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!