Wacom Graphire and Wacom Intuos worked simply great for me in my last 4 jobs. I have worked in four game companies and many design ones before, and allways rely on Wacom tablets for it’s great sensivity and the natural feel.
I do all tasks in a game company, so my everyday since years is : pixel art, illustration, textures, GUI drawing ( in what is 2d,not counting in my 3d tasks, which I do a lot, but there I use just mouse and keyboard) . For all Wacom performs really well, yet I have much better feeling with traditional pencils, oils, watercolors, etc. But is what i have seen closer to natural tools. I do all this work with no time for it, so is good also for speed matters.
I have seen some mates at my jobs use Painter 7 and their passion for it; I prefer plain Adobe Photoshop, but that’s just me.
I’d recommend if you want it for over pressured deadlines use mainly photoshop, but the natural feeling you can find it different and very good in many ways with these tools :
- Art Rage (free)
- Pixia (free)
- Open Canvas (GREAT, close or equivalent to Painter feel) There is a free OC beta floating on the net, even a translate to english one. I recommend it. Of course, the comercial is better.
- Painter. AT least Painter 7 was great. Dunno today’s version.
- Photoshop. Imho the way to go in game companies, for me is a fact.
The software tool does a lot. And specially , how you configre each software setting at the wacom control panel. Graphires don’t allow personalized per application custom keys on pen buttons (ie, I have ctrl+alt+z fro Adobe PS at work. )
Graphire neither allows tilting sensivity. At least till Graphire 3 (4 is out there already) . I suppose 4 doesn’t either, as that’s traditionally available in Intuos family (more expensive, usually ) , also from Wacom. I had purchased like 3 or 4 different brands of pen tablets before Wacom. And imho the difference is incredible. The no tilt stuff also means that after an angle it does not pick the contact, so, if u’re used like me to reach the top menus with a fast tip of pen with pen very inclined/tilted, then is the only real thing a game artist can be sad for, as all other effects can be got by 2d software you may use.
About sizes, exactly a 6x8 (if I am doing th eunits conversion right in my mind, as I am not english speaker) graphire is what we allways use at my companies, only used a 9x12 intuos (my own) in one game company. It 's way more than enough. Intuos has double of sensivity levels, but some people never ever reach to notice much the difference…I do, but can do same work with both. Consider the size of your desktop, the table where you work. May sound silly, but a 12x12 or 9x12 can become really non comfortable, while in games, where you’re at high speed using all: mouse, keyboard shortcuts, and optical pen…It really helps that it all is easily, (and most of all ) fastly reachable and nothing overlaps…
I could tell you much more about it: Drawing has been my -way past 30s- (am also an oil realistic painter, and comic designer) life, and half of it has been drawing in screen (even those times when there was no mouse) for money. Well, this thing for me was a revolution (not pen tablets, first Kurta and Summagraphics where so far from this… but wacom was the revolution, imho. )
I don’t know nothing about the other brand you mention…sorry.
And I am sorry I wont be able to tell more in case you wish it; I am not gonna ever be around here, surely… [ indeed, trying to find out if in these forums can I delete my account ]