Thanks, I will try using the Pen in mouse mode for a bit and see how that goes. It does feel more natural but I'll have to see how that goe for drawing.
edit: Sweet, I can set it up so it's in "absolute mode" while in Gimp and "mouse mode" in anything else. So that looks like it will work nicely.
(i've never had much luck 'drawing' with a tablet.. otoh it is teh 'doddle' for adjusting spline points)
You can set it up so that you're only using a portion of the tablet's surface, but that will reduce the effective resolution of the device—you may not get quite as much precision as you would using the entire surface.
I always disable most of the buttons on mine because I find myself leaning on them occasionally. I do set one of them to "toggle displays," though. I can't stand for my pointer to move twice as fast in the horizontal as it does in the vertical. Very disorienting.
As for getting used to it, I spent about three hours playing Neverwinter Nights with mine, and after that it felt almost as natural as the mouse. Now that I've had it a few years, I often prefer my tablet over the mouse for everything. And that's handy for keeping people off my workstation at the office!
Appliances have an evil sense of humor. Had to replace all of mine within a year. Watch out. ;)
I got an Intuos 4, plus:
Corel's sketchbook program, (maybe this one came directly from the Corel site, I don't see it in your options list). A bit buggy, large files are slower, but the dry tools have a natural look and feel. Only reason I wanted it, so good enough.
Corel Painter trial. I liked this one a lot, but the full version will have to wait until I upgrade my computer. Maybe not as useful for cartography, unless you want to do it all by hand (which I usually do), but Photoshop is still easier for that (esp. with its layers). Definitely more at the artistic end of things. But I'm an artist, so...
Autodesk Sketchbook Express. The tools seemed much more digital in appearance to me, so I gave up on it. Personal preference.
But the best download I chose was Photoshop Elements 10. It runs smoothly on my old laptop. I switched over from Gimp after getting this, although I may try Gimp's brush creator again; get some opaque forests, etc, when I want to use symbols.
I use CS4, too, on another computer. There are actually a few things that Elements 10 does better, but I haven't turned my laptop on in a while, so I can't recall exactly what. Sorry.
Using the tablet: Getting used to the hand-eye coordination, I found tracing images to be helpful along with just regular sketching. I changed the lower side buttons on the tablet to handle my favorite keyboard shortcuts so that I wouldn't have to reach as far. The stylus buttons got disabled immediately. And I keep the wheel set to adjust brush size.
I got my tablet in October last year, and recently did a little hand drawn map with pencil and paper to see how much difference there would be from tablet/computer in the feel and end result. Not very noticeable, but it's actually easier to make jagged coastlines with the tablet. haha!
I use a tablet and a dvorak keyboard layout. Not even the IT folks will touch my computer :)
Originally Posted by Midgardsormr
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dvorak is some twisted stuff. I totally get that the Qwerty isn't great but trying to re-learn the entire thing is more than I am willing to do. I don't see why anyone would bother. I do type fast and my home keys are shiny as well, haha.
You'd get it if typing was painful ;) That's why I switched. Now I can code all day pain-free.
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subject close to my heart..
having been relatively transient for a few years, it's been ages since i've sat at a desk, and generally code leaning against a wall with the laptop on my lap. that's _not_ better than a desk fyi..
having been an all day/all night keyboardist since ~95, ergonomics and physical deterioration are familiar.
the best solution is to make sure you do something else with your shoulders, neck, back, whole body REGULARLY. everyone knows it, a smaller number of people, even people in dire need, act upon it.
my recommendation - use a sword :) practice circular cutting strokes.. even a few minutes a day will stretch your arms out in the most appreciable manner.
i'll be back to harp on this next time there is the slightest proximity to the subject as well :D the tablet saved my forearms.. the sword is preventing paralysis.
WRT the ring - you need to go into the Wacom manager and add custom application specific settings, as it doesn't know about GIMP - basically, have it send the keypresses you want for the actions. I set them up much like the default shipping ones.