Is a wacom a must for an IDer?

I was wondering if this was an essential for an ID. Is it used a lot, worth the money? Is a medium sized bamboo enough for a starter? Thank ya’ll.

If you plan to sketch digitally, then i’d say yes. If it is for photoshopping/colouring analog sketches, then a bamboo will be just fine. What you benefit from is the pressure sensativity, which you do not have with a mouse.
I prefer sketching on paper and then scan it, but I do sketch digitally once in a while too.

However, one of the places where I enjoy my wacom the most, is when making and adjusting lineart in Illustrator. You’re just so much faster and accurate in almost any software.


Does take a while to get used to though and feels very awkward at first, but that time can be shortened drastically by using it all the time, instead of a mouse.

Really?! I love it for psd of course. But I’ve tried it with ai due to someone else saying something similar and I found it absolutely intolerable. Mostly since you have to hit those tiny control points in ai but with the wacoms and cintiqs there will be some offset between the cursor and pentip. It ends up making it so hard to grab the points in ai since I can’t just put the pen tip right on the spot like I would with pen and paper, I have to look for the offset cursor to make sure that is over the correct point.
It’s a really subtle difference, even with good calibration but with the small area to grab control points in ai, it makes a difference.

I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this with the wacoms. When I first started to immerse myself in it and had to force myself to look where the cursor was landing instead of the actual pen tip due to the offset. I worked exclusively digital for a while to get accustomed but I noticed that when I went back to regular pen and paper, my accuracy was off. I couldn’t hit points dead on the way I used to be able to, I would be consistently off by a mil or so. This is more for tighter sketches, not really an issue for looser gestural types. So I’d stay off the tablet for a while and I’d get the accuracy back on paper, but then the tablet accuracy would fall off.
Anyone else experience this?

Thaks for the reply.But i dont know 5"X8" just seems so small to work on…

Never even crossed my mind actually! But it sounds absolutely possible, so now i will have to keep a look out for that phenomenon.
However, I usually never grab the points in illustrator straight on. I tend to mark the area around it and then toss it around.

I’ve only noticed something similar when drawing on Cintiqs. I’m not a big fan of sketching directly on those, because of the clumsy pen in the way and the fact that the tip and the cursor doesnt feel 100% aligned because of angles and thickness of the screens foremost layer.

Wow…great thread. I thought I was the only one not sold on Wacom for all my sketching.

Because of the tip-cursor problem already mentioned, I like to sketch my thumbnails with ballpoint on paper. Then, I’ll do quick renders with the Wacom or jump to 3D depending on the design.

I have some other issues with my Wacom too, but they are always difficult to explain in text:

  1. The contrast on the Wacom screen seems way less than on my other screen or print. Sometimes I’ll think I’ve erased all of my stray marks, especially from airbrush, only to find them when I pop it open in PS on my main screen. Ugh!

  2. My Wacom is 16:9. I’d prefer it to be 4:3. I find that I have some wasted space on the sides that I don’t use, whereas I could use an extra inch top and bottom.

Back to the question though, I think it is not necessary unless you are presenting a lot of sketch renders. I only do sketchs for myself and generally show maya renders for management, so I don’t really need it (but wouldn’t get rid of it!)