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thoughts and questions on writing tablet

sonorier   August 1st, 2010 4:04a.m.

since today i have a bamboo pen, i explored lots of the forum posts about settings and whatnot to make it as comfortable and efficient an experience as possible.

After following everyones advice and playing around with the settings myself, these are my thoughts and questions:

- although a little more comfortable, it is much slower than the mouse. I've been skritting for 45 mins now and feel like i haven't done anything. Someone has the same experience or will I speed up after getting used to the tablet?

- writing raw squigs is useless for me. What i am able to draw looks absolutely terrible, no matter how slow and concentrated i write. Even writing ABC, I don't seem to manage writing something that comes close to looking decent. Any advice?

- it seems that the smallest possible area that you can limit the tablet to, is perfect for me. But where do you put it? I tried many places and until now the best is in the upper left corner. I would like to put my hand next to the tablet so it would be lower, but the side is too wide. I haven't found the right screen area limit yet, as to not have a fast and erratic mouse pointer but also not to move my hand too much.

- the pen is absolutely huge. how do you hold it? If I hold it like a normal pen i keep on pushing that button. If holding differently I get tired very soon.

- Do you look at the tablet when writing? Maybe imagining a little box on the tablet. I would love to do this, problem is if a stroke is not recognized, you are unaware of it.

- Although you guys recommend pen mode, I had no problems with mouse mode. Just put mouse speed and acceleration to low levels. This way it is easier to keep the mouse pointer in the skritter box. Drawback is that it seems to be impossible to limit screen or tablet area, so I have to move my hand a little too far. Haven't tried it for a long time though, been busy experimenting with and tweaking screen and tablet area in pen mode.


conclusion: I am a little dissapointed, I expected much easier writing, but a lot of the dissapointment is due to the fact that i was overly exited when the thing finally arrived. It's only 400 kuai and I definitely don't feel it's a total waste. Still, if I have money later, I am almost definitely going to buy one of those comps with reversable touchscreens.

ジェレミー (Jeremy)   August 1st, 2010 11:40a.m.

The only thing experience is hand cramping if i use the pad too much, in the meantime i've just put a memopad under the pad of my hand that hangs off, thats the same thickness as the bamboo, and it takes the cramping away

Raw squig mode is awesome and i have no problems with it

The pen isn't that much bigger than a normal pen,

is the wacom plugin in your settings on skritter enabled?

If you load up a note program on your computer, You should be able to blindly look at the pad and write what you are most familiar writing, and it should look the same as your normal handwriting.

And you should look at your Screen, not the writing pad when you write..

All and all, Skritter or not- this bamboo pad is one of the best things i've ever bought, i've been using it to draw a lot too, it's like paper!

ジェレミー (Jeremy)   August 1st, 2010 11:45a.m.

actually I would personally experiment with the pad in things like the Gimp, and Xournal-- and all your local settings first

Practice and make sure you can write your usual handwriting, get very used to the pad, then attempt skritter

you can watch youtube videos with people writing on the wacom pen, to see how natural its supposed to work, there should be no latency.

ジェレミー (Jeremy)   August 1st, 2010 12:06p.m.
sonorier   August 1st, 2010 12:43p.m.

thanks g1litch, good advice.

about the size of the pen, it's bigger than the pens I use, and somehow that button thing keeps on getting under my finger.

the wacom plugin is enabled (and installed) I just don't notice any difference with or without it, what does it do exactly?

so what settings do you use? tablet area, screen area, ...? I tried everything, and although I must admit that my handwriting is very bad anyway, even I can't read what I have written on this pad. But I feel some change for the better after two hours of skritting and experimenting with settings.

I am not criticizing raw squig mode, I just can't make any decent looking strokes so it makes no sense using it right now.

anyway, have to go to sleep now, thanks for your advice.

Byzanti   August 1st, 2010 12:50p.m.

I think you just need to get used to it. Disable the buttons if you want, at least for the moment. You probably should be using pen mode, rather than mouse mode though. Would make more sense.

I've personally got mine mapped 1-1, but it will of course depend on the size of your screen, and how big you want to write the character. You'll get used to it whatever size you choose.

Raw squig mode is another thing completely, it's first purpose should be to make sure you know characters better, rather than to test your handwriting. Although, from my experience using it, handwriting will also improve a bit.

ジェレミー (Jeremy)   August 1st, 2010 1:30p.m.

To get it set up, I installed the bamboo drivers, disabled pen flicks, adjusted the "tip feel" setting, turned double click distance to the smallest, in pen mode with the writing pad proportions unchanged, and then via skritter enabled the wacom plugin in the settings wheel,

I feel like the best way to train your muscle memory for actual writing practice, is if you draw a certain sized line on the Pad, that the same sized line would show up on the screen-- That way you aren't learning weird jet fighter muscle memory, like turning a car at high speed,

I sometimes though open up windows magnifier, Make it in docked mode, and turn it up to 300-400 percent magnification, and rezise it so only the skritter writing box shows up-- And i resize the browser window so skritter is smaller, (and in the smaller pixel mode too)-- but it's still important to look at the *skritter* drawing pad, not the huge windows magnifier pad,

The peripheral vision of the character being drawn really is a great help, and plus its cool.

sonorier   August 2nd, 2010 5:47a.m.

@byzanti: you say 1:1,what do you mean by that? full tablet area vs full screen area? If so, don't you have to move your hand a big distance?

@g1itch: that magnifier thing: I have no idea what you are talking about. So you also have the writing pad proportions unchanged? Either I am doing something wrong, or you guys write in skritter like you are drawing a painting.

Anyway I think I got the best settings for me now. The only drawback is I have to switch to my mouse or keyboard quite often, but that's okay.

Still, the squig mode doesn't do it for me, I can't get anything recognized in there. And when I do finish a character it looks like a collection of random strokes, which even make the skritter character that appears over it unclear. Well, I guess I need more practice.

Again, I am not criticizing squig mode, writing tablets, or anything else. I know you are all raving about it, so I thought I could get some advice on how to improve my bamboo skritting experience. Untill now very helpful, thanks!

Byzanti   August 2nd, 2010 8:31a.m.

@byzanti: you say 1:1,what do you mean by that? full tablet area vs full screen area? If so, don't you have to move your hand a big distance?

Given I'm on a 13.3" Macbook, I guess. It's probably a 2x2cm area I write in. But you'll get used to it whatever size you choose. Unless, it's the whole pad mapped to the Skritter area, perhaps...

Squigs will look like random strokes, especially if you're in mouse mode.

sonorier   August 2nd, 2010 9:22a.m.

"squigs will look like random strokes...", I mean I am not able to write anything recognizable, as opposed to many people saying it should look like your handwriting. Actually I am not sure how to explain. I know it is not supposed to be as beautiful as ex-squig mode, but for example it is nowhere near the thing in the youtube video, I just can't get them to be more or less correct, especially since I have to try many strokes 4 or 5 times to get them recognized by the system. I know it is me and not the squig system, but it's a pity.

so you mean you did not change tablet or screen area and still the skritter box corresponds to 2by2 cm on your tablet? I still write a lot bigger than my normal handwriting size, but am sick of trying to adjust the screen area again, as this is better than having those overly erratic pointer movements.

ジェレミー (Jeremy)   August 2nd, 2010 12:19p.m.

Without the pad proportion settings changed, and using the smaller pixel skritter setting (and zooming out of firefox until the kana is just still readable) the writing size should be about the size for me is about a postage stamp

What i meant with windows magnifier, is that if you have a small scaled browser box one side of your screen, and the huge windows magnifier on the other- Set it to follow keyboard focus, in "dock" mode, (also turn on color inversion)- You can draw in the small white pad, but it will also show up in the huge windows magnifier-- my tip though is to still look at the white skritter window, not the windows magnifier, so it doesn't mess up your "muscle reflex memory"-- (The line you physically draw on the pad should identically show up on the screen in length, ideally)

Byzanti   August 2nd, 2010 3:43p.m.

"I know it is not supposed to be as beautiful as ex-squig mode, but for example it is nowhere near the thing in the youtube video,"

Neither is mine. Guy has good handwriting (also, wacom plugin which doesn't work on chrome/mac). But handwriting isn't the big benefit of the squigs - your character knowledge is.

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