Forums > MaxMSP

Drawing tablets usable with MAX?

February 26, 2012 | 3:31 pm

Hi guys I have done a wee bit of searching the forums for info on this but its difficult until the order by date function gets implemented for searches.

I have been thinking about buying a drawing tablet to use with MAX (probably quite simply controlling sound shaping parameters). My questions are these:

What tablets are compatible with a wide range of different data available, pressure, x/y, delta, etc. ?
Which tablets are value for money with regards to reliability, sensitivity, usability, size?
Is it possible to get info out of them with all vanilla objects/no externals?

Cheers,

Cormac


February 26, 2012 | 4:49 pm

My first Wacom tablet I bought when I was involved in a few projects that required long days of programming. Working with a mouse (no trackpads yet) I started to develop RSI on my right hand. Being left-handed I would work with the wacom with that hand and could alternate with the mouse when getting tired. This has saved me. Since a few years I am not using a mouse anymore altogether.

This tablet is still working fine after 12 or so years. Since it is rather small it is always in my bag and on my desk is a second one (bamboo pen and touch) that is larger, and works easier with two screens. I have always worked with the entry level tablets, which allow for a limited amount of raw values to track (x/y and pressure only). The more expensive ones can do more.

I have to say that the touch capacities of the bamboo are rather disappointing. It is nowhere near the performance of a magic trackpad. Moreover you can not get raw data from it, so it makes a bad controller. Eventually I have turned of touch and use it with a pen only.

Another drawback of the wacom tablet is their drivers. The way it interacts with the system (mac osx) or applications is sometimes a little weird. For instance, controlling sliders in Ableton Live is impossible, as they will directly jump to extremes.

Another issue currently is that the wacom object for max is not working for the current version of max. It is possible however to get around that, for instance by using an application built with max5 that handles the data fine.


February 27, 2012 | 4:18 pm

ok so it seems from your post that drawing tablets are a good thing for various reasons. Seems like it would be useful for careful drawing of fades etc. in DAWs too.

I’m a bit bummed by the fact I might have to use an external to get data out though as future compatibility will be limited to updates of that external. Nice if there was an industry data standard or something…

I may buy a small one to use as a mouse as you say but doesn’t seem like it will be able to do what I want in MAX for me, although I will keep tabs on it and do a bit more searching around the webs.

If anyone else has info feel free to add their data


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