Best Tablets for Animation
Animation tablets are an excellent tool and using one can greatly simplify your animating process. They have become an indispensable part of every animator’s toolkit, and for most professionals it’s hard to imagine getting any work done without one. And once you do get used to drawing on tablets it might be hard to go back. I’ve almost completely stopped drawing by hand and when I do I keep getting frustrated that I don’t have an undo option or an eraser, and how messy I am. It’s hard to find out which are the best animation tablets, and which option to go for; whether you should focus on prices, functions, screen size or some other factor. Listed below are different types of drawing tablets; each, in our opinion, the best choice in its price range.
The only thing that needs to be said about this 27 inch beast is that there is no better tablet in the world. Every feature is perfect, and technically, nothing can even come close, which is why it’s used in every major studio today. For details, reviews and prices click here.
An integrated 21.5 inch display, 2048 level of pressure sensitivity. If you can afford it, it’s a must buy because it offers the best price/quality ratio. For details, reviews and prices click here.
2048 level of pressure sensitivity, wireless, pen with a digital eraser. A great choice if you are looking for a more affordable solution. For details, reviews and prices click here.
10 by 6.25 inch drawing surface, 2048 level of pressure sensitivity. A great and cost effective option for beginners. For details, reviews and prices click here.
Things to Consider When Buying a Tablet for Animation
Getting used to your drawing being automatically translated onto a screen might be hard at start, but you will soon learn to appreciate the numerous advantages drawing tablets have over drawing with your hand. Tablets are very easy to use, they are compatible with both PC and Mac, and there is basically no technical knowledge you need to have to use one.
Simple Drawing Pad or Integrated Display
They come in two basic forms; drawing pads and more advanced stand-alone devices with an integrated display. The first thing you need to decide when buying a tablet for animation is which of these options will suit you best. If you are a professional, or you aim to become one, you will probably want to go for a high quality tablet with an integrated display. If you are, however, a drawing enthusiast, a simpler (cheaper) solution might be for you. Drawing pads are connected devices, and they need a separate monitor to display your work, as opposed to professional animation tablets like Wacom Cintiq with an integrated display which simplify the work and basically substitute your monitor.
Size of Animation Tablets
Secondly, you will have to choose from a variety of different display sizes, which is a very important factor. The larger the display size, the easier it will be to manipulate your images, graphics, animations, or anything else you are working on. Devices with larger surfaces will often come with higher input qualities as well. The smaller ones, on the other hand, are portable, and you can carry them around with your laptop.
The last deciding factor is pressure sensitivity. All animation tablets can register motion of your stylus pen, but what differentiates the best from the rest is their ability to respond to what you are doing. What you are looking for is the ability to create thicker line strokes when you press down harder with the tip of your stylus pen, and narrower strokes when you press lightly. Different pressure levels you can choose from are 256, 512, 1024 and 2048 (2048 representing the highest level of pressure sensitivity). Even though it’s best to go for the highest value, most people really can’t tell the difference between say 1024 and 2048, so if it’s the only difference between a cheaper and a more expensive tablet, in my opinion you should go for the cheaper one.
There are a few additional features you might want to consider when buying a drawing tablet:
- touch feature – the display reacts to your hand as well as your stylus pen (I have it on my Wacom Cintiq and I keep it turned off, so I’d reccomend you not to take touch feature as a deciding factor since I don’t find it that useful)
- eraser – some pens come with integrated erasers, but you can also buy pens with erasers separately
- pen tilt and rotation
- pen response time
When it comes to popular brands, and which brands you should trust when trying to find the best tablets for animation, Wacom is king. They are the Mercedes of drawing tablets. Their products are high quality, endurant, reliable and easy to use. Even though Wacom holds the biggest part of the market, there are other brands to consider as well. Huion is, in my opinion, one of the best choices because they offer high quality products at reasonable prices.
In the end the choice is yours. As with everything else you buy, you have to decide whether to go for a basic product, an in between, or the best one out there. Cheaper drawing tablets with less functions and lower responsiveness level might be a great option for beginners. You can use them to get accustomed to working and drawing on a tablet, and you can go for a more advanced product later on as you improve.