A graphics tablet (also known as a digitizer, drawing tablet, drawing pad, digital drawing tablet, pen tablet, or digital art board) is a computer input device that enables a user to hand-draw images, animations and graphics, with a special pen-like stylus, similar to the way a person draws images with a pencil and paper. These tablets may also be used to capture data or handwritten signatures. It can also be used to trace an image from a piece of paper which is taped or otherwise secured to the tablet surface. Capturing data in this way, by tracing or entering the corners of linear poly-lines or shapes, is called digitizing.
The device consists of a flat surface upon which the user may "draw" or trace an image using the attached stylus, a pen-like drawing apparatus. The image is displayed on the computer monitor, though some graphic tablets now also incorporate an LCD screen for a more realistic or natural experience and usability.
Some tablets are intended as a replacement for the computer mouse as the primary pointing and navigation device for desktop computers.
Graphic tablets, because of their stylus-based interface and ability to detect some or all of pressure, tilt, and other attributes of the stylus and its interaction with the tablet, are widely considered to offer a very natural way to create computer graphics, especially two-dimensional computer graphics. Indeed, many graphic packages can make use of the pressure (and, sometimes, stylus tilt or rotation) information generated by a tablet, by modifying the brush size, shape, opacity, color, or other attributes based on data received from the graphic tablet.
In East Asia, graphic tablets, known as "pen tablets", are widely used in conjunction with input-method editor software (IMEs) to write Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters (CJK). The technology is popular and inexpensive and offers a method for interacting with the computer in a more natural way than typing on the keyboard, with the pen tablet supplanting the role of the computer mouse. Uptake of handwriting recognition among users who use alphabetic scripts has been slower.
Graphic tablets are commonly used in the artistic world. Using a pen-like stylus on a graphic tablet combined with a graphics-editing program, such as Illustrator or Photoshop by Adobe Systems, or CorelDraw, gives artists a lot of precision when creating digital drawings or artwork. Photographers can also find working with a graphic tablet during their post processing can really speed up tasks like creating a detailed layer mask or dodging and burning.
Educators make use of tablets in classrooms to project handwritten notes or lessons and to allow students to do the same, as well as providing feedback on student work submitted electronically. Online teachers may also use a tablet for marking student work, or for live tutorials or lessons, especially where complex visual information or mathematical equations are required. Students are also increasingly using them as note-taking devices, especially during university lectures while following along with the lecturer.
Tablets are also popular for technical drawings and CAD, as one can typically put a piece of paper on them without interfering with their function.
Finally, tablets are gaining popularity as a replacement for the computer mouse as a pointing device. They can feel more intuitive to some users than a mouse, as the position of a pen on a tablet typically corresponds to the location of the pointer on the GUI shown on the computer screen. Those artists using a pen for graphic work will as a matter of convenience use a tablet and pen for standard computer operations rather than put down the pen and find a mouse. A popular game osu! allows utilizing a tablet as a way of playing.
Graphic tablets are available in various sizes and price ranges; A6-sized tablets being relatively inexpensive and A3-sized tablets far more expensive. Modern tablets usually connect to the computer via a USB or HDMI interface.
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F.A.Q. about Pen Tablets
What is a pen tablet?
Also called a drawing tablet or a pen tablet, a graphics tablet is a natural input device that converts information from a handheld stylus. The user uses the stylus like a pen, pencil, or paintbrush, pressing its tip on the tablet surface. The device can also be used in the replacement of a computer mouse.
Who uses graphics tablets?
- Architects and Engineers;
- Fashion designers;
- Graphic designers;