Friday, July 21, 2006

Tablet Details

I jumped on this Tablet PC bandwagon. You should too- it's a sketchbook sized laptop-but its just a screen- they licensed the technology from Wacom so its pressure sensitive- you can draw, paint, and write directly to the screen. Its got the usual wireless internet/bluetooth, a couple usb's, runs on windows xp, 2 gigs of RAM- so you can do whatever else people use computers for... Its about an inch thick and the battery I have lasts about 9 hours. Im using the Alias Sketchbook Pro2 software which works well on the tablets...not enough room for Photochop...and I havent tried Painter yet. Be sure to shell out the extra hundred+ bucks for the screen protection plan- who really knows with those things- but youre supposed to be able to get it replaced twice within one year. A fun little machine...The future is here...


Left said...


Have you tried any photo manipulation on a tablet pc? If so which pc and what were the results?

If not can you hazard a guess as to whether it would be worth it or not?

enb said...

Hey- yah- I used photoshop 7 and it works alright. Im very familiar the photoshop program so over the years Ive gotten used to using photoshop on a work station and having two monitors (one for your workspace- and one for all your menus) and Im also rather used to having all the keyboard shortcuts available at both my finger tips- you can still use the keyboard shortcuts- but with the tablet, you use the pen to click on the little buttons of a digital keyboard thats at the bottom of the screen...which takes a little time and is just not as efficient ...and also... all the menus really clutter up the tablets desktop. I installed a "mouse gesture" program so that I could use the gestures to hide and unhide menus and make simple commands- but Im kinda lazy relearning things-
Thats about when I started using the alias sketchbook pro software and now its what I use almost entirely. Its made especially for the tablet and they employ some clever interfaces. If I have to color adjust or anything- as a step in the process, I will open it in photoshop and do the task... mostly though, Im just sketching and coloring stuff..and maybe watching a movie...or updating this blog.
I do know that they make these tablets more in the traditional laptop form- with a keyboard, finger mouse and cd rom drives and all the creature comforts of a laptop- but you can also work directly on the screen with the pen... Thats what all the guys at my office use- the Toshiba M4's... its definitely the best of both worlds- so if youre considering a new laptop- see if you can check one of those out- I would suspect it would offer all the features that you would possibly want if youre doing professional or higher end photo manipulation on a laptop(minus all the screen real estate that a regular workstation has)-
Personally I didnt feel that I needed the full laptop layout and all the bells and whistles, and Im still very happy with that decision (I still have a regular computer anyways if I need "the power").
Lastly, I think this technology will be on all laptops within the next few years.
Sorry for the long winded answer- Hope this helps a bit-

Tony Mora said...

Which tablet did you get? I've been eyeing the Cintiq but I just can't pull the trigger.

enb said...

I have the Fujitsu Stylistic St5032d. The first reason why I got this one over the wacom cintinq was I wanted to be able to use it...well.. to be honest...while I was on the couch watching tv- so I wanted it to be totally portable and wireless... its my understanding that the cintinq needs to be connected to some sort of computer in order for it to basically, all it is is a big wacom with a screen- you still need to plug it in...the fujitsu just seemed more versatile, and hopefully something that I would use more Ive been needing a laptop anyways which the fujitsu suits well. I must of gotten the fujitsu in particular because it was the thinnest and smallest one. I totally like it tons. BUT- here are a few things I really dont like about it. The screen is way too slick...I have some screen protectors that give it a bit more surface...but with a screen protector on- youre not really seeing accurate color. The pen feels light, plastic-y and cheap. To get the pens right click and middle click to work you need to actually be touching the screen..this is not the case with my wacom...I can have the pen hover above the screen and middle click in order to, lets say, call up the brush menu in photoshop. Also- these two buttons on the shaft of the pen are not as programable like a regular wacom stylus is...I have no idea why not-its the same tech. Also- the buttons on the side of the screen itself are barely hot-keyable... not sure if Im being clear- but you should be able to hot key these function keys to whatever you want...sadly you cannot which really limits your options...the toshibas everyone has in the office seem to be totally hot-keyable.
One thing to note- I tried using a toshiba tablet pc pen with my fujitsu- its a nicer more solid feeling pen, and it totally works- so now Im gonna explore buying a pen from another tablet pc and using it with mine..its just that there arent many of these tablets that you can go test drive so testing different pens is rough if not impossible.
Now that I have this laptop though I will someday soon, look at the cintinq's...especially if they can make it into more of a wireless peripheral- so you dont have to have an umbilical cord back to the computer- everything should soon be wireless right?... or so you would think.
Good luck... expensive purchases are always risky...