The lat­est dig­i­tal art resources are put to the test by the Imag­ineFX team…

In­tuos Art

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

Wa­com has re­freshed its en­try-level tablets. We find out what new fea­tures have been in­tro­duced.

Mov­ing from a mouse to work­ing with a pen tablet is the big­gest step you can take as a dig­i­tal il­lus­tra­tor, so choos­ing the right tool for the job is cru­cial. The In­tuos Draw is Wa­com’s new begin­ner of­fer­ing, but the In­tuos Art re­viewed here tar­gets users with ‘more ad­vanced artis­tic skills’ by of­fer­ing two tablet sizes (medium as well as small) and sup­port­ing touch ges­tures, and in­cludes Corel Painter Es­sen­tials over ArtRage Lite soft­ware.

The sim­ple de­sign of the small tablet has def­i­nite ad­van­tages: it’s thin and light enough to slide eas­ily into any lap­top bag and has two cus­tomis­able Ex­pressKey but­tons on either side, mak­ing it fine for either left- or righthanded use. It’s also well-sized for twin­ning with small lap­top dis­plays, but any­thing big­ger than 15 inches and the ac­tive can­vas area can be­gin to feel re­stric­tive, es­pe­cially for in­tri­cate, pre­ci­sion work.

The ges­tures, mean­while, are a wel­come ad­di­tion: a sin­gle fin­ger drag con­trols the mouse pointer as usual, but a tap-to-click, pinch-to-zoom or four-fin­ger spread to re­veal the desk­top (for ex­am­ple) have the in­tu­itive re­spon­sive­ness of built-in Mac and Win­dows ges­tures.

The dots on the can­vas area serve to ori­ent your draw path and there’s a con­ve­nient tag on the top of the tablet to stow your pen. A lock and touch­fea­tures switch are housed on the top along with a mi­cro USB port for the con­ve­niently L-shaped con­nec­tor.

On the rear of the tablet are four rub­ber moulds that grip work sur­faces well, and there’s a flap that pops off to re­veal port in­struc­tions, a bat­tery com­part­ment and wire­less mod­ule slot (sold sep­a­rately at a rel­a­tively pricey £35), and a cra­dle hold­ing three spare nibs (to­gether with a handy hole to de­tach the one in the pen).

The pen it­self is bat­tery-free, mak­ing it lighter, thin­ner and more stream­lined than pre­vi­ous Wa­com pens. Its rub­ber band­ing and matt body feel solid and

grippy, and the two cus­tomis­able but­tons are well-placed for av­er­a­ge­sized fin­gers. There’s no tilt sen­si­tiv­ity, but the 1,024 pres­sure lev­els match the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion of en­try-level Wa­com tablets and of­fer a de­cent range of brush con­trol. There’s also no dis­cernible lag in use, and al­though the pen’s ded­i­cated eraser func­tion has been ditched you can set an Ex­pressKey to Erase us­ing the Wa­com con­trol panel, where you can also mod­ify pen pres­sure, but­ton and ges­ture con­trols, and set them as global set­tings or only for spe­cific apps.

The In­tuos Art de­liv­ers on its aim to of­fer a re­al­is­tic paint­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, but in an era of multi-touch mice and track­pads you may find the ges­tures sur­plus to re­quire­ments, mak­ing the In­tuos Draw (£55) a cheaper al­ter­na­tive. And if you’re il­lus­trat­ing on a big desk­top screen, the medium-size In­tuos Art (£150) is a smarter op­tion.

The ges­tures are a wel­come ad­di­tion and have the in­tu­itive re­spon­sive­ness of built-in Mac and Win­dows ges­tures

7 prod­uct

s on test

Price £75

Com­pany Wa­com

Web www.wa­ The medium-sized Art is rec­om­mended if you’re work­ing on a desk­top screen.

The In­tuos Art comes in three colours and two sizes.

You can power the Art by cable,

or use a wire­less up­grade.

The nibs are ro­bust, but there are three spares sup­plied, in case of wear.

Two Ex­pressKeys on either side of the tablet can be cus­tomised to suit your needs.

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