Everything Else

Miscellaneous Reviews: Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch Tablet

Heya, guys, and welcome to Teen Fiction Girl!  I have a bit of news before we get on with the article, so hang tight.

My friend Amber (the one who hated Screwy Thing with a burning passion) has decided to get back into blogging.  It took me a while to find her blog – she said she changed the name to Amber’s Life, but actually she only changed the header – but at last I found it.  It’s called Amber’s Gaming Hat (although she hates the name, so that might change at some point) and you can check it out here.

Anyway, onto the review.

This is a review like the other ones I do on this blog, except it’s neither a book review nor a movie review.  It’s a review of a Wacom tablet, which, for those of you who don’t know, is a graphics/digital drawing tablet.  This one is called the Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch.

Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch Small Tablet (Old Version)

Now, you might be inclined to imagine a tablet like an iPad, but that’s the Wacom Cintiq – this one is more like a tricked-up mousepad.  You plug it into your computer with a little USB cord and whatever you draw on the tablet appears on the screen.

It’s what I’ve been using to draw my most recent digital art, including my Planet Minecraft avatar.

Myravatar

Not too shabby, as you can see.  The biggest attraction of this tablet is the pressure-sensitive lines.  When you push down lightly with the pen, it makes a fine line; when you push down harder, it makes a thicker one.  This can be used to create elegant tapered lines, which look a lot nicer than the blocky, uniform ones you’d draw on a program on an iPad.

Chicken

For what it is, this piece of technology is incredibly inexpensive.  “$90 isn’t inexpensive!” you might say.  “That’s ten dollars short of a Benjamin!”

Well, yes, but if you think that’s expensive, click on that Wacom Cintiq link up there.  Drawing tablets that work about the same can be nearly $2000.  The Cintiq might be a little slicker and a little more portable, but unless you’re a graphic designer for a gaming company or something, this one’s the better choice.  It’s five percent of the cost and a hundred percent of the performance.

A lot of the negative reviews on Amazon were about relatively stupid things.  “I don’t like the texture, the pen doesn’t slide easily enough!”  “There are only 1024 pressure sensitivity levels instead of 2048!”  “It feels too light!”

I promise, unless you were raised in a mansion, you won’t care.  The pen feels rather like drawing with a marker; if it were too smooth, it would slip all over the place and your lines wouldn’t be as smooth.  Seriously, more than a thousand pressure sensitivity levels is enough.  You won’t miss that second 1024.  And anyway, you aren’t going to be picking it up off the table and weighing it.  You don’t want it to feel like a 1980’s computer console, do you?

I, personally, am not a great fan of the software included with the tablet; the AutoDesk doesn’t have enough tools to do the kind of things I need, and while the ArtRage Studio is a great tool for other kinds of art (maybe the kind of art you purchased a tablet for) it doesn’t do the kind of simplistic, digitized art that I like to do.  It’s more for a digital form of traditional painting and/or pencil drawing.  I’m not terrible at the latter, but in the case of the former, I couldn’t be worse.  Of course, the software has nothing to do with the tablet itself; just get yourself a somewhat recent version of Photoshop.  It has better opacity control, anyway.

I find that the stylus is the perfect size for your hand.  It’s thicker than a pencil, so your fingers don’t get tired from gripping such a teeny little stick, but it’s thinner than, say, a Crayola marker, so it’s not awkward and hard to maneuver.  The one problem I’ve had with the stylus is with the little clicker on the side; before I knew what it was used for, I kept accidentally pressing it and accidentally dragging my canvas all over the place when I was trying to draw.  That was user error, though, and doesn’t affect the final rating for this product.

The Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch version makes it so that you can use your fingers to zoom in and out, which I think is a pretty great addition when you’re trying to draw details.  It functions pretty much as a mouse that’s better for drawing.  Hold your stylus’s tip just above the tablet to move around the mouse, and press on it with varying degrees of pressure to make lovely, tapered lines.  Tap once to click, click and hold to right-click.  (As far as I know, that last one doesn’t work in Photoshop, so when changing tools or something else that requires right-clicking, make sure you have a mouse, touchpad, or trackball handy.)  It also has an awesome palm-rejection feature, meaning that even though it will respond to touches from fingertips, it won’t accidentally misinterpret the side of your hand as a click when you’re resting it on the tablet as you draw.

I’ve had problems with my tablet freaking out when it gets too close to my keyboard.  It’s supposed to communicate only with the stylus, but apparently there are components in my keyboard that set it off, too.  If I move the stylus too far away for too long, it starts randomly making contact and clicking on things, which once resulted in three strokes of art being undone and deleted.  The solution to this:  scoot your keyboard far back when you’re drawing, just in case.

Overall, the tablet is an excellent product, and it’s well worth the $90-or-so price tag (the price can flex a little from $70 – $100 depending on where you’re buying it).  You can get it, or at least look at it, here.  I’d recommend this to anyone who wants to develop their casual digital art skills – it’s professional enough to work well, but simple enough to be easy to use for anyone.

I hope this review was helpful to you.  I’d appreciate it if you’d leave a rating or comment to tell me what you thought.  If you really loved it (and you have a WordPress account), you can leave a like.  And remember, follow Teen Fiction Girl if you want to read more reviews like this in the future!

Thanks for reading!

~ Summer

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The Demise of Screwy Thing

Hello, guys, and welcome to Teen Fiction Girl!  If you wanted a practical sort of post, I recommend you go find something else to read; this is kind of a continuation to an “article” I posted on Tween Fiction Girl a few months ago.

This is mostly aimed at a certain friend of mine.  You can call her Amber.

So, if you’ve followed me this far, you might just remember Screwy Thing.  At the time, friend Amber was rather into crafting for her dolls and such.  She tried as hard as she could to get me into the habit, which resulted in my ownership of several craft supplies that I used very uncommonly.  I got a bit bored one evening and decided to start messing around with them, and Screwy Thing was born.

screwything

Needless to say, Amber, who was actually a crafter, was horrified by the monstrosity I had produced.  I thought it was kind of cute, but she tried to do away with it several times.

Now, fast forward to last month, when my little sister, Autumn, was trying to make a book and she needed staples for the binding.  She accidentally stapled the wrong side of the book and she needed a staple puller to get it out.  As you can see above, a staple puller is one of the components of Screwy Thing, and she knew it.  So she took the staple puller out and the downfall of Screwy Thing began.  I tried to tuck it away safely in my closet and maybe repair it later, but I never got around to it.

So, just last night, I was cleaning out my closet for no reason other than that I wanted a clean closet, and I stumbled upon the sad remains of Screwy Thing.  The glue was crumbling, the sequins had been scratched, the staple puller had been used, the puffballs were entirely gone, and the whole thing was coated in a layer of dust.  It was terribly pitiful, like a starving puppy, sort of, except quite a bit less cute.

Well, I was in a cleaning frenzy, so there was nothing for it but to send Screwy Thing on to its final resting place:  the trash can.  I felt a little sad getting rid of such a wonderful artifact of crafting, but, I consoled myself, I took plenty of pictures.

I texted Amber about the catastrophe.  She was rather unsympathetic.

IMG_0523

And that is the tale of the demise of Screwy Thing.

Thanks for reading, mi amigo.

~ Summer

The Merits of Pseudonyms (plus a bonus poll)

Hey, readers, and welcome to Teen Fiction Girl!  I’m trying to keep my promise to be more active on here, after my little October hiatus, and so here I am.

I thought I’d write an article on pseudonyms because I’ve been wondering lately whether I should use one for my NaNoWriMo novel this year.  A pseudonym is, literally, a “false name” (from the Greek/Latin pseudo, meaning fake or false, and nym, meaning name or word) and quite a few writers use them for a variety of purposes.  They use them if the book or series is written by more than one writer to make them easier to find and categorize.  They use them to disguise their real name if they’d rather keep it a secret.  They use them if their real name is boring and they want a name that sounds more awesome with a more awesome title.  The third reason is why I was considering using one for my book.

Now, I’m not, like, an expert on pseudonyms or anything, so this isn’t going to be a full-length article by any means, but I was thinking, since this book is going to be one of my main subjects on my blog until November ends (and probably even for quite a while after that), I’d see what people thought before I made the decision to publish my book under a different name.

What do you think?

Polls are fun, don’t you agree?

Thanks, guys, for reading and voting!  There’s not much to rate here, so I won’t ask for ratings, but if you have any ideas, feedback, or anything of the sort, I’d love to hear it in the comments.

~ Summer

Welcome to Teen Fiction Girl!

Oh my goodness, I said I’d start posting on this blog at the beginning of October and now it’s nearly mid-November!  Sorry, guys… but hey, I’m here now.

So, about Teen Fiction Girl.

I literally only removed one letter from the name, so it might be somewhat easy to guess that this blog is going to be about the same kind of thing as Tween Fiction Girl.  That is, I’ll be doing the same kind of book reviews (I read a book, give a basic story outline, talk about the ups and downs, and then give the book a final rating), movie reviews (the same as book reviews, except with movies instead), gaming tips and stories (just me rambling about the things I learn as a gamer), writing/fiction tips and stories (because it wouldn’t be Teen Fiction Girl without the fiction, right?), fiction stories (which I like to call Fiction Fridays, as they’re posted on Fridays), and a plethora of other random, assorted nerdy awesomeness.

This is just a warning for those of you who may have showed up for the gaming half of the blog:  this is November, which means most of my sooner posts will be about NaNoWriMo, the awesomest writing gimmick to ever hit the Interwebs.  For those of you that don’t know, it’s like a month-long writing race to complete an entire novel (or at least your word count goal) in one month.  NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is pretty descriptive.  It’s amazingly fun to do, and if you like writing, you should certainly at least try.

Well, anyway, that’s it for this post, folks!  Thanks so much for visiting my new blog!

~ Summer