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When it came to buying a graphics tablet I didn't know where to start looking. Wacon is the big name when it comes to tablets but when we were in Currys the Trust TB 6300 seemed to have more features for a better price. The assistant checked that it was compatible with Photoshop CS2 before I parted with £50 to take it home, annoyingly discovering that it sells for £37 on Amazon later.
The drivers to install the tablet are all available on a supplied disc and were easy to install. It comes supplied with its own graphics package called Artweaver which is marginally better than Microsoft Paint but there are better art packages available for free such as Gimp and as we have Photoshop installed there has been no need to use the bundled software. The tablet is connected to a computer via a USB cable which powers the device and once the software has been installed it takes a few seconds to be recognised and then you are ready to go.
The table it is slimline and black. It comes with an input pen (make sure you put the supplied battery in before use) and a cordless mouse allowing you two ways to input drawings. The tablet is slightly bigger than a 17 inch laptop so annoyingly does not fit into our laptop bag but this does give it a good sized space for drawing which was one of the main reasons for choosing this model. The pen is reasonably thick compared to a standard ballpoint and is also heavier once it has the AAA battery inserted but it just feels like a good quality writing pen and is easy to hold and use. The mouse is the size of a normal laptop mouse and has the standard mouse functions. The mouse does not seem to do anything special as far as graphics are concerned and because of the sensors only work when used on the tablet and is really far best used just as a mouse rather than trying to draw with it.
There are 25 predetermined hotkeys around the edge of the tablet with basic funtions such as copy and paste. As well as this there are 17 spaces for user defined hotkeys however the instructions on how to configure these were useless, instead of being able to set one as the Photoshop brush tool my daughter just gave up and used the hotkeys on the laptop instead. The hotkeys have not proved worthwhile at all with even the predetermined ones not working well so it is easier to just bypass them and do everything on screen. I don't know if this is just a photoshop issue as I know other users have had problems with non Wacom tablets being fully compatible.
The pen is generally sensitive to any movements, when you press lightly it comes up as a thin line on screen regrdless of how you have your brush size set and pressing slightly harder gives you a thicker line. To discover where abouts on the screen your drawings are going to end up you just hover the pen over the tablet and it shows up on screen. It is easy to get a smooth line using the pen and it is also great for doing more detailed drawings. One downside is that the pen loses its sensitivity if you leave it idle for too long needing a full restart of your computer for it to be recognised again which is far from convenient.
The tablet has been used for digital painting and for this is works really well as an input device. It is great for drawing portraits or cartoons and creating multi layered drawings on photoshop. It is easy to use and generally reliable and certainly far easier than using a mouse or trackpad to create graphics. It is an really good low cost model which, despite some niggles, performs really well.
I bought my Trust graphics tablet a year a bit ago, just before starting my animation course, figuring it was about time I got one and began drawing on the computer properly. I picked this one up for the sole reason that I didn't have a lot of money and the trust ones were surprisingly cheap. I think I bought this one twenty five pounds or something, about a quarter of the price of some of the better Wacom tablets.
And I have to say that, for that price, you're getting quite a good quality product.
The tablet is pretty simple to use, with the drawing area being the size of the screen, so wherever you put your pen on the tablet will be where your cursor goes. It's small, but not too much so. It works well if you're drawing zoomed in a lot, giving you more control of the drawing
Like all tablets like this, there is of course the problem of drawing something while looking at the screen which is, in effect, something completely different. This does make it hard to get a real fluidity in drawing, but the Trust tablet helps a bit in that there isn't any lag between what you do with your pen and what you see on screen. This is sometimes a problem with graphics tablets, but the Trust avoids it completely.
There are small buttons all the way around the tablet, which you can press with the pen, which are all programmable to do any number of keyboard combinations, to make life a bit easier. However, I'm the sort of person who's always hunched over his keyboard no matter what he's doing, so I found them to be of no use. It was easier to draw with one hand, and do keyboard shortcuts with the next.
The pen if probably my least favourite part of the tablet, with it being quite uncomfortable to use and, after extended usage, can leave you with a bit of a cramp in your hand. And it doesn't support dual monitors very well. It doesn't give you an option of which monitor to use (automatically maps it to the main monitor) and, for a while, I even had it mapped to both monitors, stretching the ratio a great deal.
However, despite this, it's really quite a good graphics tablet, especially when considering the price. While it doesn't feel as smooth as some of the more expensive ones (I've since moved on to Wacom tablets and immediately noticed a considerable difference in the "feel" of the pen. Much smoother, like a real pen on paper), it just means it's a bit more effort to draw something more complex. It's a strong, reliable (had it almost two years and there still isn't a problem with it) and at a very good price.