Wacom tablet – unboxing and first impressions


Christmas in September…My Intuos 4 Medium tablet arrived today from MPEX

The Intuos 4 tablet that I ordered at Photoshop World arrived today.  It is my first foray into the world of tablets and I was pretty excited to see what it could do after recently increasing the amount of work I’m doing in Photoshop and with Lightroom’s selective editing tools.  I had a play with an Intuos 4 at the Wacom booth – and while it wasn’t second nature – I could tell it would be incredibly powerful.


Wacom has taken a page out of Apple’s book – the packaging and unit are both simple yet elegant.  Full set of unboxing photos:



The setup of the tablet was a breeze.  Pop in the install CD, wait a few short minutes for the software to install, plug in the unit and all systems are go.  (I took an extra minute to register and download a few free things that came with it)

From that point on – the tablet worked great.  Thankfully, one of the Wacom employees at the PSW booth had told me about the Photoshop Cafe training course on the Intuos 4 and CS5 (here) and I’d watched the first half of it last week as I waited for the tablet to arrive.  That helped prep me for how it works, how to change the settings and what the various options are.  So far – I’ve been pretty impressed.  I’ve used it for a few hours and it has already gotten much more intuitive.  I think the key to success is going to be figuring out the right balance of programmed shortcuts versus reaching over to the keyboard.  I also miss some of the MBP trackpad as well – perfect world for me would be a trackpad as the surface of the device, so I could scroll and do other gestures with my fingers and then use the pen as normal on the surface.  Though, my opinion may change over the coming weeks!


(My current radial dial settings after Day 1)


I think the radial menu will be the key to efficiency – if I can get the right things programmed in there, I can avoid jumping across the the keyboard quite as much (and I’m guessing I’ll get much faster at clicking on things with the pen as well).  My background is in consulting – and I lived in Excel and Powerpoint.  The thing I loved about those programs was the ability to do anything with a keyboard shortcut (you could define your own if there wasn’t one built in).  Moving across to Mac – the lack of the same approach has driven me a bit crazy.  I’m sure the ability to customise the Intuos 4 settings will keep me busy for quite some time!

When selecting and editing today’s Photo of the day (below), the key shortcuts I reached for were jumping between the various view modes, selecting brushes and turning the overlay on / off.

I changed the setting so the first click on my pen brings up the radial menu – and then I can quickly jump between views and toggle the masking Overlay on/off.  I’ll be interested to hear what settings you all use and try them out for myself.

Photo of the Day: Photoshop World Model – edited in Lightroom with the Intuos 4

Copyright 2010 Steve Black

1/200, F2.2, Canon 85 1.2, 5dm2

Lightroom adjustments: Crop, Spot removal, & Clarity, Brightness and Exposure brushes to draw the eye to her face and bring her eyes out.

Before: Zero’d file from Lightroom

Copyright 2010 Steve Black

As always – hit the comments with any questions or feedback.  Prefer it in colour?  Think I should’ve gone a different direction?  Let me know!

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