If you are planning to snap up a photo retouching tool that will get your money’s worth, the Wacom pen tablet is definitely one of the best you can avail. As a professional image manipulator, you should have this particular tool in your arsenal. Wacom tablet is a magnificent photo manipulation tool to execute artistic works precisely and smoothly. Image masking is the best example in which professional image editors utilize pen tablet to manually draw and select stuff having soft or rough edges like human hair, animal fur, feather, smoke, flame, etc. If you use a mouse or touchpad to retouch objects having a rough or soft edge, they will never get perfection. However, it will not be a walk in the park for many image enhancers to switch to a pen tablet while for others the transition will be facile and smooth.
If you are uncomfortable to use a pen tablet, practice as much as possible to get accustomed to using it. We would recommend you to overlook the mouse and unplug it from your computer if required. Make the tablet as your primary input device along with your keyboard. You can also use the stylus of the pen tablet for browsing as well as surfing various websites. As a result, you will end up improving your muscle memory with the stylus.
Let us shed light on how to set up a Wacom pen tablet for photo retouching. We will specifically have a look at the Wacom Intuos Pro.
After you unbox your tablet, don’t forget to download the most recent drivers for your tablet and operating system from the Wacom’s Support page.
Once you install the drivers and supporting software for your Wacom, proceed for customizing the settings to step up the comfort. Let’s kick off opening the Wacom tablet properties:
Set the Tip Feel: Tip Feel sets the pressure sensitivity of the pen on the tablet. You have the preference of setting firm tip feel and soft tip feel. If you set firm tip feel, exerted pressure will be more. Contrarily, soft tip feel will require less pressure from you. Depending on your comfort level, you should set the tip feel.
Adjust the Double-click Distance: In the pen tablet, it is very unlikely to tap the same position twice like a mouse. Hence, you have to fix a particular area based on your preference so that if you move your pen in that particular area and click twice, double-click will be registered. If you find it a hassle, just turn off the setting.
Set the Tilt Sensitivity: This particular feature is required while using brushes in Adobe Photoshop. When you are using a marker for example, as long as you keep the marker straight back and forth, the line will remain thin and even. As soon as you tilt the pen, the line will get bigger and change the shape. This particular setting totally depends on the sort of brush you are using.
Pen Button Layout: Wacom pen has a couple of buttons that can be programmed to various functions. For example, one of the functions we use very often with the keyboard is “undo” by pressing (Alt+Ctrl+Z) in PC. Instead of doing that, if you set this command in any of the buttons, you can expedite your work. To execute this, click on both the drop-down box assigned to the pen buttons and select “Keystrokes”. Just simply hit the keys from the keyboard command that you want to assign and click “Okay”. Another button of the pen can be set for Right Click as this is highly used in Photoshop. There are many other options available for you to utilize these buttons as well.
Eraser Usage: Eraser is not frequently required and if you require you can use it from the eraser tool. On top of that, you can flip the pen to the side opposite to the pen tip and move the pen to erase the area you intend similar to the eraser of a pencil.
Mapping Preferences: The default setting of the pen tablet is that the surface of the tablet covers the whole area of your screen. This implies that if you wish to move the cursor from one side to the other side, you have to move your pen from one edge to the other making it cover the whole distance. To iron out this drawback, there is a setting in the pen tablet that you can slash your hand’s traveling distance and yet cover the entire surface. To perform that, click on the mapping tab. You will view 2 drop-downs, one for screen area and the other one for the tablet area. Set the screen area to full as you want to use the complete screen with the cursor. For tablet area, set how much of the tablet you want to use to move your pen. If you set a small area, you can work on the whole screen keeping your hand and wrist at the same place.
Touch and Functions: This feature you can use based on your comfort level. Many a time, you will be comfortable with the use of the keyboard. To know and grasp which feature you should use in the pen tablet, you should disable all the features. Then, you should focus on which tool and shortcuts you use frequently. Based on that and your comfort level, you can map your desired tools in the function key of the tablet.
Pen Nibs: Wacom pen nibs are durable and last longer. You don’t need to accumulate a pack of additional nibs for carrying out your works. Compared to the other tablets, Wacom produces its nibs with more quality and hence it functions continuously for a longer period without any sign of damage.
If you are a rookie image editor looking to practice image enhancement with a tablet having no intention of doing professional work, you can buy the “Bamboo”. This tablet is low-priced and has limited features. On the other hand, if you are a professional shutterbug, photo manipulator, or illustrator, you should purchase Wacom Intuos Pro or Intuos as they provide striking sensitivity and smoothness while using the brush tool. In addition, they also offer a wide editing surface so that you can comfortably execute your image retouching works. None of them lacks any feature required of professional work. However, Intuos Pro being the latest version has advanced settings, ultra-sensitivity, and well-designed pen with eraser. If you afford to buy the Intuos Pro, go for it or else snap up the Intuos.