Nov 15, 2011

How to Be Instantly Better at Editing Pt.1

What You Will Learn

  • Why a WACOM TABLET  makes editing in Photoshop so much easier
  • Custom settings to get the best out of your device
  • What tablet is best for you
  • Why bigger isn’t always better

Driving VS. Riding a Bike

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.

Like getting to your friend’s house. When you were young, your bike was totally fine. Then you got a car! Learning to drive was a pain, but after being comfortable in a car, it is probably hard to imaging pedaling for 45 minutes to get the same result. Either that or you are still a BADASS, and use your bike to get everywhere.

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user image You
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    Dale Antony Richards

    I use a Bamboo – it’s a LOT cheaper and all the functions you mentioned you DO use the bamboo has, the functions you state you DON’T use the Bamboo does not have them. Save money get a Bamboo instead of the Intuos I genuinly don’t see why as photo editors we would need the slightly higher sensitivity. From using an Intuos at college and the Bamboo at home I see no difference when it comes to editing even using the brush tool!

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      Andrea Baccara

      Thank you Dale for this comment. Some people say that the bamboo are to limited cause of the numbers sensitivity levels. But as I’m looking for a tablet (and I do not want to spend a fortune) I’m interested in anyone had tested both Bamboo and Intuos. 

      • user image

        I have bamboo with 512levels and Intuos4 with 1024levels. I bought Intuos4 Medium because I thought that the sensitivity will help me with masking and clone stamp tool drawing. IMHO bamboo was good enough for photo editing.
        Wacom offers bundle Intuos4 Medium with Lightroom3 for $399. Lightroom3 for $50 makes good deal 😉

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          Andrea Baccara

          Bamboo now offers 1024 levels. Main differences are in the lines per inches and the possibility of tilt with intuos.

          Yes LR3 for 50$ is a very good deal indeed.

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    Jane Sampson Photo

    Great episode today.

    I got the Wacom Inuit 4 a few months ago and really had no idea what I was doing when I bought it (it was before I discovered Phlearn), So I was glad to hear that Aaron uses it too. (I done good.)  It took me quite a while to get used to using it, but now I rarely pick up the mouse anymore. I love it! 

    I would hate having to edit without it.  In fact, I had to use my mouse to Photoshop my co-workers into a photograph for our bosses birthday a few days ago and it took FOREVER and it looks completely hilarious which actually may have been best for this situation, but typically you want your photoshop work to look real. See below the photo that I did with the mouse…lots of jagged edges.

    Learned a few things about set up that I’m going to try out when I get to my computer (pressure sensitivity and double-click setting).

  • user image

    “Pedaling for 45 minutes” can save you time in the long run: no need to go to (and pay for) the gym to stay fit and healthy. How does that translate back to graphics tablets vs. mice? I don’t know. 🙂

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    Robert Lewandowski

    You can adjust the settings, so you won’t have to move you pen all the way down to get across the screen. Just use it as a pen, not as a mouse (that will drive you crazy).
    I actually got the L tablet because I couldn’t work with a small one.
    The only pain (besides the price) is it does take a lot of space on my desk ;-P
    ps. I do love the buttons and the scroll wheel on the intuos4 😀

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    Oscar Murray

    AARON they have a smaller tablet! BAMBOO, unless you want a small intuos i guess.. Got a wacom bamboo pen and i am never going back to a mouse!!  Its insanely better, no comparison. Took me a week to get to know it and be comfortable and then i was away. I use it for web browsing, photo editing and making digital drawings, the pressure sensitivity is what its all about! Comes with its own software but i use it on photoshop cs5. Its only a 15x9cm (6×3.5 inches) active area and i can move across it in one sweep. Smallest one they have i think, currently and it has enough pressure sensitivity for me. Here is an image i have drawn with the tablet TODAY (see attached). I am 17 and have had the tablet for 3 months. I also have a few more images here:

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      Oscar Murray

      Came out a little dirty on this viewer, to see the quality, click original  below the image and then zoom in a bit in the new browser, i promise!

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    Dave Prince

    I’ve gotta disagree with you on a few things Aaron. I use a Wacom Cintiq 21UX at home and at work. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s a huge investment for personal/freelance work, but once it’s paid off it’s hard to beat. For those of you that aren’t familiar, a Cintiq is an actual monitor but you can also us the stylus directly on it. As far as the size, I prefer to have a larger area to draw. I’m a product designer so I do hand sketching and rendering, as well as photo editing. From the perspective of a trained drawer/sketcher, it’s better to be able to “throw” lines naturally while using your whole arm and body, not to draw from the wrist. In terms of budget, however, an Intuos, Bamboo, or Graphire will be the more likely choice for most photo editors. Hope this helps!

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      Dan Conway

      I have to agree with this regarding tablet size: for retouching, a smaller area and delicate movements are good enough– great, even, especially compared to a mouse, however, for drawing (I do some concept art and matte painting) being able to use your arm is wonderful and results in much more natural lines, even without extensive drafting training or anything.

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    Anthony Phung

    My grand father (91) use the Bamboo tablet to write chinese letter on Paint. I just inherit his tablet for about 2 month now. I must say it was hard the first week, but I am now 100% on the pen for every thing I do on computer. Excel, Internet browsing, etc, etc… and my wrist no longer hurts anymore. I do concider getting the Intuios4, but does 512 vs 1024 sensitivity really worth the buy?

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    Robert Kronqvist

    Really like the new layout for the website Aaron! Good Job to the team and you for that! 🙂

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    Nice! I’ve been wanting to get one for a long time, but they are way too expensive here in argentina. We have alternative brands here but i doubt they are as good as a wacom tablet, so i’ll probably have to save and buy the expensive one! 
    Great episode by the way!

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      Aaron Nace

      I was asked to go deeper into the settings on the tablet 🙂
      Plus it fits in great with the steps to getting to be better
      staying on it, I like that!

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    Macxs Oppici

    I bought the Intuos 4 small too and is great. Before that i tried a Bamboo and i must say that even if the Bamboo is great, the Intuos pressure sensibility is really better.

    However, I found much more improvement to jump from a mouse to a Bamboo than from a Bamboo to an Intuos.

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    Petter Haugen

    I bought the same tablet when you did the similar episode about a year ago. It was a great buy, and I recommend everyone to purchase one. Everything concerning brushtool, erasertool, pentool, selection, masking and so on, gets much easier with the pen. I agree on limiting the working space to a minimum so you don`t have to lift your hand during editing.
    I do disagree on the “useless buttons” on the left side. I use the wheel for zooming and adjusting brushsize to the exact size that I want. I also use the “hand” (equalls spacebar on shortcut) for moving around (especially when zoomed in). I do have to confess that I`m not perfectly aware of every keyboard shortcut.

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    Mark ODonnell

    I believe the Intuos 4 has 2048 levels of pressure.  
    As a starving artist I purchased the Genius i608 (1024 pressure sensitivity) for $60 2 years ago.  I have always wondered what the differences were besides the pressure sensitivity.  The barrel buttons (on the pen) only allow mapping to a mouse click which kinda sucks, but it does have 16 programmable hot spots and 13 pre-programmed hot spots built into the tablet, pretty cool.  The size is 6×8 but you can configure it to make the active area smaller.
    It’s worth checking out for those strapped for cash and they really want to experience a tablet.  I like it.

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    Sean Webb

    I actually bought an Intuos4 after watching Phlearn and I love it. I’m phlearning faster than ever! The only thing that’s still bugging me is why I can’t move my pictures around the screen (zoomed out) while using the hand tool like in your episodes? What setting in PS am I missing? 

    BTW, I don’t see why you don’t like the wheel for zooming and brush size/hardness. I think you need to try it again. Trust me. 

  • user image

    Oh, my, GOD thank you! I bought a small intuos 3 tablet and I was horrified to find that the “Express Keys” were on the left side, and like most left handers I write with my hand turned at an awkward angle and the Express Keys would always go off but now I changed the tablet portion to the right side and lo and behold PROBLEM SOLVED! <3 Phlearn

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    I was given the gift of small Wacom Intuos 3 and the difference in my photo editing was absolutely phenomenal. My skill-level ratcheted up.

    For people who are on a tight budget, here’s what you need to know:  You DON’T need the biggest tablet, or the latest version. A small, older model will work WONDERS. You’ll NEVER go back to using a mouse to edit photos ever again.

    ps- LOVE the changes to the website!

  • user image

    i disagree about the tablet being a necessity. i’ve been using photoshop since 1999 and i’ve gotten accustomed to just using the mouse and keyboard shortcuts. i think it could be an advantage to some people, but not all. i actually have the bamboo and tried using it for weeks, it just slowed me down.

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    Sebastian Ortiz

    Awesome, tutorial Aaron, I’ve had the Intuos 4 since the day it launched, birthday gift from the wifey, she had gotten me the large, so I really didn’t have a say so.. LMAO … but, it has made it easier for me… I will be purchasing a small one in the near future to use as a portable one with my laptop… I am guilty of using the entire tablet surface, LOL… after watching this, I have portioned it down, gonna see how well it works for me… LOL… thanks again, Aaron… 

  • user image

    You read my mind! I was going to ask you how to edit the settings for a wacom tablet 😀 thanks! xx

  • user image

    Hey Aaron, it’s Laurent you mentioned at the beginning. Thank you so so much for detailing your tablet settings. It really helped me, I didn’t know for a few settings, now it’s much better on Photoshop. Damn !

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    I love phlearn!! I have so many good things to say about you and phlearn that the quickest way to say them all is “I love Phlearn!”

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    Annabelle Denmark

    It’s my Birthday in 3 weeks. Guess who’s gonna get herself this tablet?  See? you are almost like Santa!! (well…..almost because I still have to pay for it!!)

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    Andrea Peipe

    Awesome!!!!!!!! I have been wanting to ask you for doing one and never did!

    I have asked for one for Xmas from my parents so am excited to try it! I am sure I will not love it from the first moment but that is normal with everything… I hated CS5 for the first few weeks because I could not find anything and now I love it! I guess the more you use something and get used to it, the more you learn to love it!

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    Just purchased one of these and am having trouble setting the portion of the tablet. I set it a small part but the whole tablet is still sensitive. Any help would be great.

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    I’m looking to get my first tablet for photo retouching. Wacom offers a “Intuos Pen & Touch” that goes for about $100. How does that compare to the Wacom Pro tablet featured in this video?

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    Great video and a huge help! Had one question about making small adjustments. I’ve been noticing that when using the pen to adjust something like opacity by sliding or to set a precise white or black point on a levels adjustment layer, the pen jumps, and causes an innacurate setting when lifting it off the tablet. Just curious if there is a technique or setting that can help reduce the sensitivity with minute adjustments like that.

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    Jae Hyun Kang

    I love your tutorials Aaron ;D
    I’m not aiming very aspiring photographer and just watching your tutorials and studying editing photos and so on. And your tutorials are really helpful and it makes my eye open to a new world!! Like getting rid of blur from my eye?
    Once again, I really appreciate for your all of these efforts. way to go~!

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    So buy for your screen size, correct? I have a 13″ MBP. The tablet in your video says 13″ on Wacoms site, but in their specs it states 13.3. Would that tablet be good for me?

    • Seth

      You don’t have to buy one in the same screen size. Not necessary at all.

      Aaron uses the Wacom Intuos Pro Small version on all his computers, laptop to 27″ iMac, and everything in between.