WACOM Tablets - A First Class Game Changer
The Wacom Intuos Pro Pen Tablet
In the past years I used to do all my editing in Photoshop using a standard mouse. Although they enable you to control your computer, mice aren't more than handy fellas, simple little pointing devices. You definitely cannot consider them king of the beasts. For years the mouse had served me well. At least, that's what I used to believe. Using the mouse I was able to do "my thing" and the results were satisfactory. There have been moments in the past where I considered purchasing a pen tablet but I was never convinced of the necessity of having one since my mouse was performing pretty well and according expectations. But don't we all want to go beyond expectations?
In the back of my head there was this phrase I heard someone saying that "drawing with a mouse is like drawing with a bar of soap". The words kept on resonating and made me seriously think about giving up on the mouse. Until recently, since when I had some extra funds available I finally took the decision to replace the little fella and add a pen tablet to my arsenal of tools. Since I am using the computer rather intensively for post-processing my images this was the moment to give it a try.
I chose for Wacom. Why settle for less, if you can go with the best! The Intuos Pro seemed to be the best option. More in particular its medium sized PTH651 pen tablet. Installation was easy and straightforward, kind of plug and play. The tablet is wireless which means you can control your computer remotely using the pen on the drawing surface of your tablet, just as if it was a sketchbook. Inside the tablet there is a battery which can be charged using a USB cable connection with the computer. The charging time is fast and less than 3 hours. The tablet comes with 8 Express Keys, a Touch Ring and 3 Pen Buttons. All of them can be assigned a function, one out of many to choose from. The nice thing is that the buttons and their assigned functions can be made application specific, meaning that the behavior of the buttons can vary depending on the active application. The Express Keys are a great way to speed up your Photoshop work as each of them can be programmed a preferred and commonly used Photoshop shortcut command. The Touch Ring allows you to control up to 4 user-defined functions enabling you to easily and intuitively maximize your productivity. In fact, the Touch Ring is a finger-sensitive scroll wheel where you can use your finger to quickly scroll clockwise and counter clockwise through a list of function-specific values. With the button in the middle of the wheel you can switch between the user-defined functions. Commonly used and interesting Photoshop functions to be defined to the Touch Ring are for example zooming, canvas rotation or blending mode.
Last but not least there are the three pen buttons. Two are located near the pen tip and a third one at the opposite end. Revolutionary to me was to use one pen tip button for quickly making brush adjustments on the fly (both size and hardness) only using the pen tip. The other pen tip button I use to open up the Radial Menu, another great feature of the Wacom tablets. The Radial Menu gives me quick access to up to 8 preferred and frequently used Photoshop functions.
All in all the Wacom Intuos Pro truly is a Game Changer to me. Editing photos will never be the same no more. Interacting with the computer became like a second nature. From now on my good old mouse is history. I will keep it though because the little fella always served me well. A new beast however has been seriously unleashed. The intuitive, programmable, professional, profitable, productive and promising Wacom Intuos Pro performs beyond expectation. Once tamed it surely helped me leverage my photo editing skills and take them to the next level.