by Guest Author on December 30, 2013
Tablet Tech: What Does your Graphic Designer Need?
The quickest way to stop creative flow is to have to deal with technical issues. Whether it’s just a clumsy interface or accidental digital smudges, the technology you’re using shouldn’t be a hindrance to the creative process.
Drawing tablets are specialized tablets that lack the versatility of mainstream general purpose tablets. However, these specialized drawing tablets have pioneered many of the features digital artists are finding incredibly useful, and the features are becoming more common in regular tablets.
When considering which tablet is right for you and your art, you’ll want to consider some of the latest features.
Sensitivity– The use of a stylus is fortunately becoming far more common in the tablet market. Sensitivity levels are going to be a significant factor to consider for detailed work. Pressure sensitivity levels include 256, 512, 1024, and 2048, with 102 levels being the commonly accepted standard for graphic designers and what you are most likely to find in higher end tablets designed with digital artists in mind.
Tilt recognition–Tilt recognition is another feature that brings your tablet’s surface another step closer to drawing on paper. By recognizing the angle of the stylus, some tablets are able to allow variances inapplying shading and other artistic touches.
Creative Software Capability vs. Apps
Hardware is only half the battle when it comes to graphic design and digital art. The software you’re running will also play a big part. Most tablets utilize mobile apps, but some drawing tablets and hybrid tablets are capable of utilizing creative software suites with robust feature sets.
Adobe Touch is a set of six mobile apps that integrate well with their Creative Suite. The most notable is their Photoshop Touch app, but Proto is another nice tool that lets you easily create wireframes for website and mobile app mockups.
Sketchbook Pro by Autodesk is a professional-grade illustration app for drawing and painting. It is designed for use with drawing tablets and has numerous customizable tools and features. For those not sure if the product is right for them, a free Sketchbook Express app is available to give you a sense of the interface and potential found in the premium version.
Animate It is a simple-to-use app for making stop-motion animation like Gumby or Wallace and Grommit.
Procreate was created specifically for iPads. Customizable brush styles combined with a dual texture system allows for the replication of traditional creative effects. The Procreate app also keeps up with you due to their Silica engine, so you won’t have to slow down to meet the capability of your software.
Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook
Dell’s XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook/Tablet is ideal for artists who need a more robust platform. As a hybrid tablet, you have the capability to run Adobe’s full-strength Creative Suite software while still getting 10-finger multi-touch support on a huge12.5” 1920 x 1080 HD screen.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
The Galaxy Note 10.1 is about as close to a drawing tablet as you can get with a general purpose tablet PC. The screen sensitivity is 1024 and even detects the stylus angle for variability usually found only in drawing tablets. The Galaxy note also comes with an incredibly crisp display and high resolution.
As everything Apple puts out fits nicely into a creative’s life, the iPad is no different. One of the reasons to get an iPad is simply the availability of apps for iOS, although most of the better design apps are offered for all operating systems.
Although the HTC Flyer is on the smaller end with a 7 inch screen, it has a great display and touchscreen sensitivity and stylus recognition. You’re only getting 1024 x 600 pixels, but the mobility of the smaller tablet can be worth it for some artists.
If you aren’t getting the precision you need out of your tablet in terms of sensitivity, you’ll probably want to use a graphic tablet as an input source. Generally, these will be more sensitive to your stylus and allow you a greater sense of control.
There are a wide range of stylus options to give you better comfort and control. You’ll also find different tips for your stylus to give you just the feel you’re looking for.
Smudge proof gloves
Using a smudge proof glove helps in two ways. The glove reduces or eliminates the oil buildup on the screen from your hand dragging across or resting on the glass. The second advantage is that the glove slides over the surface easier by eliminating friction and sticking that can occur between skin and glass. These usually only cover the pinkie and ring finger, keeping your other digits free to feel the stylus.
Finding Your Unique Solution
While drawing tablets offer cutting-edge hardware specialized for the task at hand, more versatile tablets are offering suitable alternatives with other capabilities that may make a better solution for many creatives. Tablet technology for digital artists is a combination of not just the tablet itself but how you combine it with accessories and applications to find the solution that fits your medium and style.
Bruno Galera works for Dell and keeps his finger on the pulse of business and technology trends. When he’s not reading about the latest tech devices, you can find him cooking, reading, cheering on his favorite football team, or at a museum enjoying contemporary art and photography.