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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » Tablet based laptops - thoughts, experiences, recommendations

   
Author Topic: Tablet based laptops - thoughts, experiences, recommendations
Charles
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There's the line of graphics tablets and the Cintiq models from Wacom...

http://www.wacom.com/index2.php

There's VisTablet..

http://vistablet.net/

I'm wondering if our members or AN readers out there can contribute to the topic of tablet PCs. These are laptop computers that function like a Cintiq or a VisTablet in that you can draw directly on a screen that flips around and over onto the keyboard part of the computer and becomes a direct input surface such as one would use with the aforementioned, complete with a stylus.

I've seen one particular model in action which impressed me and I know of a couple of people that've bought it, a Hewlett Packard model. From the info on this, it's the first PC that can function this way and the latest model is finger touch sensitive as a iPhone would be. I'm aware that Toshiba makes a tablet PC as well. The HP I mentioned is well reviewed and the friends I know who've bought it are very happy with the product.

Basically, it's a Cintiq-like device with a hard drive.

Do you have one or know of others who own something similar? What are your thoughts? Share your info and insights on this and help us educate the artistic masses a little more concerning the latest in creator friendly technologies.

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Metsys
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Well, for my it boils down to a few things, because I was thinking about getting a tablet PC instead of a Cintiq.

I don't like laptops. I've had bad luck with them and I have a lot of friends and roommates who have had problems with laptops as far as being reliable hardware and being easy to service. For many of them the laptop was the only computer system they had, so when the battery goes dead or something else happens, they are out of a computer for a while. All I own right now is a desktop computer because I work at home. If I had to work outside of my home then I would invest in a laptop, but only until I had enough money to have afford a system like mine in addition to a laptop that was fast enough that I could work on (which would cost a lot more than my desktop machine).

One of the things I don't like iMacs is having a monitor being physically attached to the computer. So, with a tablet PC, the Cintiq is attached to a laptop and they are now inseparable. I can't use the Cintiq part of the tablet PC on my super fast home machine.

That's another benefit to getting the Cintiq 12WX, is that it's small enough that I could carry it with a laptop. So that'll save me money.

Oh, and another thing about having a tablet PC is that positioning the screen so you can draw on it covers up the keyboard, and I can't live without my keyboard shortcuts. So I'd be using the tablet PC as a sketching platform, which if I was working out of my home office that's probably what I'd be doing anyway.

If I had the money, and had the desire to have a portable digital sketching platform, still capable of painting with though (which can be done without keyboard shortcuts I suppose since I've already used the radial menu on the Cintiq to replace a few of them anyway), then I wouldn't mind a tablet PC because it really would me more comfortable to tote around than a Cintiq connected to a laptop and a wall socket, because the Cintiq needs to get it's power from somewhere. So, if you have a Cintiq at home, and have the money, a tablet PC would be great. But I wouldn't get a tablet PC to replace getting a Cintiq for home use.

Besides, if I need to sketch while I'm outside of the house that's what paper is for. [Smile]

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Charles
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I know a couple of people that bought this Hewlett Packard model of a tablet PC laptop and are very happy with it.

http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/computer_can_series.do?storeName=computer_store &category=notebooks&a1=Category&v1=Ultra-Portable&series_name=tx2z_series

It comes with a stylus, can be utilized like a Cintiq or VisTablet, or you can use your fingers on the screen like an iPhone, has a free upgrade to 4 gigs of ram and a 360 gig hard drive, and is generally reviewed well. The fellow I know who just bought one is very happy with it and takes it with him to draw wherever he goes. A girl I know uses it for doing fast line cleanups in Illustrator. It has a powerful battery and can be upgraded from that. Plus it goes for a reasonable price.

To me it's amazing that this kind of artist friendly technology is emerging. Plus, you don't have to worry about sacrificing trees for paper if that's important to you. Creating directly into a digital format.

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EustaceScrubb
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I'm really happy with my 21" Cintiq, but would like to get a more portable tablet .

I've looked into the Axiotron Modbook Pro , but it is WAY out of my price range (too much of a niche market item, I suppose. If only *Apple would manufacture an actual Tablet Mac , not requiring expensive "modification" like the Axiotron models.)

Animator Chad Essley has a tablet PC blog with reviews:

Chad's Tablet PC blog

He seems to like the Sahara i440D tablet pc a lot.


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*I hear that Apple is finally about to introduce a tablet, but it probably won't be a tablet Macbook Pro with 15" or 17" inch screen ... it's rumored to be a 10" screen tablet running iPhone OS. I'm sure it will be very nice , but not for me . I want the larger screen (at least a 13" or 15" screen like Macbook) and I'd like it to run Mac OS 10.5 (which can be dual-booted into Windows if need be , via Apple's Bootcamp .) With at tablet running the iPhone OS I don't think it will run any of my mainstay drawing/animating applications like TVPaint, Sketchbook Pro, or Photoshop , etc. so what good is it to me ?

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Charles
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That's all very helpful, thanks for your input. If you have something to add or contribute to the topic please keep it coming.

My friend with the HP I'm referring to was using it to draw in Sketchbook Pro. There didn't seem to be any perceivable or noticable lag in the line from the digitizing pen. For the price he paid I was impressed with the computer.

Here's a demo of an HP tablet, although it's not the same model. It's the one that preceeded the ones they producing now. The music is kind of meloncholy but you get an idea of what it's like as a drawing utility. I'm featuring this video since it's not sped up. You get a real time feel for what it's like to draw on one of these.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUSbwKAuKWc

Someone else I know bought a Toshiba tablet laptop. It was more expensive. Here's a demo I found of a Toshiba tablet being used for car design sketching. It does a nice job even though it has significantly less memory and CPU speed than the HP. The artist is using Photoshop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5YtE5aLoL4

Both of these videos were recorded last year and as good as this looks I'm certain the technology has improved since then.

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Plai
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Touchscreen computing is where it's at, especially for creative peeps. Here at Plai we're programming our first app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Me personally, Dream will be my first software project. Putting it together and designing how it will work definitely made me realize the potential tablets have for artists. I don't mean to plug it in too much but i really can't wait to show you guys what we've been working on.

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Charles
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Anxious to see it!

Project this technology about 10 years and imagine where we'll be with it.

One of the things I find intriguing is the system this affords. For example, my friend was drawing on his HP tablet in a restaurant. From there, he could take his sketch and send it via the Internet to an assistant who will take it from there and put the finish touches on through their tablet. A mode of production systems based upon complete mobility and at the touch of a finger no less. Imagine completely mobile animation studios or comic book companies. You don't even need an office, it's one artist with their mobile finger tip production system connected to every one else with theirs.

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Mr. Fun
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I'm enjoying the Cintiq, and it's pretty much doing the job for me. I'm looking forward to what Apple has forthcoming in the tablet area. I hear it's about to happen soon.

As much as digital is a pretty cool thing, I still find myself drawing on paper from time to time.

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