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PostPosted: 11 Jan 2018, 17:30 
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Wacom LogoFrom the moment I began my web design study, I was interested in tablets. I had heard stories about how easy stuff was to do with a tablet and I had also seen movies showing people drawing the most beautiful things using a tablet. When I had to work at a web design office to complete my trainee-ship I received a really simple and basic Wacom tablet, but it was of no real use. I found out rather quickly, that the tip of the pen was not precise enough to do some real Photoshopping and the reason was that because of the fact that the tip of the pen was the activator, every time I wanted to double click something the cursor moved and I missed the target. So that tablet was ditched right away and I went back to my old-school mouse.

Now, two years later I’m working full-time as a designer at a web design office. Approximately two months ago, I heard from Ibrin that he would receive an Intuos3 6x11 inch tablet for review from Wacom. Ibrin asked if there where any artists / designers at WSGF who would be willing to test and do a review of the tablet for him and WSGF. Well, of course I was the first who replied. So as it turned out, I received the tablet about three days ago. I connected it to my computer, installed the software and I haven’t used my normal mouse ever since.

At first it is quite difficult to get used to the pen, if you have always used a mouse, but after a period of time using it and adjusting it to your own style of working, you notice that the tablet has a lot of benefits over a normal mouse. It took me about three hours to get completely comfortable with using it. If you want to get used to it fast, it is best to leave the included mouse in the box and try using the pen all the time, like I did. That’s probably the best way to learn.

Well, lets get on with unpacking the hardware, connecting it to the computer installing the software and finally using it.

The Hardware



The package I received contained:
  • Tablet
  • Pen
  • Pen Stand
  • Extra Pen Nibs
  • Mouse
  • Driver CD
  • Software CD
  • Coupons for Adobe Products
  • Quick Start Guide



Installing the tablet is really easy. It has a simple USB plug that can be plugged into the PC, after that it works from the start. However, you do want to install the software to get the most out of it.

Wacom Intous3

The Tablet


The tablet has a set of four buttons and a touch sensitive “scroll strip” on each side of the tablet which brings the total to 8 buttons and 2 scroll strips. The standard functions of these buttons are Control, Alt, Shift and Space. These settings can be changed later using the software.

The most important part of the tablet is of course the huge surface area in the middle. The difference between this tablet and the one that I described earlier, is that with this tablet the position of the cursor is calculated by the tablet surface instead of the point of the pen. This allows for much greater accuracy.

Another cool feature of the tablet is that it delivers power to the pen and mouse. I don’t really know how they do it, but when you get the pen or mouse close enough to the surface of the tablet they get activated automatically. This is really handy because it means that you don’t have to put a battery in the pen which conserves a lot of weight and therefore improves the comfort while holding the pen.

Also found on the tablet, is a small light indicator. It lights up blue when it is powered but switches to green when the pen or mouse are activated.

The Pen


The pen has two pressure sensitive buttons. The front of the pen is equal to your mouse’s left button. When you tap it on the surface of the tablet you “click” the button and things get activated. The front tip also allows you to make really thin lines in Photoshop when pressed lightly. When you press harder though, the line gets thicker. That way you can make really fine details in your work or make really big strokes if you for example want to fill a large area with a color.

On the back of the pen there is the eraser. This button does exactly the same thing as the front button, but with the opposite effect, in that it deletes your artwork. Again you can do some really fine erasing or delete big portions all at once by pressing the eraser harder on the tablet’s surface.

There are also two normal buttons on the pen. In default setup, one is programmed as the right mouse button and the other is programmed for double clicking.

A cool feature of the pen is that you can exchange the nibs to give it a different “feeling”. For example, there is a nib with higher friction and a softer nib that gives a somewhat of brush like feeling. There are also some spare normal nibs.

The Mouse


Well, there isn’t really much to tell about the mouse. It looks like a normal mouse and it handles like a normal mouse. The big difference however with a normal mouse is that it doesn’t work with laser or optical. It gets it’s position in the same way as the pen does. Therefore the bottom of the mouse is covered with a piece of smooth cloth. It slides over the tablet with great ease.

On the mouse there are five buttons: Left mouse button, right mouse button, previous page and next page. There is also a scroll wheel present which is also clickable.

I don’t really like the mouse, since it does not have the accuracy and easy handling of the pen or my own Logitech MX900. I don’t really mind though, because I only use the pen.

The Software


When you first connect the tablet it will work just fine, but if you really want to get the most out of it, you have to install the little settings program. With this program you can adjust all kind of things. I will name some of the major things that you can alter.

Default the tablet exactly matches the size of the screen (or screens) you are using. So if you hold the pen at the very top left of the tablet, your cursor will be at the very top left of the screen and so on. In the software you can adjust this to make the tablet (for example) match you screen’s aspect ratio. That way some parts of the tablet won’t get used but the “resolution” of the tablet matches the screen exactly, so that the cursor’s movements are the same as your pen’s or mouse’s which is what I did. The tablet now matches my 2960 x 1050 resolution. This means that some of the top and bottom of the tablet isn’t used.

Also, you can adjust your tablet to work in portrait mode. So if your monitor has a portrait mode your tablet can match this.

As I mentioned before, on the tablet there are some buttons and scroll strips. All these can be adjusted to whatever you like. For example, I adjusted the left scroll strip to be my brush size adjustment in Photoshop. The right one is for the adjustment of the hardness of the brush. I used to need a lot of shortcuts when I was still using a mouse. It’s really handy to put some of them under these scroll bars.

Note: You can make all these adjustments program specific. If you want to use the scroll bars in Explorer for scrolling, you can make the scroll bar adjustments I spoke about earlier just for Photoshop, so the default scroll function remains.


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