Beginners Guide to SFX
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Wacom Intuos 4 Tablet
Name: Wacom Intuos 4 Tablet
Essential Sale 1-10
1 = I almost never use this thing.
10 = You had better own this, like yesterday.
Essential Scale: 10

It is a pressure sensitive tablet and I use it on basically all my images for editing. It’s amazing. I personally prefer the small one because it takes up less space and gets the job done.


The medium Intuos4 tablet is the most popular and versatile choice among creative professionals. With 48.5 square inches of working area, this tablet provides ample workspace for most tablet users. The medium size is built with eight ExpressKeys and illuminated ExpressKey displays that provide easy reference to your assigned functions.

Quickly and professionally edit photos and create digital artwork with natural pen control.

Technical Details

  • New pen tip sensor technology lowers activation force and captures every nuance of pen pressure
  • 2048 levels of pen pressure sensitivity for precise pressure control
  • User-defined ExpressKeys and multi function Touch Ring put time saving shortcuts, modifiers, scrolling, zooming, and more at your fingertips


The Wacom Intuos 4 tablet is the perfect tool for those serious about using Photoshop. You have seem me use one in every Phlearn episode, and I would not use Photoshop without one, it does make that big of a difference.

A Wacom tablet can really change the way you work in Photoshop. Once you learn to use one well, it will become an essential part of your workflow. There is a slight learning curve, but these tips will help you get to PRO status soon.

Personal Experience

I have been using Wacom products for years, and love them. I started out with an Intuos 3, then 4, and now the 5 is out. I don’t use the buttons on my tablet to be honest, so the addition of more buttons isn’t something that I care about. At the time of writing this the Intuos 5 tablets are available, but I just bought another Intuos 4 instead. Why? Because they are cheaper now, and I am not going to use the extra features of the 5.

Intuos vs. Bamboo

If you have never used a pressure sensitive tablet, you are going to be blown away by either one of these to be honest. You gain so much more control over using a mouse, you are going to wonder why you ever used a mouse in the first place – old technology.

Because I have been using the Intuos for a while, and I am used to the 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and the nice feel of the pen, the Bamboo does not impress me. I don’t like it. That doesn’t mean that you won’t like it, it just means that I have become a spoiled snob about this sort of thing.

It is like I have been driving a Ferrari for all my life, and then I have to drive a Ford Focus (which I actually do own and love), I would be pissed. But If I had been walking everywhere I would pee myself with excitement over getting to drive a Ford Focus (which I do).

The bamboo is less expensive, and I do think for most people it is a great solution. Just don’t use an Intous and then still expect to like your bambo. Honestly it is hard to explain the difference because they are so similar, a lot of it has to do with feel. You have a pen in your hand, and you are drawing on a tablet. Have you ever used a pen, and been like “damn this is a nice pen, it writes so good”, not something you can convince someone else of, until they try it and are like “Punch my Mother!! This pen is GREAT!“. That is the difference between the Intuos and the Bamboo.

The Goods

  • 2048 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity –  Very responsive to light touches as well as a heavy hand. This will allow a lot of variability in your stroke. A good thing.
  • Lower Activation Force – You barely have to touch the pen to the tablet to start drawing
  • Replaceable Nibs – The Pen Holder comes with 10 different nibs that change how the pen feels on the pad. I prefer the standard black.
  • Small Size – I own and use the Wacom Intuos 4 Small, which I love. I don’t want anything bigger taking up space on my desk.
  • Mouse Pad – I use the tablet as a mouse pad as well, which is great because my apple mouse doesn’t work on my glass desk.

The Bads

  • Cost – The Intous is more expensive than the Bamboo, but in my opinion it is worth it. Go with the Small size, it is less expensive and I prefer using it to the larger sizes.
  • Size – I actually want it to be even smaller than it is, if they offered an Extra Small I would be all over that.

Buying Advice

Go with the small size. The size of the tablet coorelates to the size of your screen, meaning that if you buy a large tablet, you have to make very large strokes to get the cursor to move across your screen. With a small tablet you can move the pen a small amount and have the cursor move a good distance.

Remember using older computers when you had to move the mouse like 2 ft, pick it up and move it again just to get across your 13″ monitor? That it what it is like to use a large tablet, annoying.

The Small size is also less expensive. Don’t buy the wireless tablet, the wireless is shoddy and a pain when it won’t connect. Go with the standard USB connection.


If someone stole my tablet today I would buy another one today, it is that important. I would rather walk barefoot through Charlie Sheen’s hotel room than use Photoshop without a tablet.

  • Sykoko

    Hi Aaron, I’m actually planning to buy an intuos myself.
    Is the small variant still great for a 23inch screen I’m planning to use it on? Or should I get the medium for that big of a screen size? Thanks!

  • Sebastian Ortiz

    “I would rather walk barefoot through Charlie Sheen’s hotel room than use Photoshop without a tablet”  … HAHAHAHHAHAHAAAAAAAAA!!!

  • Wes Jerdon

    Can you make a video on how YOU use your tablet with what settings? Showing video of your screen AND tablet??? THANK YOU!!!

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