So, I’ve always wanted a Wacom tablet. For years now, I’ve wished I had one. Ever since I heard about it, I’ve thought it would be cool to be able to draw straight into the computer. I see myself as a bit of an artist, and I’m definitely a tech-head, so a Wacom tablet is a meeting of passions for me.
It’s for this reason that recently I’ve been seriously considering different models. I’ve been trying to weigh up the different features and types to find which one would be best for me. Some of the specs are easy to envision and understand, but some aren’t as easy.
One thing that’s deceivingly hard to wrap your head around is the side of these tablets. The size that actually matters is the size of the active area, which is the part of the tablet where the pen, or touch if the tablet supports it, will actually work. If you’re like me and have been looking at getting one of these tablets, you’ll have spent much wasted time hunting around the room with a ruler, looking for a book or piece of paper that just happens to be the same size as these dimensions. That’s why I’ve made some templates for you to print out, so you can get a better feel for them.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “What’s special about that? I could’ve easily cut a piece of paper to size. It’s called a pair of scissors.” Ah, but the difference with my templates is that they comprise of a rough diagram of where all the stuff in an image editing program would be on screen, and you print the diagram at the same size as the active area.
Why is this important? Because the active area on one of these tablets is mapped to match your screen layout. What I mean is that if you tap in the top left corner of the active area, your mouse will go to the top left corner of the screen. The same is true for all the other corners, as well as any point onscreen. So, the upshot of this is that while the active area might be massive, if your working area onscreen is less than the whole screen, then you won’t get to use the whole active area as that working area. That’s why I’ve created the diagram to roughly show you how much screen and active area space the toolbar, taskbar, and all the different tool windows take up.
I’ve actually made two version of the diagram, one based on Gimp and one based on Photoshop. Then I’ve created a document, available as a .doc or .pdf, which contains the diagram at 5 set sizes to represent the majority of the Wacom tablets. They cover the Bamboo Pen, Pen & Touch, Manga, and Fun Pen & Touch, as well as the Intuos4 or Intous5 in Small, Medium or Large (large doesn’t quite fit on the A4 page, but it’s mostly there). Each page also has what tablet that page represents and its active area dimensions . So, all you have to do is choose your diagram type, your preferred format, and print it.
I really hope you like it, and that it helps you out. Feel free to leave me a comment below or repost this somewhere (but tell me first, please).
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