Wacom Graphics Tablet


I got given an Expression branded Wacom CTE-440 graphics table a while back. I didn't really get on with it. Whatever drivers I installed also enabled a bunch of Tablet PC functionality that I didn't want and I struggled with the pen interface (fine on a Tablet PC when you write direct on the screen, not so easy on the desk next to you).

On a whim I plugged it into my 64-bit Vista laptop this morning expecting it to moan and require me to install the Wacom drivers. Imagine my surprise when it just worked (I'm going a bit Viz "Imagine my surprise..." here as the first thing I wanted to do was try and draw a little cartoon).

I digress with my favourite Viz readers letter of all time which went along the lines of:

"I recently purchased a poster for my bedroom wall. Unfortunately I found I had insufficient Blu Tack for all 4 corners. I therefore decided to remove one corner from the poster. Imagine my surprise when I found there were now 5 corners that needed sticking! Is it any wonder adhesive manufacturers continue to make vast profits at our expense!"

Their version was undoubtedly better written but it's stuck in my head for 20 years along with a whole bunch of other useless stuff.

So I started playing around with it and actually it doesn't take that long to get the hang of it. I think I might have to play with the mapping of tablet surface to screen as the tablet itself only has an active area the size of an A6 page so it's pretty tiny. Especially for Paint.NET I found the increased accuracy to be very useful and it also allows you to draw natural curves which I find extremely difficult with a mouse.

CartoonSo I drew my first (very limited) cartoon which I thought I should perhaps get made into my business card or just tattooed on my forehead as this seems to be the first thing that comes out of my mouth these days in answer to almost anything. Yes, I'm successfully living up to my own stereotype.

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Comments (6)
  1. Martin Parry says:

    Ok, my favourite Viz "Top Tip"…

    Arch-villains of Gotham City: upon capturing the dynamic duo, kill them quickly using a foolproof method such as a gun or knife.  Under no circumstances leave them unattended, at the mercy of a Heath-Robinson-style killing machine of your own invention.

    Sorry I don’t know the author, but he’s clearly a genius.

  2. MikeO [MSFT] says:

    And you can enjoy a whole new set of Top Tips by visiting http://www.viz.co.uk/letterbocks/toptips_story.php. I suggest you don’t do that if you’re easily offended though.

    I particualrly enjoyed tips 24 (for Monks) & 25 (recreate a parachute jump).

  3. N. Vedala says:

    Wow! were you gifted wacom or given for official work? whichever way, you are lucky. I’m trying to buy one for my cartoon works (see http://goozydumps.wordpress.com) and when I see the price of Wacom, my heart skips a beat. Yet, it is the best one in the market, says many others.

    I wish someone gifts me this. *sigh*

  4. MikeO [MSFT] says:

    I didn’t appreciate how much one cost until you pointed it out! Mike

  5. Wennuhpen says:

    @N. Vedala, look at secondhand wacom tablets. They won’t be the newest thing, but it works perfectly!

    I have a wacom intuos A3 at home and a intuos2 A4 at work. I was experiencing some discomfort from working with a mouse and my college gave me the wacom. He had used it and didn’t like it. I LOVE it! Now my hobby is Photograpy and so I dragged the thing back and forth between home and work. Through a secondhand internet market I found a A3 intuos for 50 euros!!!! And it is great!!!! Do watch out for cheaters!!

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