View Full Version : Transparent tablet, and other budget sollutions

10 October 2004, 04:05 PM
I have been looking at Tablet PCs and Cintiqs now for a long time, whishing that I could buy one. Unfortunately the prices are far out of my reach. The sad thing is that I have never been truly satisfied with normal tablets. I want to look at my pen tip and see what I am drawing. First of all, let me ask here in this forum... does anyone know a budget alternative that features look-where-you-draw behaviour? After searching the net I start to believe that the answer to my question is No.

Well then... what do poor guys like me do in this frustrating situation? We start to think of new inventions and home made sollutions. Have you guys ever heard of such a thing as a transparent tablet? I mean of course one that has a transparent drawing area. With such a thing one could place it on a CRT or TFT screen and that would be heaven to me :)

Another home made sollution would be to project an image onto a tablet using a standard video projector. Unfortunately they don't come for cheap either.

Other than that my mind has been playing with mirrors, tablets and screens, but that's just nasty.

So, please let me know if you have any ideas...

10 October 2004, 06:45 PM
I've used plain ole paper on my aiptek. Also a copy of something I want to draw.

10 October 2004, 10:14 PM
just pretend that the cursor on your screen is the tip of your pen, and wait ten years for tablet pc's price to drop

10 October 2004, 10:46 PM
tablet pc's cursors don't exactly match up with the pen tip anyway. In my experience they really bug me, so my advice would be to not worry too much about it and practice your plain-ol stylus skills.

10 October 2004, 11:01 PM
have you tried the ink pen (I think wacom call it the stroke pen?) and tape some paper to your tablet...

10 October 2004, 11:59 AM
Well, the ink pen would only get me half-way there, or actually not even that far. I still wouldn't see the actual effect of my strokes underneath the tip of my pen.

If there is no such thing as a transparent tablet, then is there at least such a thing as a tablet with high distance range?.. as in it can sense the pen position even when held quite a distance away from the tablet. I'm thinking of putting a tablet behind a TFT screen. Desktop screens are still rather thick, but how about one of those super slim laptop screens? Anyone tried this before? I have, but in my case the screen was still too thick for the tablet's range.

Or how about something like those sensors that you attach to the corners of a screen (including CRT) to detect where a finger touches the screen (yeah, basically a kind of touch screen) combined with a pressure sensitive pen that somehow sends signals to the computer about the pressure. Or... am I spinning out of line here? Already too technical for this kind of forum? Maybe I should just do what was suggested and wait until the real thing drops in price.

I'm just a bit surprised/disappointed that there are no low-budget alternatives to the Cintiq.:sad:

10 October 2004, 07:38 PM
You couldn't make a tablet transparent because you need an array of wires to act as an antenna and broadcast current to the pen. The wires are actually sandwiched very tightly behind the LCD element in a Cintiq or tablet PC.

Honestly, my advice is just to get used to not looking where you're drawing. Electronic paper will probably start to offer some solutions to your problem within the next ten years, but until then . . .

10 October 2004, 08:25 PM
Well, the ink pen would only get me half-way there, or actually not even that far. I still wouldn't see the actual effect of my strokes underneath the tip of my pen.

you would if you looked up at your monitor. THe difference you are talking about is looking at a cursor versus looking at your hand.

if its the angle of looking up away from your hand that bothers you have you tried lying your monitor down with the tablet just below it ..then you'd only be offset by ~10 degrees as opposed to 90.

At least the cintiq exists but until you get one then learn to look up. The sooner you start the sooner you'll adjust

personally I prefer sketching on paper and scanning to start with ( but my scanner is dead now)

10 October 2004, 09:16 PM
May I ask how long you have been working with a normal tablet? Since thise things you mention are really things that bugged me too in the beginning, along with the surface of the tablet. However, within 2 weeks using it a few hours a day I didn't even notice anymore. It became just another tool like pencils etc.

in the beginning sketching on paper and then scanning may help indeed. I find it still very hard to draw a straight line on a tablet.

10 October 2004, 09:12 AM
I have _had_ a tablet for many years now, but to be frank I don't use it very often. When I use it I feel that there is something missing when pen tip (hand) and strokes end up at different places.

However, it's encouraging to read your posts and the fact that people DO get used to it after some time. Actually it sounds like a good idea to tilt the screen down to the same angle as the tablet. I can imagine that it would feel better to draw just next to the screen. With a 19" CRT it's not very practical, so I guess it's time to buy a LCD or TFT instead, something with a generous viewing angle.

10 October 2004, 02:30 AM
One of the basic training for serious artists is blind contour drawing which will improve your hand/eye coordination. If you are serious about drawing, then you should acquire the skill. Once you get that, you will have no problem synchronizing your tablet pentip with the cursor on screen.
Regarding your belief "Actually it sounds like a good idea to tilt the screen down to the same angle as the tablet", dont see why it matters. The fact is you gain nothing by looking at the tablet because there is nothing there to see (except when you are tracing a hardcopy). Your drawing accuracy will not be improved.

PS. Have you been putting off drawing while you search for cheap alternatives for tablet PC? For a long time? If so, drawing probably is not your true passion but you felt obliged to draw for unknown reasons. If true, then some serious soul search is in order.

Good luck.

10 October 2004, 07:55 AM
Well, nafa, it's not that I am forced to draw. I like to draw, but I don't do it as often as I'm sure many of you here on this site do. I can't say I'm professional in any way, but in a long term I'm serious about it.

When I mentioned tilting a flat screen to the same plane as a tablet I didn't mean that I need to see my hand. Yes, I have given up that idea already. Still, my brain has a hard time overcoming the missmatch of drawing in one plane and seeing the result rotated 90 degrees. What I meant was that it might help to do the hand movements in the same plane as I actually draw. I'm sure that the 90 degrees offset is just a matter of training to overcome, but I will try the tilt. I could even imagine that it might be good to keep the tablet behind (or rather underneath, in tilt mode) the flat screen to further help my little brain.

10 October 2004, 11:29 AM
What I meant was that it might help to do the hand movements in the same plane as I actually draw. Yeah. Some other people had the same idea for sure, because there actually is a device you are describing. I saw it back at CeBit 2003 (or was it even 2002? I'm not sure).

Maybe someone other than me also remembers it. It was presented right before (not at) the Alias booth. Could have been some sort of a prototype from their development division. What you saw was an artist sitting on a bit futuristic looking, small table, drawing a concept of a car. The table top itself, however, was nearly one giant ~ 16:9 TFT Touch-Pen-Screen; apart from some real buttons to the right and to the left of it. The artist was drawing literally directly on the screen. IIRC, it was even pressure sensitive. So, all in all, it was like drawing with your Wacom pen directly onto the surface of your TFT.

Wouldn't mind to have one of those at home... :)

CGTalk Moderation
01 January 2006, 05:00 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.