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2048 levels of pressure sensitivity: really necessary?

2048 levels of pressure sensitivity: really necessary?

Postby HaSeKa » Fri 24. Sep 2010, 12:49

Hello everybody,
i was just aking myself not only if the 2048 pressure levels of the Intuos4 are really necessary but also if the do make any sense at all.
I mean, jut look at the maximum lift of the pen tip!
It can be pushed into the pen at maximum pressure approx. 1 mm.
So this means that there is a distance of an almost micrsocopic 2048th mm between two pressure levels.
I dare to say that even a person with highest sophisticated fine motor skills is not capable of controling the power of his fingers/hand in such extremly small distances.

I myself am using a Intuos3 with 1024 pressure levels. I had the chance to try a Intuos4 and i couldn't tell any difference (pressure sensitivity wise) between the two tablets at all.
*beep* no, i even hardly can tell a difference between my Intuos3 and my UD-1212 R which has got only 256 levels. (which BTW served me well for years and still would if Wacom would have supplied us with a W7 driver instead of dropping support for it. But this is a different story.)

What are your opinions about the "insane" number of 2048 pressure sensitivity levels?
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Joined: Fri 24. Sep 2010, 12:08

Re: 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity: really necessary?

Postby Demnus » Fri 24. Sep 2010, 15:24

In first, pressure sensors do not measure the distance on which pen can go, they do measure a weight that was applied to it. And this weight can differ in really wide range. So you do not need to control movement of your hand with nanometer precession, you just apply some weight. In fact your measurement of "maximum lift of the pen tip" don't have any relation to pressure sensitivity at all. You have measured just a clearance between tip holder and real sensor. And may be some tip elastic deformations. Thats all. The sensor itself do not deform almost at all. Maximum deformation of sensor will not exceed even a 0.01mm. But it's deformation isn't related to sensitivity.

Pressure levels is important in terms of maximum resolution of your work you work on.
For example: You work in 2048*2048 image and using only up to 256 pixel brush, with variable opacity and size. Radius of your brush will be only 128 pixels. So in fact you will notice change in your brush only when it will change at least for 1 pixel. It means that you must press your brush trough 16 levels of sensitivity. And you will not notice difference between 128 and 2048 levels.
Also gradation of value of color in 24bit palette mode is only 256(RGB 256*256*256). It means that you will not notice difference between 256 and 2048 levels.
Even with subpixel soft brush difference between 512 and 2048 levels for 256pixel brush is hardly noticeable and only in synthetic test specially prepared for defining this difference.

But if you work on 20480*20480 image and using 2560 pixel brush(1280 pixel radius). Than you will need all 2048 levels of pressure for brush with antialiased edges. Because you will have only 1.6 level per pixel of your brush size change.

So if you work on really huge posters you need 2048 levels, but if you draw for OCD or up to A4 posters 1024 levels of sensitivity is more than enough.
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