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Thready

Anyone use a Wacom tablet for photos?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I'm getting one for Christmas but I don't know which one to get. I actually don't know anything about them, but I think it will help me since I'm left handed and editing with a right handed mouse sucks. 

 

Which one would you suggest for a beginner? My budget is $200


Photographer, future counselor, computer teacher.

3600X and RTX 2070 with too many storage drives to count. 

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TL; DR : Do yourself a favor, just get the XP-Pen Deco 03 or Deco Pro.  It's 100$ or 130$, respectively, at Amazon, last time I checked. Only purchase them from the official XP-Pen offers there at Amazon.

 

I have use Photoshop a lot with both mouse and Wacoms (and other tablets), but somehow in pure photo / image editing I'm faster with the mouse.

For specific photo retouching, that is,  the usual cloning, healing, refining, retouching in general, masks making, a tablet is quite helpful. I'm more of an illustrator/comic artist/designer/3D artist, but besides that have needed to do tons of retouching works,  the folks I've known working exclusively for retouching models photos for magazines and the like, photo studios, etc, they often tell me a small Wacom is best as you then control all with smaller movement. But these guys are very specialized in very specific tasks, while you will do more varied stuff, surely.  

IMO, the bigger the size, the higher the accuracy.  I have a very big tablet due to the fact that I often ink comics, and line-art is about the thing requiring more precision, accuracy of the lines. I typically recommend small (S) wacoms for exclusively photo retouch, but in the long run you would regret it, imo. While it is good for pixel art (I did tons of pixel art with a Small back in 2001, an entire PC game (well, the 2D graphics in it), and several mobile games in 2006, again using only a small) , photo retouch and vector artwork, as all of those have workflows that compensate for the lack of precision, I still think the best solution, capable of all situations and needs, and also the greatest price/usefulness ratio  is purchasing a medium size tablet (active area = 10 inches wide). But now alternative brands have caught up with Wacom, and are at a 50% or less of the price, and you get great tablets if buying the right ones, despite not being Wacom. With a medium size (typically one of at least 10 inches wide of ACTIVE AREA (not full size), is listed in the specifications) you can: Do illustration, inking, painting, retouch, vectors, textures, UI, ANYTHING. For a real pro IN ILLUSTRATION AND COMIC (not in photo retouch) I totally recommend better a Wacom Large (L) , or a Display-tablet of at least 22 inches ( is a screen where you draw on), also called Cintiqs and of course, Cintiq alternatives (by Huion and XP-Pen, mostly).

 

For your budget, and actually, for virtually any artist that can't afford a Wacom Large (L), or an XP-Pen or Huion Display-tablet (cintiq alternatives), a medium size tablet from XP-Pen (my fav) or Huion is the way to go. You must be very sure that whatever the model you pick cover these requirements :

 

- The pen is battery free. Battery based ones usually can produce more trembling / jittery / wobbly lines, besides you need to charge them.

- The active area (listed in the product specs) is at least 9.5" (or so) or better, 10" (inches) wide. (they could call it "medium" or not)

- The pen pressure is at least 1024 levels of pressure. For photo retouch you benefit a lot from more levels. There are cheap ones with 8k levels , today.

- The brands are : XP-Pen, Huion or Wacom. Wacom is the more sturdy and durable, in my experience and others'. But I'd go for the other two brands today, no real issues. Brands like Veikk, Bosto, etc, well, I set them in another level, personally. Just like Wacom is above all them in building quality, etc.

- IMO, better if purchased at Amazon (they're serious if there's some issue). Exception made with Wacom. You can buy wacom in their site or a shop, there's no issues. I'd just do NOT recommend purchasing the computer they sell (not only due to the very high cost) , the Mobile Studio or whatever the marketing name they assign to it in the future. Also, once the cpu, ram, etc, gets old with the current software, you loose the tablet, somehow, need to upgrade all as a whole, while a tablet can be used with many computers. I've only heard a considerable number of issues with Wacom's support with their portable laptop-tablets, these Mobile Studios (anyway, 3k is pretty far from your 200, lol, am just giving you a full picture here), while not really a percentage to consider from their classic tablets, or even their cintiqs. It happens a lot more with any other brand. but we are in a point where you'd better go with a classic 100 bucks alternative, safely.

 

I do not recommend buying used tablets, neither refurbished. That's my personal take at it. If anything, maybe Wacom, but I'd have to check everything well, and have a solid very reliable warranty period. Is NOT like other type of hardware in this regard.

 

In pricing , the order tends to go like this in every equivalent range of their catalogs, from pricier to more affordable : Wacom -> Huion -> XP-Pen. 

 

The ones I recommend to everybody are, according to budgets (In any category, you rarely go wrong with any of these 3 brands.) 

 

Wacom tends to be better supported by software applications, as has been longer around, more polished drivers, etc. But sincerely, there's rarely any show stopper issue, these days.

 

- From 50$ to 80 $ : Small : Xp-Pen, Wacom , or Huion. Just be sure the pen is battery-free and at least 1024 levels of pressure. If the requirements above are covered, if you find small models that have an active area BIGGER than Wacom's, but at this price range, this is a key criteria in this range, whatever the brand (only among these, imo) would be preferable over wacom.

- From 100$ (xp-pen) to aprox. 200$ (wacom M) : Medium, this is my recommendation for YOU (and most hobbyists, and even quite some pros), specially the XP-Pen Deco 03, as it typically is at 100$ in amazon, despite Wacom costing 2x that or so, while the Deco 03 is LARGER in its active area than regular Wacom's medium size. This Deco 03 has 8k levels of pressure, a disc for operations like zoom, brush size, etc (whatever you set in the control panel of the driver's panel), which is quite a pro touch. It has also function buttons in the side. Both features usually removed in Wacom's equivalents in price range and size. The pen is battery-free and very good. It has VERY good reputation among too many artists to offer any doubt for me. There's another with good reputation from them, costs about 130$, the Deco Pro. I'd definitely go with any of these 2 (have more feedback about Deco 03). Not with others in their catalog (maybe yep with the display tablet 22E Pro, but thats about 360 bucks, still a crazy low price for a display tablet). You don't necessarily go wrong with a Huion of similar characteristics if covers the reqs I listed above. I just have not so much direct feedback from those. At this point I definitely recommend a Deco 03 or Pro over a Wacom Medium.

- 360 to 500$ or so (sorry if I have not been accurate with any of the prices, but they tend to be around this) and beyond (usually till 900, in those I mention here) : Wacom Large, or if going with display-tablets, the Cintiq (NON PRO as the pro line prices go to the roof) 16" or 22" inches are good purchases, or the XP-Pen 22E Pro (22 inches screen tablet). My preference is Wacom Large, as I am very used to classic tablets (non screen tablets) have the trained coordination hand-screen. Some novices will prefer display-pen solutions (or simply iPads of other tablets) as don't want to train this capability. I think it pays in the long run to get used to classic ones, besides are way cheaper and cheaper to replace (so, more sustainable) and healthier in ergonomics (posture, eyesight),  as you can always go from classic to display-tablets (require no skill "upgrade"), but is much harder to improvise the habit of painting on a classic tablet if coming from traditional or cintiqs. For photo retouch, so that you have your pro monitor and etc as an independent device, it is quite convenient to just use classic tablets.

 

Note: I just realized Xp-Pen has a 700 $ new Display-pen, the 22R, "replacing" (their old models are not removed from catalog, you can purchase them for years) the 22E, which due to this (surely) has gone from 500/600$ to 360$, lol. The new model is quite superior (at least on specs), but one is good to go with the "old" 22E, if care to color calibrate the screen with a hardware color calibrator like color munki, i1 display pro or etc. Which is sth any serious creator should do with his/her monitor, be it a pro monitor or a display-tablet.

 

PS: I have ZERO relation with XP-Pen, like neither with other hardware vendors. I just recommend what I know is better or has better usability/price ratio (yet being good and professional devices). You are good to go as well with Huion, but I have less feedback from their products. And I've owned 4 Wacom tablets and used a lot more at companies, so I know these very well.

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
34 minutes ago, PixelPol said:

TL; DR : Do yourself a favor, just get the XP-Pen Deco 03 or Deco Pro.  It's 100$ or 130$, respectively, at Amazon, last time I checked. Only purchase them from the official XP-Pen offers there at Amazon.

 

I have use Photoshop a lot with both mouse and Wacoms (and other tablets), but somehow in pure photo / image editing I'm faster with the mouse.

For specific photo retouching, that is,  the usual cloning, healing, refining, retouching in general, masks making, a tablet is quite helpful. I'm more of an illustrator/comic artist/designer/3D artist, but besides that have needed to do tons of retouching works,  the folks I've known working exclusively for retouching models photos for magazines and the like, photo studios, etc, they often tell me a small Wacom is best as you then control all with smaller movement. But these guys are very specialized in very specific tasks, while you will do more varied stuff, surely.  

IMO, the bigger the size, the higher the accuracy.  I have a very big tablet due to the fact that I often ink comics, and line-art is about the thing requiring more precision, accuracy of the lines. I typically recommend small (S) wacoms for exclusively photo retouch, but in the long run you would regret it, imo. While it is good for pixel art (I did tons of pixel art with a Small back in 2001, an entire PC game (well, the 2D graphics in it), and several mobile games in 2006, again using only a small) , photo retouch and vector artwork, as all of those have workflows that compensate for the lack of precision, I still think the best solution, capable of all situations and needs, and also the greatest price/usefulness ratio  is purchasing a medium size tablet (active area = 10 inches wide). But now alternative brands have caught up with Wacom, and are at a 50% or less of the price, and you get great tablets if buying the right ones, despite not being Wacom. With a medium size (typically one of at least 10 inches wide of ACTIVE AREA (not full size), is listed in the specifications) you can: Do illustration, inking, painting, retouch, vectors, textures, UI, ANYTHING. For a real pro IN ILLUSTRATION AND COMIC (not in photo retouch) I totally recommend better a Wacom Large (L) , or a Display-tablet of at least 22 inches ( is a screen where you draw on), also called Cintiqs and of course, Cintiq alternatives (by Huion and XP-Pen, mostly).

 

For your budget, and actually, for virtually any artist that can't afford a Wacom Large (L), or an XP-Pen or Huion Display-tablet (cintiq alternatives), a medium size tablet from XP-Pen (my fav) or Huion is the way to go. You must be very sure that whatever the model you pick cover these requirements :

 

- The pen is battery free. Battery based ones usually can produce more trembling / jittery / wobbly lines, besides you need to charge them.

- The active area (listed in the product specs) is at least 9.5" (or so) or better, 10" (inches) wide. (they could call it "medium" or not)

- The pen pressure is at least 1024 levels of pressure. For photo retouch you benefit a lot from more levels. There are cheap ones with 8k levels , today.

- The brands are : XP-Pen, Huion or Wacom. Wacom is the more sturdy and durable, in my experience and others'. But I'd go for the other two brands today, no real issues. Brands like Veikk, Bosto, etc, well, I set them in another level, personally. Just like Wacom is above all them in building quality, etc.

- IMO, better if purchased at Amazon (they're serious if there's some issue). Exception made with Wacom. You can buy wacom in their site or a shop, there's no issues. I'd just do NOT recommend purchasing the computer they sell (not only due to the very high cost) , the Mobile Studio or whatever the marketing name they assign to it in the future. Also, once the cpu, ram, etc, gets old with the current software, you loose the tablet, somehow, need to upgrade all as a whole, while a tablet can be used with many computers. I've only heard a considerable number of issues with Wacom's support with their portable laptop-tablets, these Mobile Studios (anyway, 3k is pretty far from your 200, lol, am just giving you a full picture here), while not really a percentage to consider from their classic tablets, or even their cintiqs. It happens a lot more with any other brand. but we are in a point where you'd better go with a classic 100 bucks alternative, safely.

 

I do not recommend buying used tablets, neither refurbished. That's my personal take at it. If anything, maybe Wacom, but I'd have to check everything well, and have a solid very reliable warranty period. Is NOT like other type of hardware in this regard.

 

In pricing , the order tends to go like this in every equivalent range of their catalogs, from pricier to more affordable : Wacom -> Huion -> XP-Pen. 

 

The ones I recommend to everybody are, according to budgets (In any category, you rarely go wrong with any of these 3 brands.) 

 

Wacom tends to be better supported by software applications, as has been longer around, more polished drivers, etc. But sincerely, there's rarely any show stopper issue, these days.

 

- From 50$ to 80 $ : Small : Xp-Pen, Wacom , or Huion. Just be sure the pen is battery-free and at least 1024 levels of pressure. If the requirements above are covered, if you find small models that have an active area BIGGER than Wacom's, but at this price range, this is a key criteria in this range, whatever the brand (only among these, imo) would be preferable over wacom.

- From 100$ (xp-pen) to aprox. 200$ (wacom M) : Medium, this is my recommendation for YOU (and most hobbyists, and even quite some pros), specially the XP-Pen Deco 03, as it typically is at 100$ in amazon, despite Wacom costing 2x that or so, while the Deco 03 is LARGER in its active area than regular Wacom's medium size. This Deco 03 has 8k levels of pressure, a disc for operations like zoom, brush size, etc (whatever you set in the control panel of the driver's panel), which is quite a pro touch. It has also function buttons in the side. Both features usually removed in Wacom's equivalents in price range and size. The pen is battery-free and very good. It has VERY good reputation among too many artists to offer any doubt for me. There's another with good reputation from them, costs about 130$, the Deco Pro. I'd definitely go with any of these 2 (have more feedback about Deco 03). Not with others in their catalog (maybe yep with the display tablet 22E Pro, but thats about 360 bucks, still a crazy low price for a display tablet). You don't necessarily go wrong with a Huion of similar characteristics if covers the reqs I listed above. I just have not so much direct feedback from those. At this point I definitely recommend a Deco 03 or Pro over a Wacom Medium.

- 360 to 500$ or so (sorry if I have not been accurate with any of the prices, but they tend to be around this) and beyond (usually till 900, in those I mention here) : Wacom Large, or if going with display-tablets, the Cintiq (NON PRO as the pro line prices go to the roof) 16" or 22" inches are good purchases, or the XP-Pen 22E Pro (22 inches screen tablet). My preference is Wacom Large, as I am very used to classic tablets (non screen tablets) have the trained coordination hand-screen. Some novices will prefer display-pen solutions (or simply iPads of other tablets) as don't want to train this capability. I think it pays in the long run to get used to classic ones, besides are way cheaper and cheaper to replace (so, more sustainable) and healthier in ergonomics (posture, eyesight),  as you can always go from classic to display-tablets (require no skill "upgrade"), but is much harder to improvise the habit of painting on a classic tablet if coming from traditional or cintiqs. For photo retouch, so that you have your pro monitor and etc as an independent device, it is quite convenient to just use classic tablets.

 

Note: I just realized Xp-Pen has a 700 $ new Display-pen, the 22R, "replacing" (their old models are not removed from catalog, you can purchase them for years) the 22E, which due to this (surely) has gone from 500/600$ to 360$, lol. The new model is quite superior (at least on specs), but one is good to go with the "old" 22E, if care to color calibrate the screen with a hardware color calibrator like color munki, i1 display pro or etc. Which is sth any serious creator should do with his/her monitor, be it a pro monitor or a display-tablet.

 

PS: I have ZERO relation with XP-Pen, like neither with other hardware vendors. I just recommend what I know is better or has better usability/price ratio (yet being good and professional devices). You are good to go as well with Huion, but I have less feedback from their products. And I've owned 4 Wacom tablets and used a lot more at companies, so I know these very well.

 

Thanks a bunch for this. I'm going to give it a lot of thought


Photographer, future counselor, computer teacher.

3600X and RTX 2070 with too many storage drives to count. 

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I've had really good experiences with Wacom, especially on the driver side. The reason I mentioned drivers is because I have seen people mention driver issues with other stuff..

With most products I would say "check reviews", but with drawing tablets I have become kinda weary with recommending them all, since it has come to everyone's attention through some YouTubers that 'some companies' have been really invasive with people making reviews (basically pressuring people to not mention some negative things).

 

For years I have been using a simple small Intuos, but if I were able to choose one again I would probably go for a larger model.

 

An Intuos Pro Medium is encroaching on Cintiq 16 territory, so an Intuos (non Pro) Medium is probably a good option for you.

 

I mainly use it for drawing, but some photo editing nowadays too. It's just like using a mouse, but with pressure sensitivity and better ergonomics. Highly recommended for photo editing IMO.

It does take a bit to get used to, as you are drawing on a pad and looking up at your screen while doing so.

 

Personally it took me about 2 months to get used to it, but that was with on-and-off usage.


"We're all in this together, might as well be friends" Tom, Toonami.

Sorry if my post seemed rude, that is never my intention.

"Why do we suffer a lifetime for a moment of happiness?" - Anonymous

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
13 hours ago, minibois said:

I've had really good experiences with Wacom, especially on the driver side. The reason I mentioned drivers is because I have seen people mention driver issues with other stuff..

With most products I would say "check reviews", but with drawing tablets I have become kinda weary with recommending them all, since it has come to everyone's attention through some YouTubers that 'some companies' have been really invasive with people making reviews (basically pressuring people to not mention some negative things).

 

For years I have been using a simple small Intuos, but if I were able to choose one again I would probably go for a larger model.

 

An Intuos Pro Medium is encroaching on Cintiq 16 territory, so an Intuos (non Pro) Medium is probably a good option for you.

 

I mainly use it for drawing, but some photo editing nowadays too. It's just like using a mouse, but with pressure sensitivity and better ergonomics. Highly recommended for photo editing IMO.

It does take a bit to get used to, as you are drawing on a pad and looking up at your screen while doing so.

 

Personally it took me about 2 months to get used to it, but that was with on-and-off usage.

Yeah and being left handed it sucks to edit with a right handed mouse. My budget is $150ish so I'm wondering if that model you mentioned is in that range


Photographer, future counselor, computer teacher.

3600X and RTX 2070 with too many storage drives to count. 

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10 hours ago, Thready said:

Yeah and being left handed it sucks to edit with a right handed mouse. My budget is $150ish so I'm wondering if that model you mentioned is in that range

The Intuos Medium (not Pro) is about 180 USD normal price, but perhaps it could be around that price during Black Friday/Cyber Monday?

I have seen it for 140 Euros before.

 

These devices are specifically able to be used left handed too, as there is a setting for that in the software.

There is also (macro) buttons on the device; two on either side.


"We're all in this together, might as well be friends" Tom, Toonami.

Sorry if my post seemed rude, that is never my intention.

"Why do we suffer a lifetime for a moment of happiness?" - Anonymous

 

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My positive opinion about the XP-Pen Deco 03 classic tablet (100$ only at amazon first hand) and the  XP-Pen 22E monitor-tablet is mostly due to having friends, colleagues that use these and love them. And two of these guys are super reliable in these matters and in general. Reviews occupy a lower rank in my consideration, but I've watched a lot, and the line jitter and other stuff is not something that can be easily faked (I easily hunt those trying to fool all of us) for someone working 10 -16 hours a day with tablets, non-stop for decades (since '91).  Wacom drivers have also a history of issues , and about hardware, Mobile studios and Companions have always have a dark history, even with refunds. That said, I love Wacom, they're the best in quality, but not the best in quality/cost . All my current tablets are Wacom. Just that today you get very good and solid/durable enough tablets too in the Huion and XP-Pen brands. I've been painting and doing game artwork (and other fields/industries) as a job for decades, tablets are now part of me, almost. Still, the full control you have with pen and paper, or oils and canvas... IMO, not yet achieved. Not even with the cintiqs. We (now speaking about illustrators only) use all this, digital, because so production is faster.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
45 minutes ago, PixelPol said:

My positive opinion about the XP-Pen Deco 03 classic tablet (100$ only at amazon first hand) and the  XP-Pen 22E monitor-tablet is mostly due to having friends, colleagues that use these and love them. And two of these guys are super reliable in these matters and in general. Reviews occupy a lower rank in my consideration, but I've watched a lot, and the line jitter and other stuff is not something that can be easily faked (I easily hunt those trying to fool all of us) for someone working 10 -16 hours a day with tablets, non-stop for decades (since '91).  Wacom drivers have also a history of issues , and about hardware, Mobile studios and Companions have always have a dark history, even with refunds. That said, I love Wacom, they're the best in quality, but not the best in quality/cost . All my current tablets are Wacom. Just that today you get very good and solid/durable enough tablets too in the Huion and XP-Pen brands. I've been painting and doing game artwork (and other fields/industries) as a job for decades, tablets are now part of me, almost. Still, the full control you have with pen and paper, or oils and canvas... IMO, not yet achieved. Not even with the cintiqs. We (now speaking about illustrators only) use all this, digital, because so production is faster.

So you have experience. Mine is just for photo editing and I'm getting more serious about photoshop and retouching. It's probably an awesome bet for me then right?


Photographer, future counselor, computer teacher.

3600X and RTX 2070 with too many storage drives to count. 

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You are perfectly fine with a XP-Pen Deco 03, a Deco Pro, or a Wacom Medium. imo, no need for the Intuos Pro, intuos is fine for retouch, is more important that is medium size. As anyway, you will be needing 200% to access the keyboard handling Photoshop or whatever for image editing, your hand is already 100% of the time there, so the extra function buttons, not a need. The Xp-Pen Deco 03, has the side function buttons, besides being already 70 to 80$ cheaper than the wacom medium, and includes a disc for zoom or brush size, very convenient. If that wasn't enough, it is indeed bigger than wacom medium in active area!  The sturdyness and quality of build and for actually drawing: ensured by people I very much trust, and overtime, these guys have not seen it breaking or degrading. I have similar reports with the 22e display-tablet. And with several Huion.

 

Wacom medium is an AMAZING purchase as well. But at this level I rather advice the Deco 03 or PRO. And at bigger levels, even over display-tablets, I recommend Wacom Large. but IMO that's not for light photo retouch, that's for what I do, illustration, comic, etc freelance full time and stuff. As the Large provides a lot of precision for line art, inking work.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
5 hours ago, PixelPol said:

You are perfectly fine with a XP-Pen Deco 03, a Deco Pro, or a Wacom Medium. imo, no need for the Intuos Pro, intuos is fine for retouch, is more important that is medium size. As anyway, you will be needing 200% to access the keyboard handling Photoshop or whatever for image editing, your hand is already 100% of the time there, so the extra function buttons, not a need. The Xp-Pen Deco 03, has the side function buttons, besides being already 70 to 80$ cheaper than the wacom medium, and includes a disc for zoom or brush size, very convenient. If that wasn't enough, it is indeed bigger than wacom medium in active area!  The sturdyness and quality of build and for actually drawing: ensured by people I very much trust, and overtime, these guys have not seen it breaking or degrading. I have similar reports with the 22e display-tablet. And with several Huion.

 

Wacom medium is an AMAZING purchase as well. But at this level I rather advice the Deco 03 or PRO. And at bigger levels, even over display-tablets, I recommend Wacom Large. but IMO that's not for light photo retouch, that's for what I do, illustration, comic, etc freelance full time and stuff. As the Large provides a lot of precision for line art, inking work.

I might go with the Wacom medium because there are tutorials on YouTube about how to set it up.


Photographer, future counselor, computer teacher.

3600X and RTX 2070 with too many storage drives to count. 

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