View Full Version : Inkling...

08-30-2011, 07:48 AM
Have you guys seen the Inkling (http://www.wacom.eu/index2.asp?pid=9226&lang=en) from Wacom?
I really want on and I want it now. Looks brilliant for mapping, but especially for creating objects like city icons, trees, mountains quickly without needing a scanner.

08-30-2011, 08:07 AM
that's bloody awesome.
Unfortunately for me, i suck at drawing on paper so it might not be so great for me, but I can see how some people require one immediately ;)

08-30-2011, 08:08 AM
I think I've just found my Christmas present! Thanks Clercon!!

169 Euros which is about (150 / US$ 250) is pretty great value....cheaper than my tablet was.

The thing which make me want to buy this (over just scanning a drawing) is it can record lines in vector and saves to SVG.

It comes out at the end of September, can't wait to read the reviews!

Great find, Clercon!

Another link to it's features and uses here. (http://inkling.wacom.eu/?/en/what_is_inkling/in_three_steps)

08-30-2011, 08:26 AM
You're welcome Ravells :)
The only problem I see is that I don't want to wait til Christmas. I want one now! Hmmm have to see if I can get it earlier.

08-30-2011, 08:51 AM
really cool ... if anyone have troubles loading "the tour", just remove the en at the end of the ip adress, then it works :)

08-30-2011, 09:07 AM
A coworker of mine has that thing, he's quite happy with it. At least I think it's this one - similar features and similar looks. He's out of the office, I may borrow and test it.

08-30-2011, 10:40 AM
Interesting and maybe great. I don't really care a lot for drawing with a ball point pen but hey, whatever.

08-30-2011, 11:30 AM
It says 'coming mid-September' so shouldn't be around just yet.

It solves the battery problem in a pen that's not on a tablet - so I'm guessing this will also solve the pressure sensitivity with tablets. If they can plug that box into an iPad connector, or a usb, then that should work on all tablets. I'm guessing we'll see pressure sensitive tablet drawing within 6 months using this technology.

Looks very cool, but I'm going to hold off until I see some side by side comparisons of the sketches with the digital 'likeness'. As soon as someone gets one please post it here!

08-30-2011, 12:43 PM
Just seen this today. Might be old news to some of you but this little puppy looks pretty cool...


08-30-2011, 12:51 PM
Eh. I applied to be a tester for this one (wasn't announced at the time) but never heard back. Looks pretty cool!

08-30-2011, 01:17 PM
Funny you should mention that (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?15745-Inkling) ;)

08-30-2011, 01:36 PM
I have a Wacom tablet that I hardly use because I can't actually physically see the drawing while I draw - rather only as the image is captured on screen. This Inkling would be far more of my interest since I much prefer hand-drawing on actual paper - and seeing what I create in real time. This looks interesting.


08-30-2011, 01:47 PM
Threads merged.

08-30-2011, 03:06 PM
It looks really cool, sadly as far as I understand it doesnt support GIMP just Adobe (for layers that is).

08-30-2011, 04:44 PM
Ah, sorry for starting a new thread for this. Tsk. I did a quick scan down the General Discussion list before posting too. Ah well... always late to the party me. :S

09-06-2011, 03:30 PM
So here's a video of the inkling in use. Looks like a pretty good rendition of the sketch:


09-06-2011, 04:13 PM
I'm now 90% certain I'm going to get this.

::Edit:: Gah, who am I trying to kid, I've just pre-ordered it. It looks like it starts shipping on 30th September, so I'll put up a review here when it arrives.

09-06-2011, 04:29 PM
That's the spirit Ravs :) Looking forward to hearing what you think of it.

Hugo Solis
09-06-2011, 05:12 PM
I wantz! No a proper way to show my love to hand made sketches

09-06-2011, 06:45 PM
I'm looking forward to that review Ravs. Thinking of getting one myself :)

09-06-2011, 07:30 PM
lol, I'm just a sucker for new tech!

09-06-2011, 11:26 PM
This has some interest for me as well so I'm curious to see how you like it. Thanks for taking one for the team :)

09-12-2011, 03:17 PM
Hey guys! I know I've been pretty absent here lately (I'm in the process of moving) but I saw this and thought it would interest a lot of the artists on here. Check it out here: http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/12/wacom-inkling-digital-sketch-pen-hands-on-video/

Seems like it would especially be useful for folks who are awesome at drawing on paper and have trouble translating that to the screen (or folks who can't afford a cintiq).

I especially like that it can convert to vector and high-res bitman and automatically separates things into layers. Seems like a doodler's dream.

09-12-2011, 03:36 PM
:) Like this? http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?15748-Inkling...

Thanks for the link to the video. That's gives a bit more info. Still haven't seen a final comparison of the scanned drawing to the inkling version yet. But looks pretty good.

09-12-2011, 04:17 PM

09-18-2011, 04:07 PM
Thanks! I didn't realize I'd missed it, and here I was wondering where my post went!

09-30-2011, 01:48 PM

The message boards say that Wacom completely underestimated demand.

The dispatch of your order has been delayed Dear Wacom eStore customer,
We are sorry to have to inform you that, contrary to our plans and your expectations, the dispatch of the following item, which you ordered, has been delayed:
MDP-123 Inkling
We apologise for the delay. We will inform you by e-mail as soon as the item is ready for dispatch.
Thank you for your order, and for your trust in our products.

Yours sincerely,
Wacom Europe GmbH

09-30-2011, 01:51 PM
Suck. I live just up the road from Wacom. Want I should go 'lean' on them for you? ;)

Hope you get it soon!

09-30-2011, 02:03 PM
Yeah, tell 'em Arcana sent you!

09-30-2011, 05:52 PM
Heh, funny Mearrin. Back in the 90s I lived down the road from a text-based video game company (simutronics) and whenever I had a problem I would drive over there and talk to them in person...they didn't really like that too much but they couldn't stop me either.

09-30-2011, 06:19 PM
I'm on it, Ravells. Expect results. I'm taking a foam pool bat with me. :)

Ascension: I ordered some nibs from Wacom and they took *forever* to get shipped. I later saw one of their guys at the Consumer Electronics show in Vegas and talked to him for a while. The subject came up and he said, "Hey, you should have just come over." I've been meaning to dig out his card and try to see if I can get a tour or something.

Unfortunately, in this case, I don't think me going over there would do any good...pool noodle or not. :)

09-30-2011, 07:48 PM
Heh, funny Mearrin. Back in the 90s I lived down the road from a text-based video game company (simutronics) and whenever I had a problem I would drive over there and talk to them in person...they didn't really like that too much but they couldn't stop me either.

Sweet fancy Moses, did you happen to work on Gemstone?! My childhood was wasted playing that MUD!

10-01-2011, 12:35 AM
I came in on DragonRealms.

10-11-2011, 05:48 AM
The natives are getting restless on the Wacom boards. The current situation is that due to 'unforseen events' and 'overwhelming demand' stock has not yet been received. People have been pressing Wacom for a date, but they are not saying.

My advice is that if you are thinking of getting one, don't buy it yet. They will happily take your cash and then leave you in a massive queue behind all the orders they have not yet fulfilled.


10-13-2011, 08:38 PM
Well, one guy has one already - and posted a very thorough review:


Interesting to see how it did with the different challenges, and nice to hear what someone who actually paid for it thinks. Nice to see that the conclusion is that it's easily up to pro quality work.

10-14-2011, 10:27 AM
Thanks Jon, the reviewer did a really good job. The highlight for me of the inkling is that it that (I hope) one will get vector lines. If you scan a vector line and auto-trace it, it translates as a closed shape. So here's hoping that the SVG output at least gives me a vector line rather than a closed shape (I suspect that you might lose line width).

10-14-2011, 06:35 PM
Thanks Jon, the reviewer did a really good job. The highlight for me of the inkling is that it that (I hope) one will get vector lines. If you scan a vector line and auto-trace it, it translates as a closed shape. So here's hoping that the SVG output at least gives me a vector line rather than a closed shape (I suspect that you might lose line width).

Autotrace supports centerline tracing: http://autotrace.sourceforge.net/

(But you don;t get any path pressure/weight profiles.)

-Rob A>

10-14-2011, 07:01 PM
Wow, that's really cool! When I said, 'autotrace' I was referring to the Drawplus feature called autotrace rather than a stand alone one. I've got to check this out....thanks RobA!

11-08-2011, 06:33 AM
It's HERE!!! Just opening the box now!

Ahh that's sweet, as a gesture of apology for the late delivery they've included the Wacom master class tutorial videos 1-3.

11-08-2011, 06:53 AM
Please let us know how it copes with maping :)
Personally my hopes are that you can use it to draw a map on paper ( when you dont have access to a computer) and then import it at home to do the colours. If that works I will get one to bring with me wherever I go.

11-08-2011, 07:03 AM
Have to wait for the 3 hour initial recharge first!

11-08-2011, 06:35 PM
Hmmm, here's the line drawing and the inkling translation of a half doodled city....looks like the pen sometimes doesn't register and if you don't pick it up (by looking at the lights) you could end up drawing a lot of nothing. Also, look at the little round dotted towers which seemed to have jumped a bit from their original locations (not sure why).

It's early days yet and I might be doing something wrong - I'll keep working it at it.

11-08-2011, 07:00 PM
thanks for posting this! Very curious how this is working out as I also wanne press that 'order now' button :) cheers, DJ

11-08-2011, 07:08 PM
Just tried again, and although it's better (losing the top was my fault as I had the drawing less than 2 cm from the receiver) in that I haven't lost any lines the tracking still seems to be off by up to 1 or 2 mm in places (each small square is 5mm). I'm not sure if this thing is built for precision - maybe more for larger drawings (or it could just be me). I really want to love it though; being able to rotate the page as I draw is really cool. It's also making me want to learn how to draw with natural media.

Of course I can't draw to save my life, so it would be interesting to see what a proper artist can do. I wonder whether the tracking issue has something to do with the fact that I like to hold the pen at quite a low angle to the page.

11-08-2011, 07:15 PM
P.S. - If anyone would like me to run any of their own tests with it, I'll be happy to oblige if they don't take too long.

11-08-2011, 11:22 PM
Looks as if it needs some calibration. It's pretty off from what you're drawing. Is there some sort of detailed calibration routine you can run? In the demos I've seen it certainly seems that the original is much closer to the digitized drawing. It seems like a really cool tool (and I want one) but if that's the best it can do then it's no good for 'technical' drawings (which is what I tend to do) but maybe awesome for quick gestural drawing for cleanup on the PC.

11-09-2011, 05:22 AM
@ Mearrin - unlike the tablets the only calibration you can do with the inkling is for the pen pressure (as far as I know). See the test below where I think I've found the reason.
@ DJ - I would hold off ordering the Inkling for now because (a) it may not be good enough for what you need and (b) there is a huge backlog on delivery anyway. I would also wait to see more reviews coming out.

11-09-2011, 05:26 AM
I wanted to try to get to the bottom of the tracking issue and why the inkling sometimes seemed to track well and why so badly in the same drawing. I put it down to 3 possible reasons: - general erratic behaviour or pen angle or rotating the page.

As you can see from the test below, pen angle doesn't seem to make a big difference but rotating the page makes a huge difference (and being able to rotate the page while I drew was one of the main reasons for buying the inkling). The conclusion is that the tracking remains consistent at any given rotation, but is inconsistent between rotations.

I'm going to post this finding on the Wacom boards to see if there are any solutions

11-09-2011, 06:18 AM
Ah....I should have read the FAQ (http://www.wacom.eu/index2.asp?pid=9229&lang=en)which says:

Re: Several issues with Inkling (http://forum.wacom.eu/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=7863#p32872)

by Wacom Tue 25. Oct 2011, 12:20
Inkling is not as precise as a tablet and more designed for rough sketches and notes. The Inkling FAQ states that in general, sketches with Inkling will be accurate to within +/- 2.5 mm in the main drawing area of an A4 page, and within +/- 5.0 mm at the edges of the page. There are various factors which can affect the accurary like tilt of the pen, sunlight, 'white' noise etc. There is a more detailed section in the FAQ on the Inkling site.

OK, that's that one answered then!

11-09-2011, 11:38 AM
I was thinking it was a lighting issue...try it with really good light such that you have no shadows (the pen is going to make some anyhow) and see if it's better. I don't know how they track the pen but if it's visually I expect the light is going to be a problem.

Or hey, test out what happens by drawing in the dark (LOL, but I'm semi-serious).

11-09-2011, 03:20 PM
The FAQ says that direct sunlight may interfere with the IR signal, so I think less light is better. Unfortunately it's now October in the UK and direct sunlight is pretty scarce!!!

The tracking is done by Infra Red and ultrasound (so noisy environments or sounds at certain frequencies might affect it too).

I tried drawing some mountain symbols with it, but the scanned copy looks better every time.

As much as I really want to like the inkling, the only real plus point I think it has going for it is that if you do a lot of sketches on a lot of pages you can upload them all really quickly rather than having to scan one page at a time. Sure it has layers (if you press a button it creates a new layer), and maybe by making liberal use of that would make it easier to correct errors and clean up etc. but the real problem here is that while you are drawing you can't 'go back' to a layer. So say I draw my construction lines and then make a new layer draw a bit and then decide that I need a new construction line. I can't go back a layer so I have to make another new layer for the new construction line and then another new layer for the remainder of the layer I was drawing previously. It becomes very easy to lost track.

Sadly I'm beginning to think that the workflow might actually be faster by drawing in pencil on paper, inking the pencil drawing and then scanning that. At least that way what you see is what you get, which is presently not the case with the Inkling :(

11-09-2011, 07:42 PM
I don't believe it is interference. As far as I can tell, the emitters on the pen are not right at the tip, they are on the ring, I'm guessing 2-3ish mm up from the tip.

The device works by triangulation, timing the signals received, and using those values to calculate the position of the pen. Again, AFAICT it cant detect the pen's orientation in space. When you rotate then paper, you change the geometry.

Here is a drawing exaggerating this:

For true accuracy, you want to use something like the livescribe pen http://www.livescribe.com/en-us/ which, unfortunately does NOT have pressure sensitivity :(

-Rob A>

11-10-2011, 04:57 AM
Disappointed with your results here, Ravs. With those open tolerances you mentioned at the end of page 5, this instantly became a "meh" gadget rather than a "love to own" piece of kit. I would personally judge it as far too innaccurate to use for anything other than uploading a rough sketch layer into PS. You mention it would probably be faster to just sketch and scan rather than use this and so I guess it would be a much better and certainly more useful investment for people like me who have neither, to actually use the money to get a decent scanner instead of this.

11-10-2011, 05:31 AM
This makes me sad. I so wanted this toy :(

11-10-2011, 06:30 AM
@Rob - yes, the emitters are above the nib. Your explanation makes a lot of sense. Frankly I would have preferred not to have the pressure sensitivity and more accuracy, which leads to to another minus point on the Inkling - the vector lines it draws are not true vector lines but very thin enclosed shapes, so you have to break the line at each end of the shape and delete half of it to get a line. Not practical if you have a lot of lines on the paper. In effect what is calls vector, I suspect is just an autotrace of a .png by the onboard software. That was when I exported in .svg, It does export in .ai, but as I don't have .ai I'm not sure whether it's the same result in that format or whether it delivers a 'true' vector line.

Livescribe looks cool but you need their proprietary paper or (they say) a colour laserjet (rather than inkjet, don't know why) printer to print out the paper with the dots that the pen uses to set its coordinates. Thanks for the pointer though!

@Ramah - I think you'd be much better off getting a good quality scanner.

Sigh. I really wanted to like the Inkling but I just don't think it's suited to mapping. Looks like the only way I'm going to be able to get a rotatable tablet is to buy a Cintiq.

11-10-2011, 08:38 AM
Thanks for all the input on this. It really sadens me that it doesnt live up to the hype. I was really looking forward to the inkling. Now Im probably spending my money elsewhere.

11-10-2011, 09:54 AM
Would anyone like to buy a barely used Inkling? :)

11-10-2011, 10:37 PM
Would anyone like to buy a barely used Inkling? :)

We could make it a challenge prize :P

How much did it set you back? With the demand I'm sure you could recoup it on eBay quite quickly.

-Rob A>

11-11-2011, 04:39 AM
Total cost, including shipping was about US$230. I've seen someone trying to flog one on ebay (beat the queues! etc) for US$ 270 - which is not much of an uplift, but no bids on it yet. I suspect people may think it might be some sort of scam at this point when they are so much in demand.

I think I'll hang on to it. I suspect it might be one of those things where a purpose for it might become clear in the fullness of time.

11-11-2011, 05:52 AM
Well I hope that future generations of the inkling will get better precision. If you look at the development of their bamboo tablets you can see some hope that the future inkling will give us what we really need. So maybe second or third generation will be great. If I get thexchance I will try it though.

11-11-2011, 06:14 AM
I hope so, Clercon, everything about it is beautiful, the packaging, the build quality of the components (ok the USB cable is a bit small, but it's common standard one so you can get longer ones easily), and of course the concept.

It's just a shame the tracking error wasn't to within, say 0.25mm or so, rather than 2 mm (and worse when you get to the edges of the page).

11-11-2011, 04:12 PM
Well I hope that future generations of the inkling will get better precision. If you look at the development of their bamboo tablets you can see some hope that the future inkling will give us what we really need. So maybe second or third generation will be great. If I get thexchance I will try it though.

I wouldn't hold my breath. They are fighting geometry.

I would say the accuracy is excellent so long as the pen orientation (angle to the page) does not change while drawing.

-Rob A>