Wacom, known for their pen tablets, released a great little thinger earlier this week: a new dual-tool set called Inkling. Inkling is one-half pen, one-half receiver. The tool lets you digitize your handmade imagery as you work into layered PSD or vector files, and stores them in the tools until you can upload them to your main computer for further manipulation.
The pen is a ball-point, but it’s also a pressure-sensitive stylus, allowing you to record the depth of your strokes. The receiver can record strokes recorded on a standard piece of paper up to US letter size. It uses a nearly inaudible pulse to detect aspects of the stroke not recorded by the pen. Drawings are stored in the receiver (which stores several at a time), and then translates them into files that you can import as layered pieces into PhtotoShop, or open into Illustrator. The case carges the pen and receiver, so you don’t have to worry about wires getting in your way while you draw.
This configuration may sound a little weird to people not working in the illustration space, but it truly is much better than anything else in the field. These sorts of contraptions have always required either a giant hot-dog of a digitzer, or specialized paper that totally messes up the way your drawings feel (and therefore look). What Wacom’s done is insert its technology as seamlessly as possible into your drawing workflow.
Inkling will sell for about two hundred smackers in the middle of September, according to Wacom’s site. If you’re insecure about spending that kind of cash on a new toy from a company you’ve not bought from before, you can take my word that Wacom is reliable and durable. I’ve been using their tablets since 1995 and I’ve never had a single one break or stop functioning for any reason. I take them with me to meetings, and it’s always the first thing I install in a new Mac Pro or MacBook. Their hardware feels like a pen should, right down to the tooth of the nib across a surface and spring of a nib’s pressure, and their input software is top-notch, with detailed strokes that are accurately represented in three-dimensional space—you can see and pressure and tilt of your stylus reflected in your applications as you work.
Wacom’s already posted a huge series of getting started tutorial videos at their site, so you can look before you buy.