The Amazing Wacom Tablet

Photoshop tutorials
A  Wacom tablet, such as the Bamboo and Intuos are pressure sensitive input devices connected to your computer.

Each one includes a flat tablet, a mouse and a pen connected by USB. Other input devices include your mouse, a scanner and your keyboard. All of them input commands or information into your computer.

The closest input device to a tablet is a mouse but there really is no comparison. A Bamboo or Intuos is superior to a mouse in every way - more on that later.

Wacom tablets are primarily used with Graphics software such as Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro and Corel Painter - and - it can also be an incredible help for someone with RSI (repetitive stress injury) which can be caused by long term mouse use.

A wacom tablet (also known as a pen tablet) is the must have, indispensable tool for photographers, designers, digital artists and other computer users. All things being equal, in fact, the natural feel and precision of a tablet outperforms a mouse every time in every situation.

What Does A Graphics Tablet Do?

What makes a pen tablet so unique, so special and so superior to a mouse?

Well -- the first thing you will notice is the totally …

Natural Feel

We started our artistic endeavors (no matter what level we were) with crayons and moved to pencils and pens, markers and brushes. We have been using these tools with paper all our lives.

wacom intuos tabletThe incredible software packages like Corel Painter, Paint Shop, Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop Elements and Adobe Photoshop have introduced a new level of creativity and fun for those who love digital drawing and photo restoration. A mouse just doesn’t feel right in an artistic environment.

Wacom tablets have changed all that because a digital pen is really no different from any other pen you have ever used ...

  • It feels like any pen you have ever used
  • it looks like any pen you have ever used and
  • it works like any pen you have ever used

No matter what your skill level (from the artistically challenged to the artistic genius) a tablet takes you to a whole new level of creativity.

When you pick up your Wacom pen the first time it just feels, well, natural and when you draw your first squiggle on the tablet it feels right and you will be amazed at the level of …


Wacom Bamboo PenThis is a measure of how many points are recognized in an inch and is stated as dots per inch (DPI). A typical mouse will detect 300 to 600 dots per inch on your computer screen and the expensive laser mice the gamers love will detect slightly more.

Compare this to a Bamboo tablet, which detects 2540 dots per inch! This outstanding precision means that you have far more control of your digital art and photo retouching with your Wacom pen and tablet than you have with your mouse.

Your finished product done with a mouse is acceptable but the finished product done with a Bamboo is outstanding. The natural feel and precision of the pen produces smooth, flowing brush stokes that are a real treat for your creative senses.

You will no longer be frustrated as you struggle with a mouse in your digital art or photo retouching projects to produce acceptable results – your projects will flow smoothly and effortlessly, producing results you will be proud of. 

The typical response I hear when someone works with a Wacom Bamboo for the first time is "woooo - is that ever smooth! I gotta get me one of these!"

OK – so far we have a natural feeling, precise tablet that is a real treat to use. If that isn’t enough the Wacom tablet is also …

Pressure Sensitivity

What that means is this …

as you press the pen more firmly on the tablet your brush stroke will change, wacom tablets intuos monitorgetting larger or smaller and/or darker or lighter depending on your brush settings.

A mouse has 1 level of pressure (well, 2 if you count both on and off).

The The Bamboo Pen and Touch and the Bamboo Craft recognizes 1024 levels of pressure and the Intuos4 recognizes 2048 levels of pressure.

No contest -- the pen wins!

Pressure sensitivity is extremely useful in your digital art or photo restoration projects. What you are doing is taking the brush size and/or the opacity setting at the top of the screen and putting them in your hand so you can change it on the fly as you vary the pressure on the pen.

Examples of Pressure Sensitivity

If you want to see what Pressure Sensitivity really means without prowling through all of the tutorials on this site then ..

Changing Brush Size with pressure - Quick Mask

Changing Opacity with pressure -  Dodge and Burn - using both the Dodge and Burn Tools and a Soft Light layer and using Opacity with the Clone Tool to Remove Shine.

What this means is that your pen and tablet work exactly like any pen, pencil or brush you have ever used.

This pressure sensitive, precise, natural feeling pen on your Wacom tablet gives you …

Local Control

Another feature that differentiates a tablet from a mouse is the ability of the Graphics tablet to make local changes easily - and local control gives you so much power.

Photoshop, for instance, is an amazing program for making global changes to a photograph – by global changes that means changes to the whole image.

wacom tablets cintiqWhen you want to change just one small part of the image with a mouse (local control) it is a challenge because you have to mess with the brush size and the opacity by changing their settings and try to get what you want with an imprecise tool – the mouse.

With the Wacom tablet you have total control because you instruct Photoshop to change the size or the opacity of your brush through the Brushes Palette and then you vary your pressure between the pen and the tablet to achieve the results you desire.

What this does is take the opacity and/or the size adjustments off of the top tool bar and puts them in your hand.

Doesn’t that seem like a sensible place for the size and opacity adjustments to be?

Dodging and Burning is probably the very best example of Local Control -  The Paint Shop Pro version is here,  and the Photoshop and Photoshop Elements version is here.  

Using a tablet to Dodge and Burn with a Soft Light Layer may be one of the most useful digital editing techniques you will every learn.

Flat Out fun

There is no doubt about it – a Wacom tablet is just flat out fun.

  • the control
  • the pressure sensitivity
  • the comfort using the pen 

is just so far beyond the clumsiness of a mouse!

When you watch someone using a mouse with Photoshop they tend to be tense and tight. When you watch the same person with a Wacom tablet they are loose, smiling and enjoying the experience.

Want to see how much fun a tablet can be?  Creating a High Key image with a lot of dodging is really neat and it is fun to watch the image change ...

Click for the Photoshop and Photoshop Elements version of High Key conversion.

And you will find the Paint Shop Pro version right here - High Key ...

Windows? MAC? Or both?

Right out of the box the Wacom tablets work with both Mac and Windows. 

If you are working with a Linux-based system there are free third-party drivers available for download.

It is a simple matter to install the tablet drivers and then you're good to go. You can fine tune yourwacom tablets pen tip tablet in the Control Panel (Windows) or System Preferences (MAC) to your individual needs but many people find the default settings are fine. Your new tablet will work with any software on your computer.

If you have wrist problems from excessive "mousing" you can replace your mouse with the pen and tablet for a more comfortable computer experience.

Graphics software like Photoshop and and Corel Painter are enhanced and even more powerful when they tablet is installed. Photoshop has over 19 pressure sensitive tools and the adjustments are found in the Brushes Palette.

Here's a great link for you Apple users ...

All About Apple

All About Apple gives you advice and tips for choosing and buying the best Apple products and accessories online, with fun tips and tricks and how to get the most out of your product.

Time to change!

It really is amazing how technology has improved home computers, printers, monitors and software over the past few years – heck – they seem to improve monthly.

The one device that has not changed appreciably is your primary input device – your mouse – they are pretty much the same now as they were 15 years ago.

The Wacom pen tablet has changed all that and you will be amazed when you discover this for yourself.

Wacom Tablet Users

  • Pro Photographers
  • Graphics Designers
  • Industrial Designers
  • Scrapbookers
  • Crafters
  • Animators
  • Illustrators
  • Medical
  • Health Care Workers
  • Educators
  • Mapping
  • Office Workers
  • Control Systems
  • Scrapbookers
  • Presentations
  • Families
  • Amateur Photographers
  • Students

Tablet drawings
by some talented folks!

Drawn by Ted

wacom tablets pear drawing
Drawn by Gill

wacom tablets patrick roy
Drawn by Kevin

wacom tablets poster
Poster drawing

wacom tablets devin
Drawn by Devin

wacom tablets Monika
Painted by Monika

wacom tablets Ali
Painted by Ali

wacom tablets Samantha
Drawn by Samantha

Another by Ted
Another by Ted

 psiad book
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