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Hello-

 

If this topic is covered elsewhere I apologize. I've been looking for my first graphics/drawing tablet to use with Affinity Designer while keeping it under $100. Are there any that you suggest? Is AD compatible with anything that works with MAC? Your help would be greatly appreciated!


check out my site at seanwholland.com

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General opinion is that wacom tablets are very good (though certainly Intuos Pro is better than plain Intuos). Lately some people have claimed that other brands (Huion) have reached high enough quality to be used for graphics art.

There are used wacoms available frequently, just check that model is new enough so that you can get a working driver for it.

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I have been considering ordering a Hurion "New 1060 Plus" from Amazon. Apparently the "new" in the name is important because there is also an (old?) "1060 Plus" that does not have the upgraded pressure sensitivity feature of the new one. Visually, the New model has a pen holder loop on the side, which may be the only way to tell it from the older model.

 

Also confusing, Amazon sells the tablet for $74 U.S. (& that is what usually comes up if you search for "Hurion New 1060 Plus" there) but also what seems to be the same product + several "free" gifts (an "artist's glove" & 10 extra tips) for $83 U.S. There seem to a be slightly different number of user reviews depending on which one I choose, but the $74 version gets 4.5 stars overall vs. the $83 version's 4.0 stars, so buyers seem generally pleased with the product, with or without the extras.

 

If anybody actually has one of these "new version" tablets, I would love to know what you think of it.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.0.135 & Affinity Designer 1.7.0.9 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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My advice : Save a little more money and purchase an Intuos DRAW (is a non "Pro" tablet, but IMO quite professional), but Medium size!! This is critical. The difference is huge with the small one. You don't need badly the touch features, can be compensated as is small, fits well in the desktop, this medium size, so you get good reaching of your mouse and keyboard.

 

The COMIC and PHOTO versions of Wacom Intuos, I don't find so much availability in the medium size, plus there's a big difference in many cases among touch version and non touch version in price, while for actual pen drawing, there's none. But the pen for drawing works great in both cases. Just save you quite some bucks. The advantage of getting some software, for me is of no use if what I am getting is a small size! And I fear that the medium size with touch, is significantly more expensive, that's why I'd rather prefer a DRAW version if that's the only one they offer at a medium size WITHOUT touch (I'd love to have it at same price, of course), even if software is not included (right now I don't remember the DRAW combo, what it brings).

 

IMO, the golden purchase here is an Intuos Draw medium size. I could deal very well with professional projects with it and a software with stabilization(many have this, but you can use an external utility that adds externally stabilization, works amazing, called Lazy Nezumi pro, only 30 $), if I -hoping not, never-  my Intuos Pro XL would break.  The Pro thing...Yeah, better, of course, but IMO, not essential to do absolutely top quality art. Get at least a Intuos DRAW medium, the rest is your skills and training with it.   :)

 

If at some point get more money, IMO next step is the so called LARGE (L) model. No need for a pool table like my XL, which is indeed not great for small desktops (but crazily accurate)

 

The small/medium sizes in Huion are reported to be quite good. Their screen-tablet, careful with the TN screens based ones. They have a several other issues you wont find in the quality brand, Wacom. Some can deal with  those and still work comfortably, though. (Yiynova is producing probably the best quality in cintiqs alternative, but I'd need to apply to it a protector film to kill the reflections, it's a fully glossy one) . I know you asked for cheap options only, bu there you go, full advice for when/if you'll upgrade  ;D

 

XP-pen tablets are also usually quite good. There's even a cintiq alternative of 22 inches at a very bargain price that is working well for many people, sold in Amazon.

 

But seriously, despite all the hype, no one really needs tablet-monitors, cintiq and what not. All you need is a regular tablet size between Medium and Large like the wacoms, and the medium sizes 150 - 200 bucks from Wacom imo are a golden purchase: best money/performance/quality ratio ever. Even if you purchase  a Large later, the medium is always handy for travelling with your laptop, short staying time in a family's home, etc.

 

That said, all above is mostly for really drawing: comic, illustration, digital painting in general, etc. For exclusively photo retouch, IMO, the small ones can be even  more useful as have less arm movement, more wrist (though that's not great for people with carpan tunnel and the like) , and that's kind of practical for the type of work in photo retouch for press or general photography. IMO. You don't either need line art precisión there, is a different thing. Also, for vector packages, when AD already produces strong averaging, for simple designs, vectorial ones, maybe a small size is ok. But the medium works for all cases and scenarios, that's why I firmly recommend the wacom intuos medium size (look well in the specs).   :)


Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo licenses, Windows 7, i7  860 (2009) 2.8 GHz,  8 GB RAM, GTX 1050 2 GB, HD 7200 RPM.  Wacom Intuos 4 XL.

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Nice!  That's a great tablet  :)


Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo licenses, Windows 7, i7  860 (2009) 2.8 GHz,  8 GB RAM, GTX 1050 2 GB, HD 7200 RPM.  Wacom Intuos 4 XL.

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I found 'touch' to be a total nightmare. Within a few days I turned it off completely. I found I was constantly triggering unwanted events with inadvertent hand movements.  :(

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and yet it makes the touch models be a tad more expensive :D

some people put it to good use... I haven't that and am fine...


Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo licenses, Windows 7, i7  860 (2009) 2.8 GHz,  8 GB RAM, GTX 1050 2 GB, HD 7200 RPM.  Wacom Intuos 4 XL.

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I found 'touch' to be a total nightmare. Within a few days I turned it off completely. I found I was constantly triggering unwanted events with inadvertent hand movements.  :(

I too found myself turning off touch for the same reasons. I'll toggle it on on occasion though, but 99% of the time it is off.

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On 2016-11-24 at 5:49 PM, SrPx said:

My advice : Save a little more money and purchase an Intuos DRAW (is a non "Pro" tablet, but IMO quite professional), but Medium size!! This is critical. The difference is huge with the small one. You don't need badly the touch features, can be compensated as is small, fits well in the desktop, this medium size, so you get good reaching of your mouse and keyboard.

 

The COMIC and PHOTO versions of Wacom Intuos, I don't find so much availability in the medium size, plus there's a big difference in many cases among touch version and non touch version in price, while for actual pen drawing, there's none. But the pen for drawing works great in both cases. Just save you quite some bucks. The advantage of getting some software, for me is of no use if what I am getting is a small size! And I fear that the medium size with touch, is significantly more expensive, that's why I'd rather prefer a DRAW version if that's the only one they offer at a medium size WITHOUT touch (I'd love to have it at same price, of course), even if software is not included (right now I don't remember the DRAW combo, what it brings).

 

IMO, the golden purchase here is an Intuos Draw medium size. I could deal very well with professional projects with it and a software with stabilization(many have this, but you can use an external utility that adds externally stabilization, works amazing, called Lazy Nezumi pro, only 30 $), if I -hoping not, never-  my Intuos Pro XL would break.  The Pro thing...Yeah, better, of course, but IMO, not essential to do absolutely top quality art. Get at least a Intuos DRAW medium, the rest is your skills and training with it.   :)

 

If at some point get more money, IMO next step is the so called LARGE (L) model. No need for a pool table like my XL, which is indeed not great for small desktops (but crazily accurate)

 

The small/medium sizes in Huion are reported to be quite good. Their screen-tablet, careful with the TN screens based ones. They have a several other issues you wont find in the quality brand, Wacom. Some can deal with  those and still work comfortably, though. (Yiynova is producing probably the best quality in cintiqs alternative, but I'd need to apply to it a protector film to kill the reflections, it's a fully glossy one) . I know you asked for cheap options only, bu there you go, full advice for when/if you'll upgrade  ;D

 

XP-pen tablets are also usually quite good. There's even a cintiq alternative of 22 inches at a very bargain price that is working well for many people, sold in Amazon.

 

But seriously, despite all the hype, no one really needs tablet-monitors, cintiq and what not. All you need is a regular tablet size between Medium and Large like the wacoms, and the medium sizes 150 - 200 bucks from Wacom imo are a golden purchase: best money/performance/quality ratio ever. Even if you purchase  a Large later, the medium is always handy for travelling with your laptop, short staying time in a family's home, etc.

 

That said, all above is mostly for really drawing: comic, illustration, digital painting in general, etc. For exclusively photo retouch, IMO, the small ones can be even  more useful as have less arm movement, more wrist (though that's not great for people with carpan tunnel and the like) , and that's kind of practical for the type of work in photo retouch for press or general photography. IMO. You don't either need line art precisión there, is a different thing. Also, for vector packages, when AD already produces strong averaging, for simple designs, vectorial ones, maybe a small size is ok. But the medium works for all cases and scenarios, that's why I firmly recommend the wacom intuos medium size (look well in the specs).   :)


Hi there! Thanks for a great review hehe!

I am planning buying a pen tablet/graphic tablet to my drawings. I was thinking of DRAW or ART.

1) It says that the DRAW does not include any "smart gestures" like zoom in+out etc. How do you manage this when you are working in Designer?
Are the buttons on top cool? I think they are pretty ok!
2) How is the ArtRage app? It looks cool!
3) How is the size of it - reasonable? Seems that the Draw only comes in small or does it come in Medium too??

Do you still recommend DRAW without the smart functions or should I go for Art or another one instead? How do you like it so far - and @seanwholland how do You like it? :)

All the best!

 

 

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Been a while since I checked, but all I know is that there has been a large technological jump in the pen and tablets from Wacom. So, as a lot of people buy the models from Amazon, and sometimes those are older models, I recommend to double check to ensure you get a model from this latest generation. My opinion about tablet size: medium / large is ideal. If one is serious, doing illustration or digital painting that does require line accuracy. "Digital painting" like with oils and acrylics can do well with a medium size, IMO, if you are sure you are never going to do inking, line art, comic drawing . However, medium or even small for only some brush retouches in photo editing,if that's the only use,  could be just fine. If actually want to paint, I always recommend as best the Intuos Large, if possible the paper edition, as can allow you to ink traditionally, very easily and integrate it digitally, having advantages of both worlds. Today I am already too used to my fully digital workflow, though.  

 

If it is for drawing, I know I cannot recommend the small size. I have the Intuos Small, and used at companies several versions of the non-profesional line of small size, too, in several product generations. Not recommended. You can do stuff, and certainly, pixel-art or photo retouch could do, but dor painting and drawing I very much would only consider medium or Large. (there's no Large in the non pro line, you need to go for Large with the Intuos pro.) Draw, Art, etc, are just the same product with or without touch gestures, and with one software or another offered as bundle. My opinion: At that size, touch features are far from critical, as you can distribute in a decent desktop space, the tablet, your mouse, and keyboard. Which I keep hearing from colleagues that they keep needing it, no matter how many side function buttons are provided in the tablet.  I can't remember, but I believe draw comes only in small size.  

 

Size is important (no jokes...) below certain measure, because is lost too much accuracy/control.(While bigger than L, not that practical (again, plz no jokes... ;) ) , is more cumbersome and more problem to organize your work space).  Indeed, before purchasing a small sized Intuos, I'd recommend in that very case to go for another brand's model which is medium size. But you will find in too many cases more jitter/wobble, driver issues, or etc. So, I keep recommending a "medium" size intuos, of the pro line or Art or whatever, but at least medium size, to draw/illustrate. And while I believe there's too much of a jump in cost towards a cintiq (a device with which I am only able to work a limited number of hours per day), an intuos Large is not that expensive for all what it offers, and its immense durability if treated carefully ( I say so because I've seen people putting so much pressure in a tablet while drawing that no tablet on earth would survive without scratches. And this varies a lot from one artist to another. ), and being a very well rounded, mayire and perfected product. IMO is the professional device, being a great balance in cost and quality. Ideal in an studio, where money is no problem, I'd prefer to have both, an intuos Large, and a Cintiq 27 QHD. So, not saying one of these is bad or anything...(only that I can't stand drawing on screens 8 hours, not even quite less)

 

IMO, the smaller the size, the more that you will need to depend on stabilization/line averaging features in your painting software applications. While these features are a solution to a problem: Is best if the problem comes minimized or non existent (not happening yet, tablets are not as accurate/fast/etc as your hand and hand-brain connection) in the purchased hardware. For this reason, I've lately become not very friend of: alternative brands (while I actually was), or even a MS Surface: every model it produces it still produces a lot of jitter/wobble (check those slow diagonal tests, jitter is horrid, yet....) in every test done. No way... So, IMO, among best purchases, to me clearly it can be done in all Wacom's gamma, almost for every budget, maybe not the very lowest, though (you can find some alternative, much bigger for 70 bucks...I am almost certain you will get jitter, though. But for 70 -50 bucks, hey... and because I believe that other than photo retouch(and maybe "pixel-art"), a "small" has way less use, anyway).  The minimal in Wacom, for me is the Art one at medium size, I can't go back to Small, not even if given as a gift.  I admit that for a student, or somebody doing this as a light hobby, not planning on wasting any money (i can tell you literally almost every hobby costs more money than the single purchase of a good drawing tablet. ) the medium size of the low cost ("Intuos" instead of Intuos Pro) line in Wacom seems quite ok.  

 

I say only this : If you can purchase the Large (L) model, you would get IMO a really great product for drawing, and allowing serious work with much more control and accuracy, this also translates to speed in production, and more comfort (more pleasant experience! ). I know for sure I wouldn't go for medium after trying almost every possible size. I use XL, and I realize this can be a bit too big, even for me. But is smooth and accurate as no other tablet that I had before (including a Cintiq 12WX). I even prefer it to an iPad Pro, even while the iPad Pro pen technology is probably better (in the aspects that I really care), but that is why is so important the canvas size in a tablet  for actually drawing. So much that a probably superior tracking and rate, a winner in parallax (compared to the Wacom's pen-display tablets) , a such natural behavior Pencil experience, gets defeated by the tiny tablet surface size. IMO is best for sketching, indeed.... It is still great for many illustrators, but imo, not a device for everyone or every  possible use in illustration. While I can say so about an Intuos Large.  And even this would be not totally accurate, as a total newcomer to digital illustration (a traditional painter or traditional comic artist) will find more natural a pen-display, even a cintiq alternative. But this whole advice is for people at least having got slightly used to handle any sort of non screen based drawing tablet, at school, a friend's or family member house, etc. (most people out there interested in drawing, thse days). Still, the hand-screen coordination is not so hard to learn with classic tablets.

 

Art Rage ? good, indeed. Very. Specially good if you are after of natural media finishing look in your work. But IMO is a specialized use tool (I tend to prefer general work horses allowing me to draw (ie, Affinity Photo, PhotoShop, and seems Krita is slowly going there, too, including or perfecting general editing features. )). Performance wise, not so happy, but it does work fine.  Pretty usable, not sure if it'd do fine with some huge resolution files of my work using a ton of layers. (I believe the free edition had limits with layers, or no layers) . IMO, a very nice tool to have, (I have used quite the free versions, but plan on purchasing it as an add-on in my "arsenal") but I would not have it as only app, is not a general package, imo, but a great painting specialized tool. You need something complete for image works, like Affinity Photo or PS. You need it sooner or later.  But I am a friend of having tools installed that do great in specific areas. A project can suffer many imports/exports in my day by day, so many that is not a big issue (from my POV), now. 


I don't have gesture functions in my old Intuos 4 XL. Don't need it, IMO. is nice, but IMO, not a key thing (and quite a few apps get messed up with it, or directly don't support it). I zoom with mouse wheel (some ppl prefer the Intuos Pro Ring, I use that one for brush size, just a preference) as I do so anyway as well with 3D software, all the time, and I need the mouse for too many things, so, one hand is always using both wacom pen and mouse, I have as an automatic thing in my brain for that, I even don't notice, by now. Keyboard to one side while I draw, but some people have an Ergotron arm for the keyboard and another for the tablet (or one for 1 of those, only). Dunno, is too much money.

 

Even in the times that I have it (a large sum of money to throw), I have this POV with hardware: Whether is the times I am at a company and then drawing at home is only as a hobby or earning some extra bucks, or if I am as a full time freelancer, it needs to be sustainable. Unless you earn one grand per week with this activity alone, needing to replace software and hardware of the top higher costs makes no sense. So, for me being sth maintainable, is sth that I can replace easily ANY month, independently  of being it a bad or good month. And so that I don't loose so much money in the tools. That said also because I have quite a good monitor, a hardware calibrator, books, software (big global cost)....So, purchases are IMO best done if you buy the most functional and higher quality stuff at a reasonable price. Again, if you earn 4k bucks a month, no reason for not having a cintiq QHD, AND a intuos large (I've drawn in cintiq, and I personally get tired in my 12 hours drawing day), mounted with Ergotron arms, an Eizo or high level Nec monitor, hardware calibrator (imo, both calibrator and a good monitor are a must in many cases...),  etc, etc.  So, is a very personal approach of each person, but even having the money, an Intuos medium or Intuos pro L size are GREAT options (specially the large). For people not having drawn *ever* before with a tablet, cintiq or cintiq alternatives are easier. But IMO is now better to wait to some even more improves (they are getting better fast) to the cintiq alternatives (Cintiqs are very mature), if you want them for serious work. (they are pretty fine if you ensure through checking and testing already, with heavy usage in some of those models, that with stabilization features in your painting software, you can overcome the wobble for your particular type of work. I would not bet on that in my case.... (that said: I ink with stabilization ON, often -not always- ))


The new "cheap" line from Wacom (intuos) have more functions in the tablet and pen than the small ones that I used back in 2001 (and all years later. Been using tablets since 1990), and by then, I used a small size one (A6) for all the 2D work and drawings for several commercial games. So, is not like it does not work at all, I am just saying, the difference is HUGE, even between a medium and small size, way better with "Large".
 

PD: So, one of the important conclusions : using a Cntiq 24HD or 27 QHD is great (funnily enough, for some of us is less pleasant/comfortable than having a screen (a professional monitor carefully chosen and calibrated) at a bigger distance using a Wacom Intuos Pro L), using an iPad Pro is also very nice, as IMHO, (at that size you are very limited, tho, is a pity, as at larger sizes it could easily beat Wacom), but I can consider a Wacom Intuos Large as a standard high quality tablet for drawing, illustration.  Some art styles are pretty fine as well with a medium size, be it Intuos or Intuos Pro. For a total beginner, or very casual hobby stuff: Intuos Art, but medium size, all the way.

 

Note : I am not related in any way one could imagine with Wacom (have been very fan of other brands alternatives till very recently, indeed) , neither with Serif. I say things  about this just how I know them from my experience (and so, my conclusions vary in time). When I like or dislike a product, I just say it, obviously I have no gain at all in this. or I'd have my own Youtube Channel, lol.

 

Will fix typos later, srry, need to rush now... hope serves for raw information, for now, before that purchase....

EDITED (Sep, 7th, 12:24 GMT) : Fixed many typos, re-wrote a lot of stuff making no sense due to the speed at which it was written.


 


Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo licenses, Windows 7, i7  860 (2009) 2.8 GHz,  8 GB RAM, GTX 1050 2 GB, HD 7200 RPM.  Wacom Intuos 4 XL.

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It looks nice... I am intrigued about its "automatic line correction" (I am suspecting it mostly makes it behave more similar to a Wacom, not also allowing extra smoothing (varying the range) like the Affinity's feature provide). This both could be good or bad...I mean, sometimes, you need to be able to work without any stabilization of the line. Indeed, the more you get adapted to your specific tablet, the more often you disable it, or like me, just reduce it a lot. Still, stabilization is really important.  For long straight lines or perfect large curves is really valuable, even essential. (I am speaking of software stabilization. First time I read about this as a hardware feature, other than of course, the fact that tablets tend to improve this matter internally.) . XP-Pen emerged as a Wacom alternative, mostly for Cintiq (or it got its fame mostly for that)  . One critic all alternatives across all brands have is that they produce more wobble/jitter in the line than Wacom's. Well... There is people complaining about it with some of the newest wacoms. And showing it in videos. Although that could be faulty models, or magnetic noise, hard to know , so, today, is a bit of a gamble in any case. It did shock me to se s ome units producing that, as I've only have great experiences with Wacom models (since Intuos 1, Graphire, Volitio, etc)  I only can say the Intuos Pro tablets I have currently in the 4 (oldie, I know) range (XL, and a Small) they definitely don't jitter. (have not upgraded due to not real need, and as I only enjoy working in large sizes (expensive))

 

That said... if this stabilization by hardware what does is compensate the jitter so usual in most alternative brands (I have not tested XP-Pen, probably it does not have any jitter at all. And if it had any, you can ALWAYS compensate it with Affinity's software feature for line smoothing. So, yeah, don't worry.  :D  )  , it could be very welcome. I sadly cannot give you a better hint, as I don't own one, despite how cheap it is ! In a 10 minutes test I'd be able to tell you better.... So I can only tell you what I suspect (as a sort of advanced user of the matter)... It seems they have made a considerable effort in improving their pen technology. Indeed, they could be innovating more than the other alternatives competitors. So, that's definitely a plus. Only a test (and better, doing it with some real life scenarios) could be more concluding. 

I typically wouldn't risk it with this small size range, but hey, price in this brand tend to be more than amazing, specially considering that is even cheaper -usually on Amazon- than the Wacom's Small, while it is, if I checked well, larger than the Medium...!  So, yep, it is, perhaps, a very good purchase.  :)

 

In any case. I'm 100% sure it will allow you to draw ! . The only debate is if a Wacom here would have been better in raw quality (not taking price in consideration) . But, unless is for pixel art or exclusively photo retouch (no illustration, comic or other form of art planned), to me a Small size is so much worse than a Medium (also if it is a Wacom), that if the only chance is a Wacom's Small, definitely then I'd opt for this tablet. :)  And who knows..! Maybe it is even amazing. I'm very curious about their hardware line smoothing. If you feel in the mood to tell us about how it goes as long as you go using it a bit, I'd be interested to know. I'd be millionaire if I charged 1 $ per every time someone has asked me about an ultra cheap tablet for drawing (cheaper than Wacom). ;)

 

Enjoy it ! 

 

 

 

 

 


Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo licenses, Windows 7, i7  860 (2009) 2.8 GHz,  8 GB RAM, GTX 1050 2 GB, HD 7200 RPM.  Wacom Intuos 4 XL.

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