Graphics tablet is an input device similar in appearance to a tablet computer but its functionally it is different . It is used to draw images and graphics using a stylus (looks like a pen) like how we draw pictures on a piece of paper using a pen or pencil.It is also called digitizer as it is also used to scan or trace the image on a piece of paper.It is mainly used by the cartoonists for drawing the figures.There are many companies who manufacture the graphic tablets like Havon Co,IBall,Kanvus Co,Wacom co etc.
Wacom co is the most popular company in making different types or versions of graphic tablets like Bamboo,Intuos,Cintiq,Inkling etc.Bamboo version is the cheapest and is ideal for a beginner level or amateur artist and the commonly used models are Bamboo Create, Bamboo Capture, Bamboo Splash and Bamboo Connect.Intuos is designed for professional artist or cartoonist and offers 5080 inches per resolution.Clintiq is a hybrid and advanced graphics tablet which has a built in LCD display so that the user can draw on the surface directly.Inkling was launched in the year 2011 to convert the images on paper to digital one. All the tablets versions have a USB dongle for connecting it to computer.
There are many softwares available for these tablets and the popular ones are given below.Some of the softwares are bundled with the device while the rest has to be purchased or freely available.
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1. Adobe Photoshop / Photoshop Elements
Adobe is the leader for the past several years in providing the painting and illustration not only for PCs but also for the graphic tablets. Photoshop is used by many of the professional artists or graphic designers for editing,drawing and adding effects to images.It has many features like creating fuller panoramas,recomposing to any size without affecting the original look,various editing modes,creating rich layers,layer masks,stylish fonts,applying comic or novel effects,special effects etc. It runs on both Windows and Mac OS.
2. Corel Painter
Corel Painter is one of the leading software for painting and illustration and is developed by Corel corporation . The most interesting feature in latest version Corel Painter 3 is the RealBristle™ technology which uses the angle and the pressure of the stylus pen for controlling the color and effects of the image. The other features are Brush Search engine,Stroke preview,Jitter brushes,Advanced Brush Controls,Brush tracking,Cloning workflow,transforming multiple layers at a time,Memory optimization,Flow Maps,Custom palettes,Customizable surface texturing etc.It runs on both Windows and Mac OS. It also has other softwares like CorelDraw,PaintShop,PhotoImpact etc.
3. Nik Color Efex Pro
Nik Color Efex Pro is developed by Nik Software and is an add on to Photoshop or Photoshop Elements for correcting colors,retouching the image and adding creative effects to the image.It uses various types of filters for achieving the above things.It runs on both Windows and Mac OS.
4. Sketchbook Pro
Sketchbook pro is a product of the company Autodesk Inc and is a professional painting software for the artists.It has got more than 100 illustration tools which can be customized to our needs. It also has other features like Vibrant colors and Copic® Color System,Annotate and iterate quickly with layers etc.It runs on both Windows and Mac OS.Both personal and business version is available for this software.
ArtRage is a painting and illustration tool for various platforms and is developed by AmbientDesign Ltd.It is suited for beginner as well as experienced artists and the main features include painting symmetry,natural painting tools,special effect tools like cloner,gloop pen etc,sticker sprays,tracing images,creating scraps and views etc.The latest version ArtRage4 supports the Wacom stylus pen and adjusts the image by using Pressure,Tilt, Airbrush Wheel and Barrel Rotation of the stylus pen.It runs both on Windows and Mac OS.
6. Studio Artist
Studio Artist is the product of Synthetik Software and has many features like Auto Rotoscoping,Vectorizer,Time-Based Effects,Morphing Warping,Supersizer,Thousands of Presets,MSG Evolution,1000’s of Editable Visual Effects etc. It provides full support for all Wacom tablets and runs both on Windows and Mac OS.
GIMP or (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is one of the best open source environment for painting and illustration of images.It has many add-on scripts which helps to use the software in graphic tablets. The main features include brushes,layered images,path tools etc. It runs on Windows,Linux and Mac OS.
Inkscape is a open source graphics illustrator tool which is noted for its Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format and calligraphy tool and advanced features like clones,markers,alpha bending ,etc.It is similar to Corel Painter in functionality. The calligraphy tool effects can be best used with a graphic tablet.It runs on Windows,Linux and Mac OS.
Blender is a popular freeware for adding 3D effects to the images in the graphics tablet. The software is developed by Blender foundation and runs on Windows,Linux and Mac OS. The main features include Character modeling,rigging,solids modeling,rendering,shading,real-time 3D etc.It fully supports all the versions of Wacom tablets.
Mudbox is developed by Autodesk inc for creating 3D effects to the images.The main features include Professional digital sculpting toolset,Paint directly onto 3D models,retopology tools, Texture baking etc.It has many brushes designed specifically for using with the graphics tablet.It runs on Windows,Linux and Mac OS