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Betty LaRue

Wacom Pen and Touch

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I'm trying to remember the head injury that caused me to order the Medium Wacom Pen and Touch the other day, due to arrive tomorrow.  I bought a Wacom tablet, one of the bigger ones years ago and never could master it. I almost threw it in the trash this morning, but decided to stick it in a chest.  It's old enough I'm not sure it would work with the computers out now.

 

 Geoff Kidd tried to help me learn that one, but without someone over my shoulder, I just didn't get it. I've always learned best by doing, by being shown while I'm hands on. (Being the non-techie I am).  I realize I don't have anyone to perform that function, and I've looked at the community college offerings and they don't have any classes for what I need.  Everything they offer is for Windows, anyway, and I'm on a Mac.

 

So why is someone like me planning on trying again?  I really want to try to design some things, get into a different area.  I'm artistic by nature, so if I can conquer the technical aspect, I think I just may enjoy this.

 

I plan on dedicating a lot of time to trying to learn it.  I've been watching videos today on how to set the pen and other settings up, (taking notes) but not sure which ones are the best to choose for what I want to do.  I may try some drawing.  I may try to add effects to photographs.

 

I am open to suggestions for anyone who wants to put their two cents (or whatever currency you use, lol) in. I'd be interested to know what kind of work you produce with a tablet, or if you only use it for traditional photo editing.

 

Is there a setting that while I'm using the pen, then get into an area I can't figure out how to get out of, that I can still use the mouse to do it?  That will ease me into the learning process. Nothing is more discouraging than spending a lot of time on something and hitting a roadblock I can't figure out, and losing my work.

 

Betty

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Betty.......

 

Don't overthink the situation, the pen is simply a mouse that looks like a pen. The only real difference between the two is that the left click of a mouse is performed by tapping the pen nib on the tablet surface.....

 

So keep the pen about half an inch off the surface for cursor movement and tap the pen on the surface to left click and tap/draw to leftclick/draw.... simples.

 

As for getting back to the mouse, the pen is only active within an inch or so of the surface, take it away and the mouse is back in charge.

 

Best advice, just don't think about it, just play with it......and the mouse always is there as backup.

 

I would suggest going in to settings for each brush in PS (use the little brush holder icon next to the size menu) and in shape dynamics, disable the pen pressure...... it can be a pain when you start and TBH, I have it disabled most of the time.

Edited by Guest

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Betty.......

 

Don't overthink the situation, the pen is simply a mouse that looks like a pen. The only real difference between the two is that the left click of a mouse is performed by tapping the pen nib on the tablet surface.....

 

So keep the pen about half an inch off the surface for cursor movement and tap the pen on the surface to left click and tap/draw to leftclick/draw.... simples.

 

As for getting back to the mouse, the pen is only active within an inch or so of the surface, take it away and the mouse is back in charge.

 

Best advice, just don't think about it, just play with it......and the mouse always is there as backup.

 

I would suggest going in to settings for each brush in PS (use the little brush holder icon next to the size menu) and in shape dynamics, disable the pen pressure...... it can be a pain when you start and TBH, I have it disabled most of the time.

Pen pressure, good to know because everything I saw on video showed that's how you fade when drawing, or go from a thick line to a thin in the same stroke. So your basically saying if I'm using it for the standard things I use a mouse for, disable it. Do that while I'm getting used to it.

Then...if I want to create something from scratch, pen pressure might be useful?

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Betty.......

 

Don't overthink the situation, the pen is simply a mouse that looks like a pen. The only real difference between the two is that the left click of a mouse is performed by tapping the pen nib on the tablet surface.....

 

So keep the pen about half an inch off the surface for cursor movement and tap the pen on the surface to left click and tap/draw to leftclick/draw.... simples.

 

As for getting back to the mouse, the pen is only active within an inch or so of the surface, take it away and the mouse is back in charge.

 

Best advice, just don't think about it, just play with it......and the mouse always is there as backup.

 

I would suggest going in to settings for each brush in PS (use the little brush holder icon next to the size menu) and in shape dynamics, disable the pen pressure...... it can be a pain when you start and TBH, I have it disabled most of the time.

 

+1 It's just time and practice.

 

To be honest, I couldn't function without one now. I've been using Intuos 4 (medium) for about 4 years now and a small tablet for about 8 years before that. Just give it time and it will become second nature!

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+1 - I use mine a lot now but it did take a bit of getting use to.  It's well worth persevering with and I think you'll grow to appreciate it.

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Sure hope I get used to it! This one didn't cost near as much as the other big one. I think the old one is an Intuos 3 or 4.

 

One of the problems I had with it was the large size. I never found a place it fit on my desk in front of the computer. If I put it off to the side, a had to lean way over to the left. Didn't take long until everything on my body hurt. That's probably the main reason I didn't spend enough time with it to figure it out.

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Betty, I sympathise with you. I've not owned a tablet before. I managed to pick up a new Wacom at a car boot sale for £5. I think it was from a house clearance and the seller didn't know what it was. Trying to use it for the first few times I thought it would be an impossible thing to use instead of a mouse. It's still not been mastered!

 

I read a piece of advice which said to lock away your mouse for a month and use the tablet for everything. Maybe I should try that!

 

Michael

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Sure hope I get used to it! This one didn't cost near as much as the other big one. I think the old one is an Intuos 3 or 4.

 

One of the problems I had with it was the large size. I never found a place it fit on my desk in front of the computer. If I put it off to the side, a had to lean way over to the left. Didn't take long until everything on my body hurt. That's probably the main reason I didn't spend enough time with it to figure it out.

 

I have mine sat in front of me with the keyboard behind it under the monitor, I spend less time using a keyboard (other than shortcuts) and if, like this post, I need to....I just reach over the tablet and type. For any prolonged typing, I just switch their positions...easy enough.

 

Whilst you do need to spend time getting used to the pen, remember that generally you don't use it for everything. I never use it when I'm in Lightroom - the mouse makes more sense for me. I can't use it for CGI or for some other other software. It comes into it's own in Photoshop or drawing/painting wares. I flip back and forth to it when I need it, for spotting/healing etc and especially for pen paths. It's not only far more efficient but less strain on the hand/wrist (the very reason I started out using Wacom some ten years ago).

 

Regarding the mouse, I never used the Wacom one - still use the Logitech standard one which does the job. I think if you try and do everything with a pen, it becomes quite a challenge to be using it all the time on tasks where it really isn't the best option. As I said before, just switch back and forward - it's easier to be comfortable using it during tasks where it's far superior to a mouse.

 

Once you've conquered the Wacom, we'll get you on to a Cintiq....now they are fun and even more efficient.

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Sure hope I get used to it! This one didn't cost near as much as the other big one. I think the old one is an Intuos 3 or 4.

 

One of the problems I had with it was the large size. I never found a place it fit on my desk in front of the computer. If I put it off to the side, a had to lean way over to the left. Didn't take long until everything on my body hurt. That's probably the main reason I didn't spend enough time with it to figure it out.

 

I have mine sat in front of me with the keyboard behind it under the monitor, I spend less time using a keyboard (other than shortcuts) and if, like this post, I need to....I just reach over the tablet and type. For any prolonged typing, I just switch their positions...easy enough.

 

Whilst you do need to spend time getting used to the pen, remember that generally you don't use it for everything. I never use it when I'm in Lightroom - the mouse makes more sense for me. I can't use it for CGI or for some other other software. It comes into it's own in Photoshop or drawing/painting wares. I flip back and forth to it when I need it, for spotting/healing etc and especially for pen paths. It's not only far more efficient but less strain on the hand/wrist (the very reason I started out using Wacom some ten years ago).

 

Regarding the mouse, I never used the Wacom one - still use the Logitech standard one which does the job. I think if you try and do everything with a pen, it becomes quite a challenge to be using it all the time on tasks where it really isn't the best option. As I said before, just switch back and forward - it's easier to be comfortable using it during tasks where it's far superior to a mouse.

 

Once you've conquered the Wacom, we'll get you on to a Cintiq....now they are fun and even more efficient.

 

 

 

Geoff, the contraption came this morning, and I've spent an hour just trying to figure out how to install the wireless set I ordered with it.  Put in the battery, and another gizmo. At first I thought the gizmo was the wrong one for my tablet, it didn't fit. Then I realized (finally) there was a little plastic thingy that had to be removed for the gizmo to fit. Nothing in the instructions told about the plastic thingy.    :angry:   Done deal.  Downloaded the latest driver.  Spent I don't know how long reading all the junk that said I had to hit "accept" at the bottom, but there wasn't an accept button. Closed that out and reopened about 3 times, then went to a different icon that said the same thing, but when I tried to close it, it gave me an "Agree" option.

Then I couldn't figure out why the tablet wasn't functional.  Oh yes, I have to connect the USB cable to charge the battery!  I see a yellow light, so that is in progress.  It'll probably be 5 or 6 hours before that is done.

 

And you think I can work a Cintiq?  Dream on, friend.  :wacko: I'd probably never get past the hook up part.

 

 

Michael, you probably need to set a block of time aside every day to do nothing but work with the tablet.  I doubt I will be working on stock for awhile, because I'm determined to figure this thing out if it kills me.  Please send flowers to the funeral. I like pink roses.   ;)

Edited by Betty LaRue

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I feel your pain Betty.

 

BTW, you've just described the very reason I never, ever use wireless stuff (mice/keyboards etc)........

 

Geoff (of the cluttered desk).

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I feel your pain Betty.

 

BTW, you've just described the very reason I never, ever use wireless stuff (mice/keyboards etc)........

 

Geoff (of the cluttered desk).

I do have a wireless mouse and keyboard. They are super easy. I get a prompt telling

me when batteries are low and I have a charged pair waiting. Changing those are well within my capability. I hate tangles of wires, and already have enough wired things. But I didn't have to install those with the Mac. I ordered them when I ordered the Mac and just had to go into settings and choose the wireless option.

The Wacom is ready, and I've been playing with it a bit. I love the small size compared to that honking big one I tried before. It actually fits on my desk.

I read to go to the Wacom site to download the latest driver. That's the first thing I did. But there is free software that comes with the tablet, artistic stuff. When I put the install CD in it said I didn't have the right platform. Huh? Don't know what to do, other than call Wacom Monday. I really, really want that software.

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Betty, it feels like we're in a parallel universe.  I have my old (v. old) wacom tablet next to me and I never got on with it.  For some reason I also bought a Intuos Pro M recently. I have to say that with a bit of effort, particularly setting the programmable buttons, I'm getting there and am more comfortable with it.  I have to say at the moment I'm still a bit quicker with a mouse, but on a lot of actions I'm increasingly more accurate with the tablet.  I guess after 20 years of using a mouse it's going to be more habitual so I'm going to hang in there with the tablet and keep working with it.

 

Hope you're getting there also ;-)

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Betty, it feels like we're in a parallel universe.  I have my old (v. old) wacom tablet next to me and I never got on with it.  For some reason I also bought a Intuos Pro M recently. I have to say that with a bit of effort, particularly setting the programmable buttons, I'm getting there and am more comfortable with it.  I have to say at the moment I'm still a bit quicker with a mouse, but on a lot of actions I'm increasingly more accurate with the tablet.  I guess after 20 years of using a mouse it's going to be more habitual so I'm going to hang in there with the tablet and keep working with it.

 

Hope you're getting there also ;-)

I'm working on it. It seems that for the moment, I'm doing best using both the pen and mouse. For instance, it seems quicker to make tool choices with the mouse, (less arm movement) then move to the pen. I've had a busy week, and haven't worked with it as much as I'd like, but seem to be getting on with it well for the times I've had.

You are right about needing to get out of the mouse habit. But the little guy and I have been wedded for a long time, so it will be a messy divorce. ;)

Betty

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Betty, it feels like we're in a parallel universe.  I have my old (v. old) wacom tablet next to me and I never got on with it.  For some reason I also bought a Intuos Pro M recently. I have to say that with a bit of effort, particularly setting the programmable buttons, I'm getting there and am more comfortable with it.  I have to say at the moment I'm still a bit quicker with a mouse, but on a lot of actions I'm increasingly more accurate with the tablet.  I guess after 20 years of using a mouse it's going to be more habitual so I'm going to hang in there with the tablet and keep working with it.

 

Hope you're getting there also ;-)

I'm working on it. It seems that for the moment, I'm doing best using both the pen and mouse. For instance, it seems quicker to make tool choices with the mouse, (less arm movement) then move to the pen. I've had a busy week, and haven't worked with it as much as I'd like, but seem to be getting on with it well for the times I've had.

You are right about needing to get out of the mouse habit. But the little guy and I have been wedded for a long time, so it will be a messy divorce. ;)

Betty

 

 

When working on detailed stuff in PS etc, zoom right in, it makes it a lot easier / more accurate!

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Betty, it feels like we're in a parallel universe. I have my old (v. old) wacom tablet next to me and I never got on with it. For some reason I also bought a Intuos Pro M recently. I have to say that with a bit of effort, particularly setting the programmable buttons, I'm getting there and am more comfortable with it. I have to say at the moment I'm still a bit quicker with a mouse, but on a lot of actions I'm increasingly more accurate with the tablet. I guess after 20 years of using a mouse it's going to be more habitual so I'm going to hang in there with the tablet and keep working with it.

 

Hope you're getting there also ;-)

 

!

 

I'm working on it. It seems that for the moment, I'm doing best using both the pen and mouse. For instance, it seems quicker to make tool choices with the mouse, (less arm movement) then move to the pen. I've had a busy week, and haven't worked with it as much as I'd like, but seem to be getting on with it well for the times I've had.

You are right about needing to get out of the mouse habit. But the little guy and I have been wedded for a long time, so it will be a messy divorce. ;)

Betty

When working on detailed stuff in PS etc, zoom right in, it makes it a lot easier / more accurate!

Good tip, thanks!

Edited by Betty LaRue

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You either love the Wacom tablets, or you never get on with them - a bit like Marmite, love it or hate it.  Personally, I love it.

 

I, too, had read the advice to lock away your mouse for a couple of weeks and just use the pen.  It was interesting, but it did not work for me on my everyday applications.  I only use the Wacom for graphics work, and keep the mouse so that I can use either.  And they can be used in conjunction with each other: when I am processing images in Lightroom or Photoshop, I will use whichever one is more convenient, and will often swap between them.  For example, using Lightroom to check for dust spots, I start off using the mouse to eliminate the obvious ones: it is (for me) easier to position the cursor over the spot and then click, rather than use the pen (which tends to drag a little, rather than create a single click spot - an annoying trait I have not been able to eliminate, which also carries over to moving sliders).  But then when I move to 100% view, I use the pen to drag the image around the screen, and because I have it to hand, then use it for the spotting, and it is possible to change the brush size either with the keyboard or the Wacom ring, which is very convenient.  And with the pen, it is much easier to switch between adding and removing when using the localised editing tools, just using the rocker switch.

 

All of which brings me to the real point of this post, which is RSI.  I happen to be left handed, although I the mouse with my right hand.  As I use the computer more and more for graphics work, I can feel my right shoulder and arm muscles tensing up as I use the mouse for LR/PS work.  When I switch to using the pen, which I use with my left hand, the tablet positioned to the left of my keyboard, it immediately removes the pressure on my right arm.  The price of some slight imprecision because of the draggy effect of using the pen is a very small price to pay, and easily corrected by a crtl-Z undo (which can even be programmed into one of the buttons if you want) if it is too bad.

 

The tablet can be used in either direction, left or right handed (I have it with the buttons and wheel on the right).  The only problems are that until the drivers have loaded on startup, the tablet thinks it is being used by a right-hander, and in my orientation it operates in effect upside down, so it can be a little tricky using it to click on your Windows profile!  Also, the wheel direction is not reversible: used in a left-handed orientation, it operates in the reverse direction to that expected for brush size changes, but you soon get used to that.

 

Finally, a tip/plea.  You can use it in mouse mode, or pen mode.  Mouse mode is like a mouse, in that when the pen is detected, it will start moving the cursor from its current position (i.e. the pen position on the tablet does not map to any particular position on screen).  In pen mode, by contrast, the pen postion on the tablet corresponds to an absolute screen position: place the pen on the top left of the tablet and the cursor will be on the top left of your screen.  Please, please, please, if you are to get the full benefit out of this, never even try mouse mode.  This is a pen, not a tablet.  You will get far better control in pen mode, and you will very quickly get used to using it in pen mode.  And, by the way, I disagree with the advice to disable pen pressure.  That is one of the great strengths of this kind of input device.  It is very easy to get to grips with, and is a very subtle way of achieving a variable effect on the fly without lots of corrections or work-arounds: it is well worth the time and effort to use this, and you will learn it quicker if you start as you mean to continue.

 

Good luck with it!

 

Graham

 

 

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I forgot to add earlier, make sure you assign "Precision Mode" to a key on the tablet (or even the pen itself). You can set the sensitivity of Precision Mode but basically, it focuses the whole tablet to a smaller section of the screen, This means the movements feel slower, more precise. It's very useful when working on masks in PS etc. While on the subject of masks, set one of the buttons on the pen to switch foreground and background colours.... between those two functions, you can quickly apply masks in a very controlled manner. 

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I haven't had a chance to work with it much or even find where to select the things you two suggest. Which I'll definitely choose, thank you.

I bought two Seagate Back up plus drives when I had to change out my Mac HD through a recall. I got the first set up and backed up my computer just fine, then reloaded the new Mac HD. But I mirror everything. I have been trying for days to get the 2nd Seagate going with no luck. I've searched all the Seagate FAQs, forums, etc and every query I made had answers for a PC, not a Mac. And the process works different between the two. I had updated the driver multiple times, then today I found a place to download a driver that would work without Partitioning.

 

Don't ask me if I understand all of this, because I don't and that's probably why I have struggled. Why what worked with the first one didn't work with the 2nd, who knows unless I made a wrong choice during the install, which is likely. Apparently, that latest driver worked, because I'm in the process of mirroring it right now. Hallelujah!

Now I can move on to the Wacom.

You all know I am technically challenged, lol, so I imagine the Wacom won't go well, either. I'll get it, but only after the blood, sweat and tears.

Betty

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ahh, you'll be fine with the Wacom, they are usually bullet proof in terms of set up. 

 

In the setup software in preferences, you select the device, you can then either select functions or pen, then select the program you want to setup. You can set up specific functions and pen use for each piece of software. You can also change the mapping (what area of use the tablet will cover). This is mainly for multiple screen users but can be used on a single screen if you want it to force it into a certain screen proportion.

 

I'm sure one of us here could answer any questions you have if you get stuck :-)

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Your side issue of back-up drives sounds solved, but life would have been so much simpler if you had opted for Western Digital or G-tech drives which come optimised for Macs straight out of the box. But brand preferences for hard drives is a volatile issue for many.

 

Sadly, the bottom has yet to drop out of the solid state drive prices. But it will!  

 

I remember up grading the RAM on my first Mac; a IIci. I came with 8 mgs of RAM and upgrading to 20 mgs cost me £300. Going to the maximum 32 mgs was far too much. These days RAM costs are similar to cornflakes. well almost..... .

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ahh, you'll be fine with the Wacom, they are usually bullet proof in terms of set up. 

 

In the setup software in preferences, you select the device, you can then either select functions or pen, then select the program you want to setup. You can set up specific functions and pen use for each piece of software. You can also change the mapping (what area of use the tablet will cover). This is mainly for multiple screen users but can be used on a single screen if you want it to force it into a certain screen proportion.

 

I'm sure one of us here could answer any questions you have if you get stuck :-)

Duncan, you're a peach. I'm sure I'll have questions.

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I can't imagine using PS without my Wacom Bamboo tablet. I had a small Wacom for years then upgraded to the Bamboo which I think is a medium size when I got my last iMac - once you get the settings the way you like them it will be a dream, especially for the kind of painterly work you do Betty. Good luck!

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I can't imagine using PS without my Wacom Bamboo tablet. I had a small Wacom for years then upgraded to the Bamboo which I think is a medium size when I got my last iMac - once you get the settings the way you like them it will be a dream, especially for the kind of painterly work you do Betty. Good luck!

You "got" what I'm about, Marianne. That's exactly the kind of work I got it for. Creative. I want/need to figure out what I can do with pen pressure. Getting the settings right will be my challenge, lol.

Click on my FFA link below and you'll see my latest two florals. Same image, different effects.

 

But I do want to use it for my stock, which encompasses most of my computer hours. Although I spent 2 1/2 hours on those florals this morning. :)

Edited by Betty LaRue

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Once you've conquered the Wacom, we'll get you on to a Cintiq....now they are fun and even more efficient.

 

 

Dam you for getting me thinking about the Cintiq  ;) Spotted Amazon selling the 27qhd (non touch) for over £450 off the original price on their last one! Set up on an Ergotron arm to try and rescue my back and neck muscles from a habit of leaning forward towards the monitor. Now I can bring the monitor to me and draw on it like a large A2 pad!

 

At least it covers as a 2nd monitor when I move it back to an upright position and also means I can get back into my drawing and painting as well! If it lasts as long as my intuos tablet, it will prove to be cost effective I guess!

 

Edit.

Anyone thinking of the 27 QHD with an Ergotron Arm, get the Sit/Stand arm as it's a lot stronger model and comes with the necessary adapter kit. That kit brings the price of the ordinary LX arm up to the same price as the LX Sit/Stand version. You can position the screen horizontal/tilted in mid air, stand up and draw on the screen very easily.

Edited by Duncan_Andison

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Oh, my, something contagious going.

I explored Corel Paint, reading reviews. Expensive. The I saw Corel a Paint Essentials for $50 on Amazon. I googled reviews. One of the reviews had a Buy link and that took me to Amazon, but the very same product was $30. Bought it, hee-hee.

I figure if I can learn this one, and love it, I can always spring for the big daddy at another time.

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