Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Q and A - Mouse or Stylus?

When people see me working, they invariably ask if I like my Wacom Graphics Tablet. The answer is HECK, YES! I absolutely love my tablet. But is it necessary to have one? No. It's not. I've been using a tablet for ten years or so - Jay doesn't use one. He uses a mouse.

Here's your first reason to stick with your mouse if you're happy with it. After using my old Intuos3 tablet for about ten years, I purchased the new Intuos4 (medium) for about $350.00. Ouch. Of course - once you take into account the fact that I expect to use this tablet for several years, that price doesn't look quite so bad. And do keep in mind that there are other companies that make perfectly good, less-expensive graphics tablets. One of the problems with this wonderful profession of mine, is that the tools for the job are pretty expensive.

Another reason to stick with a mouse - if you are used to the mouse, it can take a while to get comfortable with the stylus. It does feel awkward at first - and learning to use it can take some getting used to.
My Wacom tablet and stylus give me incredible control in Photoshop. I can make fine adjustments with great precision. Have you ever tried to draw a complicated selection with the mouse? Even making a small circle is difficult with such a clunky tool. With the stylus, I can draw that selection... and just about anything else... with ease. But what about learning to use the dang thing?Well - you'll need to learn how to click and drag, left and right click, and select... but that's pretty straightforward once you know how to do it. But what about going back and forth between stylus and keyboard? Right now, for example, I'm typing a blog post, and checking emails, and keeping an eye on political news, which is streaming live on my computer desktop. I am using my stylus to click back and forth between windows - and I'm using my keyboard to type. If I had a mouse, I could simply reach over, click away, and then leave my mouse where it is to return to my keyboard. The stylus needs to be put back in its little cup or put down on the tablet. That's not such a problem if you only do it every now and then, but if I do it 20 times in a minute, it gets a bit annoying. I've actually learned to type while holding the thing in my hands - though I usually do that only if I'm typing just a few words... typing a quick response to an email, or putting in a password.

So - if you win the lottery, and you are willing to deal with the learning curve, a stylus is a fantastic tool. But if you are comfortable with your mouse, there's really no need to make the change.

And for the record - no... Wacom doesn't pay me to review their products. Nor does anyone else. I get lots of inquiries about my graphics tablet - and this is my opinion. Nothing more.

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Anonymous Beau Mitchell said...

I love my Wacom tablet also. I have had it for about 5 years now, and find myself getting frustrated if I have to edit/process a photo without it!

March 3, 2010 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger Varina Patel said...

It's a really fantastic tool, isn't it. :)

And now Jay is using my old one - which is still working beautifully. So he'll be addicted soon, too. ;)


March 3, 2010 at 4:46 PM  

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