Experience working a monitor tablet ?

Jacques Le Bailly
Jacques Le Bailly Posts: 88
edited March 2016 in Type Design Software
Does anyone work on a monitor tablet, like a Wacom Cintiq or another brand ? I am considering buying one and was wondering if anyone could share some experiences. 


  • Mark Simonson
    Mark Simonson Posts: 1,686
    edited March 2016
    I have tried using Cintiqs off and on over the years and have not found them to be very useful for vector graphics, which is what most font editors are based on. They do work pretty well for certain kinds of pixel-based graphics, though. I think the potential is there, but vector-based editors are so optimized to the way a mouse works.

    It seems like if you started with stylus input in mind, you might be able to come up with something more natural than a mouse for working with vectors (and glyph paths). I haven't really seen it yet. The pencil tool in Illustrator is kind of the right idea, but not very good.

    In general, I find it hard to do anything with precision with vectors using a stylus.
  • Thomas Phinney
    Thomas Phinney Posts: 2,800
    I am curious how many folks are eager to have good tablet support in their font editor. My general impression is that only a very few users are interested.

    But I also suspect that as Mark suggests, part of the issue is, the tools themselves would need major rethinking for a tablet. 
  • Ray Larabie
    Ray Larabie Posts: 1,400
    Sometimes I use a Toshiba Dynabook Tab which comes with a Wacom Feel stylus. I didn't have much luck with it in FontLab Studio. With a Bluetooth keyboard I can do the necessary control, shift, alt maneuvers but I have to keep zoomed in tight to grab points and handles. Since I'm right handed, I have to tap arrow keys while holding the pen.

    It's very handy for working with pixels. It's nice to be able to put it the device on a drawing board, dining room table or just sit with it on the sofa as opposed to being tied to a desk.
  • James Puckett
    James Puckett Posts: 1,979
    Pen devices are bad for vector work because they don't use a discrete on off state. The pen doesn't even need to touch the tablet to activate. So trying to manipulate small targets is a PITA, as is having the pointer keep activating when you're just holding it and looking at stuff. 

    They're great for Photoshop, Painter, Alias Sketchbook, etc.
  • Jacques Le Bailly
    Jacques Le Bailly Posts: 88
    edited March 2016
    Thank you for reactions. 

    Depending on the kind of job I am doing, I vary between working with a mouse and with a Wacom pen tablet. For the less refined work it does its job. But like Ray said, the finer work is easier done with a mouse and not the least, the arrow keys.

    To counter most of the sensory problems like James described, I turned off all optional buttons etc. and changed the sensitivity.
  • Nick Shinn
    Nick Shinn Posts: 2,168
    edited March 2016
    I’ve been using a Wacom tablet and stylus for 25+ years, never touch a mouse.
    I use it in conjunction with a big monitor, presently an iMac, and occasionally hook it up to a laptop.
    I’ve never had a problem working with vectors in this manner.
    I’ve never felt the need to “draw” directly onto the screen with the stylus, which I take it is the modus operandi of the Cintiq.