Ask DN: Wacom vs. Mouse

10 points about 1 year ago from Julien D., Product Designer

I've recently started working at www.gidsy.com and they have been trying to make me use a wacom tablet in stead of my trusted mouse. I tried it for a week or something but it really slowed down my workflow.

What are your thoughts about it?

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34 comments

Tyler H., Designer at Pushd

For me, a Wacom is great for Illustration and Photo retouching. Mouse is better for just about all other design work I do. I haven't used a Wacom in a while, and I would love to try to use one more. Nobody should force you to use one tool over another.

5 points about 1 year ago Reply

I love Wacom tablets. They're great for photoshop work. However, if I'm creating a layout for a web design, I prefer a mouse (or magic trackpad). Setting up rulers/guides and aligning objects right to the pixel is difficult (for me) using a pen.

4 points about 1 year ago Reply
Alex G., Freelance Designer

I had to learn to use a Wacom tablet at my first job because it involved a lot of photoshop intensive image building and retouching.

It took me 2-3 months to get comfortable with the tablet, but the speed that it's let me work at over the past 5 years has been WELL worth the initial barrier to entry. Stick with it, you won't regret it. I use a tablet 100% of the time I'm designing. The only time I use a mouse anymore is when I'm playing games on my PC.

2 points about 1 year ago Reply
Julien D., Product Designer

Maybe I was a bit harsh, they are not forcing me at all. They were trying to convince me to see why it is better. One of the arguments they used was that it's actually better for your wrist. Another was that you can work faster with it, once you get used to it...

1 point about 1 year ago Reply
Mark S., Art director/designer at Sequence

I'm left handed, so I've got a Wacom on the left, mouse on the right! Switch it up :)

1 point about 1 year ago Reply
Victor M., Designing things at How.Do

Hi Julien. You know I say Wacom all the way It takes a bit to get used to of course, but once I started using mine it's helped me out a lot. Beers soon.

1 point about 1 year ago Reply
Julien D., Product Designer

Deal

1 point about 1 year ago Reply

Mouse when I'm going for pixel perfect positioning. E.g. layouts, pixel icons, etc.

Wacom when I do anything that requires the natural movement of my hand. E.g. Illustration, retouching, etc.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Andres A., UI Designer @ SparkShip

When I'm on the go I use trackpad gestures with one hand and a very basic wacom bamboo on the other. I switched from mouse to pen about five years ago and never looked back. Back then, the repetitive horizontal movements from the mouse started giving me wrist pain. Once I switched the pain just disappeared. I guess all those years of sketching and writing with paper/pen helped. At first, I also felt like my workflow slowed down with the tablet. Just give it time and you'll find the opposite happens. While I seem to be happy with this current setup I'm always looking for alternatives. Really interested in trying out a Leap Motion Controller. http://www.leapmotion.com/

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Shawn B., Creative Director at Upsight

Mouse all the way. Once you learn to use it and if you do mostly vector work, its more precise.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply

I use both. Love my Wacom but sometimes i prefer to use a mouse.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Radu C., UI Designer & co-founder of perfect10.io

Replaced the mouse with a Wacom 3+ years ago. There's no going back once you get the hang of it. It's ridiculously fast for almost anything in Photoshop / Illustrator / even Coda (yeah...). I noticed I have more precision with a tablet than I ever had with a mouse.

I'm curious how you guys map your tablet to the display. I'm using it in Pen Mode, Forced Proportions on a 27" Thunderbolt display. Can't imagine using it with two displays at once in Pen Mode though... (tried, felt weird, gave up)

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Di.ego F., Lead Designer at ChatID

In my desk:

  • Magic Mouse
  • Wacom
  • Logitech G700

All of them with singular virtues an specific uses.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Tyler H., Designer at Pushd

What size wacom do most people use?

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Kamil K., Graphic designer

I have Wacom Intous 4 M, but S worked fine for me too.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply

I exclusively use my Wacom. I was really skeptical too because I'd used a coworker's and found it really tough to use. There's a bit of a learning curve in the beginning, but once you get used to it, it makes designing sooo muuuch faster. It's unbelievable. Highly recommend!

0 points about 1 year ago Reply

I use the Wacom with my right hand, and mouse with my left hand. I've been traveling lately, and I mostly miss my Wacom if I'm doing Illustrator or Photoshop work.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Marc E., Founder at Bjango

I've tried very hard to like using Wacom tablets at various points in my career, even when I was doing photo retouching 10+ hours a day. Haven't ever been able to get into them, despite loving the quality of the Wacom hardware. Magic Mouse all the way.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply

I work with 3 input devices: mouse, Wacom, and Magic trackpad. Each has strengths and weaknesses for certain tasks. Trackpad is great for scrolling and gross gestural movements. The mouse is great for boxier, document-type stuff and video games (ha!) The Wacom is pretty much excellent in all cases, especially fine grained graphics work and painting/sketching.

Considering how many hours I/you/we spend with these devices variety should be a benefit.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply

I dual wield for familiarity. Home > Wacom + Touch (though scroll using gestures is shitty sometimes), Work > Mouse :)

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Al H., Design Director at A+B

I use both. If I'm in photoshop or any other drawing application I use the Tablet. If I'm doing other work, or browsing, then I use the mouse.

Main thing is it gets annoying either holding the pen whilst typing or putting it down or picking it back up.

Anyway, put the time in to learn to use the tablet and you will be grateful!

0 points about 1 year ago Reply

Last year I got a Wacom Bamboo and dove head-first into exclusive use of it. But it also doubles as a decent trackpad so that's my backup for when I need a different type of control.

I love it! Definitely a new level of precision and it feels good in my hand. Plus it looks all cool, which is really what's most important.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply

I use my Wacom for everything! I have my Wacom on my right and a trackpad on my left. Cant do it any other way. You should try it some time

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Kamil K., Graphic designer

I think that using Wacom is more natural for human (we hold pencils in our hands from childhood almost everyday). You just have “mouse habits”, that are preventing you from taking full advantage from wacom (it's more precise, fast and natural) . Turn off your evil mouse and put it down for few weeks or so, and use ONLY tablet. I bet after sometime you'll not even think about where's your mouse.

One thing: for browsing Internet I'd recommend to get trackpad. Scrolling long pages can be kinda uncomfortable with pen. I find trackpad+wacom combination is really good for designer.

Also, if at this moment you don't draw by your hand, wacom will open you a door for this: you'll start to notice, that you want to doodle something just for fun in free time. That's how it worked for me.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Jared E., Pixels and Poop, bro.

I don't have a Wacom tablet, but I hate the Magic Mouse. So Wacom it is :)

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Jim S., ilverman

if you're doing a lot of sketching, illustration or photo work, definitely wacom.

never saw the need for a wacom in ui design, though some people swear by it. for me, it's much quicker to use a mouse or trackpad.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Julien P., Chief Product Officer at Cookening

I use both. But I use my Wacom tablet mostly for UX Sketching and photo retouching.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Jason P., @denneval / designer

I use my Wacom... mouse.

Advantages: — Precision mode in any app — Three extra hardware buttons, uniquely mapped to each app

Disadvantages: — Scrolling with the mouse is slow, so I either use my tablet ring or my Magic Mouse on the sidelines.

Those three extra buttons are super helpful, especially in Finder and Chrome.

Finder / Chrome — http://cl.ly/Mqcf Illustrator / Photoshop — http://cl.ly/MrR4

I can definitely use a Magic Mouse when I don't have my tablet, but I always prefer my Wacom.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Oskar R., Kopfwelt

Last year I replaced my mouse to a big Wacom as my hand and wrist started hurting.

TL/DR: Keyboard shortcuts are faster and a tablet isn't the solution to mouse pain. Less computer is.

In my experience, for illustrating and moving things around in graphics applications, sure, a Wacom is good. But my workflow will never, ever be faster with a Wacom because of the distance to the keyboard.

Keyboard shortcuts are so much faster than using a Wacom (and mouse).

The Wacom helped relieve me of some pain but after half a year it returned as I was always hovering my pen an inch above the tablet which resolves into huge amounts of static pressure.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply
Ryan M., Designed Rockpack & Wonder PL

I find after prolonged use that my trackpad begins to electrocute me. So I try to use my wacom as much as possible.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply

Wacom products are great, and I'm sure you'll work faster once you get used to it. However, I don't understand why would they force you into using a particular tool. Doesn't sound right to me. Is there a specific reason why they are doing this?

0 points about 1 year ago Reply

Definitely a Wacom, it gives me that precision rarely achievable with a mouse. I use it on all types of designs, interfaces, illustrations, icons, etc.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply

I used 100% wacom on everything, including designing, coding, playing games, etc. I used Apple Magic Trackpad for scrolling and clicking. Perfect combination IMO.

It doesn't slow me down. It's a bit faster and more accurate than the mouse plus doesn't hurt my wrist anymore.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply

I used to use a wacom every day for almost two years. While I did get fairly fast at it, the wacom was never faster than a regular mouse. The lack of accuracy was incredible frustrating. I also felt like it strained my wrist a lot more.

I could see how it would be nice if I was more of an illustrator, but as an interactive designer I'll confidently stick with my mouse.

0 points about 1 year ago Reply