Wacom's Graphire3

One might call Wacom a heavyweight in the field of computer drawing/writing tablets. They offer an extensive array of tablet choices to fit the needs of their consumers, from the entry level Graphire3 to the mid-range Intuos2 and the heavy duty Cintiq. For the purposes of this article, however, the humble Graphire3 suffices to show Wacom's capabilities as tablet makers.

The Graphire3 comes with a pen, a mouse, a tablet, and software, including the driver CD and a software bundle CD (which includes Adobe Photoshop Elements 1.0, procreate Painter Classic by Corel, and penPalette LE by nik multimedia). This software lineup is well-suited for artistic endeavors, although professionals will want to have their own copies of Photoshop or Illustrator to truly let the tablet shine. The tablet itself is 8 in. x 8 in., but the working space only covers 4 in. x 5 in.

The mouse has no ball, rather the tablet tracks the motion of the mouse the same way it tracks the pen. Like many standard mice, this mouse comes with two buttons and a wheel. The pen looks and feels like a regular pen might, except for the button near the tip on the side. Neither the mouse nor the pen requires batteries (a major plus). The pen or mouse functions by receiving an electrostatic signal from the tablet. This power signal charges a small capacitor inside the pen or mouse. Once charged, it activates a transmitter that sends out a signal to indicate pen pressure level and/or button use from the pen or mouse. Very shortly after sending the power signal, the tablet changes to receiving mode. The tablet then acts as a receiver for the output supplied by the pen or mouse. It uses the data sent to verify pressure and/or button position and determines location by pin-pointing what part of the tablet is getting the strongest signal. Thus, no batteries required. For this bit of hardware, the damage is about $100. A larger Graphire3 tablet that has an 8 in. x 6 in. working space runs about $200.

An Introduction to Digital Tablets The Hyperpen 8000U
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  • holymaniac - Monday, December 15, 2003 - link

    Does anyone know of any pen that does not hover or that you can adjust the hover so that it only works when touching the pad?
    I hate the hover feature on my wacom intuit2 tablet. It always seems like it is loose.
  • DXM - Wednesday, December 10, 2003 - link

    #15, I suggest you look up the difference between "accuracy" (line placement) and "precision" (your dpi comparison). I'll give you a hint, they're not the same.

    But anyways, my question has been answered (thanks Doop) and I have no interest in continuing to hold a discussion with a man/boy who's only method of rebuttal is to insult and flame.
  • pcpimp - Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - link


    >> it was about acuracy

    use the extra room you are given on the larger tablets. otherwise it's a handicapped test. look at the friggin test images! they are different sizes

    >>It also seems that the only time the author >>mentions using a mouse to do any photoshop work is

    nope, read it, especially for the aiptek. it seems she 'only' tries the mouse before giving up? wtf?

    >>would not understand that "multiple trips to the >>history menu" means going to the little bar that >>says history and undoing things.

    My point was, any normal person would use alt-z, and probably not even have palettes on especially for this operation. Why is a photoshop newbie reviewing a graphics tablet? Does my grandma test drive race cars?

    >>>And even simpler than hitting E is flipping over your pen

    laughing my ass off. you just lost your cursor position and it is slower. speed matters when you have work to do. you switch to every other tool using keyboard in photoshop.

    >>The aiptek and the wacom cost EXACTLY the same price

    really laughing now. the 8x6 aiptek is 1/2 the 8x6 graphire. who didn't read?

    >>And for the final blow, you call the author a he even though Laura is a female name

    I dont care what she is why is why are photoshop newbs doing anandtech tablet reviews?

  • bobolicious - Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - link


    I think you're the idot here man ... you might have read the article before making yourself look like an ass.

    First off, the trace test wasn't about DPI, it was about acuracy. From the test, any one can see that the wacom draws draws lines on the screen that are more acurate to the lines drawn on the pad. I also think using a fixed sized image for tracing gives a very good indication of how different sized tablets map to real world mechanics: moving a short distance on a small tablet covers the same area as moving a long distance on a large one. I think the images make it easier to really grok what that means.

    It also seems that the only time the author mentions using a mouse to do any photoshop work is when the Aiptek 8000 tablet fails to be able to do the simple task of cutting and pasting a couple images. Obviously the tests done on these tablets were to test the functionality of the pen, and the reason for talking about the mice included with the tablets was to indicate that they could or do not do exactly the same thing as a normal ps/2 mouse (to which the answer is an astounding 'no' for the aiptek 8000u tablet). Even you admit to not using the tablets supplied mouse.

    I don't understand how anyone who's ever touched photoshop would not understand that "multiple trips to the history menu" means going to the little bar that says history and undoing things. And even simpler than hitting E is flipping over your pen and using it like an pencil eraser (which the aiptek cannot do). The fewer the keyboard shortcuts and on screen buttons I need to press, the more productive I'll be in any application.

    And for the clencher of your retardation, may I submit this for your approval:

    "I dont think anyone thinks an aiptek is technically superior to a wacom just like a duron compared to a p4ee but for a value buyers guide I expect a lot better discussion!"

    Ummm ... its a value buyers guide -> The aiptek and the wacom cost EXACTLY the same price -> The review shows that you can have a "technically superior" tablet (your words AND what the review implies) instead of a pile of dog excrement. I think that in that sense, you couldn't get a better review: even the defensive aiptek fanboi (how embarrassing is it to be /that guy/) is admitting his product is inferior to a product that costs exactly the same ammount of money. While still saying the review is bad. Beautiful.

    And for the final blow, you call the author a he even though Laura is a female name in every culture I know.

    Try reading before you stick your foot in your mouth next time.
  • pcpimp - Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - link

    in all seriousness...since drawing on screen without looking on your hand takes a decent amount of time to get used to, although still you should show an on screen trace test as well, maybe after a few runs with each tablet to get used to it, for the physical trace test at least make proper sized printouts of your sheet (that corresponds to the active area of each pad). you need to take in consideration the larger sizes of the tablets which mean your hand doesnt have to be held as precise all the time. and on your trace test, as in your other test, it seems like you are testing the mouse more than the stylus. wtf! the mouse is just there when you arent using gfx apps.

    finally, I seriously am shaking my head at the photoshop page. I have no idea why you are even using the mice on any tablet at all in this test. you use stylus (And keyboard with your other hand) in photoshop period. there are so many things here that make no sense to a photoshop user, like "multiple trips to the history menu"
    and "Wacom's Graphire3 didn't even require using the eraser tool from the side bar" (tried pressing E? it's a lot faster!) I see no mention of what monitor size you have. the larger monitor you have you want a larger pad or it feels really wierd.

    anyway nice idea anandtech I think tablets are must have for serious photoshop users, they save a ton of time. however, next time get a reviewer with some experience with the topic. I dont think anyone thinks an aiptek is technically superior to a wacom just like a duron compared to a p4ee but for a value buyers guide I expect a lot better discussion! by the way, aiptek doesnt work well on linux at the moment, I Think wacoms are better supported in Xfree86. If you like to run photoshop under linux or something :)
  • pcpimp - Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - link

    13, you are an idiot. did you notice the images were different sizes? duh! of course the smallest tablet is going to have the highest dpi. that test only works when the tablets are the same size you dolt! on different sized pads, trace the image on screen, in a second layer in photoshop! duh! but reading the laughable photoshop adventures of the reviewer I doubt he would even be able to figure that out!
  • Doop - Monday, December 8, 2003 - link

    I think the Intuos 2 has twice the resolution and twice the pressure sensitivity...
  • DXM - Monday, December 8, 2003 - link

    The Wacom Graphire3 looks pretty good according to the review. Does anyone know what the absolute differences between the Intuos2 and Graphire3?

    #12, get a clue. The reviewer traced a drawing for a reproducible image so you could compare the accuracy of the tablets.
  • pcpimp - Monday, December 8, 2003 - link

    by the way, do I need to mention how silly it is to do a fixed size tracing test on different sized tablets? hello! try doing ON SCREEN drawing like you would if you were DRAWING.

  • pcpimp - Monday, December 8, 2003 - link

    Uh, this so called 'artist' reviewer needs a clue...if I'm coughing up money for a wacom I'd better see a lot better review than this....I've had a hyperpen 8000 for over two years (was $99 at the time as well) and I clean up my scans and color them in photoshop and it works great...can not STAND using mice in photoshop again...you know you work zoomed in on that stuff (no need to strain your eyes looking for single pixels) and you move fast as hell so if you're talking hairline resolution differences who cares...pressure sensitivity is a different matter although again, the aiptek works ok for me there. btw on my second AAA battery for the stylus, and dont use the mouse, I just plop my ball ps/2 mouse on top of it when not doing gfx stuff and works fine.

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