If you are a 3D artist you will eventually need a tablet in order to create great 3D art; sure you may be able to get by with just a mouse for some time, but if you want to take your art to the next level you will eventually have to buy a drawing tablet. This post is not to question whether or not you need a tablet, but about which tablet you should get. Before I move on I want to clarify that the contents of this post are purely based on my opinion and experience.
So which drawing tablet should you get? There are many options online, but the most common tablets are made by Wacom. There are many other brands out there, but for the purpose of this post I will focus on the Wacom brand drawing tablets. My opinions are based on the type of tablets I currently use, and have used, for 3D art at home and professionally at work.
My first drawing tablet was a Wacom Bamboo Pen tablet, it has a very small drawing surface, but it is easy to set up. I purchased this tablet back in 2009 and believe it or not I am still using it for 3D art, at home, to this day. The fact that the drawing surface is limited did not affect its usability and, in my situation, it was a good thing because it is lightweight and easy to store. At the time of purchase, the cost of this tablet was around 40 - 60 dollars. As of the writing of this post, the cost of the tablet has gone up, at least on Amazon. This specific drawing tablet cannot be purchased on the official Wacom website because it was released many years ago.
My other experiences with drawing tablets have been at my place of work. I have had access to working with the Wacom Intous Pro tablet and with a Wacom Cintiq 22 Inch Touch. The current Wacom Intuos Pro tablet is currently priced at 499.99 US dollars on the main Wacom website. This is typically the type of tablet you will have access to in a work environment, as it has been in my experience. This pro tablet has a lot more features than the cheaper Wacom Bamboo tablet I mentioned earlier. It also has a larger surface in which to draw on. The price tag is a little high in my opinion and I personally don't feel too much of a difference going from the Intuos Pro the my Bamboo tablet at home. I find that the added features are nice to have, but absolutely not a must.
The other tablet I had access to at work was a Wacom Cintiq Touch 22 inch, the current version of this is currently selling for $1,699.95 on the main Wacom website. This is definitively a top of the line tablet; the main pros are the amount of drawing surface and the fact that you can draw directly on the screen. It also has the same features that the Intous Pro has plus a few more. Again, I personally didn't find these features to be a necessity. The only small complain I have about this tablet is that the surface can get a little warm during long stretches of use. I would definitely not advice anyone to buy this tablet unless they have already used it before, be it at work or borrowed from a friend, simply because the price tag is really high.
If you are relatively new to digital art I would advice going with an entry point drawing tablet such as the Wacom Bamboo line. I still use the Wacom Bamboo I purchased almost a decade ago, and personally I don't feel a huge difference between it and the other, more expensive tablets. I personally don't think a very expensive tablet is worth the price tag, but I have met artists who swear they feel the difference between a cheap and expensive drawing tablet. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference and how much you are willing to spend.
Personally, if I had to replace my current home drawing tablet, I would probably buy the most current version of the Wacom Bamboo line which as of the writing of this post is the Wacom Bamboo CTL471 Pen Tablet. Another tablet I would probably take a closer look at would be the Huion H610 Pro Graphic Drawing Tablet because it has some great reviews.
What do you think? What Drawing Tablets have you tried? Which was your favorite and why?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!