|, Photography|Why I Use a Wacom

Why I Use a Wacom

By | 2016-12-18T17:01:26+00:00 January 5th, 2010|12 Comments

4248155567_592cb2c739_oThe tablet I use is a Wacom Intuos 4 (Medium-size)

I started using a Wacom tablet just over two years ago. I had never tried using one before I bought it, but saw their potential and went ahead and got it. I opened it up, plugged it in and within ten minutes I was hooked. I put my mouse away in a drawer and since then have used my tablet for everything on my computer (not just while editing in Lightroom or Photoshop …but everything). I’ve heard people say that it can take some getting used to, that there is a slight learning curve and maybe a tablet is not for everyone, but for me I will never go back to a mouse unless I absolutely have to.

Here are some of the top reasons why I love my Wacom tablet:

Complete control: The main reason I started using a Wacom was to have more control while using Photoshop. When I do masking, painting, cloning etc. it’s so much easier to draw it in as if I were using an actual brush or pen than it was to use a clunky mouse. I used a trackball mouse for a while but felt somewhat limited when doing precise editing (this Logitech mouse was pretty nice and I still use it with my laptop when I’m on the road). Using a tablet almost brings me back to the “analog” feel of creating something, just like it’s nice to write out something on paper every once in a while instead of typing all your notes and ideas on a computer.

Mapped Monitor: The tablet is mapped to my monitor, so wherever my pen is on the tablet it’s also in the same location on my monitor. Gone are the days when I run out of desk real-estate and have to keep picking up my mouse to scroll around a screen. It’s easy to navigate around a screen since you don’t have to push/pull the cursor to the location on the screen you want to go to – you just hover your pen over the same spot on the tablet that corresponds to where you want to be on your screen … it becomes second nature and you develop a “feel” for your setup. You become one with your computer, lol. ;)

Pressure Sensitive: I have found this to be extremely useful when using tools such as the “spot healing brush” in Photoshop. I almost always have this feature turned on, since it can make a huge difference when doing certain tasks, such as painting or touch-up work. It saves me the step of having to resize my brush over and over since I can just use a bigger brush size and lightly tap the pen when doing my editing.

– Customizable: The tablet comes with a set of buttons on both the tablet itself and the pen that you can program to do any kind of keystroke you like. I’ll be honest – I don’t use the buttons on the tablet very often since I’m so used to (and fast at) using regular keyboard shortcuts. But it can be helpful if you find that you are using the same keyboard shortcuts over and over again, it’s just a matter of training yourself to get used to using the buttons on the tablet. You can also change-out the pen tips (also called “nibs”) to give the pen a different feel. The Intuos 4 also has a customizeable “touch-ring”, and you can position the tablet for both left- and right-handed users.

To sum it all up I absolutely love using my Wacom. If you have the opportunity to try one out then I highly recommend that you give it a shot!

About the Author:

My name is Nicole and I'm a photographer, author, & educator living in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. When I'm not making photos I'm writing books and tutorials for my online store, Learn more about me and my story here.

12 Comments

  1. Grant January 5, 2010 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Interesting that you use it all the time for everything. What is your monitor setup? Just one monitor or multiple?

    I have two 24 inch monitors side by side so the mapping on a 10 inch tablet can sometimes get pretty cramped.

  2. Nicole January 5, 2010 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    @Grant – I only have a one-monitor setup right now. Eventually I will try to figure out a way to use two without losing my mapping to my first monitor. I’d like to see if I can use a mouse on one (where tools, etc. would go) and keep the Wacom tied to the “main” monitor where I would do all of my editing.

  3. Jeremy January 5, 2010 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    I have three monitors which is way too much to map to the medium Intuos 4. In the wacom software you can map a specific monitor to the wacom per application. So in LR and Photoshop I map the middle monitor where I do all of my editing to the tablet. I have a regular wireless mouse and use that to access the other monitors, where I have some tools, a full sized preview window or notes.

    Anyways, I agree wholeheartedly with this post! I never really thought about it, and finally tried one about six months ago and was immediately hooked. It is so intuitive and precise. It is almost impossible to go back to using a mouse for a lot of these tasks now.

  4. Grant January 5, 2010 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    @Nicole @Jeremy Looks like I’ll be mapping my monitors later tonight then to make better use of the tablet. have wanted to use it more but the mapping was really giving me issues due to size of tablet in relation to monitor. Thanks

  5. Jeremy January 5, 2010 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    I’ve been using my Wacom Bluetooth for mostly graphics work for 4 or 5 years. The pressure pen saves hours of work by controlling the transparency and brush sizes and you can kick your feet up on the desk and relax while working with it!

  6. Jeremy January 5, 2010 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Nicole, the driver (for Windows 7 at least) lets you map your Wacom to both screens, one screen or even a portion of a screen/s. It’s a snap to set up and works great even when I switch from a 1-screen config to a 2-screen configuration.

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nicole Young, Buzz . Buzz said: Perfect Reasons – New post at NicolesyBlog.com – "Why I Use a Wacom" http://bit.ly/6HmFK6 (via @nicolesy) […]

  8. dav.d January 5, 2010 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    It took me a while to finally settle on a tablet – but that is because I would buy the small dinky tablets. It wasn’t till I got the larger Wacom tablets that I became addicted. Now I have 3 – hooray for being single!

  9. Ed O'Keeffe January 5, 2010 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    Wow that’s very strange! I have just got my Wacom Intuos 3 (the smallest but wide screen version) for editing some sample photos. I only use it with one monitor (my 15″ macbook pro).

    The weird thing is I hardly ever use it as I rarely do any pixel pushing, my photos usually just go through the Adobe Camera Raw / Lightroom and I just leave it at that. Maybe you have inspired me to use to tablet a little more (maybe even full time)

    Thanks for the post Nicole

  10. Grant January 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    @Nicole So I just got home and checked out the settings for the Tablet in System Preferences. If you click on “Details” when Pen Mode is selected, you can very easily change where your tablet maps to your screen, including selecting one of the two screens or just a portion of one of the screens. Was surprised at how easy it was. So a mouse on one side and tablet on the other kind of setup is quick and easy to do….well on a mac at least.

  11. Nicole January 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    @Grant – Thanks … that’s good news! I have an extra monitor that I might hook up and try it out for myself. :)

  12. john s January 6, 2010 at 8:59 am - Reply

    I love this picture, it makes me want to get involved.

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