In­tuos 3D

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

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

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.

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