Steven Brokaw Photography

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Wacom Tablet All The Way

My Intuos 5 Touch in action

My Intuos 5 Touch in action

About 4 months ago I purchased an Intuos 5 Touch pen tablet by Wacom.  Pretty much an industry standard for photographers and graphic artist.  I had been using a mouse for my post processing while using Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop for, well forever.  However, I started watching the online photo & Photoshop school on YouTube called Phlearn.  The host, Aaron Nace is a HUGE fan of a tablet.  Since I wanted to improve the accuracy of my post processing I decided to do some research.

After fairly extensive research I decided to by a Wacom Intuos 5 Touch PTH-650 pen tablet.  Got one in the medium sized.  I was excited, but my excitement was VERY short lived.  Most people might not know this, but using a mouse is often second nature, and switching to a pen & tablet for photo processing takes lots of getting used to.  The learning curve is STEEP.  Most reviews and articles I read warned me of this, but I said to myself, come on Steve, you're a creative guy that is willing to try new things.  How hard can it be.  Well, it's taken me until just recently to become very comfortable with the pen & tablet.  

The pen is mightier than the sword, or at least that's what I've read.

The pen is mightier than the sword, or at least that's what I've read.

Word of advice - give yourself a couple of months.  You just have to force yourself to use it regularly.  Don't fall for the temptation to say "screw it, I'm going back to my mouse".  I did that a few times but kept at it.  Also, don't necessarily use the default settings.  Go into the configuration and change the functionalities to you taste.  It took me a couple of weeks before I did that, and I'm glad I did.  Well, now I prefer the tablet!

What do I like you ask.  Well, first after you get used to it, using a pen is much more natural than a mouse for adjustments.  Also, once you get used to using your left hand on the keyboard and your right using the pen (for us righties) it is faster.  Also, there are more features with a tablet and pen than a mouse.  As an example you can set PS to pen sensitivity and use pen pressure to change the amount of an effect in a single stroke or the diameter of an effect.  Very handy.  Also, I've found the table is sensitive to only the pen so I can rest my hand on the tablet much as I would with a paper and pencil.

Oh, there are some things I don't like.  First, I bought a Medium and honestly it's too big.  I configured the tablet to be sensitive only in the top left 1/4, and I bet I use less than that space. The medium takes up too much desk space.  I could easily have gone with a small for Photoshop.  Next, this is supposed to be wireless, but I either threw away the wireless card or I have to buy one separately.  Therefore I use the USB plug and it gets in the way.  Not a major drama, but it bugs.  Finally, if you lose the pen, you're screwed.  Not like I can go into my pencil drawer and get a new pencil.  I'd have to buy a new pen specifically for the tablet.  It's gone missing on my desk a few times.

But bottom-line, I'm now convinced that if you do post processing regularly you need to get yourself a table.  There are others on the market, but I'm sold on the Intuos 5.

Time for a GoPro

An Assistant Would Be Nice