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Masterwacom
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3.1 Using the Tablet With the Photoshop Interface

The most obvious application of the tablet in Photoshop is with the drawing and painting tools, but what about all the rest of the tools? And the interface? Here we review best practices for navigating and using basic tools with the tablet in Photoshop.

3.1 Using the Tablet With the Photoshop Interface

Hello everybody. Welcome back to mastering the Wacom tablet and Photoshop. My name is Kirk Nelson and we are launching off on chapter three, which is actually working in Photoshop. This is lesson 3.1, where we talk about the basics of using the tablet within this application. With Photoshop open, the basics of actually navigating is pretty straightforward. Once we have the tablet mapped appropriately to our screen, it's pretty much what you would expect. You just use the pen to point around on the screen. Or if it's your preference, you can use your finger for the touch capabilities. One of the things to note is that trying to find the tool tips, the little pop-up flags when you hover over a tool, is fairly difficult to do on a tablet and that's because it's nearly impossible to hold it at a exact perfect level above the surface. And that's essentially what triggers those tool tips, is a constant hover at the same height. It's possible, but it's not exactly easy to do. If you need those, I would recommend just for that moment using the mouse. Now, make sure that your touch capabilities are turned on. Again, that's that top button there. There we go, Touch On. One of the things you need to get used to being able to do is to navigate your file within Photoshop. So, we need to be able to zoom in on it and pan it around. There's a couple of different methods we can do that using the tablet. The one that's probably the most intuitive is the pinch touch, where as you start with your two fingers pinched together and expand them out. Now this works on a lot of devices so it's almost a natural instinct for us and to pan around you can use the the two fingers to move around and a great little feature to that is being able to use two fingers spread apart to rotate. Now, why would you need to rotate this? Well, anybody that's done a great amount of drawing, especially on regular paper, realizes that there's a very comfortable angle in which that you hold your pencil, and to draw against that angle is very difficult. It's actually better to rotate your paper underneath your pencil so you can still keep a more comfortable drawing angle and your work tends to come out with much better quality. The question then becomes, once the image is rotated, how do we get it back to being exactly where we want it? Well we can estimate it here, but really the better method is to come over here to the Hand Tool, you go to the Rotate View Tool and hit the Reset View. And that pops it back up into a standard, regular, straight up view. Now there's other ways of navigating as well. If you remember the touch ring, one of those is the auto scroll/zoom. That's the one that's up at the top there, the top left, and it's the first one of those four options, which means we can now use this touch ring to zoom in. And here's a great option of this feature, is that wherever your cursor is, that's where it's gonna zoom in too. So you don't necessarily have to pan it around. You still can, of course. You can use the two fingers or if you're more comfortable with it and you happen to be using the pen, you can hold down this lower button, and that's just like using the space bar on the keyboard. And you also get a nice, almost a fluid movement to it that way, too. You can feel you can sort of grab the image and throw it to one side, and it has some momentum, which feels really nice, and it's really intuitive. And it's a very comfortable feature, while you're drawing. Another feature that's really great to use and just provides an extra level of comfort and convenience when you're drawing with a tablet is known as the scrubby sliders. Say for instance, you're using your brush tool. You're drawing with it. You want to reduce the opacity. Well you can open up the little slider here and you can pull on the bar, which is good. You can double click in here and then maybe try to enter in the numerical values, perhaps you want to use that text entry feature again or you can reach over to your keyboard. All those are good and they will work, but what's even easier is if you hover over the label for the entry field, it's a scrubby slider, which means just a quick gesture to the left or right will adjust the percentage. Now this works on almost every entry field in the program and creates a very simple and quick way of adjusting those parameters. Something to note that sometimes when you're using the eraser, the tablet at least I find can kind of get stuck in sort of the eraser mode. I find that this happens if I'm using the eraser and I move my stylus off and then away from the tablet I turn it over and go to start painting again. Sometimes it feels like it's stuck in the eraser mode. And if that happens, the only thing you need to do is just turn the eraser back over, tap it once, turn it over again, and go back to your regular drawing mode. It just sort of resets the input of the tablet. Another thing to notice that is if you do want to use the touch input, but you try to use it with your same hand sometimes the stylus is too close to the tablet surface. It gets a little bit confused on your inputs. So if you are using your touch inputs, I recommend you to making sure that's it well away from the surface of the tablet, or use your other hand, while you're holding the stylus a good distance away. It's one of those things that if you don't realize it's happening, it can be rather frustrating, and you don't know what's going on. You may think your tablet is broken, or you're just not using it right. It's just it's getting a little confused with the inputs. One of the things that I find really helpful to do when working with my tablet in Photoshop is to set up a custom workspace. If you go to the window menu, you can see there's different workspaces at the top. Now, I have mine set to a digital drawing, which means I've got my Tool Presets and my Layers together along the right here. And then along the Tool Presets is the Brush Presets. I find this to be a very convenient method of working with my tablet and doing digital drawing within Photoshop. So how do you get this to happen? Let's go back to the Essentials workspace, which is the default. The library adjustments and styles tabs, I like to close that. Close Tab Group. The color I'll leave there but it's not necessarily important. Open the window for brush presets, take that brush panel and slide it over here and put it right above the layers panel. And then I also want the Tool Presents and I'll do the same for that, put it next to the brush. Now with this tab group at the bottom, it's sort of minimized down here. Just double-click on the layers and it pulls it back up to be a more acceptable size. When you get all your windows in place, you can then go to Windows > Workspace > New Workspace. You will be asked to enter a name for it. I use digital drawing for mine. You can use whatever you wish for yours. And that leads me to the last point here. This tool presets, I have got a lot of great brushes in here that are really excellent for drawing. Now, I didn't create these. A lot of these came packaged with the program. I'm gonna show you how to get to them. First I'm gonna create a new layer here, so we just have something to draw on. If you have the brush activated, to the top left here is the normal brush preset panel. Now, if you go to the little gear icon on the top right of that panel, there's a list of brush libraries that you can open. I encourage you to open these up, go through these, play with them, load the pencil brushes, load the air brushes, the artist brushes, any of these. Primarily, I use the DP Presets and the Pencil Brushes. Now I'm gonna show you some of those. You load the DP Presets. You would pick a pen if you don't already have them. I do know that I have them in my library. And that's all the ones you see here that start with the DP. So like the Comic Inker feels a lot like a very smooth pen brush. There's a hairbrush, which is great for inking in different hair values. A smoke brush is very smooth and has a very pleasant drawing surface on it. The resistance and the feel of that brush is very, very nice. The DP Blue Pencil is good for sketching, especially if you're just sketching a base draft that you're gonna end up doing details over. But there's several in here. I would really encourage you to load these up, go through and explore these. A lot of these are very, very fun to work with and you'll find that you have your own favorites. Well, that closes out this lesson, 3.1, on the basics of using the tablet within Photoshop. Next lesson, lesson 3.2, we talk about setting up custom brushes to take advantage of the pressure sensitivity.

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