My first Wacom tablet was the original Wacom Bamboo. At the time, I couldn’t afford nor needed the professional Intuos line, which is what I now use, having grown into that professional tier. Before that, I had only been using my mouse and had little experience using Photoshop. It wasn’t until I started learning retouching as a trade that I realized my mouse was seriously holding me back.
After opening the box and plugging everything in, I pressed the pen to the smooth and silky surface of the tablet and started doodling stick people on a white layer in Photoshop using the brush tool. After several terrible doodles, I tried retouching an image with the healing brush tool.
In short, it did not go too well; I was all over the place, and my hand-eye coordination was way off. As a result, I put the tablet away for about two weeks before giving it another chance. Thankfully, after getting some help and watching online tutorials, I eventually got the hang of it. With the efficiency that the tablet added to my workflow, I will never retouch again without it.
To help you get started, and to save you the time it took me to find this information when I was starting out, here is an excellent tutorial with Aaron Nace, on how to set up your tablet. Here, he’ll go through the following five tips for beginners.
- Get to know your Wacom preferences;
- Use the Brush Menu to change Pressure Sensitivity;
- Change Brush Size and Hardness with shortcuts;
- Discover the difference between Flow and Opacity;
- Use other tools with Brush Dynamics.