Sunday, August 21, 2011
Go get that tablet!!!
I got into retouching photos in the late 90's. Never did I realize how big Adobe Photoshop will be in the next decade as I have started this career in Corel photopaint. In the early 2000's I was able to score my very first own copy of Photoshop. A Photoshop 5 LE version. It was enough to let me learn this trade. I was never aware that this will be my career in the next couple of years.
At work, I saw people using the old Wacom tablets and I thought they looked pretty cool. You even looked cooler using it. So I though maybe I'll give it a try and so I did. Being so used to the mouse, I never really became an instant fan of it. So after a couple of hours of using it I gave up, and returned to my trusty old mouse.
I then attended a Photoshop seminar last year and it was Scott Kelby himself who was giving the lecture. At the beginning of the seminar he emphasized over and over again the difference of using a mouse and a pen in photo retouching. He mentioned how cool it looks like when you're using one...hahaha. Although he also said other key advantages of using one over the mouse.
So during the break, I went out and started looking at the stuff they were selling outside the conference rooms. One thing that caught my eye was this guy doing a demo for the Wacom Cintiq tablet monitor. The guy was doing these brush strokes effortlessly. I was amazed so I decided to try it out again. So I bought a Wacom Bamboo.
The Wacom Bamboo trained me to use the pen. Also it trained my hand to be more precise in using it. Till I got an Intuos4 at work that I realized that I needed to replace my Bamboo at home to the more professional version. So I did.
I got a medium Wacom Intuos4 wireless from ebay for $200. Yes...$200 brand new...try to beat that! As these tablets don't go lower than $330 in ebay. I got pretty lucky so I grabbed it. A week later I got it and it still feels amazing to use after a couple of weeks.
The biggest things I loved about the tablet is the pressure sensitivity and the shortcut buttons. The sensitivity is double than what it was with the intuos3 I suppose. The shortcut buttons are really easy to configure and it also shows the functions that are assigned to the buttons via an illuminated display which makes the tablet look more elegant. Setup was pretty easy. I just charged the battery, turned my bluetooth on in my imac and I was ready to go. If you keep it plugged with the usb cord it becomes the wired version. Though the real wired version has a slightly bigger active work area than the wireless one, I can barely notice the difference. It comes with a couple of tips, from soft to hard, the pen rest, USB cable, the grip pen, manual, and the installer. If you register the software in the Wacom site, they give you a free software download...though I haven't really downloaded anything yet. The wireless one DOES NOT come with a mouse. That's the thing that's missing from the wireless package. Although like me, if you get so used to using the pen, you'll probably use it for everything and not need a mouse at all.
With the pen I can do brush strokes more naturally. This is perfect when applying masks in photoshop by brush. The pen tool also feels more accurate with the pen. The thing that I like the most with the pen is when I use the healing brush and the clone tool, if you use Photoshop a lot you'll know what I'm talking about. Also I noticed that after hours of using the pen that my hand feels better than with using a mouse for a long time.
So if you're still using the mouse for retouching photos, give the pen a try. It takes a while to get used to but when you do...you'll never go back to the mouse.