Should I get a graphics tablet for animation?


I want to buy a graphics tablet so I can animate videos for school and maybe a youtube channel if I am good at it. I don't want to spend over $150 and I just want one that would work. (Also, if someone could direct me to a good tutorial on using them or recommend a program, that would be great)

10/19/2016 12:04:00 PM

Accepted Answer

For animation I think you'll be stronger at it if you get a tablet and learn some of the fundamentals even if you then move on to rigging and motion tweens.

Also if you want to illustrate and color characters and backgrounds for these animations it can be incredibly useful.

Here are some very good tutorials particularly Photoshop Animation Series (part 1 of 4).

Wacom, the top manufacturer of tablets, has some very good content as well in their Wacom Community. They cover a lot of different uses and software applications.

Should also get the book Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life.

For a complete "tool" roadmap I'd suggest:

  • Wacom Intuous Draw ($90)
  • Adobe Photoshop CC ($10/mo for students)
  • AnimDessin2 [discussed in the Photoshop animation series] ($0 free)
  • Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life (~$30)

And then the one other thing that hasn't been mentioned is a smoothing application. See this Answer for your options. None are expensive but it depends if you're on Mac or Windows.

4/13/2017 12:46:00 PM

Looking at all the animators in the building, only one of 20 currently present animation students are using a Wacom at the moment (even tough a room full of Cintixes is available). A tablet is good for certain workflows and totally superfluous for others. Looking at the graphics designers also the same most did not use a tablet yesterday. So a very quick, statistically insignificant survey says that its not the most important of things.

With 15 years of experience with graphics as a hobby (and on and off as profession, but i'm a mechanical designer mostly so...) I can tell you that a wacom entirely nonessential. Your work does not get any better for owning one. Some workflows get more manageable with a tablet though. Especially masking, and painting/coloring work benefit immensely from a tablet. However even in these cases its possible to alter our workflow for same effect even with a mouse at no big significant change in productivity.

For animation work a tablet is essential only if you do one of the following:

  1. Traditional frame by frame animation, using no computerized tweens or rigging. (as freehand sketching is not really possible with a mouse for most people.)
  2. 3D Sculpting, which is a exceptional case that really benefits form the accuracy and pressure sensitivity.

Other than that it depends on what you do, I have a Cintix tablet connected right now (one of the perks of my job is that i have a lot of cool toys laying around). I don't use it right now except as a third monitor. Don't get me wrong its a great tool when I happen to need it, but mostly it sits idle. It greatly depends on what you do, and how traditional your approach to things are.