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Wacom Tablets and Photoshop - DVD Training (discount price)
Wacom Widescreen Pen Tablet Review
By Cian Walsh
Wacom Intuos4 Pen Tablets Overview - Intuos 4 New Features
Here are more details on the new features of the Wacom Intuos4 Pen Tablets that have just been released .
Having recently upgraded (or sidegraded maybe) from a laptop to a desktop based system, I was looking for something other than a mouse/trackpad for ergonomic reasons.
My Powerbook had been a trusty companion on the road for 18 months clocking up 63,000km of use in hostels, river valleys and airport terminals. One thing that you do arguably sacrifice with a laptop is good posture. Laptops are balanced on knees, bent over in connecting lounges and typed on at awkward angles. A mouse was only occasionally used in these scenarios as large flat surfaces were in short supply. However after a period of use, necks will start to ache and prolonged trackpad usage will be detrimental to your wrist. So to avoid this discomfort with a desktop, I decided to start using a tablet, more specifically the Wacom Intuos3 A5 Widescreen Tablet. How does it stack up against a trackpad or mouse?
(See the full the line of Wacom tablets at Amazon.com (offered at the best price). Also see Wacom tablet pens, tablet accessories, and most popular tablets.)
The Wacom Tablet
The tablet itself is quite large as there is a large lip surrounding the A5 pen area. The pen doesn't actually need to be touching the surface to be active. (even up to 1cm above the tablet) This can be a bit disconcerting at first but it makes sense for wear and tear on the surface. The Intuos package included the tablet, the pen, spare pen nibs and Painter Essentials as well as the tablet drivers.
Once installed the tablet gives you any amount of options for customizing the sensitivity of the pen and tablet. One handy option is the ability to map a portion of the tablet to the whole screen. This is very useful as in reality, I rest my forearm on part of the tablet area so only 5/8 of the area is quickly accessible at any time.
The pen has a good weight and the modifier keys on the side means
I don't have to give up my right click action. The amount of "give" in the pen nib means that it feels like a sturdy fountain pen in the hand.
There is also the ability to use the Express Keys which are a set of 4 buttons on either side of the tablet. These can be configured for any keystroke or macro. I decided to map Expose actions to the right hand side as I can then use the pen freely in my left hand and rest my right hand on the buttons. There is a Touchstrip which works in the same manner as a trackpad. If you want to zoom in or out in Photoshop or increase/decrease text size, you can simply run your finger or pen along the strip.
The tablet is highly configurable from button shortcuts to sensitivity.
Responsive to subtle movements and detailed Photoshop retouching and adjustment.
There is a good user community for questions and tips.
The ability to jump to a position on the screen by pressing in a corner of the tablet.
For widescreen monitors, it is a good fit for aspect ratio.
ExpressKeys are a great timesaver for instant access to shortcuts.
The Touch Strips are slightly jerky in usage and can be accidentally triggered.
There is a small interruption to your workflow as you get used to using a pen but looking elsewhere to see the results.
The size of the tablet means the keyboard can only be placed practically behind the tablet.
I'm finding after using the trackpad for a month that my productivity has increased. I would not say the tablet is for everyone as some tasks, especially gaming, are more suited to mouse use. But for those looking for a more natural input device for detailed graphic work, it comes highly recommended.
INTUOS3 6X11 USB Wide format Pen Tablet (best deal)
See the full the line of Wacom tablets at Amazon.com (offered at the best price). Also see Wacom tablet pens, tablet accessories, and the most popular tablets.
Intuos3 6x8 at amazon.com - best price available.
Intuos3 9x12 at amazon.com - best price available.
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About Cian Walsh
Cian Walsh is an Icon and Interface Designer based in Ireland. He specializes in producing graphic elements for software and website usage.
In his spare time he also creates freeware Icon Sets on any subject that pops into his head. You can see his fantastic icon work at his website, AfterGlow Design.
Keyfob: Anatomy Of An Icon
This tutorial follows the construction of an Icon for an imaginary application called "Keyfob." It also includes a short movie of the process so you can see the general buildup of effects.
Custom Shapes And Layer Styles
If you are a regular user of custom shapes in Photoshop, here are a few tips on using them when combined with layer styles. The benefits of using custom shapes for smaller work are the ability to scale losslessly and to experiment with colour and effects by way of saved layer styles.
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- Fluid Mask will also work in standalone mode (i.e. not as a plug-in).
- There is now an XML based Help file which may be searched by sections or by keywords. Also included are video tutorials.
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