Saturday, May 27, 2006

My first day of using Graphire 4 6x8 inch Tablet

Here I am testing the Wacom Graphire 4 6x8 inch Tablet on my home workstation (regular Pentium 4 2.8GHz with 1Gb of memory) and my notebook computer (Compaq Presario with P3 1GHz with 512M of RAM). Here's some of the finding I had so far:

- So far I love the new Wacom. Using the 6 x 8 is really a much better sketching experience comparing with my old 5 x 4 pad.

- I was a bit upset that the old pen that comes with old ArtZ tablet does not work with Graphire 4. But then I was EVEN MORE UPSET when I found out that the few test stroke I made on the Graphire 4 tablet using the old ArtZ pen left a few NON-DESTRUCTIVE but visible mark on the tablet. Again, it's non-destructive and it didn't really scratch the surface. It just left some visible mark. But then, AHHHHhhhh my supposed to be perfect tablet now has a few scare by it's grandma model !! The new pen is of course perfect fit for the new tablet and left no scar on the surface no matter how hard I sketch.

- I got the Pearl white model. Now this little baby will look totally match with the MacMini Intel version that I most probably will get in the future. Sweet :->

- The price I paid seems very reasonable: HK$1199 - Hk$150 Wacom ArtZ tablet trade in --> So I paid HK$1049 for the tablet as the result. Very nice price consider that is selling it at $172.98 . With sales tax, it will cost HK$1463. And can someone tell me why the pearl white model is the most expansive one among all models. Is it simply because it matches the MacMini better?

- My old Artz was made in Japan. This new pad is made in China. Nothing. Just a note.

- Now I have completely no excuse of the tablet making me draw badly. If the sketch looks badly, it's because me myself.

- I experience some minor glitch which I don't think it's the problem of the tablet, but rather the way Painter IX interpret some pen stroke. I sometime got a tiny dot when I use pen/pencil to shade an area. Guess I need to experiment more to find a work around to the problem.

- I also experience something interesting: on both the desktop PC and the laptop, the Photoshop CS and Painter IX has no problem keeping up with my sketching on it (I use pencil tool) no matter how fast I draw, but openCanvas 3.03 and 4.03 has problem, and created some angled lines if I draw too fast. Interesting enough, the problem was not as obvious on the laptop as on the desktop, which is strange consider that my laptop has less CPU power. But then the screen on my desktop is much bigger (1280x1024 on desktop, while 1024 x 768 on laptop).

- I really need to keep the tablet away from my 4 year old nephew. Within the last 5 hours he had multiple attempts to use things other than the tablet pen to draw on the Graphire 4. Obviously he thought my tablet can tolerant that same kind of abuse he imposed on his Doddle Doddle pad. The destruction power of children is simply unbelievable. Time to execute the South Park plan: kick the baby.

- Without installing the driver, the tablet will work as a generic tablet but only utilize 3/5 of the tablet space. After installing the driver it optimized the tablet surface utilization to the max.

- For some strange reason, I found using my laptop with my Graphire 4 a slightly better sketching experience than using the desktop. This is probably due to the cleaner environment (much less crappy installed on my laptop). This is a great founding. It proves that even though my laptop is about 5 years old, it's still very capable as a mobile creative station. I have no problem using it with my M-Audio Firewire Solo, and now with my Graphire 4. Nice.

- I found myself enjoying the wheel and the two button on the tablet very much. I mapped the left button to space so that I can use it to zoom in. And then I mapped the right button to Control. The scroll becomes zoom on Painter. Very very handy.

- I may even start to permenatly hook the tablet to the laptop so that I can sketch whenever I feel like knowing that my laptop is on all the time.

- I am NOT going to install any software that comes with the tablet. They are all cheesy version of software that I already have. Maybe I'll use those software for future upgrade, though.

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