The Intuos pen supports 1,024 levels of pressure, pressure erasing and tilt. It also sports two programmable buttons for right clicking, click locking, etc. Other pens, including an airbrush, are available for purchase separately.


The cordless, battery-free Intuos 4D mouse is designed for use with 2D and 3D applications. It includes five programmable buttons and a side-mounted thumbwheel, which can be used for scrolling, applying pressure or a number of other functions. A mouse with an adjustable crosshair mount is also available for purchase separately.

Wacom Intuos 9" x 12"

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More goodies
There are other advantages as well. For one, the Intuos tablets (available in sizes from 4" x 5" to 12" x 18") ship with a pen that supports 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity—twice that of the Graphire line. This provides for some awfully smooth gradations in graphics applications, all adjustable by the user via the Wacom Control Panel. The Control Panel not only lets you set pressure curves manually for both global and application-specific settings, but it will also allow you to enter in pressure via the pen so that the software can determine your pressure levels for you.

In this example, tilt, pressure and velocity input from the Wacom Intuos tablet modulate direction, opacity, density and texture size in this single stroke executed in Synthetik Studio Artist.

The pen also supports tilting for directional spraying in certain applications, such as Synthetik Studio Artist. I don't know exactly how many degrees of tilt the pen supports, but I was unable to discover any limitations. I could rotate the pen from end to end, and it seemed to follow my movements perfectly. It also supports a full 1,024 levels of pressure even while tilted.

The Intuos also ships with a cordless, battery-free mouse that can do significantly more than the mouse that ships with the low-end Graphire tablets. It has five programmable top buttons and a side-mounted thumbwheel, which can be used to scroll, apply pressure or operate in 15-button mode. (The thumbwheel, incidentally, can be configured for left- or right-handed use.) The mouse is designed for use with 3D applications, providing x, y and z input. And, since the Intuos line can accept input from multiple devices, you can, for example, use the mouse to rotate an object while you use the pen to paint on it.

It also ships with a software suite that includes Photoshop LE, Painter and some productivity tools.

The bottom line
With 1,024 levels of pressure, which can be adjusted graphically along a curve in the Wacom Control Panel, you can attain a lot of subtlety in your work. The stylus is great, and the mouse is unique on the Mac in its design and x, y, z functionality. The tablet is fast and accurate, and the supporting software provides a lot of customizability. Final recommendation: strong buy.

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of the Creative Mac, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion and Synthetik Studio Artist WWUGs; and executive producer of Creative Mac, Digital Media Designer, Digital Pro Sound, Digital Webcast, Plug-in Central, Presentation Master, and Video Systems sites. All are part of the Digital Media Net family of online industry hubs.

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