October 29, 2015 at 5:36PM, Edited October 29, 5:36PM

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Why Edit with a Drawing Tablet?

I do a lot of documentary/video work, and the majority of my time is spent editing. I have been doing this for years now, and I happily use a mouse. (Magic Mouse)

I keep on hearing that people use drawing tablets (Like a wacom), I have one at my desk and have tried editing with it, but I find that it slows me down considerably, I can't figure out how it is better than a mouse, and always revert after a day or two.

Do you use a tablet to edit? If so, what benefit does it bring to your edit, and should I just keep trying to use it?

Thanks!

15 Comments

I've been using a wacom tablet for editing and photoshopping since 2006. And since then I never had any RSI-like complains anymore.
It doesn't slow me down at all. (Maybe it helps I always liked to draw a lot?)
To me it is a faster way to work. With a mouse you sometimes need more than 1 movement to go from 1 side to the other side of your digital playfield (especially with 2 monitors). Now I just lift the stylus and put it on the other side of the tablet.

The end result for the content edit will be the same.
But I am working a lot healthier this way :-)

October 30, 2015 at 7:03AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9079

Thanks for the reply Walter. Do you have it set up so that your tablet is representative of your screen. I.e. Top right on tablet is top right on screen? Or do you use it in the other setting where it is all relative? Also, do you think size of tablet has anything to do with this? Do you still use keyboard shortcuts when editing?

Thanks! I am very curious about this because I hear so many people with rave reviews.

Jonathan Goossen

October 30, 2015 at 5:37PM

Yes, I have it set so top left = top left, bottom right = bottom right.
I have an A4 sized tablet: for me that's large enough to be precize and small enough to use with making big gestures :-p

And yes, I use the keyboard for shortcuts. Nothing beats the combination. It would be tiresome to have to click everything.

October 31, 2015 at 8:09AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9079

I've tried, but there's a whole lot of excess movement involved. I guess if my right hand becomes shot and I'm forced to go lefty, I'd try it, but probably learn to use a lefty mouse instead;) Besides Photoshop, AE and 3D work, a stylus just doesn't help over a mouse.

November 1, 2015 at 8:13PM

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Josh.R
Motion Designer/Predator
868

I totally disagree:
I have to make less movements with a stylus and I really use it instead of a mouse for everything on my workstation. Physically it is a lot healthier than using a mouse. (But instead in software with a lot of cursor movement, you'll benefit the most.)

WalterBrokx

November 2, 2015 at 3:13AM

BTW, I often see people with a tablet in front of the keyboard, but I use themnext to each other.
I'm lefthanded, so the wacom is on the left side and the keyboard on the right. This way I can use both at the same time with arms getting in the way or having to twist my torso because on arm needs to reach over the other.
Just make sure you have a 3 to 4 feet wide space on your desk that is also deep enough to rest your arms on it. This way I can work comforatably :-)

November 2, 2015 at 3:16AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9079

@WalterBrokx - I'm left handed as well and I have my workspace set up in a similar manner. It's very convenient.

Jefferson Donald

November 2, 2015 at 9:24AM

Sorry, One more question. Do you use two monitors? If so, do you map the whole tablet to both of them, or to just one, and click on of the buttons to switch back and forth?

Thanks!

Jonathan Goossen

November 3, 2015 at 1:50PM

Thanks for all of the comments guys. I am going to give it another shot with this next project and see how it goes. Walter, the insight about side by side is great, as I was trying it earlier with the keyboard above the tablet and it was always in the way. I'll update once I have finished this project!

November 3, 2015 at 1:23PM

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Jonathan Goossen
International Videographer
252

Been using a tablet since ADB, definitely better on your hands for long term. Never liked the feeling of a mouse or trackball, in the end its personal preference. But with the keyboard and a stylus I am extremely fast.

November 4, 2015 at 11:04AM

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Alex Gans
Director/Editor
146

I have my keyboard permanently mounted to the upper end of my Wacom tablet (an older PTZ-930), and my tablet surface mapped to dual monitors. That way it's always there and it's never in the way. I switch off between using a mouse and the tablet depending on what I'm doing or to give my hand a break from one or the other. I've been doing work in Maya, After Effects, Photoshop, Premiere, etc for years this way and it works great.

November 6, 2015 at 3:42PM

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David Summers
VFX Supervisor/Artist and Filmmaker
349

I should have added that it IS a little awkward at first but you get used to it pretty quick and I'd never go back.

November 6, 2015 at 3:43PM

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David Summers
VFX Supervisor/Artist and Filmmaker
349

Thanks David! How big is your tablet? I am guessing with smaller ones it is more difficult to map it to two monitors?

Jonathan Goossen

November 9, 2015 at 6:02PM

A wacom tablet is specially handy for a visual effects workflow. Rotoscoping with tablet will double your speed and accuracy :) for normal video editing, I dont see the advantage (for me at least)

November 12, 2015 at 7:16AM

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Miguel Pinto Ferreira
Creative Director
139

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