hah, if I could still use a tablet, i would! Absolute positional accuracy build muscle memory that just can't be done with a mouse and it's relative positioning. Plus it's still a great tool for digitizing or would be if the hardwre wa updated and the drivers worked.
A lot better than digitizing with an 8-pen HP plotter , fiberoptic bullseye, and the joystick. Man, that was hard on the neck!
>> Absolute positional accuracy build muscle memory that just can't be done with a mouse and it's relative positioning
At the moment I get contextsensitive fields onto the tablet (like ribbons) I will think about coming back to tablet
>> Plus it's still a great tool for digitizing
My way of digitizing is: scan the paper and insert it as raster into AutoCAD. My neck thanks it to me as it does not have to move left (to digitizer) and right (to screen) and left and right and .... the whole day.
You are right in "muscle memory" as for some commands (a few fields) I saw people working at a speed that was really fantastic/amazing/.... but with the number of options how you can use commands the number of fields/icons on the tablet don't fit in the area of "muscle memory" (like an A1 tablet full with commands)
- alfred -
I knew that SOMEONE would start wittering about scanning.
Scanning is NOT an option here.
Every month, I trace off hundreds of hand-drawn archaeological plansheets that measure 75cmx75cm, sometimes they are as wide as 1m. Each one covers up to 25mx25m, usually at 1:50 or 1:20 or 1:10, of an archaeological site plus key and other info.
Even if we HAD a scanner that large, even if we could afford a scanner that large in this economic climate, the time involved in scanning them would mean we would have to push up our prices in a competitive market and lose business, it would slow down the whole post excavation analysis process also losing us business.
Sending them to external sources is out of the question because
1, the cost would be even higher, and
2, they are usually confidential information at that point, and
3, letting the primary record out of the building is a great way to lose it and if there is now a building site where the excavation was, that record is lost forever.
In addition any scans detailed enough to show the details properly would have to be minimum 200 dpi and preferably 300 (we do scan the smaller sections sheets and that is the absolute minimum for sufficient detail) and the file sizes would be ginormnous.
It is faster and easier to just calibrate each sheet so that I amm tracing the features directly into the correct coordinates.
Now can we move past this please? I know that scanning is a great way to trace plans but it is simply not feasible where large plans in large numbers are concerned, or where speed is all important.
It's a GTCO Calcomp Drawingboard IV. Not listed in Vtablet's list of tablets (I tried all the similarly named Calcomp drawingboard IVs with numbers after them) without success.
As Autocad had no need for 3rd party software to run tablets until a few years ago, and now treats tablets as legacy items that they do no work on at all, that's why I call it Autodesk's fault. They stopped supporting a vital piece of equipment despite charging bug bucks for their cumbersome program.
All I need from the tablet is to be able to plonk a sheet on it, type tablet cal, click on the 3 points and input the coordinates and then trace. I don't use tablet areas, or tablet menus. I do use the 16 buttons all programmed to the most useful commands.
@ Whoever mentioned antivirus (sorry, it's not letting me scroll down to check names atm) Thanks, I wil mention that to our IT guy. I don't know if he disabled it or not. It's worth a try.
>> knew that SOMEONE would start wittering about scanning.
Very kind, thank you.
Scanning is just one option, if you don't like it, it's up to you. But I guess more than 99% of the people that did digitize plans (using a tablet) 20 years ago are now using digital methods (like scanning and tracing automatically or at least on screen).
>> the time involved in scanning them would mean ...
The time I need to scan and to get the image on screen is less than the time to stick it to the tablet and run the calibration. Not to think about I have to do it twice because I have to rework anything!
Also the hybrid methods to plot the scanned data and just a small area of what had to be digitized makes some things faster than digitizing all from the paper.
>> letting the primary record out of the building is a great way to lose it
That is a great argument to scan the plans.
Having this info in digital form you are more safe, so if anyone loses the paper or there is fire or there is water in your building you always have more chances to lose the paper than to lose the digital copies (as plans in paperware are most unique ones). And having it scanned at the beginning of your workflow you will always be able to reproduce it.
>> minimum 200 dpi and preferably 300 (we do scan the smaller sections sheets and that is the absolute
>> minimum for sufficient detail) and the file sizes would be ginormnous.
Yep ... a DVD or even a harddisk full with 300-600dpi scans is a lot cheaper than copying the paper.
I guess that might be a never ending discussion. What I wanted to show is just "scanning is an alternataive to digitizing", nothing more.
Now you have a few arguments to "what is my personally opinion" why I don't need digitizers any more today.
>> It's a GTCO Calcomp Drawingboard IV
If I see it correct >>>here<<< then it seems that Calcomp does not provide a Win7 driver. Have you ever asked them for an update? There is not any driver listed for Vista, not for Win7 and even not for any 64bit OS.
I'm still wondering why you call it "Autodesk's fault" when Calcomp does not make drivers for there tablets available for Win7x64.
...or is my information wrong and there are Win7x64 drivers available?
- alfred -
It takes me longer to walk down the hall to the scanner than it ever did to tape a sheet of paper to the board and calibrate it for drawing. As well with a scanner, even presuming that one has access to a large enough scanner (I do, most don't) there's still the hassle of feeding the paper in, saving the scan (huge file size) and then scaling/skewing/rotating the image on screen before starting to trace it. It's doable - but less effective. And no endpoints to snap to so there's constant zooming in to find the more or less approximate end of the pixelated line.
Sure, most people digitizing today use on-screen methods. That's all that's available to them- they (we) have no choice.
Context-sesitivity -- not that big a deal. Heck the R2.6 screen menu was context sensitive. Type "E" and all the options applicable to the Erase command instantly showed up on the right. Besides. a tablet-as-a-pointing-device was always far more than just a menu selection tool.
What killed the market for tablets was not a failing on the part of tablets -- it was (A) the cheapness of mice. Accountants will always push for the cheapest option they can get away with, and a free POS mouse bundled with the keyboard looked adequate to them. and (B), IIRC there were some patent issues and dickery going on with the driver software.
Now if someone would try marketing a wireless tablet, say Arch D size, with decent driver software, and a puck that combined the best features of the MX Revolution Mouse with the 16 button chordability of the older Calcomp pucks, they would have a winner. A bigger productivity boost to production CAD than all the on-screen eye candy.
IMHO - YMMV
Calcomp's driver does not work with Autodesk in Win7. They have now told us that. They recommended Vtablet which we cannot get working.
Scanning several hundred sheets of the size said, every week, each one making a file that would probably be several hundred mb in size. We would not get many onto a dvd, and our network drives would be swamped in about 3 weeks.
Calibrating takes seconds and georeferences the plan at the same time as scaling it.
We ALREADY scan some small plans, but only because they are needed for other purposes.
Scaling a scanned plan and then georeferencing it takes twice as long as calibrating a sheet on a tablet which scales and georeferences at the same time in 3 clicks and a few typed numbers. I do both on smaller images all the time, and calibrating is faster by a considerable margin. And as the other user has mentioned, there is no problem if the image is not sitting exactly square on the tablet.
The tablet is faster , easier, and I would really wish that for once people would not assume that we have not considered the alternatives. They are not viable at the moment.
I don't need people assuming that I am stupid and never heard of scanners. I need someone who can help solve this problem.
And again, I consider that it is Autodesjk's fault because they decided to stop supporting tablets and left their customers having to get 3rd part drivers to make them run. We did not need 3rd party drivers a few years ago. If Autodesk had not stopped supporting the required equipment, there would be no problem here. Right now I have work piling up and no way to get it digitised unless we get XP mode up and running with an XP Calcomp driver and Autocad installed.
>> And no endpoints to snap
Does AutoCAD find endpoints on the plan on your tablet?
At least zooming means to be more accurate what you can't as long as the points are on paper.
Using RasterDesign there are options to find snappoints on the referenced rasterimage! (well, verification sometimes needed).
I guess it was the wrong decission to mention anything about scanning in a thread about tablets.
- alfred -
We don't have Raster design, and yes it was. I actually thought for a minute, when I saw my email notifications, that someone might have a solution to the problem.
Being told to spend thousands on an A1 scanner is not a very good solution.
Oh and zooming is easy on a tablet. I have the 5th button set to zoom window.
>> Calcomp's driver does not work with Autodesk in Win7. They have told us that.
Does it work with another program under Win7?
I'm just asking to know if it's a problem of "driver and Win7" or "driver and AutoCAD" (I guess you meant AutoCAD and not "Autodesk", because other CAD-products from Autodesk never had direct drivers to tablets afaik).
And who is "they"? Did Autodesk told you that or Calcomp or anyone else?
>> I don't need people assuming that I am stupid and never heard of scanners.
Is your opinion that I assume you are stupid? Sorry, I never said that, wrote that or thought that.
If you have that feeling because of any words wrote by me then: I'm very sorry if I stated anything that made up this mind!
(btw: I don't have stated anything like "...SOMEONE would start wittering...")
>> I need someone who can help solve this problem.
I try, but up to now we only got half infos (e.g. "They told you..."). Sorry that I try to come as close as possible to maybe a way to work for you.
>> I consider that it is Autodesjk's fault because they decided to stop supporting tablets
>> and left their customers having to get 3rd part drivers to make them run
That is really nothing new, Autodesk does not write drivers for a long time now, not for mouse, not for graphiccards, not for printer or plotter, no drivers for any hardware (well, since AutoCAD 2012 the 3D-connexion-support is new, but I'm more wondering about why they did that).
>> We did not need 3rd party drivers a few years ago
And I'm really unsure at the moment, what means "few years ago"?
The latest direct connections from AutoCAD to the digitizer before changing to WinTab was AutoCAD 2002 or so, isn't it?
One option that could work:
Have you thought about using a virtual machine based on XP just to do the digitizing process and then continue the drawing on your normal desktop? If you use e.g. VmWare to run WinXP inside the virtual machine and maybe an older AutoCAD-release, if necessary, then you should have all options available to get the tablet running ... if the interface get's connected, that has to be verified.
- alfred -
>> Oh and zooming is easy on a tablet. I have the 5th button set to zoom window.
I know that you can start ZOOM by any predefined buttons
What I meant was that when I zoom in to a rasterfile I can better control what pixel on the image is the endpoint of a line, while you can't zoom "into the paper" to be more accurate.
I guess that a magnifying glass on the cursor of your tablet is not as accurate as a scan with 600dpi and zooming in on the screen.
BUT ==> that is theory as every scan or copied paper (or paper at some age) has some inaccuracy because of deformation. So I think it's nice to be able to zoom in or to show the point on the tablet, it's a point with less precision.
>> Being told to spend thousands on an A1 scanner is not a very good solution.
You mentioned above that you have to handle hundreds of sheets every month, so it's a calculation you have to do (I can't do it for you). Also the tablet did create it's investment costs (but you already have it, that's a big difference, I know).
Maybe there is one argument (not technically, more commercial): if you scan 5 plans and you have5 AutoCAD-workstations 5 people can work parallel while using one scanner. ... otherwise you might need 5 tablets.
As I don't know your office it's just one additional thought.
- alfred -
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