Review of Wacom 6DArt Pen with Corel Painter IX

Wacom and Corel have, once again, joined together to increase the almost limitless boundaries of Painter IX. If you are not familiar with Corel's Painter IX or the Wacom's Intuos3, those reviews might come in handy.

Wacom has created a new pen for the Intuos3 Digitizing Tablet called the 6D Art Pen. The 6D Art pen also works with the Cintiq 21UX tablet which I didn't have available to test. Below is a picture of the Cintiq.

The Cintiq is a very revolutionary combination of monitor and digitizing tablet. I first used one at Siggraph 2002 and was tremendously impressed.

The 6D in the name 6D Art pen means that the pen can actually move or more technically revolve in 6 directions.

1. x-axis (left and right)
2. y-axis (up and down)
3. pressure (force with which the pen is applied to tablet)
4. tilt (angle at which the pen is tilted)
5. bearing (direction in which the pen is tilted)
6. rotation (orientation of the pen around its long axis)

The nib or tip of the pen is shaped as a bevel and comes in two types: a hard plastic and a new felt material. I found the main difference was how the nibs moved across the tablet. The plastic tip moved with less friction than did the felt tip. I personally liked the felt tip.

This Pen is integrated, so far, with Corel Painter IX, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop CS2. In this review I will be discussing how the Wacom 6D Art Pen and the Intuos3 tablet are used with Corel Painter IX and the special free brushes Corel has created to go with them.

The pen can be customized, as can all of Wacom's pens, through the Intuos3 Interface found on the PC in the Control Panel (Control Panel>Wacom). The customizing screen will change for the different pens. Below is a screen capture of the one that is activated for the 6D Art Pen.

The free download from Corel consists of five Art Pen brushes. They are: Thin Smooth Calligraphy, Grainy Calligraphy, Soft Flat Oils, Square Grainy Pastel, and Tapered Gouache.

However, as with all Corel Painter IX brushes, each of these special brushes can be modified to form a new brush which will also be rotation sensitive. Below I changed the Method Setting from Cover to Buildup.

In Painter IX, I also discovered that the Artist Oils responded to the 6D Art Pen. Below is an example.

Other brushes can be customized to respond to rotation. I asked Corel which brushes would work and they sent me this information which I am quoting here.

"There are other brushes that can make use of rotation when certain brush settings are enabled. For example, if you are using a brush that is Captured Dab or Circular (you can find out by looking in the General brush controls), then you could adjust the angle controls. If you set the angle expression to rotation, this will make the orientation of the dab adjust to the rotation of the brush. Under angle controls, you can squeeze the dab so that's it not completely round, then increase the Angle Range to 360, and modify the Angle Step to achieve various effects.

Another example, if you are using a Camel Hair or Flat brush (again, look under the General brush controls), then you could adjust the Size controls to make use of rotation. Set the feature expression to rotation or alternately, set the size expression to rotation. This means that either feature or size of the brush can use rotation to change dynamically."

I changed a number of brushes and they worked beautifully. See a few examples above. As I turned the 6D Art pen in different directions as well as the angle, the strokes changed.

More information on the product can be found on both the Corel and Wacom websites. The 6D Art Pen retails for $69.95 from the Wacom store.