So…I am curious
How many of you out there are using a pressure sensitive tablet? If so, are you actually using the pressure sensitive features? All too often I am hearing different perspectives from people using pressure sensitive tablets and it is always something different. If you don’t use a tablet, what is the reason? As an artist I see my tablet as an indispensable tool that I just cannot work without. To me, illustrating using a mouse is like painting a masterpiece with a bar of soap. It just doesn’t feel natural. Although, since the dawn of the personal computer age we have become accustomed to using a mouse and it seems hard for many to go back to the natural feel of a pen. Then again, some just don’t care one way or the other. Nevertheless I would like to hear your perspectives on this. Please feel free to post your comments here on the blog and tell me what you think.
Absolutely LOVE my tablet! I found it hard to work with at first (cramped hand) but now I find it more like drawing and painting than the mouse. I can get better paint/draw effects using the pressure adjustment. Now I want to get an even bigger tablet since mine is the smaller one.
back in the time of the Amiga computer (yes i’m THAT old…) i was drawing using only the mouse and make shadows and lights pixel by pixel. now i use my tablet to make sketches and to color, and i find it better than the mouse even to make vectorial works where pushing and pulling points should be the same thing with pen or mouse.
the only issue is that there’s a very low grip when i draw and i’m still not used to this but i place a sheet of paper on the tablet and that gives me a grip similar to a real pen or pencil on the paper.
I am one of the “we have become accustomed to using a mouse and it seems hard for many to go back to the natural feel of “. I have a Wacom tablet, but most of the time I just use its mouse. I find it is more accurate then my Microsoft laser mouse. Occasionally I will pickup the pen (some time while trying on of your tutorials) and give it a try but always go back to the mouse.
I don’t know how I got along without a tablet for so long. I have been using an Intuos3 6″x11″ for about 3 months. When I first got it, I made myself use the pen everytime I was in Photoshop. Now I can’t use a mouse anymore. As soon as I click to open Photoshop or Illustrator, I reach for my pen. I haven’t gotten used to using pressure sensitivity yet. I really don’t like it, but I think when I learn to use it properly, I’ll love it. I saw you teaching how to use it on a show once, but that’s really not something that can be taught. How can you teach someone ‘touch’? Got my eyes on a Cintiq.
I do retouching in a semi-professional capacity. I had previously bought and then eschewed many years ago a tablet becoming proficient with a mouse and keystrokes. I was prompted to try the tablet again by a mentor who retouches professionally, him saying that it’s essentially an industry standard and anyone who doesn’t use a tablet in retouching wouldn’t be taken seriously for jobs.
Well low and behold, second times the charm. I can’t imagine how I ever did what I did before without a tablet. I can affect so much more subtlety in the same amount of time as previous projects and now realize how Photoshop is tuned to take advantage of a tablet. I’m actually looking to upgrade to a better tablet in fact and as soon as I find a deal on the model I want, I’m doing it.
If anyone is skeptical, I say stay with it until you’re absolutely sure it’s not for you. It takes some time for the pen to start to feel natural in your hand. I think the thing that made the most difference for me was learning to combine keystrokes with the pen motion. Made a huge difference in the efficiency of using the tablet.
As a photographer I use my computer primarily for processing my photos, and ALWAYS use a Wacom tablet. I do have the pressure-sensitive settings on and really like using that feature. There is no way that I would ever go back to a mouse again … I don’t even have a mouse anymore, just my tablet & pen. 🙂
I cant live without my tablet. Altough I rarely use the pressure sensitive features since I’m not in the graphic design world, I’m in photography, but it’s nice to have when I do need it. The control I have over motion copared to the mouse is a must for me.
Dude, I can’t imagine using anything but the tablet. My pen quit on me recently, and the three days I spent waiting for a replacement were the longest of my design life. I feel the pen is so much more practical and natural than a mouse. The first time I used it, it was very awkward, but once I got used to it, there was no going back. Plus, watching your tutorials have helped me take full advantage of what the tablet has to offer. Thanks man, can’t wait to take your classes at PSW.
Just purchased a tablet and I’m in the process of learning how to use it. At this point I’m finding it to be very useful for painting and drawing (using the pressure sensitive settings) within Photoshop. Also starting to use the table for photo retouching. Adobe needs to expand the options available in Lightroom for table use.
I started out with a Intous 3 and have since moved up to a Cintiq. I only have the 12″ but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I have been using it for about 6 months or so and even now when I try to use a mouse again, it just feels clumsy. I will always have a tablet of some sort. I have even purchased a small Wacom tablet to keep with my laptop. I am definitely hoping to upgrade to the larger Cintiq someday too.
I have a Wacom 9×12. I don’t use it a ton, but when I do I like it. Tried the Cintiq 12″ at PMA and kinds fell in love though. About the same size but that screen to interact with was amazing.
But, but….I’ve gotten so used to drawing with a brick. I’ve been using Illustrator since the first version for PC and Photoshop since version 4. I couldn’t get work to spring for a tablet so I bought 2 small Wacom Graphire tablets (I could afford that). I still find I don’t use it for retouching, but it’s killer for making paths.
I meant to say that I bought one tablet for work and one for home – I’m marginally ambidexterous but not so much that I could use to tablets at the same time.
I really, really want a Cintiq after trying it out at PSWorld Las Vegas last year.
I have owned a tablet for two years and would really like to learn how to use it. It is a Wacom graphire model. But with nobody to teach me its benefits I have been unable to master it; consequently most of the time it goes untouched and I bodge along with the mouse. There is neither anything to read about using a tablet nor a course to watch on the web. I am missing out, certainly. Corey, how about offering an online course on tablet basics and operation, say on Kelby Training?
I have a Intuos A4, not sure how big it is in inches, but it’s one of the larger ones in any case. For most “ordinary computer usage” it’s easiest to use the mouse (I used my Wacom mouse so much that I had to buy a new one 🙂 ) but when using Photoshop it’s more often the pen that I use. The more “sensitive” (not only pressure sensitive) things I do the more I use the pen. I do have a Bamboo too, but its smaller size and lesser accuracy is clearly obvious, I think it’s more the size than the lesser accuracy though. For image editing in general I guess it’s not much difference between using a pen and a mouse, but as soon as there’s any painting to be done the pen is worth a lot, regardless of whether it’s editing a pixel mask or making a painting using the brush tool. The brush engine together with a pressure sensitive tablet is one of the greatest things about Photoshop in my eyes (ok there’s a lot of other things too, but this combination can really do a lot for one feature + one piece of hardware).
I could never go back to a mouse. After taking classes with Fay Sirkus at Photoshop World a couple of years ago, I was hooked. I use an Intuos 3 6 X 9. I would love to have a Cintiq. Ah… one day. I use all the pressure sensitive options and I use the nib with the spring it in. It feels more like real strokes to me because it gives back a bit.
I got a Wacom for Xmas last year and love it for retouching. It makes everything much easier. It does take some getting used to for regular computer work though. I am always dragging files and stuff around that I don’t mean to, especially when I am working in Lightroom (I constantly move pictures by accident), but the more I force myself to use it in those situations, the better I get.
My wife got me a bamboo for my birthday last august, I used it once during one of your tutorials. Every time she see’s it she gets mad at me for not using it. I’m left handed and most of the keyboard shortcuts that I use are made with the left hand. It was more trouble than it was worth. This morning, I was asked to remove some text from an image and decide to give the Wacom another try. I very impressed with how useful the pressure sensitive brush was, I didn’t have to play around with flow and opacity at all and was able to create a more accurate final product. Later on I had a lot of cutting/pasting from scanned photos and got very frustrated using the tablet because my Ctrl+c,v,n are most comfortable with the left hand. Oh well…
I use my pen all the time. I wanted to get one to get a better creative feel while working in photoshop.
As it turns out, My wrist doesnt hurt anymore and when I use a mouse now for an extended amount of time it tends to feel sore again
Like Sean above, I got a Wacom 6×11 for Christmas. For re-touching I’ve come to find it much more comfortable and accurate…especially when pressure senstive brush size dynamic is enabled. It was hard to force myself to use it for about 3 weeks, but got easier and more natural the more I used it.
However, (and perhaps this is something I just don’t know the proper pen/tablet technique), I can’t use it at all for certain tools and I go back to the mouse for those. The magnetic lasso come to mind. With the mouse, you simply move the mouse cursor around near the edge you are trying to select with NO buttons pressed and the tool lays down the selection as you go according to it’s sensitivity.
But when using the mag lasso with the pen, touching the pen to the tablet (which the only accurate way to trace since I can’t accruately hover 1/4″ over the tablet surface while tracing the edge) is the same as a mouse click, so there is no way I could see to do the equivalent operation as moving your mouse with no buttons pressed (touching the tablet with the pen is like moving the mouse with the left button pressed…which is not how the magnetic lasso does it’s magic).
There aren’t many tools like that…and if there was a way to use the mag lasso with a pen I think I’d prefer it (any advice would be appreciated). But all in all, I use the pen/tablet now way more than the mouse.
I had to switch to a tablet years back because of my bad wrist. I do CG for a living and using a mouse 10+ hours a day hasn’t been an option for me for some time.
When I first switched to a tablet and started using it in Photoshop I didn’t think much of the pressure sensitivity, but now I can’t live without it. I often paint with simple round brushes at a large size, lightly touching to fill in smaller areas. I also use pressure to drive other brush attributes when I can.
Funnily enough I find pressure-based tools in 3D software to be a bad idea. It’s one thing to paint that way, but I never use pressure when doing brush selections.
I have used Wacom tablets and a couple off brands for years but until I got the Intuos 3, I had not fully adapted. Now I even use the pen over the mouse because of the accuracy. And I mean for non graphic stuff as well. You are right, a mouse feels like a brick. I really notice the difference because for my tablet is attached to my Mac but I use a mouse with my PC. I have PS on both but obviously prefer to do all the graphic work on the Mac. I actually think I am wearing out parts of this tablet.
It did take me awhile to adjust to trying to use the pressure sensitivity but now I love it and actually got the art brush for Painter and now that they have fixed some issues with the most recent update to PS, can’t wait to try it in PS.
When I get rich – I am going for the Cintiq (OK I will probably squeeze it out before that happens).
I have been using a Wacom now for about 8-9 years and love it. From the minutes I tried one I was hooked, and found adapting to the way it functions very easy for me. Using the mouse in photoshop was a constant annoyance, so the feel of the pen was a godsend! I probably do not take full advantage of the pressure aspects of it ( except when I use it for drawing, which is great too!) I love it and can’t imagine doing any serious work without one!
I have a nice Wacom tablet. I’m almost ashamed to say I don’t use it simply because it simply takes up too much real estate on my desktop. I’ve also never been able to scale it to my monitor setup – I keep my workspace open on one monitor and the tools/browser on another but the tablet represents the entire dual monitor setup. It is a frustrating PITA to only use a small portion of the tablet. Can’t even really comment on the pressure sensitive aspect due to the other two I’ve mentioned.
I have been using a Wacom Tablet since June of 2008. I purchased a Bamboo just to get a feel for a tablet and I did not want to invest a whole lot of money as this was my first experience with one. I must admit, that there is no comparison between a mouse and a pen tablet. First of all, I had been experiencing a slight pain in my wrist and thought this was the beginning of carpel tunnel. But after switching the Tablet, the pain totally went away. I was working FT for a Photography Studio retouching/restoring photos and designing albums and this made a huge difference in my quality of work. I cannot think of ever going back to using a mouse. In January of this year, Wacom was offering a $40 rebate on an Intuos3 4×6. After doing some research I decided this was the one for me. There is definitely a difference in every aspect compared to the Bamboo. I use the pressure sensitivity all the time and it speeds up my work flow. I can go for hours using the pen and have absolutely no problem in my wrists. Just for that alone is worth the money. It took me not even a few days to get accustomed to using a pen. I highly recommend anyone out there who is still using a traditional mouse go out and buy a tablet. You can actually purchase one at Best Buy and try it for 30 days and if you don’t like it, just return it. What have you got to lose??
Corey, your tutorials are phenomenal and have helped me a lot especially learning Illustrator thanks.
I have to say I’m a tablet/pen newbie. I’ve always marveled at those you use them and for years have wanted to try one. I’ve always worked for someone though and the tablet/pen hardware was always something considered a luxury rather than a necessity so I never really have had the opportunity to try one. Until now. Now laugh if you will be I’ve been trying out this old little Graphire model. It’s so old it has the teal blue coloring and the old Wacom logo 🙂 but there it something retro about all that I think. Its definitely weird getting used to how the pen operates and I’ve played with the pen settings, I do plan on using it more often, I love the idea of the pressure sensitivity and have been trying out brushes and settings in Photoshop…very fun 🙂 I will probably be a tablet/pen junkie before long.
Watching you work Corey helps a lot too, I like it when you’re specific about the settings you use with your pen and whatever tablet you happen to be sporting.
Thanks for all the great work you do, you’re wicked talented man 😉
ok enough cheezy smiley faces for me
Love my tablet, and do use the pressure sensitivity portion too. However, there are still some things I do with a mouse. If all I’m going to be doing on an image is clicking icons to apply fiters and adjustment layers etc., I’ll use the mouse. But actually working ON the image (brushing, burning, etc.) then I’ll use the tablet.
I’m still using a mouse because a) I’m not an artist, b) I use a laptop in my easy chair and I think a tablet would be somewhat cumbersome.
That’s not to say I won’t get a tablet for use with a future desktop system…from all that I’ve read it seems using a pen is much more convenient.
Of course, I use a tablet, but learned to draw by hand, so it was more than logic for me to get one.
I’ve been using a Intuos A4 for 3 years, and i couldn’t image even to OPEN Photoshop without it…of course the tablet is great with the pressure sensitive tools, but i find it very very useful and time-saving with the pen tool as well: making a complex selection is a breeze with the combination of pen and spacebar shortcut to move the document.
I’m a musician as well, and using a pen/tablet with HD recording software is faster than using a mouse… in the end, i think a pen/tablet is better and more natural than a mouse with any kind of software, once you’ve done the necessary practice with it.
Thank you Corey for all your GREAT tutorials!!
I, too, spring from the Amiga days, using a mouse to create images pixel-by-pixel in Deluxe Paint.
Some time ago I got myself an Aiptek tablet, but I couldn’t get the pressure sensitivity to work right. Last year I got myself a Toshiba M200 tablet, hoping that drawing right on the screen would help. But I have the same problem. If I draw “lightly” with it,I get nothing. If I put any pressure at all, I get the max fat line. On occasion I can get a thin line, but it seems impossible to do so consistently, as I have to barely touch the pen to the surface. I’ve tried adjusting the settings for the tablet and in photoshop to no avail. The problem obviously lies with me.
I’ve been hoping Corey would come up with a tutorial on using a tablet with Photoshop.
I use an Intuos 3 tablet. I am not sure how I funtioned without one. I kept telling myself I be more perceise with one, but never took the leap. Finally I did and can’t do much without it thise days.
Thanks for the tutorials I am have tons of fun with them
I use a tablet all the time – photo retouching, VFX, etc – it’s just the best way to get it all done. I’m constantly going to my brush and Wacom dialogs toggling the sensitivity and adjusting the effect from it or how hard or soft the Wacom responds. Now that PSCS4 can rotate the canvas I use the tablet even more. Still – for some things like cutting paths it feels more natural to use a mouse.
Photographer / Retoucher, Atlanta GA
From the first time that I used a tablet I was hooked. It only took me about a day and a half to never want to go back. Of course I have NEVER been happy using a mouse. Instead, I used a trackball all the time. I have three tablets in the house (2 Intuous and 1 Bamboo). My girlfriend “stole” my small Intuous that I’d bought to use with my notebook system, so now I use her Bamboo with the notebook.
I find the pressure sensitivity very handy when I’m working in Photoshop and other graphics programs. Although, I should probably spend more time to see what I can get out of the feature.
Even as strictly a hobbiest, I have used a tablet for the past few years. A couple of months ago, I up-graded to the Wacom Cintiq (the 12 inch) and would be lost without it now. The degree of control and sensitivity is amazing.
I have been wokring on colorizing a number of old family photos (of great-grand parents and beyond) and don’t want to even think what that was like back in my pre-tablet days
I think everyone that has one will agree, it’s the coolest thing since the fractal algorithmic texture mutation.
My widescreen Wacom tablet with grip and airbrush pens is by far the best present I have ever recieved…
Corey, when I saw your Bamboo Demo on a PET video, I ordered a Bamboo the same day. I loved it, but decided to replace it with an Intuos 3 a short time ago. I’m still not clear how often a nib should be replaced. Is there something definite to indicate it’s time for a replacement? I imagine many people bought a Wacom, based on your preferences. I hope the Wacom people realize that & return the favor.
I had a Wacom tablet, but I got frustrated using it when I first got it (I couldn’t get used to not being able to control where the curser would start on the screen). So I gave it to a friend of mine. I feel like I’m missing out, but I don’t like the frustration phase of the learning process.
Where is the third contest you mentioned in Layers TV Video Podcast Episode 78 ?? I can’t find it!!
I have a small Wacom tablet and yes to me it is indispensable. I use the pressure sensitivity feature most of the time and especially when i am digitally painting and sketching.
I’ve had a tablet for a lot of years. And every year or so I try using it again, just because I paid for it. But I can’t seem to control the pen as easily as a mouse except when tracing lines. Guess the pen needs a steady hand…
I absolutely love my tablet. Pen is much easier to control than mouse especially when I get down to tiny details.
I think tablets are indispensable for digital artists and tablet manufacturers know this. For this reason they are putting abusive pricing in their products. Come on 400 or more for a tablet. That’s crazy. Stop that ridiculous pricing please.
I’m left handed, and I can’t barely do nothing with my right hand. I learned to use the mouse with the right hand and when comes the time to draw fine details it’s a lot frustrating, I have to undo and erase more often than I want. The first time I use a Wacom Tablet it was: “OMG, why I don’t buy one before?” My works are now very more precise. The pressure sensitive features adds much more control. I can’t imagine work without my tablet now. I still use the mouse when working with types.
Tablets FTW! It gives a LOT more freedom than a mouse. I think that for creating or manipulating vector stuff or typography it’s not really that necessary, but when you’re using the brush or the eraser a lot, dodge / burn tool, or the selection tool and whatnot, it’s much better. I started with digital art like 3 years ago, and the transition from traditional since I’ve gotten my tablet wasn’t so dramatic. What happens with digital stuff is that is kind of frustrating to go to a menu and search a bunch of buttons to change a simple task. With the tablet and it’s pen pressure feels more natural. It’s definitely a must. I keep insisting, although you can work perfectly with a mouse. Much more uncomfortable and slow, but hey, to each their own. I use a genius tablet right now because I didn’ want to spend so much on a tablet without knowing first if I was going to use it or like it, but I’m thinking about buying a wacom. But mine works like a charm. I’m waiting for it to get dammaged to change it 😉 .
I use an intuos 3 tablet. I’m sure the functions you have programmed on the tablet keys and sensitiivty strip should be done according to an individuals work flow but I’m curious how do you have your keys programmed? Maybe you could do a tutorial video on that sometime. Thanks.
I use the touch pad on my laptop… it is impossible to draw with and i cant afford a good tablet..
i would prefer a tablet
As I bought the tablet, I was the happiest man in the world, because before I started photoshopping, I was drawing with pencil. Therefore, drawing with the mouse was horrible and made me feel to switch to tablets.. So I bought the BAMBOO from WACOM and this was the best I could ever have done to draw on the computer.
In the beginning, it was very hard for me, to learn drawing and don’t look at the tablet, because I had to look at the screen. This was the biggest problem I had. But after some time i reached to manage it…
By now, I love to work with it, and I could never imagine drawing without it..
thx for reading 🙂
Well i have to admit that i have a very large wacom tablet and i do not use it as much as i should. I am a graphic artist and illustrator and i agree that the table is the way to go and i am forcing myself to use it more to get used to it. I am also going back to school at Full Sail University for a B.A in digital arts and film, and i know this tablet will do nothing but help me out.
can’t afford one. Im using my mouse.
yup. use the tablet all the time.
way I see it. the mouse can capture all of two levels of pressure: click and not click.
My wacom? up to 1024 levels of pressure.
1024 > 2
tough to argue that point.
I had been humming and hawing about using a tablet for a long time, and then for Christmas my wife got me one of the Bamboo tablets. Since then I’d say that it has changed my perspective on working on my pictures. I also us some of the onOne tools and have found that the pressure sensitive features of the pen/tablet are fantastic when using MaskPro. I have found that it gives a lot more control over my edits.
I am just getting use to using the Wacom 4″x6″ tablet on the laptop, but still use the mouse for the desktop. Do you have any classes on it’s use on ScottKelbyTraining?
I would love to use a tablet but I do not know which one to buy. The are quite expensive and I am afraid to buy one that will not do the job. I have an iMac and a macbook pro. Any recommendations for the best tablet?
I have been drawing for 50-plus years and by now, I have gotten so used to drawing by hand that I just can’t get into the Wacom. I tried a CalComp about 10 years ago and set it aside after a day. Now I have a 6×11 Intous for me and Bamboos for my grandkids that we use in KidPix. But beyond scanning my own stuff, tracing it into FH or AI and manipulating the points with the tablet, that’s it. I may draw into a scan in Pshop with it, but the feel of drawing on a tablet is to me like coming in from a run on packed dirt in my consecrated NBs and switching to a granite floor in a new pair of French Shriners. Maybe one day the tech level will refine to the point where I no longer feel that way, but by then I will probably have terminal CTS or something.
Having said that though, I loathe mice! Pizz-poor technology. I got a Gyration five or so years ago and that has helped slightly, but I have learned enough keyshorts that I feel emotional pain when I reach (in the drawer) for a mouse.
Might sound weird but I have never even tried to use a tablet….I guess everyone I know uses the mouse – next time I see one I will ask if I can give it a try.
Corey’s positive review of the 12″ Cintiq on Photoshop User TV pushed me over the line. Even though I have two other Wacom tablets, I bot it. I had it for one week; I returned it. None of the ads and few of the reviews show or mention the three cables required to make the unit operational: USB, monitor, power. This trio rivals the Trransatlantic cable and makes the tablet portable only in the most liberal sense of the word. Next, I had to firmly hold the tablet when used in an upright mode because the stand keeps slipping. I asked a Wacom rep about this problem which he admitted to having, as well. He suggested, with a straight face, that I use duct tape to secure the stand. (Yik-ees!) To any artist whose laid down a point on paper, you know exactly where you are going to make contact with the surface. Not so with the tablet. Depending on where on the screen you want to start a line you have to guess at where the initial point will be. There is an apparent gap between penpoint and image which leads to some very frustrating attempts at placement. Finally there is the matter of price. No tablet is worth $1,000 unless it comes with Bert Monroy. I decided to stick with my Intuos3, but still use the mouse when I need precise placement of a point.
I love my tablet. Even though I’m quite good at drawing with a mouse, I would still cry if someone were to take my tablet away. I like to use the pressure sensitive features, especially in brushes, and I love the quick keys. I feel it is well worth the money invested. I bet though, that I could be using the options/features more than I have, but there’s still time to learn!
I use the Intuos II all the time whilst puttering about in Photoshop. I don’t see how anyone can do precise touch ups using a mouse or worse yet – the finger pad on a laptop.
As a pro photographerI have been using Wacom tablets since 97 when I first bought my 12″x12″. Yeah.. thats 12 years now using them and I never looked back. I still use my 12″x12″ at home (yep.. still works great though i had to get a serial to usb adapter to do so) and at work I use a intutos II 9×12. I seriously cannot edit photos/graphics worth a damn with a mouse anymore. The pen is king!
Use a Bamboo tablet from Wacom 100% of the time. Since I got it I have not been able to work without it.
I have been using the Intuos3 6×11 SE for a little over a year now. It’s mainly for retouching photos. I’ve turned off the pressure sensitivity cuz I couldn’t handle it. Maybe there’s something that I’m not doing right. I use the pen just because it feels better and easier to make selections and retouching areas.
I have considered using a tablet but I have limited resources and have much to spend it on. I would be using strictly for processing photo images and have not seen any work flow procedures, save for the dodging of a shadow touch up of a double chin or the bags under some eyes (self portraits?). Have I missed more than that?
Yes, I saw the Wacom tablets at Photoshop World, several years ago and had to have one. I now own an Intuoso 3 tablet and rely on it heavily. I took one of Fay Sirkus’s workshops on Corel Painter and Photoshop, in San Jose, California, and with the things she taught…and a lot of experimentation on my own, I use the tablet and pen just like my watercolor brush and paper. It offers versatility, responds to my touch, and the greatest benefit is that I can paint a painting so much faster, because I don’t have to wait for the paint to dry between layers!
Very Nice,,I wish to be so creative..
To borrow a phrase,
They will have to pry my pen and tablet from my cold, dead hands.
That about sums it up for me.
I just want to say hi
I just want to say hi