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Thread: WACOM tablets for photo editing

  1. #1

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    WACOM tablets for photo editing

    Who uses one and which is the best for photo editing...my mouse skills only go so far.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: WACOM tablets

    I've got a small and, relatively, inexpensive Wacom Bamboo. Not sure if it's still made.

    I couldn't live without it. Everything that's photo-editing related is done using the Tablet

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    Re: WACOM tablets

    When it comes to creating semi transparent masks on layers or really fine selections, graphic tablets are essential. And handy for many other purposes.

    Deciding on the best size can be a bit tricky. I purchased a 10 x 8 ins cheapie which lasted for a couple of years but when it 'died' I bought an A5 size Wacom which worked OK but I preferred something larger for photo editing. Eventually I was offered a secondhand 12 x 12 ins Wacom which is excellent.

    Wacom tablets are excellent but expensive. You can get several of the cheap alternatives for the same price; and if they only last 2 or 3 years you are probably still in pocket.

    But if money doesn't matter, a large Wacom tablet is the professional's choice.

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    Re: WACOM tablets

    So, essentially then, the smaller WACOM is not worth the purchase price? I do pretty well with the mouse since its all I've ever had, but I find it increasingly a PITA working in tighter areas. I'll look into a 12" X 12" but there are so many different models, I am not sure which is the "ideal." Do you have a model name or number?

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: WACOM tablets

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
    So, essentially then, the smaller WACOM is not worth the purchase price?
    I'm afraid I wouldn't agree with that view.

    Okay, I haven't used a large tablet so am missing out on being able to do a compare and contrast. But for moving about on my 24" monitor and doing everything that I could possibly want it to do, my little Bamboo, which has an operating area of about postcard (6" x 4") size, is excellent.

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    Re: WACOM tablets

    Donald, is that the Bamboo Pen or pen & touch?

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: WACOM tablets

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
    Donald, is that the Bamboo Pen or pen & touch?
    Mine is of the 'pre-touch' vintage. Didn't do things like 'touch' in the olden days - about 14 months ago.

  8. #8

    Re: WACOM tablets

    Chris

    I have the Bamboo pen and touch. As Donald has said they are excellent bits of kit and very responsive and precise. You get what you pay for and I certainly wouldn't skimp on a tablet that you will spend hours with. The Bamboo is a relatively inexpensive and precise solution. I had a cheapo version at half the price. It lasted 2 mins because the precision was within +/- 10mm. I gave it to the kids and I dont think they ever used it

    The touch work almost identically to the pad on a MacBook Pro so I didnt have to learn different gesture commands. It allows double and single tapping, 1, 2 and 3 finger dragging etc.

    The only gripe I have is that I tuck my thumb in when I draw always have, even when a draughtsman in my distant youth. The result is that because of the position of the left and right click pads on the pen I have had to force myself to draw like a normal person

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    Re: WACOM tablets

    After trying my friends higher end intuos tablet with the textured surface, the higher end ones are very useful for graphic design as they support up to 1024 in tilt or pressure. GIMP will be adding very complete support of this for the photographer in 2.8 (control of brush size color opacity etc.) which it already supports to some degree. The Bamboo looks like a good option for a lower price point.

    -Sonic

    PS: They work with linux. Not shure about cheepies.

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    Re: WACOM tablets

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic4Spuds View Post
    After trying my friends higher end intuos tablet with the textured surface, the higher end ones are very useful for graphic design as they support up to 1024 in tilt or pressure.
    Up to 2048 levels now, with the Intuos 4

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    Re: WACOM tablets

    Yes correct Colin,

    I accidentally was looking (and remembering) at the specs for the 3, the friend has a large large size 4. I like the paper like surface on it and the controls it gives you.

    -Sonic
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 23rd February 2011 at 03:14 PM.

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    Re: WACOM tablets

    I'm embarrassed to say that I have one (and have had it for a couple of years) but have hardly used it, because I feel like I need some instruction and haven't found a book or whatever. How did you all learn to use it? Know of any good tutorials?

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    Re: WACOM tablets

    I can't fit a Wacom anywhere; I've seen your pics and know I can do that without a Wacom, so why should I buy one.

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    Re: WACOM tablets

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic4Spuds View Post
    Yes correct Colin,

    I accidentally was looking (and remembering) at the specs for the 3, the friend has a large large size 4. I like the paper like surface on it and the controls it gives you.

    -Sonic
    I've got the largest one myself, but to be honest, I'm regretting getting that size a bit ... it's really too big. I guess bigger isn't always better!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: WACOM tablets

    Quote Originally Posted by mythlady View Post
    I'm embarrassed to say that I have one (and have had it for a couple of years) but have hardly used it, because I feel like I need some instruction and haven't found a book or whatever. How did you all learn to use it? Know of any good tutorials?
    Elise

    In my case it was very much trial and error. To be honest, I found it very straighforwartd and one way of thinking about it as as a mouse, but with the ability for fine tuning to a very much higher degree. Most certainly, when you get into things like dodge and burn, I would go as far as to suggest that it cannot be done without a Graphics Tablet.

    It takes few days to get used to as the need to physically move to different parts of the Tablet pad and not just roll a mouse around, is new and a different way of working. But I would say that for all commands, including opening and closing windows, saving, etc etc., I do these much faster with the Tablet Pen than with the mouse which I still have plugged in as well and use when on Office applications such as Word etc.

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    Re: WACOM tablets

    Quote Originally Posted by mythlady View Post
    I'm embarrassed to say that I have one (and have had it for a couple of years) but have hardly used it, because I feel like I need some instruction and haven't found a book or whatever. How did you all learn to use it? Know of any good tutorials?
    It really depends on what you want to do, Elise. Basically it works like a mouse but you can do extra things.

    Some people always use a tablet; and haven't used a mouse since their first tablet. I tend to switch between them and stand the tablet alongside my computer when I'm not using it.

    If you just make basic image adjustments and you are happy with a mouse then that is all you need. However, if you regularly want to push masks around or use selections etc then a tablet can be much easier and more accurate.

    And for those who are far more artistic than me, the tablet pen becomes a pressure sensitive paint brush or pencil. For anybody who hasn't tried a tablet, I would simply say try to write your name using a mouse and compare the result with using a ball point pen.

    The basic starter instructions should be supplied with the equipment; and for most people, that should be sufficient. It's only when you want to do 'real painting' on your computer that you need to worry about the 'clever stuff'.

    I use selective editing adjustments regularly. Working with semi transparent masks on layers to adjust brightness or sharpness which just applies to selected parts of the image, etc. Or for carefully selecting around an area which needs to be extracted.

    There are quite a few tutorials on using layers and masks, etc.

    My fingers tend to work like two left feet so I don't do much of the really smart artistic stuff but other people can create masterpieces with a clever flick of the wrist.

  17. #17
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    Re: WACOM tablets

    I have the old Wacom Intuos 3 medium format.
    You have to get used to it and it has a learning curve, but once you know how to work with it you can not live without it anymore.
    My oldest son has the Bamboo Fun Medium size. It's very very good and worth every penny.
    If my Intuos 3 would break, which I doubt, I would buy a Bamboo. The difference between the Bamboo and older Intuos 3 is almost nothing.
    Lot of people however buy one but can't work with it, so they sell it on the internet marketplaces like eBay.
    You can have luck and find a bargain.

  18. #18

    Re: WACOM tablets

    I recently bought a Wacon A4 plus which I use for all my graphic design work (including InDesign) on my Mac. Wouldn't be without it and prefer it to a mouse.

  19. #19
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    Re: WACOM tablets

    I ment large in their sizing not the largest(XL).

    -Sonic

  20. #20
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    Re: WACOM tablets

    Just tell me what you get out of it; which photos couldn't you do without it, or show excellence that can't be achieved without it. I don't think you will know because you haven't tried.

    I am the god of doing things on the cheap; 16 bit PSE7, some of it is, 16 bit Topaz plug in, 16 bit Helicon plug in.
    I've developed a technique where I don't have to micro adjust features, but maybe that's wrong.

    I think where you have to do too much of that it is no longer a photo, especially if it is unidentifiable.

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