Review – Wacom Intuos Pro Redefines Pen Tablets

Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition Redefines Pen Tablets for Creatives

 

I’ve been using a Wacom Intuos Pro for many years and watched closely as the premium range of tablets has developed over a decade. Since I work predominantly with Lightroom and Photoshop, but also work with Video editing in Final Cut Pro and Da Vinci 16. Owning a Wacom Intuos Pro totally removed the need to use any form of mouse or trackpad. For editing work, the Wacom Intuos Pro tablet is not an option, it’s a necessity. Over the years, Wacom tablets have only gotten better and better with features being added year after year. Yes, the Intuos Pro is expensive, but the prices haven’t increased that much making the new 2019 great value for money when compared to previous models. The latest Wacom Intuos Pro design offers the user a more natural creative control than ever before. I have to say that the last tablet I purchased from Wacom didn’t last as long as I anticipated. I had problems with battery life and the physical longevity of the battery was underwhelming, finding the full time return to a fully wired wired Wacom came long before I would have liked. It didn’t impact on the usability of the product because my work editing work is predominantly desk based , but it is annoying when you pay for a wireless model and it doesn’t function because of a poor battery. The 2019 Wacom Intuos Pro wireless model from the outset functions very well, but the only thing that will really determine how Wacom have looked at charging and battery life will be timescale, so I really can’t comment on this.

I was excited to get my hands on the new 2019 updated Intuos Pro model. It is available in 3 sizes, Small which is roughly A6, Medium which is around A5 and Large, which is around A4 and my personal preference. The new Large Pro is beautiful and really comfortable to work with! It has no hard edges and it is a solid build, utilising premium materials like anodised aluminium and glass fibre composite resin. It’s a slick design and pretty thin at only 8mm of thickness. Wacom Intuos Pro is built from premium materials and has been rigorously tested to meet professionals’ needs although with my own philosophy of ‘Buy Cheap Buy Twice,” the Wacom Intuos Pro would be my go to choice for enthusiasts as well as prosumers and professionals.  As with the previous models it has touch gestures, which can be disable if desired, although personally, the variety of pens and different personalisation options remains a great feature. Easy shortcuts, customisable ExpressKeys and Touch Ring, and pen side switches give a huge amount of flexibility. The Wacom comes with Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless connectivity, but it does still retain the standard USB port for a wired connection which based on my own experiences with the last generation Intuos Pro, is an absolute must have. It just gives that extra sense of security. To set it up, you’ll need an internet connection for driver downloads and installation. I have to mention that I have also historically experienced some drive issues on Mac OSX where my Intuos presets have been wiped and the pen reverts to working as a traditional  mouse, so you have to drag the pen across the screen in a number of strokes to move from one side of the screen to another. This is an annoyance but it has only happened very occasionally. The Paper Edition is compatible with Windows 7 or later and Mac OS 10.10 or later.

Digital Drawing with the Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition

The new Paper Edition is a great tool and possibly one of the best new features for creatives who don’t want to spend money on the likes of a Cintique. The concept enables the user to automatically convert paper sketches into digital files, as you draw. This is perfect for your next creative breakthrough. Choose from a variety of pens and different Texture Sheets* to personalise the way you work. Paper Edition* gives you the freedom to choose how you work. You can sketch directly onto to the pen tablet using Wacom Pro Pen 2, working digitally from start to finish. Alternatively, you can start by drawing on paper with Wacom Finetip Pen, then edit your sketches digitally in your favourite software. The Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition Wacom comes with two pens, the new battery free Pro Pen 2 or an actual Finetip Pen, both of which are included in the box. The Pro Pen 2 comes with athe usual selection of spare nibs concelaed in the underside of the pen holder (there are six standard nibs and four felt pen nibs), while the real pen comes with ink cartridges and ensbles physical real drawing on paper. Each artist or designer will know which they need for their workflow—perhaps you do work that requires both—but the versatility of the Paper Edition is part of the appeal. Both pens feature 8,192 pressure levels and tilt recognition for holding the pen at an angle, and are battery free. The more advanced Pro Pen 2 includes two buttons, an eraser and multiple pressure levels, which can be fine tuned using the Wacom dashboard.

For anybody spending multiple hours in front of the computer, the Wacom Intuos Pro is a no brainer. I reverted back to using a mouse after my old Wacom gave up and the results were immediately noticeable with cramped hands and an almost repetitive strain injury pain in my knuckles and the edge of my hand. You get so used to working with a pen that a mouse almost feels alien when you have to revert back to using it. The idea that a tablet is specifically for illustrators and artists couldn’t be further from the truth. It may take a bit of time to convert to pen use but persevere and it will change the way you work forever.. Much like when somebody converts from a Windows operating system to the sleek Apple Mac OSX. You’ll never go back and the gras is most definitely greener on the other side. After a few days it will feel natural, and better than using the mouse.

The tablet accurately documents every line and stroke, you can work in layers and the creative options are vast for any creative.  You can work using the Inkspace app and your drawings will be automatically imported very efficiently. The added beauty is that, within the app, you can make adjustments to your original ink sketches. This includes drawing additional lines, erasing lines, and even rewinding to a certain point in your sketch and isolating each step. One of the most awesome aspects of the Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition is that once you’ve designing your drawings or sketching your artwork, you can save and export the files in JPG, PNG or PSD format. Moving files is a pretty simple process but it’s really up to the individual to set up their own protocols because everybody will work completely different.

As a complete Wacom Intuous Pro fan, the paper edition gives just that little bit more and if you’re looking to enter the tablet market and want something with drawing capability, then this really is the tablet. It is an investment and if you read my previous blog about the Wacom  not a cheap investment, but for something that will last you years and allow you to create hand-drawn and digital work, it will very likely prove worth its cost.

 

Features

Exceptional pen performance: Wacom Pro Pen 2 features 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, tilt-response and virtually lag-free tracking

Paper to digital ability lets you choose how to work: capture editable versions of your paper sketches or work completely digital from start to finish

Use Wacom Inkspace to sync, store, and export your paper sketches in common creative file formats, then fine-tune your work on your Mac or PC

Speed your workflow with multi-touch gestures, customizable ExpressKeys™, Radial Menus and pen side switches

Super-slim tablet design with a smaller, more compact footprint and premium materials

Accessories (sold separately) include: Ballpoint Pen, Finetip Pen, Pencil, Texture Sheets (from smooth to rough), Soft Cases, Pen Nibs, Refills

What’s Inside

Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition Pen Tablet (large A4)

Wacom Pro Pen 2 (battery free)

Pen stand (includes 6 standard nibs, 4 Felt nibs)

Finetip Pen (Battery-free)

Paper Clip

10 single Paper sheets – A4

Accessory soft case

4 extra pen color rings

3 finetip ink refills

Texture sheet sample card

2m (6.6ft) PVC-free USB cable

Quick start guide

 

Wacom Intuos Art. We Review the tablet!

Wacom Intuos Art Review

With the new Wacom Inuos Art,” You’re only an Intuos away.”

Wacom Intuos Art Review

At least that what Wacom are saying about their new range of Intuos Tablets that include the colourful Wacom Intuos Art Tablet!

Wacom have split their new tablets into two very different groups and the comparison is noticeable as soon as you open the box of the new Wacom Intuos Art Series. At one end of the spectrum you have the £200+ Pro Intuos Series and then, below, you have Intuos Draw, Intuos Art, Intuos Comic & Intous Photo. Wacom are calling the new Intuos an ideal chance to unleash your creativity. It’s a great introduction to Wacom products and for somebody who has never used a Wacom pen & touch tablet before, it’s a great piece of kit. The Wacom Art comes complete with a Downloadable Software Bundle, but Wacom’s recent problems with European servers being down for weeks, means that consumers have been forced to download trial versions of the Intuos Art Software, (Corel Painter Essentials 5) because UK and European residents can neither access the software, nor register their products. To be totally honest, the addition of software is reflected in the product and personally, the build quality just doesn’t cut it for me having used an Intuos 4. The Intuos Art and other Wacom tablets in this series are totally consumer products and fall short of the prosumer tag that it could carry. Wacom have pulled a genius type advertising campaign with a bunch of professional artists promoting the product and the styling, colourful marketing will undoubtedly sell this product.

Wacom Intuos Art Review

Wacom Intuos Art Review

Intuos Art – The Review

I’m focusing purely on the Wacom Intuos Art because this is the tablet that I’ve purchased? Why.. Because my current Intuos 4 has seen four years of work and three Wacom stylus pens. With my latest Intuos 4 pen now not working, it was a choice of spending £75 on a new pen or trying out the new Intuos Art which I’d been sucked into after visiting the Wacom site.  The Intuos Art comes in small and medium versions. A a professional photographer running a Digital Image Agency, the software choice was irrelevant. I use Adobe CC, so my main concern was the pad and the pen. I was driven primarily on colour. The Intuos Art came in a nice looking blue, a nice change from the standard black, so that’s what I opted for. The small tablet is seriously small. The working area is much smaller than the working area of the Intuos Pro range and I immediately missed the an hand rest area around the tablet. The small version packs quite a bit of space to work on a single 27 inch monitor by I immediately felt the touch gestures were going to be a paionn in the backside, simply because when moving the pen across the tablet, I repeatedly felt my my hand was hanging off the edge of the tablet, which it was and it was difficult to manage the change in surface when used to running your hand on the rests around the Intuos 4. There is a mechanism  the tablet to enable palm rejection so you can rest your hand on the tablet without dragging you pointer around or making unwanted strokes when drawing, but I still felt it was somewhat uncomfortable. Installation of the tablet drivers is effortless. No messing around and the tablet functioned perfectly after installation. Wacom have a decent level of update drivers and support, despite my previous riffs about the UK servers not working.

Wacom Intuos Art Review

The Intuos Art Pen is possibly the biggest disappointment of the whole tablet. It’s like working with a toothpick. It works very well. The 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity did feel restrained because it doesn’t have 2048 pressure levels ofthe Pro range tablets. The pressure curve is similar to other Intuos/Pro tablets and the same system preference panels mean you have the ability to set your own pressure and creative settings. The stylus pen does feel and behave just like the traditional brushes, markers and pencils you may have been using. For long periods of work, the traditional rubber grip and thicker pen would have been a favourable ergonomic addition to the pen. I constantly felt like I have to spin the pen around to find the right and left click options because the stylus pen feels far too thin for prolong periods of editing.  The physical dynamics of the pen work just fine particularly if you practice with it.There is no shading and tilt option with the pen, so people used to working with Wacom’s may find this problematic. The Intuos Art Stylus will switch between witch between many pencils, chalks, oils and watercolours, so from an artistic perspective, there is a huge amount of scope for budding artists. The Intuos Art does include multi-touch, which I have touched on already in this review. You use all manner of common gestures to zoom, rotate and pan your work, but part of me feels that the Wacom Intuos Art would perform better as a Trackpad than it does as a Wacom Tablet.  There are four touch Express keys that have a good range of programmable functions and click in your applications. ExpressKeys put shortcuts at the press of a button and incorporating the radial menu, you can actually load up a shed full of presets to save time.

Wacom Intuos Art Review

The Intuos Art provides support for multiple monitor setups. I’ve yet to try this on two x 27 inch monitors, but I’m not going to hold my breath. I have heard that controlling multiple display across a small Intuos Art Tablet is simply too restrictive. When using the tablet with multiple monitors, you are essentially splitting the working area in half, meaning the stylus has the potential to work in an over exaggerated  way.

 

Wacom Intuos Art Review

The tablet lacks the solid build of it’s pro models. It’s extremely lightweight,  plastic will bend and flex under pressure, the back plate comes off with a two thumbed push, but I feel as though it;’s likely to snap when I remove the back panel. There are some replacement nibs hidden away inside the rear panel, where you will also find space to load up the Wacom’s Wireless Accessories. The housing has space for  the Wireless Battery and Dongle, but you will end up shelling more than half the price of the tablet to benefit from the wireless connectivity. I was sold on the wireles element, but having been to five retailers, none of which carried the Wacom Wireless Kit and then seeing the build quality, I’ve decided that, wired it will stay. I can’y justify the costs on this.

Wacom Intuos Art Review

The final word on the Intuos Art

Taking the price, build quality and size into account, the Wacom Intuos Art and the rest of the series, offer a great consumer, entry level tablet that does the job. For Students and hobbyists whoThe pricing is affordable, but I’m a great believer in the analogy of ‘BUY CHEAP… BUY TWICE!” and that’s exactly what I’m about to do. Having used the Intuos Art after owning an Intuos 4 Medium Sized Tablet, there simply is no going going back to something as simplistic and plasticky as the WAcom Intuos Art.

RODE NTG3 Microphone

Here at Blanc Creative, we really like the thought of showcasing the equipment we use in the field on our website and to share across the web, our own thoughts and views about it’s build quality and value for money. Choosing a microphone can be a serious headache, so after literally days of searching, some initial tests and feedback from our colleagues within the industry, we took the plunge and purchased the RODE NTG3 Microphone.   I have to say we were not disappointed.

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