Well, the tablet is here and after a couple of hours of play and tweak I have several things to report. Overall the W4-large is fantastic. But it comes with a different feel some will like better than others.
The surface is not an ice-skating rink anymore, which was at first a disappointment to me and I don't know how I never noticed this at MIFA Annecy. I could easily use the Intuos 3 overlay, and believe me, I tried that and it feels like my Intuos 3 again but I decided to adapt rather than fight because there's a lot to be said about the new surface too -- it seems to be designed in a way that it matches the properties of the W4 stylus in the best way. Drawing on this surface makes it easier to be very accurate. It feels more like a pencil now than a pen but drawing with a pencil line that looks like pen and ink lines is fine with me.
By accurate drawing I mean you can draw one nice stroke extremely close to another nice stroke while keeping the smallest amount of space between the two lines and it suddenly feels like there's nothing to it and I had to wonder why I couldn't do this before W4 -- there is so much more control one gets over the pen's behavior. When I tried drawing one of those lines that have only the slightest curves to them so that they come out looking like a flat tire in the middle I couldn't make it happen anymore.
To connect my pen tip to the end of a previously made stroke with the purpose of extending the line without the addition of a second stroke showing, is very natural now. It's just easy -- like doing it with a real pencil.
The sensitivity settings are more pronounced now; when I add pressure to my pen the thickening of the line appears with grace instead of force. It's elegant looking and feels very natural because I can sense that I have far more control over the pressure.
The software looks EXACTLY like the W3 software looks because it IS the same -- it just has the addition of another tablet showing and with it a new arrangement of tablet buttons. It makes sense that all the buttons are on one side because I don't run into the right side buttons by accident anymore when I draw close to the right edge. They feel a little stiffer but I'm sure I won't know about it tomorrow. Whatever commands you give the buttons now show up very elegantly on the tablet itself in back lit letters right next to the button. That is cool because I have the buttons programmed to Vegas and TVP and it's nice to be reassured at a glance that the commands have indeed changed.
The rotating button is no great shakes -- too cumbersome, just like the straight ones on the Intuos 3; a more or less useless gimmick like the oil brush in TVPaint. There are small niceties too, such as a better designed cup for the pen which doesn't fall over and holds inside the spare nibs. There are several kinds of nibs (four I think) which come in the package. One can mark each pen by screwing in one of the four different colors of rings instead of plastering the pen with sticky tapes.
The mouse has finally been improved. It works like a real mouse with four buttons and a scroll wheel which acts as the fifth button but before you faint away with joy listen to this: It still won't work with TVP. Can this ever be corrected TVP people?
So there we are; worth every penny for this animator. If you draw a lot I say it's worth saving money for. If you draw a lot for a living I say it's worth ordering on the spot because you can afford it -- $ 430 isn't all that much anymore -- except that each new pen costs 70 bucks -- now THAT's a show stopper!
Last edited by Paul Fierlinger
on Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.