Tag Archives: Lightroom

Photography Post-processing – Which Tablet would you recommend?

Intuos Pen

Intuos Pen

This post is in response to a question I was asked yesterday.

In my opinion and having used a tablet for the past 12 years or more I would say that if you draw or retouch using your computer you need a tablet and a pen. Not only is the pen more ergonomic but it is far more natural in the way you position your hand and fingers compared to the award two or three button mouse.

The mouse is fine for basic painting and clocking. Anything more and it just does not cut the mustard.

Though the tablet and pen is not an essential tool for photographers it becomes essential if you do any retouching, masking and digital art.

So the question about which tablet should a photographer get can be answered in a few ways. Undoubtedly the Wacom is the finest tablet in the market. There are others but I would stay away. You want a tablet that is well designed and works.

For any peripheral device one of the key considerations is the software interface and the drivers. Here Wacom excels.

Intuos Pro

Intuos Pro

The size of the tablet you used should be based on whether you are a single or dual monitor user. For single monitor users, my suggestion is the small or medium Wacom tablets. For dual monitor users the choice is the large or the extra-large. The reason for the large are larger tablet is because you can map each monitor to two halves of the tablet.

Wacom makes three tablet products. The Bamboo, The Intuos Pen and the Intuos Pro. As a photographer I would stay away from the Bamboo as I feel it is a touch pad and with the stylus great for doodling.

So the choices are the Intuos Pen or the Intuos Pro.  Both can be connected via USB or wireless.  The Intuos has touch sensitivity in all models while the Intuos Pen has an optional touch version.
Lets compare the two.

  Intuos Pen Intuos Pro 
Interface USB USB
Tablet Dimensions 10.75 x 8.75 x 0.4 in 15 x 9.9 x 0.5 in
Active Area 8.5″ x 5.3″ 8.8″ x 5.5″
Pressure Levels 1024 tip 2048 on tip and eraser
Resolution 2540 lpi 5080 lpi
Express Keys 4 customizable 8 customizable
Mutli-Touch: Yes Yes Yes 10 Fingers
Multi-function Touch Ring: no No Touch Ring: Yes – 4 customizable functions
Radial Menu No Yes
Pen Nib and Eraser Grip: Latex-free silicone rubber
Pen Nibs 5 Standard Replacement Nibs: 10 nibs : 5 standard, 1 flex, 1 stroke nib, and 3 felt
Pen Tilt No Yes +/- 60 levels
Pen Switches No 2 customizable


Wacom Intuos Pro is highly customizable. It has 8 buttons and a multi-functional touch ring and two buttons on the pen. The Intuos Pen has 4 customizable buttons in the top panel. With the Intuos Pro each of them can be assigned a different custom feature – from scrolling, panning and zooming to keyboard shortcuts and changing brush size. You can also use the tilt feature to change brush shapes. A Shortcut Menu can be assigned to one of the buttons and when clicked a circular menu will show on the screen. This menu system gives access to several additional shortcuts than can be layered. Another great feature is the ability to set and customize buttons by application. So Photoshop can have its own custom buttons and Lightroom its own, etc.

Pressure sensitivity is always questioned. If you use Photoshop that recognizes pressure sensitivity then the choice is the Intros Pro with higher levels. You will notice the difference only when comparing the two tablets side by side. If all you use is Lightroom then you do not need the greater pressure sensitivity and the Intros will serve you well.

Intuos Pro also supports hand gestures that are customizable too. You can pan, zoom and rotate using gestures. This feature can be enabled or disabled as needed.

In my opinion the Intuos Pen is ideal for beginners. This is a very good tablet for drawing, painting and photo editing. The Intros Pro on the other hand is one of the best in tablets. The difference in price is fully justifiable. This is a tablet for photographers who do a lot of post-processing, image retouching and work extensively with layer masks. Precision cloning, masking, dodging and burning, is controlled yet simplified. Of importance is the fact that you are unlikely to outgrow the features this tablet provides.

Wacom also make the Cintiq family of high definition pen monitors that are exceptional.

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My Decision for the Creative Cloud

Given the fact that most of my plug-ins work with Lightroom and independently as stand-alone applications I will stay with my licensed copy of Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 5.  As long as Adobe continues to create RAW converters for Lightroom there is no need to have ACR updates for Photoshop. I use NiK, OnOne and Topaz as my primary Plug-Ins and I feel the current version Photoshop is sufficient for my editing needs.

If what whatever reason Adobe moves Lightroom to the cloud and makes that the only option my choices are as follows: its choice – Capture One for RAW and edits, 2nd – DxO for RAW conversion and corrections, and finally Aperture.  Yes this will be a learning curve, but I am willing to accept that as the option.

There are 2 days left with the $9.99 pricing offer so make your decision wisely – I have made mine.

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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Beta

Adobe has just released the Beta version of Lightroom 5.

Click here for the download site.

I will be posting mew feature reviews soon.

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Great savings on Adobe Products


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Using Lightroom 3 Develop Module Presets in Lightroom 4

For Lightroom 3 users upgrading to Lightroom 4 or 4.1 who have lots of presets that are applicable in the develop module be cautioned.  These LR3 presets will not have the same effect when you convert your image to PV 2012 (Process Version 2012)

The best way to handle this is to select your image in the Develop module in LR4.  Next select the preset and click on the exclamation icon on the lower right of your image.  Using the pop-up dialog allow the update version to execute.

Now you will need to make necessary modifications with the sliders in the basic panel as these are no loner the same as in LR3.  Once you are satisfied with the results of your adjustments you can save this as a new preset.

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Canon 5D Mk III support now available in the Lightroom 4.1 Release Candidate

Adobe labs had made available release candidate Lightroom 4.1 – This corrects a bunch of bugs and adds support for the Canon 5D Mark III.

Click here for a link to the release

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My review of Lightroom 4 Public Beta

I spent all day looking at and using the Lightroom 4 Beta.  I like a number of the new features that it has and am also disappointed that some of the modules have not had the enhancements I was hoping for.  I have the review available as a PDF document that you can get by clicking on the following:

Lightroom 4 Public Beta Review.

Your feedback and comments would be most appreciated.



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Lightroom 4 – Public Beta released

Adobe today released a public beta of Lightroom 4.   It is available immediately for free download from Adobe Labs.  The beta version has a books creation module (to compete with what Aperture has had for a while), increased support for video files (high time), soft proofing capability (now you can see what it is going to look like when printed) and a Google Maps-powered geo-tagging module (this one will be fun).

You can download the beta from the Adobe Labs site by clicking here.


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Looking Back at 2011

2011 was an interesting year in a lot of respects.  Most important and foremost I would like to thank all of you who participated in my photo tours, educational workshops and one-on-one lessons.  I would also like to thank all my photography clients both individuals and  corporations and my sponsors, you have all been fantastic and I look forward to your continued support in the coming years.

I truly enjoyed meeting and making new friends and the process of learning from each other.  The incredible experiences in Florida, Alaska, Colorado, Cape Cod, Maine, and New Hampshire and all the one day trips in and around Massachusetts will never be forgotten.

After many months of planning the 2012 schedule is about ready to be published.  Most significant are the photo tours and workshops to India in February, Florida for another great bird photograpy workshop in March,  Smokeys in the Spring  –  this starts the year.  Keep an eye out for details and more information as we post it in the workshop pages on this blog.

Also planned are a number of one and two day sessions for macro, lighting, composition, Lightroom and Photoshop training.  As always, customized one-on-one programs are also available.

None of this would have been possible without the incredible amount of planning and organizing by my photograpy partner and loving wife – thank you M.

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