Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Wacom Bamboo Create Tablet Review

I've been producing a lot more art lately, thanks to the Bamboo Create.  It's an awesome tool for creating book covers.  One of the things that I found fascinating was that although this is apparently considered a non-pro art tablet, or as one reviewer put it on Amazon, a 'fun' tablet, the only limitations I ran into were the limitations of my own artistic abilities.  I would not have been able to create the covers for Masks and Confidante without the tablet.

The only features I found lacking related directly to the software I downloaded.  For example, in GIMP, there's no way that I've found to create a virtual group of color dabs that I can then mix and have several different colors on the 'bristles' of the same brush that would then behave like a brush dipped into several colors before it's applied to the canvas.  Oh how I long for that!  I'm sure it's available somewhere or somehow.  I just haven't found it yet.  Also, I haven't figured out a way to tell GIMP or any other software program to, instead of a gradient forming in stripes along a line (so that if I'm making a ribbon, the ribbon is blue then green then yellow then orange then red then violet) to make a ribbon with the gradient running across the surface.  So in my rainbow example, the center would be yellow and the edges would fade out to blue on one side and violet on the other.  I'm sure it's possible.  The way I've gotten around it is to start with a thick line of violet, then a slightly thinner line of blue on a new layer, a thinner one of green on yet another layer, red, and then yellow and carefully using the smudge and erase functions to fudge the colors so that they obliterate what I want to disappear and leave behind only the colors that I need.  Obviously, making a rainbow ribbon this way would be a huge pain.  It's much less so with a tablet then it would be a mouse, but still.  That's a lot of switching between layers, and a lot of pen strokes.

But, back to the tablet.

Whenever I needed more control over an area, I just zoomed in on it.  And I learned to be patient.  My computer isn't the fastest in the universe, and so I had to sometimes wait while the pen figured out where I was and what I was doing.  I wait less now then when I started out, because I learned how close to hold the pen so that it didn't have to reconnect with the tablet.  I also found that by pausing briefly in one place whenever I moved the pen too far away and then back into range again, I recovered more quickly than waving the pen around near the tablet trying to find my spot.  In fact, now that I've had some practice, the vast majority of the time I'm working as fast as I can without having to wait for the tablet at all.  Also, in a matter of a few days, I quickly learned how to switch between mouse, keypad, touch pad and the Bamboo Create which helped me to do things like save files, name files, move between programs and multitask.  Lots of fun.  The tablet was much easier to learn how to use than the software that I interface with when I use it.

It does burn my battery power quickly, so I learned that it's best to have my laptop plugged in while I'm using it.  The pad comes with extra tips.  I bought extra tips in addition to the ones that came-with, under the assumption that I'd burn through them quickly.  So far I haven't had to change tips yet.  When I do, I may experiment with a different kind.

I also ordered a protective cover made for the tablet, but by another company.  Initially I was disappointed.  The cover wasn't big enough to cover the entire tablet area, and it wasn't small enough to fit between the guide corners interior to the 'touch' area, so there was no tidy/pretty way to apply it.  Also, it sticks on rather than being a magnetic-style screen protector like I expected.  Maybe those don't work on tablets.  I don't know.  It bugged me to basically 'tape' it on.  But once I had it positioned I was happy with it.  I had the area on the tablet that used the most protected from the pen tip (which makes little, tiny scratches on the surface that I'm sure would have built up over time) and the cover makes a very yummy surface to work on as far as resistance to the pen tip I'm using.  (It's the one that came originally with the pen.)

Overall I give the tablet a four happy kitty review out of four happy kitties.  I expected a lot less, considering the reasonable price.  I thought I would eventually have to upgrade, but I have no plans to do so.  So far, this tablet does everything I need it to do.  I doubt I'd get more quality work done more quickly with a 'better' tablet.  If I do upgrade, though, I'll let y'all know!

Links in case you're curious ....

The nibs I got don't appear to be available anymore.  I hope there wasn't a problem with them!  Mine had a couple of felt ones in the mix.  I included a link to the 'normal' extra nibs.  Also, the center link to POSRUS is for the Bamboo Create protective cover I mentioned.  I know, it looks like another tablet ....

Extra Nibs


Anonymous said...

Thinking of buying this tablet. What do you think of it now that you've had time to work with it?

Jhon Marshal said...

Thanks for the information and links you shared this is so should be a useful and quite informative!
ipad protective case for kids