Photoshop Power Tab Vs Paupers Paint Pad

Darlo compares Photoshop, Paint, a laptop finger pad, and a Wacom graphics tablet.

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Anna made with Photoshop and the finger pad

Anna made with Photoshop and the finger pad

What do you do when you’ve got no money, an old laptop, and a desire to be creative? On the reverse side, what do you do if you’ve got a few hundred pounds to burn? Should you splash out on that nice new Wacom graphics tablet, or opt for the rather spiffy Adobe Photoshop? You could even really push the boat out and go for both. But what would be better? Will the fact you can use a pen-like input device mean that your pictures will come out crisper and better than if you use your finger squidged against a finger pad? Or can the bog-standard Microsoft Paint cut it against the mouth watering, multi-layered wonder of CS2?

Anna drawn in Paint using the laptop finger pad

Anna drawn in Paint using the laptop finger pad

Let’s just make some quick comparisons before we get onto the meaty creativity. The laptop I’m using is five years old. It’s old, slow, sticky, and it’s going to die at any minute now. It doesn’t have a mouse so the finger pad’s right at the keyboard for quick access and after five years I’ve gotten pretty used to it. My graphics tablet is a Wacom Graphire 4 A5 tablet. Its USB connection means that it is usable from the moment you plus it in. It matches its touch area to your screen, so where you point your stylus is where you see your pointer on the screen, unlike the finger pad where you have to drag it everywhere. Microsoft Paint is an old favourite and comes as standard on the majority of Windows PCs (even the mighty Windows Vista makes room for paint1).

Anna drawn in Photoshop using a graphics tablet

Anna drawn in Photoshop using a graphics tablet

Adobe Photoshop on the other hand is a little bit more expensive than free. Most shops now are selling version CS3 of Photoshop, though GenStar2 currently have a student MAC CS2 version at just over £100. Paint loads up nice and quickly, whereas with Photoshop I find it convenient that I have time to make a cup of tea and come back to find it just loaded up.

In each of the pictures I’ve drawn one of my characters, Anna. However in each picture I put her in a different pose. This way, methods I used later on didn’t benefit from my practicing of drawing the same picture over and over. You’ll also see how I experimented with different techniques within each both Paint and Photoshop in order to get different results. This includes different ways to achieve backgrounds.

Anna drawn in Paint using a graphics tablet

Anna drawn in Paint using a graphics tablet

Sources

  1. Personal conversation with Daniel Murray, 2007.
  2. http://www.genstar.co.uk/products.asp?recnumber=4241

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