Digital Media Concepts/Wacom Digital Tablets

Wacom (standing for “株式会社ワコム” in Japan) is a digital tablet company that specializes in implementing drawing onto technological computer screens through digital tablets. Wacom is universally recognized for developing several graphical tablet designs, which are used to primarily design 3D models and create digital illustrations. Other purposes of using Wacom tablets may include jotting notes and enhancing photos through editing software. Like other similar digital tablet brands, it is compatible with Windows, macOS, Chrome OS operating systems.

Wacom logo

Known for producing interactive pen displays, Wacom is known for creating tablet models including the Bamboo and Cintiq series. As of March 2020, Wacom’s consolidated net sales is 108.53 billion yen [1].

History edit

Origin edit

Wacom was originally established on July 12th, 1983 in Kazo-shi, Saitama, Japan. The first terminology of Wacom was inspired from WA, resembling “harmony,” or “circle.” [2] The term “Com” represents computers. In 1988, Wacom established its headquarters in Europe, located in Germany, called “Wacom Europe.” [3] Japan’s Wacom headquarter is currently run by the CEO, Nobutake (Nobu) Ide, who joined Wacom’s team in 2013. Nobu is Chief Marketing Officer at TBSU (Technology Solution, Business Unit) to promote Wacom’s technology. [4] Nobu’s initial goal for Wacom is to provide a distinctive and interesting digital pen drawing experience.

First device edit

After a year Wacom was founded, Wacom former president Masahiko Yamada introduced their first tablet design, the WT-460M, in 1984. The WT-460M functioned as the first invented Wacom tablet with a wireless and cordless stylus pen. [5] This particular tablet mockup is designed to encourage artists to express themselves through visual graphics by placing their ideas directly to the screen. The WT-460M model was primarily used by organizations involved in computer-aided design during this period, with some contribution to the drafting market. [6]

Functionality edit

Drivers edit

The majority of Wacom’s models were designed to function with drivers to operate the creative experience. Drivers are an essential framework that allows the Wacom device to connect with the computer, applications and software. Drivers are installable, often via disk or online which can be downloaded through Wacom’s official website. Instructions for successful driver installation are provided in the manual.

Stylus edit

Wacom integrates input technology through a wireless and battery-free stylus. Wacom tablets use a stylus for input; users use the Wacom tablet pen to enter their actions to the screen. Depending on the model, it contains different levels of pen pressure. For instance; the Wacom Intuos draw, contains 4096 pen pressure levels.

Tablet designs edit

Intuos edit

The original Wacom Intuos series mostly consist of 1024 pressure sensitivity, up to 2048 from the latest model, the Intuos pro. These models use a ± 60 degree tilt sensitivity. From 2540 LPI to 5080 LPI, the resolution of each model has greatly improved overtime. Subsequent versions of the Intuos series integrate shortcut keys and a touch ring.

The Wacom Intuos 2 (XD45USB) was a discontinued graphics tablet model from the earlier Intuos line, designed for illustration and computer-aided technology. Released in 2001 coming after the original Intuos in 1998, the Intuos 2 is a 4’’x 5’’ digital battery-free graphics tablet model with limited, but enhanced features from Intuos with 1024 levels of pen pressure sensitivity. This model has 2540 LPI resolution and no shortcut keys. This model connects to computer equipment and is primarily compatible with PC systems, including MacOS and Windows using USB. Intuos 2 supports tilt sensitivity, within a ± 60 degree angle. [7]

Cintiq pen display edit

In 2001, Wacom introduced their creative pen display brand, the Cintiq. Cintiq models are primarily used to optimize the illustration experience, as these creative pen displays include an input monitor device that allows users to draw directly on it. Cintiqs were designed to “emulate” the feel of traditional media.

Released in 2021, the Wacom Cintiq 16 pro consists of an LCD screen that supports Ultra HD 4k resolution (3840 x 2160) and measures approximately 16.2 x 10.4 x .7 inches. This interactive pen display connects via a USB-C cable and HDMI port. The device itself contains controllable buttons that can be used as customizable shortcuts. The Cintiq 16 pro monitor supports 8192 [8] levels and is mainly compatible with computer systems, especially MacOS and Windows operating systems.

Advantages & issues edit

Advantages edit

Wacom is focused on bringing people and technology closer together, delivering solutions through its interactive technology. The design of Wacom's interactive pen tablets was purposely made to quickly jot the user's imagination and thoughts instantaneously and directly onto the screen. Some models, such as the Wacom Intuos S, include Bluetooth functionality that enables the tablet to connect wirelessly to the device for improved drawing efficiency.

Compatible with most drawing software, Wacom's creative pen tablets supports illustrative programs including Clip Studio Paint, Paint Tool Sai, Adobe Photoshop and engineering software.

Tablet issues edit

Although Wacom’s tablets are universally recognized as convenient tools, especially for digital illustrators and various industries, Wacom has received complaints about common issues surrounding driver issues in Wacom tablets. Often, the driver may stop responding or malfunction because it has difficulty communicating with the operating system. Users may receive a message on the computer screen, “The tablet driver is not responding.” These issues can be resolved by updating and reinstalling the driver. [9]

Creative pen tablet models have an average tablet lifespan of 5 years, which may vary depending on the model, which may last longer. Certain Wacom's models, especially pen tablet displays such as the Cintiq, might wear overtime. Wacom stylus tips also often wear out, causing a sharp nib, but are easy to replace. Overtime, dull pen nibs may often cause the Wacom tablet’s surface to scratch.

Depending on the severity of the damage or malfunction, tablets can be replaced. Users can entirely purchase a replacement when the tablet malfunctions and stops working.

References edit

  1. "OpenGraph Data". Wacom. Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  2. Garciarios, Gerardo (2020-03-07). "Professional products for Professional people: a brief history of Wacom « Wacom Infochannel". Wacom Infochannel. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  3. "OpenGraph Data". Wacom. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  4. Retrieved 2022-03-07. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. "Wacom Graphics Tablet History: Touch Computing's Early Icon". Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  6. Garciarios, Gerardo (2020-03-07). "Professional products for Professional people: a brief history of Wacom « Wacom Infochannel". Wacom Infochannel. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  7. SweetMonia (2015-04-12). "History of Wacom Intuos Professional graphics tablets". Sweet Drawing Blog. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  8.,media%20like%20no%20other%20product. Retrieved 2022-03-07. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. "Restarting Your Wacom Services Driver - 'Tablet Driver Not Found' – MacHollywood | Your Premier Technology Partner". Retrieved 2022-03-07.