the wireless connection is no problems whatsoever.

    Its worth noting that the Intel HD graphics does not support 3d but has no issues with video. So if you're wanting to run really intensive 3d games or applications its probably not a good way to go.

    After buying the Cintiq and Asus, my Intuos 3 is finding a new life as a cat perch... I've hardly touched it.

    Whichever way you decide to go, after using the intuos 3 you'll need to get used to having your hand back in the way of your work
    Last edited by Juz; 03-10-2012 at 03:27 AM.
    "I paint because I love to cut mats" (Arthur Alexander)

  5. #5
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    Juz,
    That's actually really interesting to hear. You're not the first person to say that they don't use their Cintiq as much as they did, now that they've got a tablet pc-- and that's despite the drawbacks of a tablet pc. I've never used a Cintiq, but having always been a tablet pc user, I'm of course very aware of its limits (namely, that it has a 10.5" x 6.5" drawing area, has not tilt or rotation), and often forget all its benefits (that I can draw digitally on my dining table or the couch or the cafe, and do it directly on the screen).

    One thing I've thought of doing is getting one of the older 18sx or 17sx Cintiqs and pairing it/powering it with the tablet pc. That generation of Cintiqs has 512 pressure levels and still has a pretty good screen size (my major gripe about the tablet pc) at something like 11" x 16" or so. It's essentially two of my x200t's turned on their side vertically and teamed up, which sounds very cool. The added bonus is that that generation of Cintiq's actually uses the same digitzer as the tablet pc's. This means I could run the Cintiq as an external monitor plugged into and powered by the tablet pc, make the tablet pc a tablet, move my pallettes and what not over to it, and actually use both of them at the same time with the same pen-- one as a tool board and one purely as a nice sized canvas.

    The additional bonus is that on ebay you can get these Cintiqs for around 500-600$ pretty commonly, which is cool. So, combined with a good core2duo pc that costs about 500-600$ I could have essentially a 12 x 18 Cintiq setup at home and my laptop/tablet pc to be mobile with, all for a total of around 1000-1200$. Of course, this only really works because I don't a desktop anyways, and so can justify a reasonable amount of the cost that way. Things are serving double duty for me.

    Also, re: the ep121 versus the S7, my understanding is that the S7 has a more powerful processor, and that the ep121's processor is somehow underclocked or restrained. The S7 also gets better battery life. Of course, the S7 has its own set of issues too, so it's not without concerns, but I understand why some are using it.

    I would also say that using a tablet pc, for those who are considering doing so, is, in some ways, a labor of love. Getting it set up and running smoothly takes time, and it's not an easy out-of-box experience for the non-computer savvy. I think you have to be prepared to do some internet research and barrel through some setup frustration to get the awesome tool you're looking for. Tablet pc's aren't actually made to be art tablets, they're more for power business users. So they don't come with the Wacom driver you're going to want, nor are they going to be set up to be optimized to be an art tablet-- you have to do a certain amount of that kind of work. I've done a host of things-- shifted the pressure level input to get a lighter touch, tried out different Wacom drivers, color calibrated, etc. I really feel its been worth it, but it's a complaint worth voicing. Cintiqs, comparatively, to my understanding are a lot more plug and play.
    Last edited by Steve B; 03-10-2012 at 04:26 AM.

  6. #6
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    I'm exceptionally happy with my Fujitsu T901. It's an i7 dual core monster. Definitely no speed problems. I'm running a 64bit machine, with 8 gigs of RAM. And it really does the trick for me.

    Regarding the levels of pressure-sensitivity... I don't believe you'll worry about it. What you'll find is that you'll instantly adapt to the tool, and you'll be producing killer paintings in no time at all.

    ArtRage kinda simulates tilt and rotation. Once you've made an hour or two of drawings/paintings, your brain will know how to handle the stylus to get the effects you want.

    One of the things I like about the Fujitsu is that the pen has two buttons. I don't know if the others on the market do that. But my first two tablet pcs didn't (Asus R1E and Toshiba Tecra M4).

    In terms of portability, tablet pcs are awesome. And the Fujitsu is definitely the best of my bunch by a long shot.

    ---

    But...

    In terms of portability, your stated need is to have something that untethers you from your desk.

    So I'm going to recommend that you do something else entirely. Get an iPad3 or a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (not yet released -- I use the 5.3" phone/tablet hybrid, which is astounding!).

    I'm HOPING that ArtRage is going to get its ass into gear and release an Android version. But I'm not hearing any stirrings about it. Which is a real pity.

    Taking a 10.1" slate into a coffee-shop to work on is FAR better than taking a tablet pc. Battery lasts forever. The thing weighs next to nothing. And you're REALLY FREE to make art wherever you are.

    ---

    I have loads of devices, all specifically to make art on.

    I have the Fujitsu because the iPad and Android tablets are not yet robust enough for me to do professional visual facilitation on. As soon as they get to the point where I KNOW I can get through a full day of super-intense live-illustrating, I'll be ditching tablet pcs for pads.

    ---

    On my tablet pc, my favourite tool is ARTRAGE STUDIO PRO. There's NOTHING on the market that comes even close to it for my purposes.

    On my iPad1, ArtRage is far too slow and laggy. I can't use it for anything besides amusing myself. I have no idea of the iPad2 handles ArtRage better. It SHOULD. Cos it's got a better processor and ram. I have less than no idea how iPad3 will fare. But I assume it's better than iPad2.

    My favourite app on iPad1 is without doubt SKETCH CLUB APP. It's astonishingly good. In all sorts of ways. Second fave is SKETCHBOOK PRO. And BRUSHES is third. ArtRage doesn't make the grade on iPad1 for me.

    My favourite apps on my various Android devices are rather limited. They are SKETCHBOOK PRO and INFINITE DESIGN (for vector art -- very potent -- unlimited canvas size, literally infinite). So far there's nothing that even comes close to ArtRage on Android. And I feel that Ambient Design is missing a massive opportunity to take the entire Android market. Right now, Adobe has partnered with Samsung to create a pressure-sensitive version of PHOTOSHOP TOUCH for the Galaxy Note 10.1. I cannot fathom what's in Samsung's heads! PHOTOSHOP TOUCH is without compare the VERY WORST ART-MAKING APP I'VE PURCHASED. It's a lemon. Deluxe.

    ---

    If I were in your shoes, I'd make two no-brainer purchases: iPad3 (running SKETCH CLUB APP and ARTRAGE) and a top-of-the-line Fujitsu T901 (running ARTRAGE STUDIO PRO and PHOTOSHOP CS5).

    Blue skies
    Roy
    ROY BLUMENTHAL

    Visual Facilitator: http://royblumenthal.com/portfolio

    ArtRage 3.5.5 and 4.0.4 on:
    Fujitsu T901, Asus R1E

  7. #7
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    @Steve, I probably didn't communicate very well, my Cintiq is still my production tablet and I do the bulk of my work, epecially 'polish' on this device. However for sketching, mockup and dealing with client changes on the spot the Asus has definitely become a worthy part of my work flow.

    With regards to 'underclocking' on the ep121 I can find no reliable source to confirm this and it certainly doesn't struggle with applications like photoshop, illustrator, painter or Blend. The Tom's Hardware Benchtest shows it to be running at 1.33ghz which is the cpu's intended design.

    From MobileTech Review
    "We’re impressed at how cool the Eee Slate runs: it remains completely comfortable to hold in the crook of your arm even when plugged in. With moderate use, the back temperatures range from 74 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, and when playing Hulu for an hour, the back got no hotter than 86 degrees. Remarkable. The CPU isn’t chronically underclocked by default either; it manages to run this cool at full speed."

    I have seen reports from developers that received the 'windows8' preview Samsung S7 that they run very hot, but haven't investigated whether the release for public does so as well.

    @Polioliolio if you are considering one of the ipad or android style pads, bear in mind that you are using 'mobile applications' on these units and not full versions as they don't have much juice under the hood.
    Last edited by Juz; 03-13-2012 at 02:59 AM.
    "I paint because I love to cut mats" (Arthur Alexander)

  8. #8
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    Juz,
    I felt like I had read about it at tabletpcreview-- that some users were using Throttlestop to get the cpu to run at full power all the time-- but honestly, I don't own one. I've also read some user complaints about lag in PS on it. It's nice to hear that you're not having that problem though. Perhaps it's overstated, or perhaps those users are putting unreasonable demands on a mobile device. I couldn't say.

    As for the IPad, to me that's out as there's no pen. However, I think the new 10" Galaxy Note is really intriguing and would think it might be a good mobile sketching device. Nice pen. Good size. Great weight and battery life. Ice Cream Sandwich, so lots more pressure sensitivity and pen support. And I've heard that the pen apps for ICS are much better than previous versions. I've also seen Quills recommended a few times, so a person might want to check that out as an art program on ICS.

    The issue, to me, is that something like a new Ipad or Galaxy Note costs the same (or more!) than a good used tablet pc that is 10x more functional, is more powerful, has real Wacom support, and runs real Windows. Yes, they're also twice as heavy and twice as thick (almost literally) as the Ipad. But the list of benefits is just too powerful to beat, IMO, for the benefit of form factor.

    If the item under discussion really is a mobile device for rough sketching that supplements something else, then perhaps that's a different story, but I'd still probably think the same. Functionality beats form for me.

  9. #9
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    @Steve.. I'm certain that if I was making an A3 poster @300dpi with 30 layers in photoshop that I could bring the ep121 to it's knees.. exactly as I would were I running the same sort of system in a labtop or desktop.

    With regards to hardware, 'what tasks I need it to do' should always dictate what you purchase.

    As you've stated a real wacom device is far superior to a capacitive touch device, and it should be a consideration for any artist. Another worthy consideration is the very limited maximum print output resolution of the ipad and android devices. If one is wanting to do professional quality prints, these devices aren't up to the task. If one wants to work in Artrage specifically then an android device of any description is currently not going to do the job.

    As long as your needs don't exceed a device's capabilites then I don't see a problem with purchasing one of the androids or ipads. There are many artists here producing great ipad art and posting it in the galleries. It's all about knowing the limitations of your device so that you don't end up having 'buyer remorse'.

    I'm not an advocate of buying older hardware as OS's and Software are written to take advantage of newer hardware and the total lifespan of something already out of date is going to be shorter. Not to mention the risk taken on the purchase and no warranty. If you are going to spend significant time on your hardware then it's worth investing in the very best that you can afford.

    The OP Polioliolio was looking to have Cintiq capabillity in a portable form factor. This simply is not currently available. The sheer amount of heat output by a cintiq would be a barrier to getting that sort of capability into a tablet form factor in the present. Whether or not Wacom would ever want their 3rd party partners competing with their 'showcase' product is also a matter up for question.

    If, as Polioliolio stated, money was not a concern then the Cintiq cannot be beaten. It is, quite simply, the best professional tool on the market. If however portability and getting away from the desktop was priority number one, then a tabletPC is a great way to go.
    "I paint because I love to cut mats" (Arthur Alexander)

  10. #10
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    One small back-door to Juz's comment about print resolution on an iPad or Android device...

    If you're a vector artist, both platforms have very good vector tools.

    On Android, INFINITE DESIGN literally has a canvas as big as you could possibly want or need. (You don't get bigger than infinity.) I bought it to see what it would be like making vector art. And it's interesting. It's a good app, and you'll be able to make impressive stuff. But it DEFINITELY ain't ArtRage.

    Strictly in terms of size, though... you can make anything on it. (I don't know if it's possible to export the finished file to something like Adobe Illustrator though. Which would be the only way to output the file in post-production.)

    On the iPad side, I haven't bought any of the vector art apps. So I have no idea about their size limitations.
    ROY BLUMENTHAL

    Visual Facilitator: http://royblumenthal.com/portfolio

    ArtRage 3.5.5 and 4.0.4 on:
    Fujitsu T901, Asus R1E

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