Experience using Wacom tablets with Photoshop?

ThelensspotThelensspot Mentally grainy!Posts: 2,041Registered Users Major grins
edited November 23, 2015 in Accessories
I do a lot of PP using PS and LR. I usually start in LR and then use PS for additional work. I've been watching a lot of "Phlearn" tutorial videos featuring Aaron Nace who is a wizard with Photoshop.
He recommends adding a Wacom tablet to increase ease of work flow in Photoshop. Looks like this would come with about a $350 price tag. Would appreciate other views on this. Is this a common addition to the work table for those using PS? If it is which one? Are there other tablets you recommend over this one?

My status is probably best described as "skilled amateur". I do lots of landscapes and mostly outdoor photography. I started in PS Elements before progressing to LR/PS. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
"Photography is partly art and partly science. Really good photography adds discipline, sacrifice and a never ending pursuit of photographic excellence"...ziggy53

Comments

  • TonyCooperTonyCooper Major grins Orlando, FloridaPosts: 2,239Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 3, 2015
    I have been using a Wacom Bamboo for several years. Last week it
    stopped working and would not re-install. I consider my Wacom to
    so important to my workflow that I purchased a new Intuos early
    the next day.

    The unit I purchased cost $85.59 including sales tax. The working
    area is 6" x 3 3/4". This is all that I need. I use it to do detail work,
    in Photoshop CC 2014 mostly when working with Layer Masks, with
    the area zoomed in quite a bit.

    The larger, and more expensive, Wacom units benefit the person
    who uses the product to draw. If you are going to create an art
    piece in Photoshop, you need a larger working area. If you are
    using Photoshop just to post-process photographs, the small unit
    would be quite sufficient.

    I work with a trackball under my right hand and the Wacom pen
    at my left (I'm left-handed) and switch between the two according
    to how detailed the adjustments are. You can use a trackball or
    mouse and a Wacom at the same time. You just have to be
    careful to move the pen away from the tablet when using the
    mouse or trackball.

    This is the unit I just purchased: http://www.wacom.com/en-us/products/pen-tablets/intuos-pen

    I checked out other brands, and found many, many user complaints
    in the reviews. No other brand is considered to be a good substitute.

    The only gripe I have with Wacom is that installation is a pain. It
    takes several tries to get it installed and using the right drivers. I
    had to call Wacom and have them talk me through it, and I'm pretty
    experienced in installing and using products. They're quite responsive
    on the phone.

    My pen doesn't allow me to adjust the pen pressure, and it's supposed
    to. There's something wrong about what was installed. However, I
    never adjusted pen pressure on my Bamboo since I don't do drawing
    with it. I could re-install to add this feature, but it's not important
    to me.
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
    http://tonycooper.smugmug.com/
  • ThelensspotThelensspot Mentally grainy! Posts: 2,041Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 3, 2015
    Tony, this is GREAT advice. I also use the same "track ball" mouse with my right hand and am also left-handed so your experience is VERY valuable information. I was thinking that a small screen would be all I need but just wasn't sure. The price you quote is MUCH cheaper than the larger screen models.
    I do not do art with PS. Just editing RAW files.

    Thank you for the input.
    "Photography is partly art and partly science. Really good photography adds discipline, sacrifice and a never ending pursuit of photographic excellence"...ziggy53

  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,620Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 3, 2015
    Wouldn't be without a tablet and like Tony, I'd buy another if current one went belly up.
    Started with a 12in square unit when getting my head around PS 3.05 and used to do far more drawing / daubing type stuff than I do these days. Have been using the current one - an Intuous 9in x 12in unit when going to pc from mac - about 12 - 13yrs ago or so.

    If the current one packed up, I might well buy a smaller one next time round, since I only really mess about with photos these days ... although I have it on a ball-raced 'shelf' so it's easy to access / put away etc.

    I loathe using the mouse for PS type stuff :)

    Only do stuff single handed, btw, so move same (R) hand to mouse when absolutely necessary.

    pp

    'Bewildered dinosaur' ... at best.
  • ThelensspotThelensspot Mentally grainy! Posts: 2,041Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 3, 2015
    Wouldn't be without a tablet and like Tony, I'd buy another if current one went belly up.
    Started with a 12in square unit when getting my head around PS 3.05 and used to do far more drawing / daubing type stuff than I do these days. Have been using the current one - an Intuous 9in x 12in unit when going to pc from mac - about 12 - 13yrs ago or so.

    If the current one packed up, I might well buy a smaller one next time round, since I only really mess about with photos these days ... although I have it on a ball-raced 'shelf' so it's easy to access / put away etc.

    I loathe using the mouse for PS type stuff :)

    Only do stuff single handed, btw, so move same (R) hand to mouse when absolutely necessary.

    pp

    'Bewildered dinosaur' ... at best.

    PP, I'm coming to the same conclusion as to the need for only a small screen tablet. I went to the website as Tony suggested and they are "out of stock" on the small pen model but have a small pen "and touch" model for $99. This I think just adds some touch screen options. I ordered that model which utilizes the same screen size at 6" X 3 3/4". Thanks for your input as well. This has been very helpful.
    "Photography is partly art and partly science. Really good photography adds discipline, sacrifice and a never ending pursuit of photographic excellence"...ziggy53

  • TonyCooperTonyCooper Major grins Orlando, FloridaPosts: 2,239Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 3, 2015
    PP, I'm coming to the same conclusion as to the need for only a small screen tablet. I went to the website as Tony suggested and they are "out of stock" on the small pen model but have a small pen "and touch" model for $99. This I think just adds some touch screen options. I ordered that model which utilizes the same screen size at 6" X 3 3/4". Thanks for your input as well. This has been very helpful.

    I bought my locally at Best Buy. Some electronic items fail out of the box,
    so I like to buy locally so I can exchange it. Best Buy has been good at
    this for me in the past.

    No problems with the Wacom unit I just got, though. The installation problem
    is not a problem connected with the actual unit.
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
    http://tonycooper.smugmug.com/
  • ThelensspotThelensspot Mentally grainy! Posts: 2,041Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 3, 2015
    TonyCooper wrote: »
    I bought my locally at Best Buy. Some electronic items fail out of the box,
    so I like to buy locally so I can exchange it. Best Buy has been good at
    this for me in the past.

    No problems with the Wacom unit I just got, though. The installation problem
    is not a problem connected with the actual unit.

    Tony, that's a much better option as far as purchase. The closest Best Buy is 35 miles from me but I had no idea they carried Wacom merchandise. Mine should be here in "5 to 7 business days". I am glad to here the installation was not an issue.

    I have one question regarding the USB cord plug-in on the tablet itself. I had read some reviews saying that it was poorly made and appeared to be loose for lack of a better word. This was in some Amazon reviews I came across in doing research this past week. Did you find that to be an issue on the tablet you have? Does the cord insert site appear to be durable? Thanks again.
    "Photography is partly art and partly science. Really good photography adds discipline, sacrifice and a never ending pursuit of photographic excellence"...ziggy53

  • TonyCooperTonyCooper Major grins Orlando, FloridaPosts: 2,239Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 3, 2015
    Tony, that's a much better option as far as purchase. The closest Best Buy is 35 miles from me but I had no idea they carried Wacom merchandise. Mine should be here in "5 to 7 business days". I am glad to here the installation was not an issue.

    I have one question regarding the USB cord plug-in on the tablet itself. I had read some reviews saying that it was poorly made and appeared to be loose for lack of a better word. This was in some Amazon reviews I came across in doing research this past week. Did you find that to be an issue on the tablet you have? Does the cord insert site appear to be durable? Thanks again.

    I just looked at the cord, and it appears to be normal. I don't anticipate a problem.

    One thing...with my initial installation I plugged the unit into a USB hub. (Computers just
    don't have enough USB outlets) On the phone, the Wacom rep said to plug it into a port
    on the computer, so I switched an accessory to the hub and plugged the Wacom into a
    port on the computer.

    When you get your unit, don't worry about feeling awkward at first. When you write with
    a pen, you look at the pen and what you're writing. With a Wacom, you look at the screen
    to see where it's going. The hand operates out in space, and that takes some getting
    used to. My Wacom is placed almost a foot away from my screen and I don't even
    look at my hand on the pen.
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
    http://tonycooper.smugmug.com/
  • ThelensspotThelensspot Mentally grainy! Posts: 2,041Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 3, 2015
    TonyCooper wrote: »
    I just looked at the cord, and it appears to be normal. I don't anticipate a problem.

    One thing...with my initial installation I plugged the unit into a USB hub. (Computers just
    don't have enough USB outlets) On the phone, the Wacom rep said to plug it into a port
    on the computer, so I switched an accessory to the hub and plugged the Wacom into a
    port on the computer.

    When you get your unit, don't worry about feeling awkward at first. When you write with
    a pen, you look at the pen and what you're writing. With a Wacom, you look at the screen
    to see where it's going. The hand operates out in space, and that takes some getting
    used to. My Wacom is placed almost a foot away from my screen and I don't even
    look at my hand on the pen.

    Tony, great advice! I had intended to use a USB hub which I have in an accessible location on my desk. I think I'll go with the advice you were given and use a port on the computer. I think it will take some time to adapt but given what I have learned today I'm really excited about adding this to my PS editing process. Thanks again for all your time (and you also Paul) regarding this thread today! bowdown.gif
    "Photography is partly art and partly science. Really good photography adds discipline, sacrifice and a never ending pursuit of photographic excellence"...ziggy53

  • lfortierlfortier Lee Posts: 236Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 6, 2015
    Wacom Tablet
    I've got the medium tablet and I wouldn't be without it. It makes PS editing so much easier than with a mouse. I've got it installed on my tower as well as my laptop. Works well on both.

    Highly recommended.
  • MomaZunkMomaZunk pro lurker Posts: 421Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 7, 2015
    Definitely worth the investment, and once I go to photoshop, all I use is the wacom. I have several button shortcuts that speed things along, and the brush control just cannot be duplicated with a mouse.

    I use the Intuos 5 medium. I have 2 24inch monitors that is covered with the medium.
    I rarely use the medium pad with just a single monitor to get the added sensitivity and detail, so if I had just one monitor, I think the small would be big enough.

    I use the wireless plugged into my monitor USB, usually do not have issues.
    The USB conflicts can drive you crazy, and sometimes the wacom gets caught up in the mix when my microphone and DNP printer are plugged in, along with a hundred other usb devices. :-)
  • ThelensspotThelensspot Mentally grainy! Posts: 2,041Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 7, 2015
    MomaZunk wrote: »
    Definitely worth the investment, and once I go to photoshop, all I use is the wacom. I have several button shortcuts that speed things along, and the brush control just cannot be duplicated with a mouse.

    After using the tablet now for several weeks, I don't know how I worked in PS without it. The brush tool is now my best friend! Thanks for commenting!
    "Photography is partly art and partly science. Really good photography adds discipline, sacrifice and a never ending pursuit of photographic excellence"...ziggy53

  • chaddchadd Big grins Posts: 80Registered Users Big grins
    edited May 13, 2015
    The tablet wasn't a huge help for painting in Photoshop, since I use opacity and flow to adjust my paint layer applications.
  • PainterskipPainterskip Big grins Posts: 40Registered Users Big grins
    edited June 1, 2015
    Won't leave home without it:-)
    I've been using digital art programs since the Amiga computer, working in 32 colors (woohoo!).
    My first tablet was a Wacom and it had a serial port! The only reason I moved onto a new tablet was because the new computer didn't have a serial port.
    SO I've had two of the smallest size Wacom Intuous tablets for...wow....not sure. Maybe 10 years or more. Still have them and they work great. Couldn't live without them.

    So I think that my tablets are sized at 4" x 5" but they are actually about as big as a standard mouse pad. And so I adjusted the settings to take advantage of the full size and I think it's all I need. I mostly use it for photo editing but I cross over into painting now and again.

    I rarely use the shortcuts or the side button on the pen. Only because it works maybe 75% of the time. By that I mean that if I press the side button, expecting it to act like I did a right click on the mouse, it mostly works just like that but not always. Not sure why.
    And every once in awhile I've had to reinstall the software, but that hasn't happened for a long time.

    I high recommend a Wacom for anyone doing any sort of photo editing. You'll wonder how you got along without it...
  • icemncmthicemncmth Beginner grinner Posts: 9Registered Users Big grins
    edited September 17, 2015
    I am new to the site but I have a Wacom Pro Small and love it. I use it all the time in PS and you can't imagine how helpful it is. The zoom ring a lone helps tons. Mine is wireless so that really makes it easy to setup. The pen is pressure sensitive and also picks ups brush angle.
  • MinoltaMinolta Beginner grinner Posts: 3Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited September 17, 2015
    New to the site and just wanted to thank you guys for this ... I'm in the market for a table to go along with my editing. One thing I'm struggling to know about is - which I will probably find out later - can you change the size or brushes easily, or are the keyboard commands (bracket up and down) still the preferred way?
  • MomaZunkMomaZunk pro lurker Posts: 421Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 22, 2015
    You can easily adjust the brush size via the ring which is one of my favorite features. I also use the teh short cut keys on teh left for undo, alt, and cntl, shift-tab, and fill which really speeds things up.
  • JonTinklerJonTinkler Big grins Posts: 14Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 20, 2015
    I use a smallish Bamboo tablet when i need to do a lot, and it's awesome for brushing in masks and gives you a lot more control than the mouse.

    Shortcut keys for the win :-)
  • JeroenJeroen Woof Posts: 447Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 22, 2015
    I use Photoshop at a daily base as a designer and visualizer. A mouse is like painting with a brick. Haven't used one in over 15 years.

    I have used several Wacom tablets over the past years. I once had a really big one and I hated it because it didn't leave me any room on my desk. Besides that, when I draw IRL I don't draw from the shoulder, but more from the wrist so it did't feel very natural. Big tablets are also very annoying for moving files on the desktop for that reason.

    I also had a Cintiq tablet at some time. It only made my neck hurt from looking down on it. I prefer to look up on my screen, much more relaxed position. I once spoke to a visualizer who went through 3 Cintiqs in 2 years because they all broke down.

    I use A5 and A4 sized Intuos tablets and they work perfectly for me.
  • NikonsandVstromsNikonsandVstroms *and Olympus Boston, MAPosts: 990Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 7, 2015
    Jeroen wrote: »
    I use Photoshop at a daily base as a designer and visualizer. A mouse is like painting with a brick. Haven't used one in over 15 years.


    nod.gif

    Also they are built to last. I got a Graphire 4 as a gift in 2006 and it's still going strong even after being dropped a bunch of times back when I was still in school.
  • Eldon SheaEldon Shea Major grins Posts: 145Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 22, 2015
    I'm going to get a small Wacom. I don't understand the differences between the various models. Is there any reason I should buy something better than the basic "Draw" model that costs $70? The "pro" small costs $229. I post process almost exclusively in Lightroom and NIK plugins like Silver Efex. I don't even own the full version of Photoshop but I sometimes use Elements. Thanks for any advice.

    Bryan
  • JeroenJeroen Woof Posts: 447Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 22, 2015
    The more expensive tablets have a higher resolution. Something you'll be after when you're working fully profesional or when you need extreme accuracy, like for 3D software. When you're on a budget or don't use it very often, the cheaper version will do fine.

    Besides that, buying the cheaper version to see if tablets work for you in the first place is also a good idea. You can always upgrade after some time.
  • ThelensspotThelensspot Mentally grainy! Posts: 2,041Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 22, 2015
    Jeroen wrote: »
    The more expensive tablets have a higher resolution. Something you'll be after when you're working fully profesional or when you need extreme accuracy, like for 3D software. When you're on a budget or don't use it very often, the cheaper version will do fine.

    Besides that, buying the cheaper version to see if tablets work for you in the first place is also a good idea. You can always upgrade after some time.

    Exactly. I have a low end small Wacom tablet and it does everything I need for it to do performing editing on photographs using LR CC and PS CC. I also prefer the small effective screen area on the tablet I have (Intuos pen & touch small).

    Take care,

    Wayne
    "Photography is partly art and partly science. Really good photography adds discipline, sacrifice and a never ending pursuit of photographic excellence"...ziggy53

  • Eldon SheaEldon Shea Major grins Posts: 145Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 23, 2015
    Thanks Jeoren, Wayne. Much obliged.
    Bryan
  • MikiSJMikiSJ Beginner grinner Posts: 1Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited November 23, 2015
    I don't think I would limit my choices to Wacom. The are others getting good reviews such as from Bosto (http://www.bosto.co/), or Huion (http://www.huion-tablet.com/index.html). I have seen very good reviews on the Huion.
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