I’ve been using the Wacom Intuos Pro tablet for my post processing and it’s made a huge improvement to my images. There’s nothing more natural than using a pen for editing. Like most people I’ve been using a mouse for years and have never thought anything would be easier besides using touch technology.
Since I edit my images on a Mac I have grown to love the magic mouse from Apple. The ease and use of the magic mouse has made my computing life much easier. However when it comes to post processing it has its limits.
The Downside Of Using A Mouse
Post processing your images is very much like painting or drawing once you get deeper into the art. When painting you’re using a brush or when you’re drawing you’re using a pencil. It’s a very natural state that we’ve become accustomed to at a young age.
Using a mouse is not a natural state.
When you’re using a brush in Photoshop it can become quite tiresome and painful to click and hold the mouse. This puts considerable strain on your fingers and over time it can lead to serious carpal tunnel.
I don’t know how many times I have to stop editing just because my hand hurts.
A mouse does not offer pressure sensitivity. There are no degrees of control when using a mouse while brushing or painting in Photoshop. You really have to be cognizant of the opacity and flow which can slow down your processing.
I absolutely love my Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet. There’s nothing more natural than using a pen for all of my post processing work.
The Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet allows me to quickly and accurately process my images and the price alone makes it a worthwhile investment.
I’m using the smaller version of the Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet and it does the job quite well. You may think you need the larger one if you have a bigger monitor but you actually don’t.
The smaller version works exceptionally well as it adapts to your monitor size just like a mouse. The medium and large version will give you more space to work on but you will also need to move your hand more which defeats the purpose of using a tablet over a mouse.
I have a 27 inch Thunderbolt display and the Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet works incredibly well with it. So there’s really no need to get the large version. The small version is actually quite large and cheaper.
If you’re interested in the full specs of Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet you can check it out here.
What I Use The Most In My Post Processing
In my post processing there are few things I use the most:
Before I used the tablet I had to use the keyboard and mouse to switch between these modes. Let me tell you it slowed me down A LOT. When you have to stop what you’re doing and switch modes it’s not efficient.
It also breaks your creative flow.
With the Wacom tablet I have access to physical controls which I can use simultaneously with the pen. I can switch modes using my left hand while brushing or making selections with my right. This feels so natural and speeds up the processing considerably.
I process 95% of my images on my 27 inch display and I still zoom in and out to look at the details. I think all photographers do this to process their images. It’s so easy to zoom with the tablet. The physical buttons on the tablet allows me to control the zoom without using both hands.
Along with zooming I can easily switch to moving mode which allows me to zoom and move the image. This is a major timesaver.
I tend to do a lot of dodging and burning in my images. If you’re familiar with this technique you’ll know that you’ll need to change your brush size quite often. Now I change the brush size on the fly with the control wheel on my Wacom tablet.
Overall these 3 major functions for me has already added incredible efficiency to my work flow.
Let’s talk about my favorite thing about the Wacom Intuos tablet.
This pen is amazing! The pen is incredibly light which helps in the long run when editing and it feels oh so natural. The pen looks very simplistic but it’s packed with some amazing technology.
There’s two buttons on the side of the pen which you can program for certain functions within Photoshop. Since it’s customizable you can actually use the pen as a replacement for the mouse. It’s that good.
I have my pen setup for two functions that I normally use with my mouse:
The first function is for right clicking. In Photoshop there’s a lot of contextual menus that you use and having it available on my pen is convenient.
It’s a little bit awkward at first to use the right click but you’ll get use to it quickly.
The second function is for “undoing” (The equivalent of CMD+OPTION+Z on a Mac) to back out your changes. We all make mistakes or change our mind and before I would have to stop what I’m doing and use this keyboard combination. I hated it.
Now I use the function on my pen and it’s so much easier.
When I first started using the pen on the Wacom Intuos I tried to find the battery. There IS NO battery. You don’t have to charge the pen at all. That in itself is amazing. I have enough devices that needs charging and one less device that requires charging or batteries is worth it to me.
It charges auto-magically!
But how does it work? I was curious as well and found a site that explains how the pen works. Pretty amazing how the technology works!
iPad Pro vs Wacom Intuos Tablet
I’ve been asked why I don’t use an iPad Pro instead.
Although I do enjoy Apple products and do like the iPad Pro. I feel that it’s not quite ready to be used for Photoshop just yet.
There’s a few limitations of using an iPad Pro in my work flow. First of all I prefer to edit on a large display. I just don’t feel it’s efficient for me to work on a smaller screen. It also does not integrate well with Photoshop like a Wacom tablet and you have to use a separate app to mirror the display on your monitor. That doesn’t make sense to me.
I don’t edit my photos on any mobile devices. It defeats the purpose and quality of editing on a large display. I’m already getting old enough and my eyes don’t need to look at smaller screens anymore.
What I really need is a ‘dumb device’ that allows me to process my images more easily and be less obtrusive. I really think using an iPad Pro is overkill.
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t have to charge the Wacom Pen. One less device to worry about.
Also there’s a huge price gap between the two devices.
Photography is already an expensive hobby just to get started. Not just with camera, lenses, and accessories but other tools you need. I can’t justify or see the value of spending ~$900 for a tool that can barely do what I need to a ~$200 tool that’s been designed just for it.
Besides I’d rather use the money to buy my next great lens. For the same amount of money as the iPad Pro I can still buy the Wacom tablet and a lens and still have money leftover. It’s a no brainer.
I came from the Windows world but have been using Apple products for awhile. What first drew me to Apple was the ease and use of their interface and design. Needless to say I fell in love with their products just because it was easier to use. As I got older I didn’t want to spend my time reconfiguring or customizing a device to do simple things like installing an application or basically move around in the menus.
Apple DID provide that.
However I have been less impressed with the direction Apple is going. I feel their designs are not as innovative as they used to be. The products they’re coming out with as of late has left me scratching my head.
I feel they’re just throwing things at the wall and hopefully find something that sticks. Pretty much like Google products.
I’m looking to upgrade in the future to a more powerful workstation for my processing and have been breathlessly eyeing the iMac 5k Retina. However the specs on this is getting weaker and weaker compared to their Windows counterpart. I like to future proof my investments and really hate to buy into older technology when there are more powerful machines out there.
I mean look at the cool stuff Microsoft is coming out with like their Surface Studio! This design is something I expected of Apple not Microsoft.
It looks like I may move back to Windows if Apple doesn’t get their stuff together. Although I would hate to I don’t have brand loyalty that doesn’t have loyalty to me.
Okay this wasn’t a mini rant but you get my point of view here.
Should You Buy A Wacom?
YES. I highly recommend to purchase a Wacom tablet for your post processing needs. The ease and use of the Wacom tablet will not only enhance your work flow but you’ll also physically feel better using a pen and tablet combination.
It’s just more natural. It may seem awkward at first but with anything in life you’ll gradually start to get use to it. I think the first thing you’ll notice is how comfortable the pen feels in your hand when brushing.
Processing images in Photoshop will start to feel less like photography but more like painting. You’ll start to feel more creative with your images when your tools allows you.
After you use a tablet you’ll wonder how you ever processed an image with a mouse.
It’s such a small investment that makes a world of difference. If you can invest in good camera gear don’t limit yourself with poor tools. Your images will thank you.
Do you use a Wacom tablet or iPad Pro? Let me know your experience in the comment below!
Thanks for reading!