The advantages of a Wacom tablet.

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The advantages of a Wacom tablet.

Now it may seem daunting at first but using a Wacom pen instead of the mouse for retouching will make a huge speed up to your post production work. With tablets like the iPad becoming so popular some photographers are getting used to using a stylus to design their art.

There are a few other manufactures of tablets, but like Photoshop in the image manipulation world, Wacom pretty much tops the mountain. My first Wacom Tablet was one of their first models. My printer staff still use it, liking the clean no frills interface rather than the button loaded design of the new versions. It’s also large enough to act as her desktop.

First, lets talk about the why use a Wacom tablet rather than a mouse. Mostly it’s precision, the contact of the pen replicates the surface of your monitor. It has all the customizable buttons on it; more than a mouse has actually. The new Wacoms are finger based too, so transitioning from a laptop with gestures is easy.

The tablet is smart. You can program it to recognize when you are in different programs, so it will behave differently, to your choices, as you switch programs. Most programs are designed to work with the Wacom devices too.

For selections and retouching it’s a very precise and natural tool.  For easy switching from pen to typing I have found a product from penmoto that let’s you flip the pen to the back of your fingers so you can type. Flick the wrist again and it’s back into your hand for retouching. It’s so cool and fun.

I won’t get into the device’s specs, you can find them on the Wacom.com site. There are several sizes in the professional version. I find the midsize best for my uses, but my retouch artists love the larger sizes. The midsize model fits into computer cases easily and does not consume too much space on the desk.

The buttons on the side are programmable. You can put in your preferred actions from your workflow to keep them handy.

For the art programs like Painter, the Wacoms are an essential tool. You can find several Youtube videos that show you how to set up and take advantage of all the functions.

Nearly every photographer I have talked to uses one.They usually struggled a bit at the start but once they got a handle on it, they would never go back. Take the time to go customize the setup so it will make sense to your uses. Have Fun!

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