Do I need a tablet?

Discussion in 'Photoshop Tutorials' started by Derek Fountain, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. I've been using Photoshop for a couple of years now, and have always used a
    mouse. Everything I seem to read says "a tablet is essential". That sounds
    rather subjective really, so I was wondering if one would benefit me.

    I don't do anything arty, as such. No drawing or anything like that. I do
    mostly photography work, which for the most part involves cropping,
    straightening, colour correcting, etc. Would a tablet help there? I've
    always assumed not.

    I also do some editing work, mostly retouching and restoration. For the most
    part I feel like I get on with the mouse. Occasionally there's a tricky
    selection or path which makes me think I could really use a tablet, but
    generally I seem to manage. Yet in her book, Katrin Eismann describes a
    tablet as "an absolute must".

    Someone tell me, what am I missing out on?

    My local computer store has Wacom 4x5" Graphire3 tablet in stock, which
    seems rather small to me. Is a tablet which is smaller than a standard
    photo useful or a gimmick? They also have a 6x8" version, but it's twice
    the cost of the small one. Does it make that much difference as to justify
    the expense? Is it worth going the whole hog and getting the Intuos2
    version (which no one seems to sell locally)?
     
    Derek Fountain, Jul 23, 2004
    #1
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  2. A tablet won't be of much help for the cropping, colour correction and
    straightening part, but it is really helpful with the retouching. I
    use a full blown intuos at work and a small graphire at home and for
    the retouching both do the job. Size does matter ;) if you do graphic
    work in pen mode, but for retouching it is allright to work in mouse
    mode. This is way faster, more precise and does not stress the hand as
    much as a mouse.
    Just my two cents
    Peter
     
    Peter Wollenberg, Jul 23, 2004
    #2
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  3. the retouching both do the job. Size does matter ;) if you do graphic
    Er, daft question time: what is "mouse mode" and what is "pen mode"?
     
    Derek Fountain, Jul 23, 2004
    #3
  4. In mouse mode, the position of the mouse cursor on the screen does not
    depend on the absolute position of the pen on the tablet, it only
    reacts to movements of the pen on the surface of the tablet, just like
    a real mouse behaves on a pad. In pen mode however, the coordinates of
    the mouse cursor are linked to the coordinates of the pen on the
    tablet. Whenever the pen is lifted from the tablet in this mode and
    lowered again at a different position, the cursor will jump to the
    screen coordinates which map to the new position.
    Pen mode is mandatory for, say, drawing a cartoon from a sketch which
    is positioned under the transparent lid of the tablet. Quite in
    contrast, when retouching a photograph, mouse mode is rather
    comfortable, since it does not require excessive movements of the
    working hand and arm, which can be positioned freely anywhere on the
    tablet.
    Peter
     
    Peter Wollenberg, Jul 23, 2004
    #4
  5. Derek Fountain

    Hunt Guest

    I completely concur with an earlier followup to your post. For much of what
    you are currently doing, a mouse is fine. When you get into selections,
    however, a tablet is by far the best choice. Just making a Marquee Selection,
    etc. will benefit little, but even the Lasso is much more precise with a pen.
    When you switch to Quick Mask mode for some final tweaking, the pen is
    invaluable.

    Size is a matter of preference and is quite personal. If you think you'd like
    to work with it in your lap, as some do, smaller is better. My 12x12 wouldn't
    work well at all that way. I, OTOH, work with it on my desk surface, so I like
    larger tablets, as they offer more minute movements. This is personal, and
    reflective of how I work.

    See my answer to Jonathan Sachs' question re: tablets, earlier in this group,
    for a brief rundown of the attributes of different models of Wacom tablet.

    I'd say try a refurbished Graphire, and see if you like it. If so, think about
    size and how you work. Then, if you do want more, look into the Intuos [SP?]
    line.

    Hunt
     
    Hunt, Jul 23, 2004
    #5
  6. Derek Fountain

    Hecate Guest

    This is where the tablet would be really useful, especially using the
    pen tool to make selections. Katrin is right ;-)
    Sorry, but really, size doesn't matter ;-)

    Actually it does in a way - the bigger the tablet the more arm
    movements you have to make to get something done. I wouldn't use a
    tablet above A5 personally unless you're a graphic artist drawing
    directly to screen. Even then, a smaller tablet is usually enough. You
    see, you can map the tablet to any space on the screen and save that
    mapping for individual programs. SO, for example, I have my tablet
    mapped to just the image area in PS. And I use a trackball for
    accessing everything else.
     
    Hecate, Jul 24, 2004
    #6
  7. Derek Fountain

    only4 Guest

    Thanks, you made my day.
     
    only4, Jul 24, 2004
    #7
  8. I purchased the Intuos2 (A4 size, I think that's close to US letter size)
    and don't regret it. I do however think for most use in PS a smaller version
    will suffice. Only when I draw directly or trace existing paper photo's or
    images for an outline the bigger size is handy. I think they have become a
    bit cheaper lately by the way, I paid over 600$ for my Intuos2 a couple of
    years ago.

    But a tablet rocks when it comes to retouching, pen tool work, quickmask
    work, handwriting and painterly effects. There is no substitute for a
    pressure- and or tiltangle-changing stroke of the tablet pen. But not
    everyone uses or needs that.

    I can say I'm a happy camper with mine, and don't know anyone who regretted
    buying one (yet).
    My $0.02

    Pjotr
     
    Pjotr Wedersteers, Jul 25, 2004
    #8
  9. Derek Fountain

    clw Guest

    I was going crazy trying to use a Turbo Mouse to make selections. I got
    a small 4x5 Wacom tablet and after just a few sessions of practice it
    made a world of difference.

    Do not know about your particular "absolute must", but for such things
    as you describe, the table works much better for me than a mouse.

    Fine control in selections, and I am wondering if I shouldn't just dump
    the mouse and just use the tablet for all mouse functions. even for web
    surffing, word processing editing etc. It is almost addicting.
    I think the smaller size is adequate. In fact, I wonder if having to
    move the pen twice as far when making selections would not lead to more
    tracing errors.
    The new software also includes a hand writing module that might be fun
    to play with, but I have not gotten around to it yet.
     
    clw, Jul 26, 2004
    #9
  10. LMAO! I haven't tried that one, yet. How exactly does it work? ;-)

     
    Branko Vukelic, Jul 26, 2004
    #10
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