Summary – Don’t buy an Intuos Manga*, Do buy an Intuos Pen & Touch if you are in the right market segment…
*Assuming you’re not a comic book illustrator – see note at end
There, with that out the way, hopefully no-one else will get sucked into the useless combo that is Intuos Manga! Why do I say that? Because Version (4) of Manga software which is included in the package is absolute crap from a UX perspective (think Windows 95) and is one (very significant) version behind the current version.
I’m jumping a bit ahead here though, so I’ll go right back to the start as there are a few things I found out along my pen tablet journey. I was obviously in the market for a digitiser to do a bit of mucking around and to start work on some “RSA Type” animations for Right Shifting**. As I’m not a professional illustrator and would only use this occasionally I was trying to keep the cost down.
For this review I’ll be using the recent/new model names as Wacom “recently” (2013) “updated” their line in that some of the names are changed, so Bamboo is not Bamboo, it’s now Intuos and Intuos is now Intuos Pro. What’s Bamboo?…
It’s new and would be the most seemingly obvious budget solution, until you read the reviews. It really is a new product and the digitisation and pressure don’t seem too good even for a low end product. Hopefully Wacom will fix this as it’s a great concept, form factor and price point and I’d buy one just to use beside my Mac regularly.
That leaves us with the Intuos range. Wacom have managed to achieve what Apple seems unable to – their digitizer can co-exist with a mouse! The Pro versions really are what they say – I don’t see any need to buy them unless you are using them professionally. As mentioned, the Intuos’ really are the upgraded version of the old Bamboo, but with (optional) touch. I initially (unknowingly) ordered the pen only one and immediately returned it as touch really does make a difference in usage as highlighted in the video below – apologies in advance for the slightly strange colours, but iMovie suddenly decided to saturate it. I’ve done the best I can with some manual tweaking to make it viewable (which the original wasn’t):
Because I was in a hurry and didn’t bother researching MS4 thoroughly. It would seem that comic book illustration is a very specialised area and MS is certainly one of the leading products. I’m sure it’s usable after a steep curve (I’d shudder to think how long it would of taken to get to a point of doing that video above with it, but we are talking days to weeks rather than hours!). If you’re an amateur or just someone who wants to do some “graphic noodling” then what to use?
I hope this has been of help to anyone considering a digitising pad, which you should if you have any interest in drawing, painting etc… Feel free to drop me a note in the comments if you have any questions or experiences you’d like to share.
* Unless you really do comic illustration – Manga really does seem to be regarded as one of the best packages for comic illustration, as I discovered this is a world away from intuitive art tools like ArtRage
** Want to find out more about Right Shifting? The best place to start is the guy who came up with it – Bob Marshall, the @flowchainsensei and his blog, especially the Rightshifting section. More questions? Probably best to ask him…