How Important Are PRESSURE LEVELS? – Comparing 1K, 2K, 4K & 8K Pens

How Important Are PRESSURE LEVELS? – Comparing 1K, 2K, 4K & 8K Pens

– [Aaron] How important
are pen pressure levels? Let’s find out by comparing
four different pens ranging from 1,000 to 8,000 pressure levels. That’s up next. Thanks for joining me today. I’m Digital Artist Aaron
Rutten and it is my mission to help artists like you enjoy digital art and learn
some new skills along the way. Today, we’ll be testing pen
pressure on four different pens, the Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch with around 1,000 pressure
levels, the Wacom Pro Pen 1 with around 2,000 pressure levels, the Wacom Intuos 2018 model with around 4,000 pressure
levels and the Wacom Pro Pen 2 with around 8,000 pressure levels. Now, I know these are all
Wacom pens but this information will still be applicable to
other types of tablets as well. So before we do any drawing,
I want to mention something that’s very important. The art application that you’re
using might have a maximum of how many pressure
levels it can support. Now, I wasn’t able to find
any information for how many levels are supported for each application but if you do look under options in your Wacom tablet
properties, it does imply that some applications
might not support any more than 1,000 pressure levels. That’s just something to keep in mind. So now let’s do a test with
a really, really big brush and we’ll try to taper it off down to a fine point using pen pressure. Now, when the brush is this big
you’re really not going to see much of a difference in the pen pressure. So if you use a lot of big
brushes, the pen pressure might not really make
much of a difference. I’ll continue using a big
brush and I’ll just extend that tapering a little bit longer and then I’ll do some tapered strokes or I’ll attempt to do tapered
strokes with a thick brush. I’m finding it kind of
hard to taper my strokes with the higher pressure levels but with the lower pressure
levels it’s a bit easier. Now, I do want to mention
that you can calibrate your pen pressure to
make it easier to draw for the kind of pressure that you use. But in these demonstrations, I’m just using the default
pen pressure setting for all the tablets. Now I’m going to use a medium-size brush and do a really long taper where I let up on the pen pressure. And as I near the end of
the stroke, I’m going to try to press as lightly as I possibly can. And what I notice is on the
lower pen pressure, it’s easier to get a very sharp taper. It’s hard for me to get
that really fine line width on the higher pen pressure resolutions but the overall smoothness
of the transition between wide to thin is much smoother on the higher pen pressure resolutions. Now, you might notice that on
the tablets that don’t have a screen, the lines are
a little bit more wobbly. That’s because I’m holding the tablet up and so it’s kind of moving
when I press down on it. I had to do that to keep
it within the camera frame. So just ignore the wobbliness
of the lines and just focus more on how evenly the pressure
goes from thick to thin. Now I’ll test pressure with opacity. I’m controlling the opacity
or how thick the paint is or how transparent it is. What I’m doing is I’m
starting with heavy pressure and I’m going to very, very light pressure to get that nice fade. Now again, what you’ll
notice is there’s that smoother transition from dark to light over on the higher pressure levels. When you look at the lower pressure levels it’s a bit more jumpy. It jumps quickly from
one level to another. I’m going to draw a similar stroke here. This time I’ll start with light pressure, go to heavy pressure and then
back to light pressure again. And if you look very
carefully, again you can see with the higher pressure
levels that transition from dark to light back
to dark is much smoother. Next, we’ll use pressure
to vary the opacity and blend one color into another. And just like the previous examples, the higher pressure resolution
is a much smoother transition whereas the lower resolution
is much more jumpy. So if it’s hard for you to see
that, try blurring your eyes and looking at these
examples and you’ll see that the transition from yellow to
orange to red is more abrupt with the lower pressure
levels and it’s much smoother and even with the higher pressure levels. Now I’m going to go ahead
and use a very fine brush and I’ll try to taper my
strokes and get a nice range from fine to very fine, something like you’d get
if you were sketching or doing inking. It feels like in the lower
pen pressure resolution that it’s easier to get a
very fine point on my line. It’s more difficult with the
higher pen pressure levels but overall the quality of
the lines is a lot smoother with the higher pen pressure levels. So now that I’ve done some examples with my default pen pressure
setting, I’m going to go ahead and calibrate this a bit so it’s softer and firmer
and we can see the difference that that makes. I’ll go ahead and make
it quite a bit softer. And now it feels very
difficult to be able to get a very thin line. I can get a pretty even
middle-sized line but it’s hard to get that nice thin taper. I’m going to go back and
I’m going to calibrate it the opposite direction toward firm. Now it’s very easy to get that
very thin line but it’s very difficult to get a very, very thick line. The pen that I’m using here
is the Wacom Pro Pen 2. Now, if I make my brush a bit bigger and I try that same thing
where I go from light to heavy to light and you can see I
do get a nice transition. It’s just depending on how you
calibrate this, you’re going to be able to get thick lines more easily or thin lines more easily. You have to try to find the
balance to see what works best for you. Now I’m going to try to taper some lines using that firm setting. And I can get a pretty good
taper, a nice even transition from thick to thin. But it’s not quite as sharp as I want. Now, if I go back the other
direction a little bit more towards the middle setting
and you can see it’s very hard to get a taper. I get these very thick bold lines. Now I’ll try just one notch towards firm and it’s getting a bit closer
to the kind of pressure that I like to use when I’m drawing. So for me, anything under
2,000 levels of pen pressure, I’ll set one notch towards firm. If it’s higher than that,
I’ll set it two notches toward firm and that
works a lot better for me. One of the issues I have
with the MobileStudio Pro in regards to pen pressure
is it feels like you have to press really hard in order
to reach maximum pressure. So you might want to just set
your own custom pressure curve to get the absolute best
pen pressure setting. So after comparing
these pens side by side, I’ve come to the conclusion
that higher pressure levels can eliminate jagged or rough transitions between brush size and opacity. Higher pressure levels
can also eliminate jumps between levels. Higher pressure levels give
you more headroom for setting a custom pressure curve. Higher pressure levels are more noticeable depending on the kind
of brushes you’re using. It’ll make the most difference
in fine line art with a lot of brush size and opacity variation. It can also be nice for 3D
sculpting where you might want to vary between light and heavy
pressure so you don’t have to change your brush size
or strength as often. Don’t see much of a difference
in any of these examples? Well, unless you’re an experienced
artist who has used a lot of tablets over the years,
you probably won’t notice a difference. And to be honest, I’m quite
comfortable using any tablet regardless of how many
pressure levels it has. I’ve made some great art with
only 1,000 pressure levels. And anything under 1,000
pressure levels does feel a bit awkward but above that, I
feel just fine at around 1,000 or 2,000 pressure levels. As I move on up to 4,000 or
8,000 pen pressure levels, the line feels a bit
smoother but it feels a bit more difficult to get
that thin to thick ratio without creating a custom pressure curve. So to me, pressure levels
are important but they’re not as important as the size
of the active drawing area on the tablet, the comfortability
of the pen, the additional features of the tablet or
the overall product quality. So let pressure levels be
a factor in your decision to buy a tablet, but don’t
give it too much influence. If you found this information
helpful, take a quick second to like this video. And if you’re enjoying all
these free videos I’m creating for digital artists, join
me on my mission to create more resources like this
at And click that subscribe button if you’d like to see
more videos like this. Thanks for watching and
I’ll see you next time.


  • John Collado says:

    Hi Aaron… an excellent review…. I'm only at the 2048 level with my 21UX, but I've been wondering what the higher pressure levels were like. You've answered that, thanks.

  • CoolCat says:

    Great video Aaron 🙂

  • Aaron Rutten says:

    How important are pressure levels to you? Comment below.
    ✔️ Subscribe to my art channel for #DigitalArtSmart videos every week:
    ✔️ Support my channel & get VIP rewards:
    ✔️ Check out my online digital art courses:
    ✔️My YouTube Digital Artist Gear:

  • Syahaz says:

    I know tablets today have variations of pressure level but I always asking myself how to do so because nobody before you ever tell about it with details. Very much thanks man!

  • pastuh says:

    Thanks, interesting video. Thats why i plan to move from 512 to 4k ^^

  • RustyTube says:

    Thanks for this. I have never been able to figure out how to use pressures, so I am going to try to do what you showed in the pen properties. I also never knew different pens can have different number of pressures.

  • Carl_ Wheezy says:

    wacom drivers tho aye!

  • BiPinkBunny Chan says:

    That's a very interesting video ^^
    My tablet is a wacom ctl-470 … from the 2012 ~ 2013 model …
    I have it since then and I use it in my work xP
    I think my pressure level is 1024 and the resolution is 2540 lpi.

    Now I realize the difference of pressure levels and their transitions…
    it seems kinda difficult to keep a middle ground between thick and thin without customization. xP

    Curiosity, what does lpi resolution do?
    I notice that most wacom tablets have 2540 lpi, except for pro intuos that have 5080 lpi.

  • Funny Guy says:

    I always assumed the levels came from the tablet. That's amazing considering they have no batteries.

  • Chanrees Corner says:

    Question. I have intous pro, the one before paper edition. But would wacom's pen pro 2 work for a pen pro 1 tablet? the 2048 levels

  • Pradhyumn Jadon says:

    I am really confused now, again
    So I am about to buy a graphics tablet and I had to chose between one
    Wacom clt 472 (2048 pressure levels)
    Huion h540p (8192 pressure levels)
    I was really confused, but then I read somewhere(and decided to get Wacom) that once pressure sensitivity is above 1000 it doesn't really make a difference. But I can clearly see the difference here.
    I know Wacom's are durabile and all…
    Damn it, what should i get?

  • Skippy Passion says:

    Thanks a lot for this very interesting video.
    Pressure level was one of my first criteria when I bought my drawing Tablets. I choose a 8192 (XP-PEN Deco1) and appreciate, but I have no experience with lower pressure level.

  • Black Lion says:

    THANK YOU!!! THIS is what I've been asking in different forums. Is 8192 different than 2048. No one could tell me. I should've bought the Huion 😢😭

  • ramiz should says:


  • Pipoh says:

    Hi Aaron! i wonder is it possible for me to buy the Intuos Pro Small (old version with 2k pen), and buy seperate 8k pens and use it on them?

  • OM&TheVASYA says:

    Aaron Rutten
    Thanks for the review. I have the opportunity to buy used Cintiq 22hd, what do you think about this device or Huion GT221 is better? And GT221 has 4x more huge pressure level, what do you think about that? And 22hd costs (used) like new Huion but I can buy that from my friend in installments. I'm definitely the noob in this and I'd like to use that for a little of drawing, motion graphics and 3D. What can you advise?

  • Arnab Das says:

    Please suggest me which one to buy?

    One by wacom CTL471 OR CTL472? :-/
    CTL472 is 2048 pressure level
    CTL471 is 1024 !!

  • JK JK says:

    Man, what a great video.
    Seriously, I was about to choose one out of two old versions of Intuos (Pen and Touch vs Art) and the conclusion I came across was that the only thing that really was differing those two was pressure sensivity.

    I really thought that there was a huge difference between these pressure levels but there isn't '-'
    In fact I got disappointed with the 8K levels and my preference was the 4K so I got the closest to it (2K)

    I can't say it saved me money but it really changed my preception about pressure sensivity and will problally make the difference the next time I buy a graphic tablet when I get a larger budget ; )

  • Mountain Spirit says:

    Thx its helped me a lot

  • jack sjsjs says:

    i am trying to do pencil charcoal drawings. What do you think?

  • Harish VFX says:

    Finally i bought a Wacom intuos 2018 . Im very happy about that product .

  • Kevin Costner says:

    I was very happy with the measly 256 pressure levels and could do just as good as my 2K Intuos. Only tool carpenter blame his tools, enjoy what you have at hand.

  • Luke Nilson says:

    Made a switch to 1024 to 8192, Thanks for comparing. My intuos3 sucked!!!

  • Bryan Duruin says:

    hi.. I just like to point out why digital artist do always worry if the display or the drawing tablet and its stylus pen can drew a straight line w/out the being jagged? i had seen many vloger review that always commenting the "Straight LInes" … If an artist do wants an straight line why do they dont use the LINE TOOL its simple and fast and can use to another layer after their rough drawingzz??

  • Akmal Hakim Sabri says:

    I need to buy either
    1. HUION 1060PLUS (2048pp)
    2. XP pen Star 12" (2048pp)
    3. Ugee M708 (8192pp)
    HELP MEE!!!

  • Rishabh Goel says:

    Should I buy the XP-Pen G640 6 x 4 inch with (8000) pressure
    or Wacom One by CTL-472 with (2000) pressure ?
    they both are exactly of same Price . Please help?

  • Quan Stewart says:

    Bro… Perfect. Thank you so much.

  • Qian Bang says:

    This really helps. Thanks. But for someone just starting, I don't think I need to worry about all this. I'm just curious

  • Loubna Majrouh says:

    As someone who wants to break into the comic book industry as an interior lineart artist, would 4000 levels of pressure sensitivity be enough or should I go for 8000? 🤔 (I never worked digitally btw and I'm saving for a tablet but I don't know which one to buy)

  • memengous says:

    I don't have enough money to buy a Wacom tablet. So I have two options. Should I buy XP-Pen Star 03 or Huion Inspiroy H950P? Please help me out.

  • Kenji Otake says:

    I have a tablet, but I have no idea how many pressure levels it has, I bought it around 7 years ago and it still works perfectly even with it's daily use, it's a Wacom Intuos5 touch, and I'm too lazy to search for the box it came in or Wacom's webpage to see the details

  • Nikola Nevenov says:

    I keep seeing people who say pen pressure does not matter.Especially after the 1k.Now,working with my intuos 4 with the 2k pressure for over 5 years,and working with a unknown brand with 1k pressure 2y before,and between the intuos and the 1k tablet,I worked with a pen tablet with 0 pen pressure for some months,and the conclusion is YES…you really would not notice anything special above 1k if all you are doing is sketching and painting(basic brush opacity and size variation).However when doing lineart pressure sensitivity becomes really important.And important mainly because you want to spend less time fighting the hardware's limitations.I kept being unhappy with how my lines were coming from my 2k pressure when I started doing more linework than just sketching and painting.Thank god for Lazy Nezumi,but still there was that exact issue about the jagginesinconsistency with the pressure.Like I could not get a smooth transition between thick to thin 100% of the time.After all the software uses the input from the tablet and then uses some kind of algorithm to transfer that to the screen and document.Having more data to work with,helps with the calculations being more precise.

    Overall I think it's like the bit depth of images. We have 8,16 and 32 but in the end every image is viewed in 8 bit.The question one might rise is why do we even have 16 and 32 bit images and only a guy who does that works with these can come to you and say "What?!Are you mad? We need those because of x,y,z".
    So higher pressure levels is more of a pro perk than something that you will really need to make good art.As I mentioned,I was commissioned and paid for works that I used a pen with 0 pressure sensitivity on it.

    But the video above is really great at giving us a good explanation on the effects of a high pen pressure.

  • Captain Shnonan says:

    Hey Aaron, thanks for all the great videos. Here's a question on the subject of making great videos. I've noticed, and taken an increased interest in, with hopes of replicating for my own YouTube videos, that in some of your video tutorials, you are speaking to the camera while being superimposed in front of a background of some of your digital art creations. How'd u do that?

  • Mohamed Youssry says:

    what is better pen pressure when it comes in hand writing ?

  • Mikemcsmurfy says:

    I am learning so much with ur videos and will subscribe for more, because other youtubers don't go in so much detail as you. Thanks

  • Mr. 2 minutes says:

    I want to buy $70 one have around 8000 pressure with circly wheels.
    but there's a $50 one with no circly thing.
    I want the circle but I just wanna make a 2D animation, do I really have to spend 20extra for that circly thing? Hmmm..

  • Quest says:

    How important is tilt and pen rotation in a tablet?

  • trocen 07 says:

    have you tried tablets fron the xp-pen brand, if so how was it ;; i’m deciding on buying a xp-pen deco 01 sometime

  • Sushanth Kodiganti says:

    Should I use mouse mode(relative mapping) or pen mode(absolute mapping) for digital art ?

  • Deana Rafa Adelia says:

    I love 1k and 4k. Its suits me. Yes i know the 8k is comfortable but it doesnt really suit me. But i still like it tho..

  • boycool coolboy says:

    can you try Huion and to vs wacom?

  • West Senkovec says:

    How do you go from using the stylus as a mouse cursor to leaving an actual trace with the pen tool?
    Do you need to hold a button on the stylus that is programed as the left click mouse or is all pressure based?

  • ckat609 says:

    what about sculpting? does it affect much?

  • kspec2001 says:

    thanks for the information.

  • Sound like this says:

    I'm probably the only one to have a Wacom Intuos 3 since 2008… Only 1024 levels of pressure and It work perfectly like a brand new tablet with 8000 levels!!!! XD

  • Didot Tuman69 says:

    What is the most important specification of a tablet?

    Edit:please answer it

  • Helios says:

    I start to feel real discomfort when i draw only under 1024 – 512 pressure level . The thing that i notice more is the activation force of the pen other than that a lot of software don't support well more than 2048 pressure level and you can find strange behaviors when you try to use more pressure but with a 8000 pressure levels and a nice setting on the pressure curve i agree that you can get a very comfortable experience but it's just a plus … i believe we are also misleaded by the activation force and the higher precision of the new wacom pens the pressure level are just a plus .

    I think that Driver compatibility , activation force and feel of the pens on the surface are the most noticeable things between tablets so far . I never had big problem with any of my tablet . I produced also some work with some tablet PC equipped with wacom digitizer with only 256 pressure levels but they are not good for painting no matter what you change the pressure curve you still get a very unreliable and random pressure sensitivity than the opacity and the dimension of the lines was very hard to control freehand . You can still manage to get some results if you use alternative blending method , airbrush , selections and so on to get your life even easier but if you like to sketch free hand try to get at least a tablet with 2048 pressure level and a very low activation force .

    Also the tilt is a something i don't use very often because it's implemented very bad on wacom pens too … Only the apple pencil emulate tilt well and even the design of the stylus is made with more logic and a better pen nib .

  • Andrey Menshikov says:

    Hm, 2k looks more accurate that 4k :/

  • Akbar Shamim says:

    As a beginner…I wanted to buy Wacom Intuos Pro (for touch & eraser feature) but according to my budget…i can't afford it…
    so i planned on start with either One (CTL-672, medium, 2k pressure level) or Intuos S (CTL-4100, small, 4k pressure level)
    i'm confused whether should i go with the size or pressure level? I'm good at usual sketch but i never used a drawing tab before…i've seen a lot of reviews but the more i watch, the more it gets confusing. Please help me choosing the right one (TIA)

  • pako1990bcn says:

    Con 2500 puntos de presion boi sobrado

  • maz ditzo says:

    I am nowhere near your skill and experiences but using intuos 3 and intuos 4 (1k and 2k) feel almost the same haha ( the tablet surface is somehow difference)

  • GcorpCoPrez says:

    This is wonderful. Im sitting debating on whether I should stick with wacom or try a huion with higher pressure levels. I own the 1,024 pressure lvl tablet. This answered my question with pressure lvls.

  • wellbornwinter6 says:

    can you please analyze stylus tilt support on varios angles like 45 & 60 & its importance?

  • Henri Tuhola says:

    You messing around has most effect on the results. The variance from pen sensitivity doesn't affect these results because even 1024 level resolution is 4 times greater than the color range of this video, and 50 times greater than the resolution in line test. It's an interesting video although it just scratches the surface. ^^

  • jerwin castillo says:

    Im using wacom pen 2, why is it my pen suddenly becomes thick when im using brush tool, is it no calibrated or needs an update? Thank you

  • Just Kidding says:

    Funny that my xppen g640s has 8x as much pressure levels as the wacom intous cth 480 xd

  • Aurora Parkinson says:

    Strange but I think I prefer the 2,048 lvl most out of them all then the 8,192 lvl

  • roofoofighter says:

    Now compare the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro

  • Cynthia Shepard says:

    Soo…I have a wacom bamboo tablet and the pen that only has 1024 levels. If I buy the Wacom pro pen 2 can I use it with that old tablet on mine or do I need to buy a newer tablet aswell?

  • - Ikarus - says:

    So overall verdict is that more is better, but not too much better.

  • Epic Kazoo Covers says:

    so whats best?

  • mr snoop says:

    tablets are wrist killers

  • Молодое Дарование says:

    Who can help me with choice please (I want to change my huion 1060plus with 2048 plessure levels): wacom intuos ctl-4100 like in video or one by wacom?

  • Anand Aryan says:

    true and best review

  • Sandel Dark says:

    Muchas Gracias. Esto era lo que buscaba, un comparación en los niveles de presión. Buen trabajo ; )

  • Otaku-chin says:

    I like the 4k more than the others

  • Justin Yu Villa says:

    has anyone try if the 8k pen pressure benefits inside of zbrush as well? Or is 2k the cap off for the program too.

  • Ronaldo Martins says:

    What matters most Aaron? The pen or the pad? If I have state of the art pen with a budget pad, or vice versa, how will my drawing be affected? From your video, I am assuming the pad does not matter much. Thank you!

  • javier aguilef says:

    having the tablets holded in the air obviously affected the pressure on them because they moved tho

Leave a Reply

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