Tag Archives: photoshop

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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Great savings on Adobe Products


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Adobe CS6

Final releases of the CS6 suite of products are now available on the Adobe site.  Upgrades are only available from the Adobe web site.  Please remember to uninstall any Beta versions before you try and install the final release.  Do not drag beta versions into the trash on a MAC or delete them in Windows.  Use the uninstall utility.

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Comments from this weekend’s Macro and Close-up workshop participants

I would like to express my sincerest thanks to all the participants who attended the workshop this weekend.  Most of all thanks for your wonderful comments – I am glad you all came away with something of value from the session.

Comments from the participants:

Shiv is a very knowledgeable photography instructor. He presents his material so that everyone can understand the concepts. He was very thorough and open to answering students’ questions. He gave out a lot of useful, practical information that was well worth the price of the course.

This workshop was fantastic. I would recommend it to anyone that wants to learn about Macro or Micro Photography.

Nothing beats this small group format for a workshop. It really provides a one on one feeling in addition to getting to practice what you learned with your peers. All this plus having someone there with Shiv’s expertise to answer and questions, which he encourages you to ask, makes for a great learning experience. I would do this again in a heartbeat. -Matt

This workshop was very informative from the presentation right through to the hands on. 

Shiv’s skill as a workshop leader comes with his ability to articulate difficult concepts in a way for the lay person to understand. I highly recommend!!

The information flowed well-the presentation was easy to follow. hands on with instructor assistance was outstanding. I would attend another seminar/workshop by Shiv any time. Bob B.

Your work lead me to believe that I could learn something from you. Just didn’t realize how much. You packed a lot into this workshop….well worth the price.

Really enjoyed this and would do it again in a heartbeat.

After attending many workshops, this is one of the best. Concepts around macro shooting are difficult to understand and your examples were clear and helped me immensely! I truly appreciate your ability to articulate a concept clearly and concisely. Thanks for a great day…inviting house, lunch and lots of things to work on!

I particularly like how other participants more experienced help out those with less. I felt people were not intimated at all and were free to acknowledge their weaknesses and learn…you helped a great deal with that by announcing that no question was weak…everyone learns something.

Depending on one’s own level of experience…more experienced photographer will get more and those with less, get less but everyone comes away with something…a sign of success in my book. No presenter can meet everyone’s needs but can make an impact even in a small way.

The presentation included a lot more detail and information than I expected.

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Macro & Close-up Photography Repeat Session – March 11, 2012

Black Eye Susan Stacked Focus Result

I will be repeating the 1 day Macro and Close-up photography workshop on Sunday March 11, 2012.  We will start at 9:30 AM and conclude at 5:00 PM.  A pizza lunch is included.

In this macro photography workshop you will learn how to take beautiful macro photos like a pro. You’ll be able to take eye catching macro and close-up photos with great detail and sharpness.

Click on this Macro & Closeup March 11 link for full details and a description of the program.

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Maybe Adobe has a heart………….

All concerned about having to buy the full version of CS6 just because you did not upgrade to CS5 – do not despair Adobe has just announced an upgrade plan for CS3 and CS4 users. Here is what they say:

Upgrade offer for CS3 and CS4 customers

We’re very excited about the upcoming release of Adobe® Creative Suite® 6 software and Adobe Creative Cloud™. CS6 will be a major new release of our creative desktop tools, with huge improvements for every type of creative professional. Adobe Creative Cloud will be our most comprehensive creative solution ever, giving members access to all of the CS6 desktop software plus additional services, new tools, Adobe Touch Apps, and rich community features. In addition, Creative Cloud members will receive continuous upgrades and updates to all products and services as part of their membership.

With these great new releases coming in the first half of 2012, we want to make sure our customers have plenty of time to determine which offering is best for them. Therefore, we’re pleased to announce that we will offer special introductory upgrade pricing on Creative Suite 6 to customers who own CS3 or CS4. This offer will be available from the time CS6 is released until December 31, 2012. More details on this offer, as well as any introductory offers for existing customers to move to Creative Cloud membership, will be announced when CS6 and Creative Cloud are released later this year.

More at: http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/faq/upgrade-policy.html

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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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