Double act Get started in 3D with this tag-team of a Wacom drawing tablet and ZBrushCore, a stripped-back version of the sculpting software
The Intuos 3D becomes the fifth in a range of affordable, accessible tablets from Wacom. Each option has essentially the same tablet (the colour may vary), but a different choice of software, with specific types of artist in mind.
It’s worth pointing out that your software use isn’t limited to the package you get with the tablet. Wacom tablets are supported by a broad range of art software and in Windows and OS X, so you can use the Intuos for nearly every creative task you can think of, and even replace your mouse with it, if you wish.
The software in this case is ZBrushCore, a stripped-down version of the well-known digital sculpting and painting package from Pixologic, which is sold separately for £118. It says something about the continuing growth of 3D art from its professional niche into a more mainstream activity that Wacom considers this particular combo worth offering.
Before you can get started, you need to connect the tablet to your computer, which is done using a single USB cable; then install Wacom’s tablet driver and Pixologic’s ZBrushCore software, both of which are provided via download rather than on a CD. This makes sense: not every new computer has an optical drive nowadays. It has to be said that the process of registering on both Wacom and Pixologic’s website, entering various serial numbers and installing licence files is neither quick nor pleasant, especially bearing in mind the less-technically experienced audience this sort of tablet is aimed at. But it’s a chore you only have to undergo once – and the good news is that once the various parts have been installed, everything works together beautifully.
ZBrushCore recognises the tablet without hassle, so you can start sculpting straight away. It responds
Working in ZBrushCore is usually a process of small, iterative strokes, so using this tablet is pretty comfortable
well to the tablet’s pressure sensitivity, enabling you to make a small scratch or a deep dig. The four programmable keys on the tablet are pre-configured for common ZBrush tasks: one brings up the Brush palette so you can switch quickly, for example. The higher of the two buttons on the pen is set up for rotating the canvas. You can customise all of these functions, but it’s nice to know that you’ve got a pretty decent workflow straight out of the box.
With some art programs, the 8.5x5.3-inch drawing area of this size of Intuos compared with larger but pricier Intuos Pro models can be inhibiting. However, working in ZBrushCore is usually a process of small, iterative strokes to build up your forms, so using this tablet is pretty comfortable.
Like any 3D program, ZBrushCore demands you invest time into learning its core principles and idiosyncrasies, but there are plenty of resources to aid this. Put in the time (and forgive the installation hassles), and you’ll find that this tablet and software bundle is a terrific combination.
Combine the Intuos 3D with a 3D printer, and you could soon be sculpting and outputting your own art reference.
Four ExpressKeys can be customised with shortcuts.
A standard Kensington cable lock beefs up security.
The 8.5-x-5.3-inch drawing area is more than adequate for most ZBrushCore tasks.
The provided Intuos Pen offers buttons pre-configured for ZBrushCore. Nibs can be replaced when worn out.
Because it’s a simplified version of ZBrush, ZBrushCore is the ideal introduction to 3D art.