Pen tablet maker Wacom introduced the latest version of its popular Wacom Intuos Pro pen tablet and, from the specifications, it raises the bar for pen-based input when editing yet again.
I have used Wacom pen tablets since the days of Apple ABS connectors after observing how my designer coworkers suffered so much from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, RSI or whatever the current term is for skeleto-muscular overuse and have only had such problems myself when employers refused permission to take my Wacoms into the office.
Wacom pen tablets do more than allay repetitive overuse injuries and this latest version of the Intuos Pro is very tempting indeed. I have a small Intuos 5 Touch, which looks very close to the Intuos Pro S, on this desk in my photography and video editing workroom, and there are Bamboo pen tablets attached to two other computers here.
My older Wacoms have found homes with grateful non-creative owners who had never used anything but a conventional mouse then developed overuse pain and injuries. I always make the point that anybody can benefit from relying on pen tablets as their primary pointing and clicking device. I have seen the benefits in action many times.
Some people, however, never seem to get the hang of using pen tablets, which is a real pity, or outright reject the idea of giving up the mouse. I have no answer for the naysayers, but I suspect the reason some cannot abide tablets is this, that they seem to want look at the pen on their tablet, move it, look up at their computer monitor, check what they have done, look back at the pen, make a move, and so on.
Doing all that is enough to wear anyone out. Watching it has certainly made me feel exhausted. The answer, for those with enough resolve, is simply to look only at the monitor while moving the pen over the tablet in the very same way that people learn how to use a mouse.
There are alternatives too. Wacom also makes a range of monitors that you can directly draw upon, at a number of price points, under the MobileStudio and Cintiq names. I haven’t tried any of them yet but I certainly hope to.
Although my current Wacoms are small, my very first was a large model. I replaced it with a smaller one when I began travelling and have stuck with small ones ever since for the sake of travel and commuting while carrying 15-inch Mac Book Pros.
Now that I am editing on an iMac 27-inch 5K Retina computer in my home office, I am wondering whether it is time to give a medium or large Wacom a go once again. This standing desk has enough space from front to rear and left to right to accomodate larger input devices as well as two monitors next to the iMac.
I used to know a top graphic designer/magazine art director who had a curved multi-level desk with side arms custom-built to hold the biggest pen tablet he could get, but he always sat to work. I prefer the many health benefits of standing. I am glad this desk is larger and more versatile than any I was given when working in agency and corporate offices.
Header photoillustration aka featured image created for this website in Affinity Photo by Karin Gottschalk. Product photographs kindly supplied by Wacom.