What are the right drawing tablet for animation

Your quick overview of the right drawing tablets for animation

Drawing tablets for animation is your ticket to get started in the thriving animation industry. That is because it makes you faster and more efficient.

The global animation industry is valued at around US$ 270 Billion and growing. (Source: Statista). Celluloid animation is the primary segment of this industry. 2D Animation, 3D Animation, Motion Graphics, and Stop Motion are the next prominent ones.

Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.” – Walt Disney.

The animation industry is a fast-evolving industry. Moreover, there are immense job opportunities through globally distributed workflows. Animation and visual story-telling have given birth to VR (Virtual Reality) eco-system. This has taken branding and brand-recognition to new levels. Enterprises are always on the look-out for animators. They rely on them to transform their concepts into breath-taking visuals. Newer distribution platforms and channels are also driving up the demand for digital imagery. Hence the potential for a ‘high-growth‘ career in animation is immense.

Why choose the right drawing tablets to get started in animation?

The animation process

Animation often requires tight visuals and precision. Precision in the animation process ensures accurate marks and quick frame adjustments in the process. Speed and consistency across animated drawings are also key requirements.

A drawing tablet with a high-resolution screen and a highly-interaction stylus are thus important. They often enable the difference between a great animation, and a good one.

Drawing tablets and animation

Drawing tablets are basically devices that utilize software, to transform hand-drawn or other images into data for storage purposes. To learn about the best drawing tablet software and its use-case types, please click here.

Professionals like artists, animators, designers, and architects primarily use these devices to transfer pen stylus movements on a touch-sensitive drawing surface. Once completed, the final drawings reflect their concepts and ideas through visuals. In addition, you can store these visuals, transfer them via online platforms, and print them on paper if required. To learn about the right drawing tablets for architects, please click here.

Simulation figure on the animation  process and why choose the right drawing tablets for animation
Simulation of the animation process on a drawing tablet (Image Source: School of Motion)

How to select the right drawing tablets for animation?

The selection process of the right graphic tablets for animation involves a careful trade-off between the primary and additional factors

The primary factors:

Size of the tablet: The size of the tablet determines it’s input capabilities. It also indicates whether or not the tablet comes with a built-in screen. You would often need to plug-in a smaller tablet into a monitor or screen. While bigger tablets often come with a built-in screen. This display screen also doubles as an input surface.

Pressure sensitivity: Pressure sensitivity influences the quality of the output in relation to the input. Input is the pressure applied to the pen while creating the animation. The output is the thickness of the lines created, as a result of this input. As an illustration, you can use a tablet with pressure levels of 2048 to create thicker lines. While in comparison, you could use a tablet of 1024 pressure levels to mostly create thinner lines.

Controls: Controls indicate the level of customization through buttons. You can usually find these on the drawing screen of the tablets. Moreover, they can even be found on the stylus or pen being used.

Budget: Your budget influences your drawing tablet’s capabilities. It also dictates whether it comes with a built-in screen or not. Thus it influences the end-outcomes you could realize from your tablet.

Figure on how to select the right drawing tablets for animation. The girl in the image chose a drawing tablet with a built-in screen
Girl animating on the built-in screen of a Huion KAMVAS GT-156 HD (Image source: Homesthetics)

The additional factors

Display quality: The pixel count of a drawing tablet influences the amount of detail in your drawing. We recommend you to buy tablets with a pixel count of 1920 x 1080 pixels or higher. Another useful factor is the display pixel density, which we measure in pixels per inch. We recommend tablets of 300 ppi and higher, for animations with a great amount of detail.

Capabilities: These influence your ability to move beyond beginners’ art. You choose the drawing tablet based on the purpose you want to use it for.

Responsive displays: There are tablet displays that are sensitive to the touch of your hand or pen. The usage of this feature also depends on the amount of detail in your drawing.

What are the best animator tablets for beginners?

The best entry-level tablets for animators include WACOM Intuos Pro, HUION H420, WACOM Intuos Draw. Both Wacom and Huion offer great entry-level standalone animation tablets. These tablets often come with a pressure-sensitive pen. The display screen is often sensitive to 2048 pressure levels. They are generally compatible with all major graphic software and applications.

The tablet body is generally made of light-weight materials. You may also come across product offers for online tutorials. These allow you to get started in animation.

Figure on the best drawing tablet for animators
Wacom Intuos Pro – a leading entry-level animator’s tablet for beginners (Image Source: Rapid Fire Art)

What are the best graphic tablets for high-end animation?

The best graphic tablets for high-end animation include Artisul D13, WACOM Cintiq 13HD, Cintiq 22HD, XP-Pen Artist 22.

These tablets always come with a built-in display screen. They have a minimum of five programmable buttons. Further, they may include a tilt-able stand. This allows the animator to work at ease. Most tablets come with a crystal-clear 1080p display. As a result, it allows you to see the drawing details with the utmost precision.

Most high-end graphic tablets have a very high response rate. This allows you to quickly convert your pen movements to drawing strokes. The storage capacity of these tablets is also good. It allows you to readily store images, data, and videos.

Figure of one of the best drawing tablet for high-end animation.
WACOM CINTIQ HD22 – the best drawing tablet for high-end animation (Image Source: Digital AV Magazine)

Cinema 4D: The future of Animation

Cinema 4D is literally graphics on the move. It allows motion graphic artist to put an array of objects and text in motion. Moreover, it functions even without a single key-frame. Cinema 4D makes character animation easier. Thus, it helps you create life-like characters using powerful tools.

Maxon pioneers this technology. Graphic artist get to work on the Cinema 4D MoGraph tool set. The set-up offers easy workflows and completely interactive functions. The important components of this technology are:-

  1. A simple yet powerful object cloning tool
  2. Non-destructive object fracturing tool
  3. Dynamics system for stunning realistic motion
Illustration of Cinema 4D – the upcoming animation technology (Image source: Maxon)

In conclusion, Cinema 4D will revolutionize the features and capabilities of drawing tablets for animators within the next 3 years.


Drawing tablets are key for achieving speed and precision while animating. It helps you meet various challenges easily. There are several tablet options that help you achieve proficiency in 3D animation and motion graphics.

The animation industry is evolving. Moreover, it offers exciting job opportunities that you need to monetize from. Knowledge of the right drawing tablets and software for animation gives you the extra edge to succeed here.

In conclusion, the world of animation is exciting. Armed with your talents and the right tools (drawing tablets and software), you can make it rewarding.

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