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Graphics Tablets, Tablet Computers and Tracing Graphics

I got an interesting note from a loyal reader recently. It contained some misconceptions, some horrendous advice and a desire to improve a common task. Let’s go over each of those items and hopefully I can clear it all up.

One thing I’ve advised over and over and over is that all graphics software users should have a Wacom tablet. Most recently in New Wacom Intuos Tablets Give Designers Creativity. This reader did indeed get a Wacom tablet but gave up because it locked up his computer. If something is locking up your computer, it is likely a bad driver. Read Updated Hardware Drivers Provide Better Performance for more details on this issue.

So this reader ask someone at a store and was told by the clueless store employee to get an iPad to run CorelDRAW. That is absolutely horrible advice since CorelDRAW requires Windows to run. An Android-based tablet would be equally bad advice for that specific task. Therefore the reader was asking me if the Microsoft Surface was the answer. While it can run CorelDRAW, I don’t think it is the best choice for doing real work.

I asked the reader what task needed to be accomplished and the answer was to make tracing easier. Many users assume that they will just trace something on the tablet and it will get better results in less time. Yes, tracing is easier with a tablet. But not because you are directly tracing with the pen, but rather because it gives you better control when using the Bezier tool.

To better understand the benefits of a tablet, read Getting Comfortable With a Graphics Tablet. For those who want to truly improve the speed and accuracy of tracing graphics, I recommend you get a copy of the Vectorizing Bitmaps in CorelDRAW Success Kit. It covers a number of techniques for tracing and none of them involve drawing directly over the original with a mouse or a tablet.

The key tool to understand and master is the Bezier tool. When you’ve done that, you’ll find your traces will improve and they will take less time.

About Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III
Foster D. Coburn III is the author of thirteen books on CorelDRAW, the latest being CorelDRAW X6 Unleashed. He has been a contributor to numerous magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site and many more, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics and Web conferences.

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One comment

  1. While I agree that CorelDraw will not run on an iPad or Android tablet, I have been using CorelDraw X7 on a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (i5, 8GB) for 18 months with no issues. In fact, when I first tested the SP3 between my high-end notebook and high-end desktop, I noticed no hiccups from the Surface Pro 3.

    I purchased the Surface Pro 3 for the touch pen capabilities so I can more precisely use PhotoPaint. I’ve used a Wacom in the past and just could not get used to it. The Surface is more natural to use.

    I just ordered the Surface Pro 4 (i7, 16GB) which will improve my experience even more.

    One of the things I really like about the Surface Pro is the fact that it is so portable and I can be working on a project anywhere. It offers much more freedom than a notebook. I do use a docking station with a second monitor, which does make the desk experience much better.

    As a daily user of CorelDraw for over 20 years, and a Surface Pro 3 user for 18 months, I can safely say that the Microsoft tablet is more than capable of running the CorelDraw X7 Suite.

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