by Mike McNamee Published 01/11/2004
Mike McNamee & Carol Tipping give newly engaged couple, Corel Painter and Wacom's Intuos 3 some marriage guidance
In keeping with the general theme of this issue, the Wacom Intuos 3 arrived in a timely manner. We have always advised that purchase of a graphics tablet is an essential for speedy retouching but Wacom have now taken up the torch and produced a model intended to speed workflow. This has been achieved with a complete redesign of the Intuos 2 specifically by the addition of eight function buttons and two scrollers right on the tablet surface. The default setting for the tabs are Alt, Ctrl, Shift and space bar and the positioning allows them to be accessed by the users' spare hand, while their main hand operates the pressure pen. The scroll function allows the user to operate with the pen in their dominant hand while zooming the image with the spare hand
The Intuos 3 comes in three sizes, nominally A4, A5 and A6 with working areas of 12x9; 8x6 and 5x4 inches. The actual size of the tablet is greater. The A4 we tried has about 2 ½ inches on each side. Which size to choose is entirely personal, we actually prefer the A5 as a compromise between desk space and the sweep required by the operating hand. Some people (including Carol Tipping, our specialist adviser) like the larger tablets. One good thing about going for a bigger size is that you can scale the operating area from within the software. The resolution of the tablet has doubled over the Intuos 2. It is now at 5080 dpi with 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. A pen is provided as standard, along with a 5 -button mouse. An airbrush is available as an optional extra. Connectivity is via the USB port of your computer. The surface finish is now a very polished plastic surface topping a gunmetal base with a roll top towards the user.The pen is quite chunky and very comfortable in the hand.
The Tablet parameters are set through an improved interface, resident on the Control Panel. The mapping area is now much easier to set and the default parameters may be set differently for each software application. Whist it is probably best to leave the left hand tablet keys set to default (if you are right handed) the other set may be programmed to taste, from a small number of options. For a right handed operator the pen will be held in that hand while the left hand will remain in the tablet operating the modifier keys and zoom control This really is a slick way to work which we got used to in a matter of moments.
Of all the features of the new Wacom it is probably the fast zooming which the user will derive the most benefit from in terms of speeding up their workflow.
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