This lesson is exclusive to members

Adobe Photoshop CC - Essentials Training

Basic introduction to using a Wacom tablet with Photoshop

Daniel Walter Scott

Download Exercise Files



We’re awarding certificates for this course!

Check out the How to earn your certificate video for instructions on how to earn yours and click the available certificate levels below for more information.

You need to be a member to view comments.

Join today. Cancel any time.

Sign Up

Hi there, this section of the course is all about brushes. It would be rude of me not to mention a Tablet, when we're working with brushes, and we'll do that for this video, but then after that don't worry, if you don't have a Tablet like this thing here, it's called a Tablet, it comes with a little pen. Basically it's a replacement for the mouse, but it allows you to kind of hand gesture draw. So if you don't have one of these, it's fine. Just this video, we're going to cover this, in case you do have one or want to get one. But then after that we'll just get into using the mouse, for some of the more special effect Ink Splat type kind of cool brushes.
So what is this? It's just the mouse, but obviously I can draw on it, instead of using the kind of normal mouse. And what you are looking for is-- say you don't have one and you're looking to buy one, my advice is I've had a few of these over the time, Wacom is the name of the brand, most popular with it. So a Wacom Tablet, they have a few different brands. This one here is called the Intuos Pro. Depends on your budget, right? This one here is expensive enough, US dollars. Can't do conversions, born in New Zealand, live in Europe, US dollars. It's probably about $300, so it's not cheap, but if you're going to invest in one, don't get an eBay cheap knockoff brand I've never heard, just don't work. Because you need something called a-- not even sure if you saw it. It's a 6D Pen, that's what Wacom call it. 
Basically what it does, is it knows the angle your pen is at, which is cool. When you're using, like you tell it to be a crayon, and it knows which edge of the crayon it's on. Also it knows the pressure. Also, if you flip it around you can turn some drawing, and then flip it around, and the back part of it is the eraser. There's just some cool stuff. Also, which you're not going to be able to see probably, is there's some buttons. Those come pre-set for Photoshop. Like you can wave your finger around that one, and it does the brush size. Undo is my top key. There's some cool shortcuts you can do with these Wacom Tablets. So if you want one, you don't need one to be a Photoshop designer, but if you're going to be doing digital illustration, man, you'll see the difference in the next little section, about me drawing with my mouse, and drawing with this; I love it. 
Do I use it every day? I put it out here on my desk, especially in these videos to make it look like I'm like hard core digital designer, but I find them-- I don't like them for normal mouse operations. I use just my regular mouse or the track pad, but for when I'm doing retouching or if I'm doing some drawings, I definitely use that. You can just have both of them on your desk. That one's wireless, which is really cool as well. It's one of the perks for that one. So you can kind of have it up on your knee, sketching away, and see it on the screens, a little bit of a weird disconnect. But yeah, super cool. 
The Bamboos are the cheaper versions of these. They are cool, they just don't come with all the extra buttons and stuff. So definitely, Bamboo would be the entry level, then you get the Intuos Pro. Then you get to the Cintiq. The Cintiq, you need to sell one of your kidneys to get one. So they're expensive, they're in the like two grand kind of thing. Because basically they’re screen drawn, so you can actually see what you're doing. So if you're super keen, and you've got the cash, do that. I probably still wouldn't want one. I like that one, I like the way-- I'm okay with the disconnect between the screen. I'm now rambling, let's go actually see what it does and why it's so awesome, and why you may or may not need a Wacom Tablet. Let's jump in. 
One more thing, this is just an introduction to the Wacom Tablet. It's not going to be like a hard core, how to get the best out of it. It's just going to be giving you the basics in case you do have one, but not like every single thing, advanced feature of the Wacom Tablet. It's my asterix. All right, now let's jump in. First up let's go to 'File', 'Open'. In '14 Brushes', open up 'Brush 01'. Obviously you can use any image you like, but if you are using any image - I'm going to zoom a little bit - just make sure you're working on its own layer. We don't want to destroy the background. I'm going to name it, I'm calling it 'Drawing'. 
So to get started we need a couple of things. We need the Brush Tool, which is this guy here, underneath the Spot Healing Brush. We need to pick a foreground color, so click on this color here. Slide through this, decide on the color that you want to use. Click 'OK', and at the top here, drop this down. So depending on the version of Photoshop you're using, if it's like 2017 or before, you probably just got a bunch of icons you can click through. You'll be able to work out which is which. It shouldn't be a hard change. What they've done in 2018 and 19, they've created these awesome little groups. General Brushes, Dry media, Wet Brushes. We're going to start with just these first two, and we'll get into some other videos where we look at more special effect brushes. 
So to start with, under 'General Brushes', I'm going to pick this one here called 'Hard and Round'. We'll show you the difference between that Wacom Tablet and a regular mouse. So on the side here I am going to click, hold, and draw D, my name, Dan. I'll just undo that, that was exceptionally bad. I'm bad with my mouse, it's not getting any better. You can play around with smoothing to try help make your mouse feel a bit better, but I guess I just want to show you the difference, between my drawing when I'm working with my mouse. I'm pretty good with my mouse, and that's as good as it got. 
Let's switch to my Wacom Tablet, and all I'm doing is picking up the Pen, you don't need to switch them, you just start using the Wacom Tablet and they start working. So I'm going to draw with a Wacom, but what we're going to use is, we're going to use one of the special Wacom brushes. Basically anything that says Pressure, see that? You can kind of tell, they have like pointy ends, so it has a variable pressure rating. That's what gives the Wacom Tablet its magic. So I'm going to draw an A. You can see, instantly things are smoother, because I'm just better at drawing with a pencil. And you can start to see, see the ends here, they're just nicer, there's like pressure sensitivity, so there's an end and a beginning. It's really sensitive, watch this, I'll just kind of lightly touch it, but really hard, and get a big blob, or just touchy touch. They get nice a little bit. Cool. 
Pressure sensitivity is the big thing with a Wacom Tablet, but when you tie it together with some of the other brushes, especially the new versions, so General brushes, pretty basic, it's the Dry Media brushes we're going to use. Like these ones here, Kyle Webster was like--. What was? He's still, he still exists. He was like a freelance-- he was the man to go to buy brushes from Photoshop. Like if you wanted brushes, the builds ones weren't very good. The ones he made were amazing, and now he works for Adobe. So he's now bundled them, or at least Adobe and him have bundled them in here, for us to use straight out of the box, that's so good. We're not going to go through them all obviously, but let's just start with one of them. And let's draw my N. 
Actually I'm going to make the brush size a lot bigger. Just out of the box, they just look very realistic. Not sure what I'm drawing, I'm drawing an N, that's what I'm trying to draw. But they are pressure sensitive so I can push hard, and they get thicker and fill out more. Then I can push really lightly and they can taper off, they're just amazing. I love them. So I'm undoing, going step backwards. 
So before we go any further I do want to mention the undos. By default yours is set to 50 undos. And when you're drawing, hand drawing, you can bend through a hundred little brush strokes quite quickly. So you can go and change it. On a Mac you go down to 'Photoshop CC', 'Preferences'. We're going to go to this one called 'Performance'. On a PC it's in a slightly different place. It's under 'Edit', all the way down the bottom here is 'Preferences'. And you're going to end up at the same place, we want to go to 'Performance'. I've already cranked mine up to 100, by default it's 50. If you're using a really earlier version, it's lower, 25 or something. I like 100, gives me a little bit of undos to go backwards. But know that the higher this is, the potentially more stressed out your computer can be. I've got a pretty new MacBook Pro, you might be using a really fancy PC. So you can go a little higher, but no, if you go up to 1000, it's going to eventually die because it's trying to remember too many things. Let's crank it up to 100. So that's going to be it for the basics. 
Looking for pressure sensitivity, changing brush size. What I'm going to do is I'm going to kind of sketch, that thing like you saw at the beginning. I'm going to use-- I like this one here. Pastel Palooza; such a good name. In terms of the size, that's probably too thick. I go down to something smaller. I'm just going to sketch out my little N. You can hang around with me, I'm just going to start it, and then just building it up, building it up. Pushing harder, pushing not as hard. You can skip on now. What I'll do is I'll get the editor to speed this up. So it's not as painful, you can watch it in fast forward mode. All right, go. 
Before you go, I was just like-- Wacom Tablet's cool because you can kind of move it around at different angles. I'm not finished, I'm not even sure what I'm going to be doing, just drawing now, but I wanted to show you one little tip. Like, I can draw up and down, for some reason that line, the arc of my hand, I can do that line really nicely up and down. But trying to draw up in this way, it's pretty kind of-- I find it really difficult. So you can either turn your Wacom upside down. You can't see this but I'm just moving my Wacom upside down, so you can kind of change the angle. 
What's really handy though as well is, if you're kind of on a fixed desk, I'm in a kind of a small desk here, so what you can do is, there's this little trick. Click and hold down the Hand Tool, there's a Rotate View tool, a little bit advanced, but if you click, hold, and drag it around you can see I can drag this, get it into the right position, go back to my 'Brush Tool', and remember, I'm a lot better at that kind of motion, the down to up, the up to down, I can toggle around again and just kind of work my way around this line. Make sure I switch to the Brush Tool. I haven't changed that kind of permanent rotation. It's just so I can kind of move it around. When you are finished, just hit 'Esc' on your keyboard, kind of flicks it back around to its original. Kind of direction, and you can keep toggling between those two things. 
If you're fancy you can set that up as a shortcut on your Wacom Tablet, but that's kind of out of the scope of this class, which I do. I've got a little dial here on this Tablet, and I can set the shortcuts on it using the Wacom software, that I downloaded for my Mac from the Wacom website. You can start matching shortcuts with keys on your Wacom Tablet. I'm just putting a double line around. All right, let's speed-- there's no speeding it up because I'm done, because I don't even know what I'm doing. Just drawing up, in with a double line. 
One thing you might do before you go, I keep adding little maybes at the end. We've worked on this drawing layer, and it's just normal, sitting over the top. What you might find, for a bit of realism, Blending Modes, we've used them loads. Multiply, in this case is probably going to work. Starts interacting with the background a little better, especially here, looks like somebody choked on the wall. Terrible drawing. I'm embarrassed; look at that. Can I draw better? A little bit. You guys can't be watching, and I need to have like a hundred goes at it. That's the introduction to the Wacom Tablet. We'll jump into the next video where we look at, some more of that special effects with brushes, the smoke stuff and ink splats, that type of thing rather than just hand drawing. All right, on to the next video.