Featured Articles, Technology

Wacom or Not To Wacom

A change to digital enables designers to provide more clarity with content that is easy to integrate and edit as needed.

By Michael Prince, president, Beyond Design, Inc.

Over the years our team has experienced incredible advancements in our industry. The primary advancements have been around digital input, allowing faster exploration and more time for creativity. This change to digital also enables designers to provide more clarity with content that is easy to integrate and edit as needed.

At Beyond Design, our design process has not changed. However, the tools we use to create our visions have. Compared to the old days when designers would crowd around a single table to share circle templates and French curves. For over the past two decades, Beyond Design has been using Wacom tablets, specifically the company’s Cintiq creative pen displays, as a tool that enables designers to draw directly on screen to create unimaginable product solutions.

Our product development process involves a series of steps starting with Sketchbook Pro, a pressure-sensitive software application that works wonderfully with Wacom devices, to create an underlay with internal components, making sure there is ample volume along with feature placements. This can include screens, buttons, LEDs, and other critical components. Using this underlay, designers rapidly explore their ideas creating unique forms and applying shading, color, textures, notes and other information to properly communicate their design intent.

Once designers have decided on the intended design direction, designers will use SolidWorks to create the initial CAD files that capture the aesthetics along with functional details.  

As the designers progress with their designs, they use SolidWorks to create the proper geometry. With the Wacom stylus designers can easily spin parts and easily make notes on drawings. Furthermore, designs are brought into KeyShot where Color, Finish, Materials and Graphics (CFM&G) are completed and rendered. Additional Photoshop details are added to make the illustrations pop. With the completion of the CAD files, designers then fabricate 3D appearance models to confirm the design details prior to releasing for tooling.

Our designers all agree that using Wacom has increased their creativity while also enabling quick changes on-the-fly. This is especially helpful when tight deadlines are being put on the designers. During COVID, designers took their Wacom tablets home and commented, “The Wacom tablet is the best device to work from home because it’s easy to set up, doesn’t require additional hardware, and provides all the functions and tools to get the job done.”

When we are seeking to hire a new designer, we look for talented individuals that have used and are proficient at working with a tablet to sketch. Those universities that incorporate the latest digital technology in their curriculum are further ahead and more inclined to obtain work or be hired over other candidates.

Our clients may not know the technology behind our work, but they certainly see the outcome and are pleasantly surprised with the results.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *