View Full Version : Wacom Bamboo

01-08-2010, 10:14 PM
Anyone using this tablet? I am looking to get a tablet and have a limited budget This one seems reasonably priced and was hoping someone could let me know if its a good buy or not.

01-08-2010, 11:25 PM
By my guess there are a few hundred here using it and they all love it :) Of the active posters here I'd say about 5-10% are using the Bamboo and another 15% are using others tablets all combined. The Bamboo is the most prevalent, I think. This is all pure guesstimate but there are quite a few. I would say, and so would just about any other here, to go for it but just make sure that you practice a lot with it or else you will be left feeling less than enthused. There's a lot of ins and outs to figure out so it takes time but within a month of constant use you should be just fine.

01-08-2010, 11:56 PM
Great, thanks Ascension.

I guess what I am not understanding is the difference between each model (aside from size). I am just looking at Futureshop's inventory and they have 3-4 different Bamboos each more expensive than the next not to mention the intuos line and up from there. I am completely new to the world of digital art and have zero knowledge when it comes to tablets.

01-09-2010, 06:48 AM
Got a Bamboo tablet myself and recommend it. I've pretty much stopped drawing on paper now, it's just so much more flexible to use tablet + GIMP once you've learned the basics. If you're going to buy one, don't get too picky about size. I've found A5 to be more than enough for my own needs.

01-09-2010, 07:06 AM
I have a Bamboo myself and I do like it. I've never tried another tablet so I have nothing to compare it with but I sure am glad I got this one.

I do, however, wish I'd purchased the CHEAPER one. I got the black one with the four buttons at the top and the little touch sensitive scroll thingy and I never use them. In fact, due to me being left-handed and holding a pen in a very strange way to most people (my hand moves further around the pen, holding it like a claw so most of my hand is further away from me than the pen is) I very often accidentally catch the buttons when I'm in the middle of drawing.

I guess I ought to go into the software and disable them, like I had to do with the buttons on the stylus itself. Hehe.

01-09-2010, 11:50 AM
Here's a quick breakdown of the models:

The Bamboo comes in five varieties:

The baseline version is simply called Bamboo and can use both the stylus and your finger. The multitouch mode is similar to a touch pad on a notebook computer, but it is a bit more versatile, plus the surface is much bigger. The tablet has four programmable buttons. It includes Photoshop Elements software. Drawing surface is ~4" x 6"

Pen: Just like the main tablet, but without the multitouch capability.

Touch: A smaller version without the stylus capability. Note that this one is unsuitable for drawing. About 3.5" x 5" touch surface.

Fun: Pen and Multitouch. Includes CorelPaint Essentials software in addition to PS Elements. It also has a larger drawing area of 5.5" x 8.5"

Craft: Pen and Multitouch. Includes CorelPaint Essentials & PS Elements, and it also comes with a tutorial DVD for making scrapbooks. Drawing area is 4" x 6".

The Bamboo is a consumer-grade tablet. Unlike most products, though, that doesn't mean it is low-quality. It merely means it doesn't have some of the extra bells and whistles. By all accounts, it is a durable piece of technology that works flawlessly (once you get past any driver issues, anyway).

The Intuous is more expensive and intended for use by professional computer artists. Each Intuous4 model has the same features; the only difference is the size (four sizes from 4" x 6" up to 8" x 12"). In comparison to the Bamboo, it has four times as many levels of pressure sensitivity. It also can sense the angle of the pen relative to the surface.

The Intuous line does not have multitouch capability. It instead has a 5-button mouse that works wirelessly on the tablet's surface, a touch-sensitive ring for scrolling or rotating the canvas, and 6 programmable buttons.

In addition, there are several pen varieties available for the Intuous that change its feel and capabilities. The most significant (to me) is the Art Pen, which adds rotation sensitivity.

The Cintiq is a combination monitor and tablet that is way too expensive for most of us, so I won't go into it here. Likewise, Wacom also has some special-purpose display-and-tablet combos intended for specific industries that are irrelevant to this discussion.

Personally, I use a 9" x 6" Intuous3, and I love it, though I'm lusting after the Intuous4.

01-09-2010, 01:54 PM
thank you so much Mid, that was a very useful and consise description of the models. So useful infact that I think I will rep you. Cheers!

01-09-2010, 08:16 PM
My pleasure. I like being useful when I have the time to spend on it.

01-13-2010, 08:07 AM
Slightly off topic, but sine Mid mentioned driver issues ;)

What experience do people have with using these tablets with Linux?

01-13-2010, 09:49 AM
My biggest issue (which is minor) with my Bamboo is that I can't just plug it in and have GIMP recognize it. Since I use laptops (4 different ones so far), every time I plug the tablet in, I have to go to the Wacom Tablet utility and THEN start GIMP after doing that and go to Edit->Preferences to have GIMP notice that there is a tablet there. Not sure if this is a Driver issue or if it's a GIMP problem. Note that this is on 4 laptops with 3 running Vista and one on Windows 7 where the tablet is never plugged in except when needed for use.

Again, this is a minor inconvenience at best, but other than that, I LOVE my Bamboo, and the only thing I would like about it more were if it had more buttons I could assign for things like brush size, opacity(tool opacity rather than pressure opacity which it does very well), etc. I got the $199 Bamboo Fun when it was on sale plus I had a coupon, so got it for $150 about a year ago. At this point, I don't have any need of anything better, though if I had to get a new one, I would probably get the Pen and Touch version so I could use it like my trackpad for general mouse movement with my fingers.

01-13-2010, 11:20 AM
There is a users group (http://linuxwacom.sourceforge.net/) for running Wacom tablets under Linux. I understand that they're fairly responsive, but I haven't started experimenting with Linux yet, so I don't have any first-hand knowledge about it. Wacom itself provides no Linux support.

Since we're on the topic, if you use a tablet under Vista, I recommend uninstalling (or at least turning off) Windows' Tablet PC utility. It conflicted with my Intuous3 driver, randomly turning off pressure sensitivity in Photoshop and preventing me from mapping the drawing surface to a single screen.

01-14-2010, 02:48 PM
Slightly off topic, but sine Mid mentioned driver issues ;)

What experience do people have with using these tablets with Linux?

I'm running both Graphire and Intuos tablets in Ubuntu Linux (version 9.10 now) without problems. They are automatically in use once plugged in. But to get the Intuos buttons to work, one has to install "wacom-tools" (available in default Ubuntu repository so installing it just a few clicks) package and run a program called "wacomcpl". Wacomcpl has a graphical user interface to define everything related to the tablet (and I do mean everything - like changing the height from which the tablet picks up the pen tip and such tweakings).

I would imagine Bamboo tablets are well supported since Graphire and Intuos work fine and their penetration in user base must be much smaller than Bamboo.

I also do have ONE problem which is related to a VirtualBox virtual machine. I have a Windows XP installed in a virtual machine, but Ubuntu is reluctant to let go of the control of the tablet and hence the tablet pressure sensitivity gets lost when used within the virtualized WinXP. Granted it's been a long time since I last tested so it may have been fixed.

01-14-2010, 03:01 PM
Cool, thanks, Sounds good.