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Do You Use a Wacom Tablet With Photoshop?

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Local art college is having a class coming up, "Digital Painting and Drawing." The course uses a Wacom tablet with Corel software.

I did some searches and found that Wacom tablets will work with Photoshop.

So... the question is this: If you have one, what is the Wacom tablet model you have and how does it work with Photoshop?

I am thinking of taking the course but would like to see what the cost of a tablet is, and it'd be great if I could use it with Photoshop and save the cost of buying Corel. Who knows, maybe I'll buy Corel anyway, but... I would like to see what the collective wisdom of you all is.

Nikon D800, D100, Canon G15
Posted: 03/26/2010, 12:59:28 PM
I have one, the Wacom Intuos PTK640. Works great with Photoshop
Posted: 1 minute ago
I have the Bamboo, its great with Photoshop
f/4L Canon EF 70-300mm IS/USM f/4-5.6 Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM/Macro ...
Posted: 03/27/2010, 06:33:56 AM

Wacom is the industry standard and they do have a few quality levels spread over two lines.

The Bamboo line is low end (useable) to decent. And the Intuos is the pro line and all the Intuos models have the same quality, and only differ in their size and # of hotkeys. The best model and size all comes down to application you are using for and personal preference.

These basically comes down to pressure sensitivity levels, and how good the pen feels is in your hand.

The cheap pen may feel less solid or stable for example and just feels cheaper. Also the cheap pens seem to have a tip that can have more play in it. It works as well, but gives you a less confident feedback and I tend to hold it harder to force more control onto it.

The higher the sensitivity, the smoother the transition you paint stroke effect is when you draw.

when you press harder you release more ink, or a wider stroke, or more solid - all depending on the brush or tool at hand, and they can be defined.

Since I do digital matte painting work, I pretty much have used them all over the years. Im not an expert at all the features, as i generally do not take all the time to setup the hot button feature and extra bells and whistles.. but I am quite familiar since i use a tablet everyday and have purchased a few hundred of them - not all for me of course....

Wacom has changed their lineup and the Graphire has been replaced by the Bamboo line.. which was lower end previously. Now the bamboo has increased sensitivity in the Fun and Craft model. These are just as good as the Intuos line was a few years ago. So they are gong to be very useable tablets.

The Bamboo Fun is the one to get if you are taking a class and want to really use the pressure capability and it has a larger pen surface area than the Craft. You might even be able to buy an upgraded Pen so you get a better feeling pen. But for the price, if you want a better pen, you might as well get the Intuos which comes with it.

If you start to get serious with digital painting, then the medium size Intuos is my absolute favorite.

It also has a nice feeling pen, and picks up on your tilt angle.

When tablets first started coming out, everyone wanted the really big ones. We all had huge 12X10 or 16X12 tablets on our paintboxes or SGi systems.. I always liked the smaller ones, and when i draw i do not sweep my hand all the way across the table.. the 4X5 size ones seem too small when navigating on your desktop though. also imagine your monitor that size, and you are touching icons with a pen on a 4X5 area- your pen will be jittery.. So the medium size one feels more stable and you don't find yourself painting on the edge of your tablet and having to readjust.. the small one is ok for casual use, if you are a mouse user and once in a while use the tablet to paint an edge or something.. but do yourself a favor if you are an artist and go to the 8 or 9 inch size.

hope this helps you decide.


Posted: 03/27/2010, 07:45:10 AM
I'm taking a photography class at the college right now and was able to look at the lab where the equipment is. When it comes to Wacom I don't know what I'm talking about, but it appears they are using a high end Cintiq. When I price them out, I find two models, one is $2000 and the other is $900.

I think I will take the class and if I like it, I may splurge on that $900 model. I've always been interested in this kind of stuff but never knew where to start.

Any questions, comments, experience will be helpful, the comments so far have been useful for me.
Nikon D800, D100, Canon G15
Posted: 03/28/2010, 10:33:16 AM
I would think you would be delighted with the $350 Wacom; it does more than I will ever exceed.
Posted: 1 minute ago

The advantage of the Cintiq is you are looking at the drawing and pen contact together, just as if you were drawing on paper.. You are literally drawing on the monitor.

With the normal tablets, you are drawing on a different surface than you are looking at.

Your hand motions are at a different scale than the literal drawing and so your brain adjusts and you get used to it.

The disadvantage of the Cintiq is cost and portability. It is quite an investment for someone taking a new class and not knowing much about digital drawing.. I think you'll be very pleased in the $150-350 range. Where you won't be happy if you blow allot of money on something you find later gets rarely used and will only resell for half its cost. Unless your that carefree individual who has a vintage Vincent motorcycle in your gallery which never sees the pavement as you ride on Ducatis and occasionally your classic Triumph.


Posted: 1 minute ago
Wisconsonart, I agree with David completely. I've used Wacom tablets since they were first on the market and could NOT survive without one. Having said that I can't really recommend the Cintiq line but that is personal preference. Years ago I bought the first "monitor tablet" they created and simply couldn't get used to it after years of using one of their standard tablets. I really do prefer to retouch on one surface (the tablet) and see the the results on another (my monitor).

I recently bought the Cintiq 12WX thinking I'd give it another go but realistically as cool as it seems I just find it clumsy and somewhat cumbersome with a lot of wires/attachments coming out of it. It may be my big big clumsy hands that are the problem but I just can't get used to and I'm a retoucher at heart, not an illustrator/painter.

I HIGHLY recommend you try the Intous4, I have one at my design business and love it but if you want to save a little cash I would pick up an Intuos3 on ebay. It is a really solid tablet, some of the features of the Intous4 seem like overkill. I use the 9x12 and love it. Test one out but I would not buy Cintiq unless you are really into illustrating/drawing/painting and then it would provide a more familiar experience. If you're looking to do photo retouching go with the standard tablet and I can promise you'll never go back to the "bar of soap" (mouse). And yes, Wacom tablets were originally designed for Photoshop so you'll have no problem there.

Take care, Tap
Posted: 1 minute ago
I have the Wacom intuos 3. I love it and it works great with PS. It's also built well.
HP officejet 6500 Printer-HP officejet 6500 Software-Adobe CS6 desi...
Posted: 1 minute ago
I recently got an Intuos 4 Large size (its the only size they had in the shop at the time), and i love it. I use it to retouch my photographs and find it gives much better results than using a mouse. The only thing i would add is that i wish i had got the medium sized one, as after years of using the mouse, it seems abit awkward sweeping my hand across an A4 sized working area.
105mm macro Nikon 50 f1.4...
Posted: 04/21/2010, 06:28:24 AM
Dont buy the smallest one - they are cheap but you won't use them.

Go for it in A4 size (or even bigger when you have the cash)

Nikon Digital Equipment
Posted: 04/21/2010, 08:47:21 AM

It seems you have gotten some great tips in here, but here are my two cents as well.

I use a Wacom Bamboo, with Photoshop and just about anything, unless I decide to play games and than I switch back to the mouse.

On the contrary to the post before me where it says to buy a big tablet I say for the beginning and for what you need in processing a photograph ( I do no know about illustrations) is that a A5 is more than enough, and it comes under 100$. Why do I go for the small one?

Using a larger tablet will make your arm switch back and forth and around the large area, causing stress on your wrist and in no time you will be aching some. The small tablet reduces the movement and makes it easier to navigate around.

I find it extremely useful in selections and portrait processing.

Learning how to use one is quite simple and it comes with the installation software provided with the tablet. It basically functions pretty much the same as a mouse, only that your right/left click are located on the pen. I love dragging and dropping with the tablet, it is quite fun and much faster.

It will take you a day or two to get used to it.

Ah and you need to use it while you are at a desk or table because you need the space.

I saw some really fantastic tablets which came out from Wacom but they are quite far from my financial reach.

So as a final advise, if you want to get one, go for Wacom, and you could actually go for Bamboo just to get the feel of it and if you decide you need something bigger than get it.

I am still wondering why are there classes on teaching you how to use a tablet...

Good luck!

Sigma 50 mm, Sigma 150 mm, Canon Speedlite 580 EX II, Manfroto tripod...
Posted: 04/22/2010, 01:45:57 AM
I went with the newest one in the Bamboo series. Its the pen and touch I ♥ it so much! I called Wacom and asked about the oter tablets that they had on the market in refrence to the sizes.. small, med, large.. Well I was told that went along with your monitor size. The pen an touch is one size. Its at the $100. range on Amazon.

here is the video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UigPWJT_lFk
Posted: 1 minute ago
I'm dying to order a Cintiq .. bad thing is I know it's going to be 99% toy and 1% need. So far this year I think I'm averaging maybe 5 seconds per image of actual edit time. I might wait until next tax season and if I need to bump some expenses grab one as a write off .. then at least it will be actually doing something productive for me instead of just being the coolest toy in the darkroom. LOL .. I hate it when I want things that I don't need.
-- Icebreaker Sugar Free Mints...
Posted: 04/30/2010, 03:02:38 AM
Thanks for all the replies, this was very helpful. I had my first class and realized the tablet is nothing more than a mouse on steroids. The real key is the software.

I decided to purchase a Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet, it's pretty big for the price (got it for $160) and it comes with some basic software packages. I installed the Corel Essentials and have been learning how to use that. Corel Essentials includes video tutorials which is fantastic for a beginner.

The biggest challenge now is understand the properties of the various brushes and having them do what I think I want them to do.
Nikon D800, D100, Canon G15
Posted: 1 minute ago
Once you try a Wacom tablet and get used to it for Photoshop retouching, you'll never go back =)
II -Gripped Canon 40D -Canon 17-40 f4L -Canon 24-70 f2.8L -Canon ...
Posted: 05/25/2010, 08:51:04 AM
I'm thinking of buying Wacom Intuos4 sometime before summer. I've heard that with large monitors it would be quite difficult to use small tablet. So, can you share what is your monitor size and which size of tablet you're using and how does it feels?

I have 24" monitor, is the tablet size M ok?
My tired eyes.
Posted: 01/17/2011, 06:56:01 AM
I use a dual screen configuration, the M size Intuos4 and at over 3000pixels width (your 24" I presume is 1920 pixels wide) it's perfectly fine. I initially had my eyes on the L but if you see the monster in real you'll realize the desktop space it takes, plus how much you need to move your arm to cover the entire active surface.

I wouldn't go for another size other than the M, unless your primary use is drawing/sketching, etc. For retouch work the M is perfect.
Posted: 01/17/2011, 07:05:30 AM
Hey, my old thread came back. :-)

I am loving my Wacom Bamboo tablet. It is fantastic for touching up photographs.

I am finding it is not so easy being an Illustrator. You really need to know your software; I'm getting pretty good with Photoshop. With Adobe Illustrator and Corel Painter, I'm clueless.
Nikon D800, D100, Canon G15
Posted: 01/17/2011, 09:01:57 AM
I was clueless in AI too, I just searched for different tutorials and finally got the hang of some of it. It's not easy but I like it when I have time. And I love the bamboo too.
300v (film), assorted lenses...
Posted: 01/17/2011, 09:18:14 AM
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