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Pen Tablets 4 Flash?

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Pen Tablets 4 Flash?

Hey,its my 1st time using Flash or anything else 4 that matter. does anybody know if i can use a pen tablet with flash 2 do my animations and if so what would work best?

Saider E.'s picture
What would scooby do?

What would scooby do?

I've been using a Wacom Tablet for a couple of years now. I got the cheapest one they had at the time-- a 4x5 Graphire. Works fine.

Previous to that one I had bought a different brand and it was garbage. Traded it back in for the Wacom and was much happier.

I wouldn't mind upgrading to a bigger one at some point. The most important this is placing it on your desk in spot you can actually draw on it the way you would on a piece of paper, with nothing in your way.

Cartoon Thunder
There's a little biker in all of us...

I have an Aiptek tablet myself (4"x5" or something) that works well enough. Though, it does seem to be the popular opinion that Wacom is the best, which is consequently reflected by their respected sale prices. Aiptek will usually cost a good 25% less than a similar Wacom tablet.
Anyway, whatever you decide to get, this is my advice:
Flash animation is what I do now and I've been using my tablet in it for about the last 8 months. Now, from what I've experienced, even though Flash recognizes pressure (variable thickness of lines with respect to how hard you're pressing on the pen) it has a bit of a problem smoothing out the lines, which may leave you with an undesired "step" pattern. In other words, the edges will be blocky and appear pixelated. It's really not too bad, but as you get better with time and start to become more critical of your work, you might find it rather bothersome and unprofessional. Now, if this is a problem that you can live with (because it's really not that bad), then that's all you need to know, but if it isn't, there's a solution.
For the absolute best results from using a tablet to draw with, you need to get Adobe Illustrator. Since it's strictly "Illustrating" software, it's a bit more dedicated to producing pleasing images and as such, handles a drawing tablet much better than Flash does. In short, where Flash would simply "guess" the placement of the pixelsof a line and thus produce the choppy image I was talking about, Illustrator will guess the placement of a line's bezier curves and produce a true vector graphic that you can even go back and modify with the hollow pointer tool. And all you have to do once you've created a superior image in Illustrator, is simply export it as a .swf file and then import it to your library in Flash.
For most people new to Flash, the effect of the tablet is just fine without Illustrator and you will probably be happy with it. However, if you do get the chance, I would highly recommend testing the same tablet on Illustrator just to see the difference for yourself, and you'll be surprised.

Also, as a a bit of advice, try spelling words instead of representing them by numbers and such, e.g. to = 2 as it's confusing to read when you're talking about software. Your original question sort of made it sound like you had a question about version 2 of Flash, (Flash2).

So, I hope that helped and I wish you luck.



What drawing tools are you using to draw with? I took a one semester class in Illustrator and was taught the use of the pen tool, but I find that slows me down on some tasks. Does the pencil tool create Bezier curves and points also? Hoping I can follow what you're doing and add it to my production process...

Also, what tool are you using that gives a cruddy line in Flash? I've noticed this to be true when I import/vectorize a scanned image in Flash or Toon Boom, but if I use the pencil tool in one or the other, I get a better line. From the sound of it you're doing a lot more work than I am in the computer, so I'm all ears here.

Cartoon Thunder
There's a little biker in all of us...


What drawing tools are you using to draw with?...

Also, what tool are you using that gives a cruddy line in Flash?...

I use both the pencil and paintbrush tools when drawing in Illustrator (though the pen tool does represent a better line) which reflects my own drawing style more and to tell you the truth, speeds up the whole process for me significantly. Now, both the pencil and paintbrush tools do place bezier points along drawn lines in both Flash and Illustrator that can be manipulated later, however when using a tablet, Illustrator actually cleans up the outline of a pressure painted line where Flash would leave it "unfinished".
Also, the pencil tool in Flash tends to have a mind of its own sometimes and will often go ahead and place a line wherever it thinks you wanted it rather than where you actually drew it. Of course, these behaviours can be corrected to a decent level within Flash itself, I would just as much rather have it done right the first time and import my images from somewhere else, instead.

As for the tools that I use... When working in Flash, I tend to use only the line, pen and pointer tools as they create flawless lines (which you already know). But in doing so, they suck out all of the personal touch you get with good old fashioned hand drawing done with the pencil/paintbrush tools, in which Flash seems to have some limitation with finishing up.

Ultimately, from what I've experienced so far, it's fine balance between the two that will reflect your own personal style. (Sort of like knowing when to use a motion tween and when to go frame by frame). I know in my classes, they've stressed using only the pen tool for drawing, but you know about coloring within the lines, right? You're not supposed to all the time!

Though, I do use the computer for a good 99% of what I do (which is freelance at best), I'd suggest using my advice as a lose suggestion. I think I've just recently reached the level where I can compete with some of the better Flash artists, but I'm sure there are a lot of people on this particular forum who could blow me out of the water still.
Still, I really hope I contributed something to helping you out with Flash. I love the hell out of the program and even gave up an abyss of a future in Physics and Mathematics to pursue animation and vecor art because of Flash.

I don't know the extremes you're talking about, but the drawing style button at the bottom might be to blame. There is a curving one and a blocking one, and both approximate what you're doing. On my Wacom 6x8 the Ink one is flawless...if my printer used graphite no one would know the difference by a printout.