Best Tablet for 3D Modeling


I saw a tablet ina video where you can use a pen to model, but use your hands to adjust stuff like view etc. The tablet was never named and I wanted to know if anyone knows of something similar


“Best” is highly subjective. It can often depend on your needs, comfort level, and budget. Over the past 35 years, I’ve owned a fairly large number of tablets. Here are my observations.

For poly modeling, a traditional 3-button mouse is really all that you need. Some people are quite adept at modeling with a tablet. However, I find that a mouse works better given the number of menus you’ll encounter. Additionally, in certain situations, a mouse can offer you a greater degree of fine control. You don’t have to go fancy or expensive with your mouse choice, but you should find one that is comfortable to work with for long stretches. If you’ve got RSI issues, a good ergonomic mouse is a must. I use a Logitech MX Master 2S myself. Big. Chunky. Wireless. Works on all surfaces.

To the meat of your question…

Tablets come in most handy when you’re performing tasks such as texturing, drawing/painting, or sculpting. Choosing a tablet is a bit personal and I’ll tell you why.

SIZE: Everybody’s stroke is different. Some people have a lot of elbow action. Others work mostly from the wrist. Still, others prefer large sweeping motions that emanate from the shoulder. Take notice of your own drawing style. If you’re a wrist-y, a small form tablet is probably most comfortable for you. If you find that working on a piece regular 8.5"x11" paper is in where you shine, a medium sized tablet would be a good fit for you. If, however, you’re used to working with big canvases, anything smaller than a large tablet will cramp your style.

PRICE: Bigger size? More features? Bigger brand name? Bigger sticker price. That’s pretty much how it goes. A tablet can cost you anywhere from $50-$3k depending on your needs.

BRAND: The industry standard is Wacom. They’ve been around for decades. They’re sturdy, fully featured, and well supported. The drivers are also rock solid. To be clear, they’re not the only game in town. You can also get a tablet from a lesser known brand such as UGEE, Huion, & XP-Pen. Some of them might be bit less robust than a Wacom, but they’re also generally much cheaper. Just read the product reviews. Results may vary. Some are great. Others… less so.

FEATURES: As a bare minimum, you should look for the following qualities: Batter-free pen. At least 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. 3-buttons on the pen. (Tip, Eraser, & Barrel) Side oriented, customizable buttons on the tablet itself. Matte, paper-like feel to the drawing surface. More money will buy you more features, of course. Tablets with built-in monitors are a thing, but they can set you back anywhere from $1k-$2k, generally speaking.

MODEL: I’m a big fan of Wacom tablets. That’s what I’ll speak to. Beware of the Wacom One, Wacom Bamboo, or any of the other more basic tablets. They’re cheaper to be sure, but the top orientation of the buttons on the tablet are a pain in the butt. They place your hand in a pretty unnatural position at times. Gripping a tablet from the side and hitting the buttons with your thumb is less pain inducing from my experience. Feature-wise, I would consider the Wacom Intuos Pro (small) to be your baseline. It meets all of the basic criteria and can be had for as little as $150. A comparable Huion might only cost you $50. I can’t vouch for it though. Never used one. Personally, I use two tablets. The first is a run of the mill Wacom Intuos Pro. The other is a Wacom Cintiq 22HD pen display. Whatever you choose, don’t spend too much until you know that a tablet is right for your needs.

APP SUPPORT: Wacom tablets are universally supported. I haven’t run into a major app that supports tablets, but not the Wacom brand. On the other hand, some of the lesser known brands might be a little more hit or miss. Strokes might be jittery. You might get some lag. Not all buttons might function. The tablet might not work at all - in that specific app. Do your research. At the very least, make sure that the following apps are thoroughly supported: ZBrush, Photoshop, Substance Painter, Krita, Corel Painter, Blender, Gimp, Sketchbook, Illustrator, & Inkscape. Again, Wacom tablets “just work” right out of the box in all tablet supporting apps. If you prefer a non-Wacom brand or that’s all that you can afford, be sure that it’ll work with the apps you use or need most. IOW, know your needs.

TOUCH: Meh. It’s kind of a gimmick, tbh. Some people love it. Even with good palm rejection, I tend to turn it off. I just find touch to be annoying. The pen feels more natural to me. If you feel differently, just be aware that multi-touch capabilities on the Wacom Intuos brand only exist in the Pro line. Entry level Intuos tablets don’t include touch capabilities.


Here are a few tablets to choose from:

BTW: Don’t be afraid of getting a refurbished tablet, especially Wacom brand. They’re certified and work as well as the new ones. In many case, they’re inspected much more thoroughly. They tend to come in unassuming generic boxes, but they’re full featured, pristine, and come with everything a pricier new tablet would - down to the free software. (The above Wacom Intuos Pro Small would normally retail for 2x the price if you bought it new. FYI.) I bought a refurbished/renewed Wacom tablet that once lasted me for 7 years. I only retired it when the hardware standards shifted from serial port to USB. Otherwise, it still worked like new.

One last caveat. Beware non-Wacom tablets for one reason. The prices are good. The features are (more or less) comparable. You might even find them to be as durable. HOWEVER, good luck finding a replacement pen if yours breaks. Some brands don’t sell replacements or make it very hard for you to get one. Research replacement pens if you’re considering a non-Wacom tablet. Huion sells replacements, but not all non-Wacom brands do. Best to find out early on.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


First off, Madame Scam/Spam-bot, create your own thread. Second, advertising writing services with such a poorly written “ad” will get you nowhere. Google Translate could come up with a more coherent set of sentences.


cooke: That Huion tablet has only TWO buttons - can you recommend one with 3? (What’s a “Barrel”, anyhow?) And what are “Side oriented” and " customizable buttons"?


cookepuss? Are you there? …If he’s not, can anyone Else tell me what he said?


That was an advertisement spambot. There is nothing more to say.


Sorry about that. Like a good portion of the world, I’ve been pretty sick for the past 3 weeks. Feeling MUCH better now.

“Barrel” refers to the length of the pen. Kind of like the barrel of a gun.

Some pens, like Apple Pencil, only have one button (ie. the tip). Others, like the Huion above, have 2 buttons. In this specific pen, the tip is your usual LMB click while the button along the barrel functions as an eraser. The eraser placement is, I suppose, a bit less ergonomic when compared to placing it at the top like a real pencil. However, functionally, there seems to be no difference.

The need for a 3rd button is a personal choice, imo. I mostly stick to tip and eraser simply because other functionality is covered by mixing the tip (LMB) with some combination CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT.

As for the tablet itself, it looks like it has 8 customizable express keys. That’s more than enough and on par with the Intuos Pro Large. I typically have my Cintiq mapped to SHIFT, ALT, CTRL, & UNDO - half of the allotted buttons.

I think that you should be okay 2 pen buttons and 8 express keys. Anything else is a bonus.

But screaming at bots is cathartic… :stuck_out_tongue:


Indeed :smiley:


Ah thanks mate.

I hope you are better now :slight_smile:


Hey - are there any good websites for learning drawing, or Youtube videos you’d like to recommend?


It’s a bit off topic, but for drawing what specifically?
You see, traditional arts school drawing taught subjects, popular many centuries ago for making income. Portraits, landscapes, still nature were all popular and sought after subjects. But currently it shifted towards creative design, animation, photography, lighting, and 3d-modeling.


Straight truth. I can’t draw for crap. Oh, I’ve tried and practiced, but I suck. I’m okay with that mostly because, well, not everybody can be good at everything. I’m a much better sculptor and painter and that’s fine by me. Having said that, there are a number of good books that can maybe help you succeed where I failed.

  • "Dynamic Anatomy", Burne Hogarth
  • "Cyclopedia Anatomicae", György Fehér
  • "Facial Expressions", Mark Simon
  • "Pose File Reference", Various (Lots of photos that you can study.)
  • "Anatomy for 3D Artists", Chris Legaspi
  • "Anatomy for Sculptors Understanding the Human Figure", Uldis Zarins
  • "The Artist’s Guide to the Anatomy of the Human Head", 3D Total
  • "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way", Stan Lee & John Buscema
  • "How to Draw Manga" series, Hikaru Hayashi

I mostly use these for sculpting purposes and basic ideation these days. However, maybe you’ll find something useful here. I would also recommend the following:

  • 3D Total Anatomy Figures - SO useful when trying to first suss out proportion and lesser known muscles.
  • A camera & tripod or a tripod mount for your phone - What better way to study the human form in motion or at rest than taking photos of your choosing?
  • Autodesk Sketch Book Pro - It used to be a paid app and now it’s 100% free. There are lots of great drawing apps out there, but SBP offers probably the best looking and performing pencils. The feeling is very close to working on real paper, especially if you’re using a tablet.
  • A 2nd monitor - Such things always come in handy, but are especially useful when you want to give full screen access to both your main app AND your digital references. You don’t even have to go fancy or expensive for the 2nd display. A basic 22" 1080p can be had for as little $90 these days.

As always, practice, practice, and practice some more. Work hard, but always pace yourself. Try to improve what you can, but don’t be ashamed to admit your weaknesses. Some people get good. Some get great. Some people just never improve. We’re all different.


Hm… I’m not sure. Drawing to make me a better modeller, at which I happen to suck :frowning: Modelling what - well, REAL humans/dogs/whatever can be scanned these days, and modelling tables and chairs and ArchViz are… well, -snicker- :slight_smile: , so modelling like, CARTOONish characters are where it’s at I’d say, or “fantasy art” - something like that? Like, stylised humans or creatures? Which is our whole game, really…


That Marvel comic book looks really interesting, thanks cooke :slight_smile: Is that Autodesk app Windoze only? :frowning: (I’ll guess it is…? :frowning: ) Is it better/worse than Krita or GIMP?


Not Windows only. Mac version too:

Full featured and 100% free of limitations just like on the PC. No nag screens. No ads. No serial or sign in. All yours. No catch.

Up until v7 in 2014, Autdoesk used to sell it for $65. Shortly after, they decided to make it an annual subscription. At that point. I just stopped upgrading. I already had too many subscriptions and v7 was working just fine for me. However, in 2018, Autodesk just gave up and decided to release the full app for $0 while also offering up a paid Enterprise version which only added extra support, but no additional features. I’m pretty sure that ADSK even dumped the Enterprise support model at this point too. Probably no money there.

As far as how it compares to Gimp & Krita…

I would say that the Sketchbook tools are faster and more responsive overall. The pencils, as I said, are far more believable and feel/stroke more realistically. Like both of those two apps, you also get symmetry (including radial). You can also rotate the canvas to arbitrary angles like a piece of paper, which is nice. There are also presets for Copic colors, which is also nice if you have experience using such markers. Also, there’s this really nice perspective tool for doing architectural style drawings where crisp lines and vanishing points are necessary.

Gimp is a different sort of beast. It’s more comparable to Photoshop in that it’s a much more general purpose image editing app. So, while you can definitely do digital painting in Photoshop and Gimp, there are other apps specifically designed to those tasks. It’s like comparing Blender to ZBrush. You can sculpt in Blender and make some jaw dropping stuff with it. However, it also does countless other things. ZBrush, otoh, only has do do one thing - sculpting - and it does it supremely well.

Krita is, like ZBrush, designed for one purpose - digital painting. By open source standards, it’s great. With that small Epic Mega Grants donation, they should be able to make it even better. I would not, however, compare it to something like Sketchbook, Art Rage, Rebelle, or Procreate though. Krita, unlike Blender, seems to develop at a snail’s pace. That aside, if you had to choose between Gimp & Krita just for digital painting, Krita is the better choice. It just feels smoother, especially since they’ve eliminated some pesky stroke jitter.

Sketchbook is free, like I said. You lose nothing by downloading it. For digital sketches, it’s my favorite. I use it for rough character sketches and scene concepts.

If I need to do actual (natural media) painting, I prefer Art Rage though. It also has pencils and pens which, tbh, don’t feel as great as Sketchbook’s. However, it has some amazing oil and acrylic tools. The paints move, blob, and smear just like the real thing.

Most importantly is that you’re not restricted to RGB. Art Rage also allows you to work with RYB color spacing, which is a joy and I’ll tell you why. It all comes down to color theory.

With RGB, color mixing more or less works as follows:

  • Red: {255,0,0}
  • Orange: {255,127,0}
  • Yellow: {255,255,0}
  • Green: {0,255,0}
  • Cyan: {0,255,255}
  • Blue: {0,0,255}
  • Purple: {255,0,255}
  • White: {255,255,255}
  • Black: {0,0,0}

For anybody who’s ever worked in Photoshop or web stuff, this all makes sense. HOWEVER, for a traditional artist, it’s total garbage. Why? RGB has more to do with the way colors of LIGHT mix instead of pigment. RGB color is additive. That’s why all RGB colors mixed together make white.

CMYK and RYB are different. They are about subtractive color, which is why all colors add up to black. CMYK & RYB are different in that RYB is more concerned with primary colors whereas CMYK is formed of predominantly secondary colors. Let me put that much more plainly.

As a kid, you were taught the following:

  • Red: Red
  • Orange: Red + Yellow
  • Yellow: Yellow
  • Green: Yellow + Blue
  • Blue: Blue
  • Purple: Blue + Red
  • White: No color
  • Black: Red + Blue + Green

When you think about it, the difference between RGB and RYB makes sense.

When your monitor is off and producing no color, your screen is black. An absence of light on a monitor means no color. Purity of red color equals red. Purity of blue is blue. Purity of green is green. All colors firing at once is pure white. Again, as a kid, this is how you were taught that color works… for light. ROYGBIV. Light is additive and takes all parts of the spectrum to make white. This is RGB.

Working with traditional pigments is different because we assume a blank white canvas. Adding color changes what’s on top of this blank whiteness. Adding all of the colors (ideally) make something close to black. In traditional painting, we’re not mixing parts of the light spectrum. We’re mixing pigments and are concerned with how each absorbs light. Pigment mixing is a bit more complicated than that, but that’s more or less what you were taught as kid in art class. This is the core of RYB color. This is also why, as a traditional artist, RYB color is much more intuitive.

CYMK is its own thing in the world of color. That’s why you typically only encounter it when it comes to print work. CMYK in print is layered instead of mixed. It’s something you see in action when your color printer screws up a document. To get the most accurate color on a printed document, printers start my layering in much lighter pigments like cyan, magenta, and yellow and then darkening it all up with a layer of a certain percentage of a true black, which is the “k” in cmyk.

Ultimately, CMYK is more concerned with how the machinery works - application of color in subtle amounts. It’s counter-intuitive to be sure. We’re taught how light is separate in a prism. We’re taught how to mix paints. When it comes to CMYK, you’re most often better off working in a different model and then converting & correcting. Only a masochist prefers to work natively in CMYK. (I know a few. lol) This is often why we see CMYK excluded from non-Photoshop programs. CYMK goes against everything we know about color.

To my point about Art Rage… For a digital painter working in Photoshop, RGB makes sense because you’re usually selecting colors instead of physically mixing. For somebody with traditional skills, you usually get that subtlety of color not by picking or using special gradient tools. You get it by swishing around the brush or the palette knife. Art Rage allows you to paint in the manner you were taught in art class.

It seems like such a small thing to be concerned with, but being able to work and mix in RYB is such a huge selling point for Art Rage. I typically paint on a Cintiq 22HD and being able to treat it like a real canvas and paint with realistic color pigments makes Art Rage worth the $79.

IMO, working on the super cheap, I’d go with a 3 app mix. Gimp for photo editing ($0). Sketchbook for pencils & pens ($0). Art Rage for paints ($79).

Gimp might prove to be a pain in the butt if you’re coming from Photoshop. I’ve been using Photoshop since ~1992. For me, Gimp is generally much slower and still lacks a few key features. You can add in a bunch of plugins and scripts to make it closer to real PS, but it’s not the same. IMO, for an extra $99, you’re probably better off with Photoshop Elements instead of Gimp. It contains most of the core PS features and is a perpetual license with no subscription.

(For an extra $12, you can get the 3rd party Elements+ add-on which restores a lot of hidden PS functionality. Photoshop Elements is not so much a different program as it is an intentionally crippled version of the real thing. This is why addons like Elements+ can “unhide” features.)


Hey, thanks for that looooooooong post :slight_smile: I tried to download Sketchbook, it’s on the fucking WINDOZE store(!!), and it wants me to SIGN IN to Windoze or something, ie. it wants a legal copy, and since I’m on Linux (and was planning to run it in Wine or whatever), it’s completely useless :frowning:


Go back to

I think that you clicked the wrong thing. I attached a pic. If, for some reason, that fails, just get it from:


He has Linux. Mac won’t do it either i fear ^^