Pen Tablet Woes

 I got a Wacom Bamboo Fun about 3 weeks ago and I am very frustrated with it.
 I have beed using CorelDraw for years and that is what I am most comfortable with however I can find no good use for it with that program. 
 I am not very skilled with photoshop where the the pen seems to have the most usabillity. My experience with photoshop is working with photos. Photoshop is a pixel based program where I am used to vector based program.
 How do you get a pixel based program to convert to vector for the 6 color minimums with these woot derbies with no half tones ?Does that make any sense?
 Basically if anyone has the time, I would like to know how a graphics tablet can best be used for these derbies.



What programs do you use with your graphics tablets?


I use corel draw, and photopaint. I convert my photopaint images to vector using the corel trace program that comes int he corel graphic suite.

I mostly use the tablet in Corel Draw, myself. Mine is not a bamboo, but Intuos 3, though I don’t use the extra capabilities since the vector program doesn’t seem to allow much use of them. The tablet for me is great because I can control the movement of the pen so much more naturally than the mouse. I can mask better in photopaint, I can draw stuff a lot easier in Draw ing it. Controlling the amount of smoothing helps a lot in draw- less smoothing gives a more natural look. you have to be zoomed in on your design though, otherwise you get some artifacts.


Thanks Josephus,
I will try that. I was hoping to not have to re-scan anything for loss of detail. I was thinking there would be a way to just “Convert” the photoshop document to vector.
Some derby soon I will sumbit a 100% tablet created design. :slight_smile:


Don’t know any way to vectorize a raster that is really efficient myself… There are programs and plugins out there that do it, but they don’t work consistently enough for me. Live Trace in illustrator CS2 works for most things, but you’ll still spend a great amount of time fixing it to get everything the way you want it.

EDIT: Tablets are a good tool, but don’t feel like a good design requires one. Both my winning fish design and this week’s sponge were done 100% by hand using Illustrator’s Pen tool and a little mouse action.


I think my biggest problem is that I have been using a mouse, pen tool and node editing for too long. I thought it would be just like using a pencil and paper to draw but it does not feel that way to me so far. I’m still going to try to master the graphics tablet.


You’re not alone. I got a tablet to help with masking for the photoshop contest (which I actually entered this week), it is really good for that, I feel I have better fine control than a mouse. I am not trying to do some shirts and learn more about vector and using inkscape, but I am so used to raster, it is a hard adjustment. I don’t have a fancy vector program and just got inkscape this week. I am just going to take some good advice and play with it for a bit.


I thought this would be a good place to ask. I’m getting a tablet and am almost positive I am going with some form of the Wacom bamboo. But I have a question first.

Which size should I get? The small is 4x6 and medium is 6x8 and I’m not sure which one I would be most comfortable with. Advice?


Hi Andy. I don’t think there’s a great way to automate a raster -> vector in Photoshop. You have Live Paint and Live Trace in illustrator which does what you’re talking about – and you can download a trial at the adobe site.

As for the Pen, it’ll take 2-3 weeks before you get comfortable. Keep trying. In the end, you’ll find that nothing is really comparable to using pen and paper. As you use hardware to simulate the pen, and as you get closer to it being the real thing {like the cintiq where you draw directly on screen} the more differences you notice from drawing on paper. The trick is for you to not think this should be natural drawing, but rather as a “better tool” than a mouse. True enough, great designs can be done with anything, even a touchpad, though having the hardware certainly makes things more efficient and accurate. I suggest you try rotating your tablet – like you rotate a piece of a paper {most don’t draw on paper that’s lying straight in front of them, they tilt it a little] – then play around. Try raising the tablet up, anything that makes it comfortable for you. I hope that helps andy, don’t quit.


I only have my 4x6 to go by, but I don’t think I would be happy with a larger version. So far I don’t even use the space I have.


A lot of people use all sorts of different sizes. The issue comes down to price and space. If you have … let’s say a 19 inch monitor, and you have a 4x6, it’s hard to get details in at 100%. For every inch you move on the tablet, it may move double that on screen, so it takes more adjustment, and loses a lot of the natural feel of the tablet. Thus, it’s better going with the 6x8, as you get more resolution – and a better ratio of tablet to monitor.


Mr. Andy,

I’ve found that I have better control over my drawing when I’m zoomed as much as possible, so that my expected drawing area fills most of the screen. Then I automatically end up using most of the tablet area.


Both very helpful comments… so for a 15.4" or 17" moniter a 4x6 would probably suffice?


Thanks for the tips everyone!


I have a 9x12 Intuos3, and I have used it occasionally for Photoshop (kicks butt for detailed brush strokes), but not a lot in Illustrator for my woot shirts. It’s really good for my 19" monitor. However, there’s a lot of real estate to cover on it. I really want to use it more, but I just haven’t gotten the time to customize the buttons that could make my life easier. I’d venture a guess that for most people it’s too big. But oh man, can it do high detail well.

Hey Cho… glad you’re back submitting designs. Though you are tough competition, your designs have been very helpful in getting my technique better.