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soul of fine art

 

COREL PAINTER X3 / Still Setting the Digital Art Standard

 

painter x3 box shotKICKING THE CAN DO

 

WACOM INTUOS PEN & TOUCH TABLET /For Studio & On the Go

intuos tablet BAMBOO PEN TABLETS REBRANDED AS INTUOS

 

With tutorial recommendations from lynda.com and Peachpit Press.

lynda.com logo peachpit press logo

 

NAVIGATION NOTE: Click on the product text links above to jump to that review.

 

by Eden Maxwell

 

Winter, 2014

 

“Genius always finds itself a century too early.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

NOTE: Please bookmark this page for future reference.

 

painter 6 can

The famous legacy can


COREL PAINTER X3


WHY DIGITAL ART?

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I can do more digitally in making art over traditional art methods, and I never run out of supplies, plus there’s no tedious cleanup. Making good art digitally demands many skills. Then, there is posterity and shelf life. If that year’s worth of works on paper had been created digitally, the termites in the basement wouldn’t have been able to gorge and destroy my original drawings and paintings.

PAINTER X3 / UNPARALLELED

According to Corel, “Painter X3 is the ultimate digital art studio. It gives artists the freedom to create without boundaries, offering a wondrous collection of lifelike and expressive Natural-Media brushes, innovative drawing tools, effects, and media, as well as endless customization options to tailor the workspace to their preference.”

All this is true. I’ve worked with several other painting programs that had their own unique features and tools. But, in the end, I would most often return to Painter to complete my art. Corel Painter X3 remains unparalleled and in a class of its own.

EASIER ACCESS

That said, let’s look at some of Corel Painter X3’s new features. The X3 update is mostly about easier access to too. Rather than being revolutionary in scope, X3 is more of a tweaker by consolidating features such as panels, providing easier access to brushes, and making tools more concise. Although X3 offers memory improvements, it is not yet 64-bit, a memory enhancing and performance feature that users have been requesting for some time.

Overall, X3, the thirteenth version of this remarkable natural media program, makes tools and features easier to get at while saving screen real estate with discreet panels.

MUSICAL CHAIRS / PANEL SHUFFLE

Painter X3’s interface includes a few minor modifications, but otherwise is identical with version 12. While the workspace is versatile, it's also a bit clunky. It may be time for a Corel redesign team to get to work. I would especially like the option (as with Photoshop) of fully collapsing a palette into the side margin of the screen. In X3 if you lock (you can't collapse) a palette to the side of the screen and then undock, the panels making up the palette jumble up, and it's a pain to rearrange them to their former alignment.

PERSONAL TASTE

The benefit of new features is subjective; if you use them, it’s worth the upgrade, but if not, then well, you know. If you’ve viewed tutorial videos of how different Corel Painter artists use the program, then you've seen that everyone uses this app in their own unique workflow.

While I appreciate new tools and various other user-friendly improvements, my primary interest with X3 is stability. In other words, as a chorus of Painter users lament: "Fix the bugs in version 12 first, and boost performace instead of adding superficial features."

This means no regular crashing and better memory management. Losing your work and having to reboot stops the creation flow. As I work with these new features, I’ll be keeping track of X3’s crashes, if any.

BRUSHES / TEXTURES

Painter's greatest strength, aside from its many digital effects and tools, lies in the more basic area of brushes and textures. While some artists enjoy creating new brush categories and variants, it’s also true that you can create stunning original work using Painter’s default brush set.

Selecting textures for use with texture sensitive brushes, such as a hard pastel, adds depth, form, and more interest to the work. If you haven’t yet explored the textures provided, then I encourage to try them out. You may discover some fascinating combinations that create intriguing effects.

NOTE: For custom textures and related tutorials, check out Melissa Gallo's Painted Textures site.

 

 

bottom logo

NEW! BRUSH SEARCH ENGINE

Painter X3 introduces a new Search Brushes bar that simplifies finding the brush you have in mind. Type a keyword into the Search Brushes bar field; then X3’s new brush search engine will instantly present all the brushes that match the search criteria. To narrow down your search, use multiple keywords, such as bristle, rotation, wet, or oil.

Additionally, if you search by ‘brush name’ and by ‘brush setting’, the combination of both search terms will return fewer, more targeted results.

If you haven’t yet experimented with brushes, then the brush search feature may inspire you with creative options that you hadn’t considered before. With close to 1000 brushes in 30 categories, brush search can speed up brush discovery for both new and veteran users alike.

ENHANCED! LIVE STROKE PREVIEW

When you’re working with X3’s brush controls (and search Brushes bar), the enhanced Stroke Preview panel offers a significantly more accurate depiction of how a brushstroke will appear on the canvas. The Stroke Preview is dynamic, offering a real-time visual, as you adjust such parameters as blending, erasing, mixing, jitter, and texture. The brushstroke preview eliminates the time consuming need to use a test canvas when adjusting brush settings.

NOTE: You need only move your cursor over the the brush variant to see the live brush preview, which is also a helpful visual aid when creating new brush variants.

 

design

 

NEW! ADVANCED BRUSH PANEL

The previous Painter Brush panel could be intimidating with so many controls and options, most not relevant to the brush at hand.

Painter X3 introduces contextual brush controls, which display only the panels and settings relevant to the currently selected brush. This is a great improvement that eliminates guesswork and simplifies the process of adjusting brush properties, settings, and expressions. You can toggle this panel on or off in the property bar.

The learning curve for new users is simplified. This new panel makes experimenting with brushes less daunting. To save time and effort, the Advanced Brush Controls also include a Dab and Stroke preview, plus a Media panel, which makes it faster and easier to experiment with different paper textures or flow maps.

NEW SINCE V12! BRUSH MANAGEMENT AND SHARING

In previous versions (up to v11) of Painter it was a hassle to both export and import brushes. If you’ve avoided importing some great brush categories and variants in the past, then now is a good time to discover the joys of new brushes.

Although enhanced brush management isn’t a major feature, it’s one of my favorites. X3 greatly simplifies managing and sharing brushes. You can instantly create, save, and export new brush categories, brush variants, and brush libraries. Sharing brushes now involves one easy step. Double-clicking the file (store these files in the folder of your choice) launches Painter X3 and automatically imports the brush category and its variants.

Painter X3 also provides greater workspace flexibility by reducing the required steps for saving brush variants. You can now move or copy any brush variant to any category by dragging the variant within the Brush library panel.

IMPORTING BRUSH TIPS

Before downloading and installing custom brushes, verify that they are compatible with your version of Corel Painter. On a Mac, hit Command > I to see whether the correct version of Painter is selected to open the new brush category and its variants.

Double-clicking on a brush category will install it as the bottom brush category in the currently open brush library. If you’d like the new imported brush as a standalone brush library, use Painter X3’s Import > Brush Library command to import the file with the ‘brushlibrary’ name extension.

NEW! REFERENCE PANEL

In previous versions of Painter you could have another file open for use as your reference image, but it was clumsy, as the open windows took up memory and screen real estate.

The new versatile Reference Image panel makes it easy to keep a visual source within sight while you create without disrupting your workflow. Resize the panel by dragging from the lower-right corner. In the Reference Image panel, you can also sample colors from the image, reposition the image, as well as zoom in or out. You can only have one reference image open at a time.

 

big logo

 

NEW! ENHANCED MIXER PANEL / ROSE COLORED GLASSES

The colors on your palette express a variety of moods. Consider young Pablo Picasso’s foray into being a color minimalist. Pablo’s Rose Period paintings were done with upbeat orange and pink colors; this was in contrast to the cool tinted somber works of his previous Blue Period that now represent some of his most popular works, although at the time he had difficulty selling them. Picasso the avant-garde innovator was also very keen on selling his work.

X3 includes sample colors from four new inspirational mixers, which were designed by Painter Masters Jeremy Sutton, Karen Bonaker, Skip Allen, and John Macolm. You can also import a RIFF, PSD, JPG, PNG, or TIFF file for use as a custom Color Set Library, which can now include 1-256 colors. Another attention to detail involves the Mixer panel, which is initially set to the Sample Color tool by default, preventing accidental mixing.

Working with color sets, and palette mixtures that you might not have chosen yourself open up new opportunities for expression. For example, a Japanese color set that Skip Allen turned me onto was in some ways more extensive, expressive, and subtle than Painter’s Western (European) inspired default color set.

Remember that you can resize the color wheel palette; enlarging this palette displays more subtle color pixels to choose from.

Skip Allen is a great resource for the Corel Painter community; among other posts, he includes late-breaking news, tutorials, custom brushes, and paper textures. I often use Jeremy Sutton’s custom brushes (Jeremy faves 2), and I highly recommend his detailed, informative, and inspirational book, Painter II Creativity.

NOTE: Currently, there’s no automatic method of resetting a paper texture to its default values. If you’d like a macro script that handles this oversight with a single click via a custom palette, then visit David Gell’s Jitter Brush - X3 and Beyond for details and a free download, plus more handy Painter tweaks.

 

mixer

 

CUSTOM PALETTES / CREATING YOUR OWN TOOLBOX

Although not a new feature, one of Painter’s gems is the ability to create handy Custom palettes, which consolidate various menu commands—and brushes with no need to switch brush libraries.

With Painter X3 and version 12, you can simply drag (while holding the shift key) a brush variant or media icon onto an open area of the workspace to instantly create a custom palette. Oddly, no shift key for this operation was necessary in version 11 of Painter.

To add to a custom palette, you can drag icons from the Brush Selector bar, the Paper selector, any of the five media selectors (patterns, looks, weaves, nozzles, or gradients) or Media Library panels, and the Scripts palette.

As a bonus, you can also add menu commands to a custom palette by clicking Window > Custom Palette > AddCommand.

You can create an unlimited number of custom palettes; this feature provides you with the power to build special palettes for particular projects or frequently used workflows.

NEW! UNIVERSAL JITTER

Randomness in your brushstrokes can’t be effectively reproduced (maybe by an accomplished art forger should your work bring in the big bucks) and is as distinctive as your fingerprints. A painting with a sense of irregularity and spontaneous rawness (not painting solely within the lines and by the numbers) lends the work a certain charm , accessibility, and meaning.

The introduction of universal jitter means that you can add randomness to your brushstrokes. Jitter already comes with some brush variants (do a brush name search), or add jitter to your selected brush—watercolors are particularly receptive to jitter settings.

X3 integrates the jitter expression in a range of brush controls, including opacity, grain, size, angle, airbrush particle size, airbrush flow, liquid ink volume, and color expression. In fact, any brush control panel that has an expression option has a jitter setting.

Why use it? The Universal jitter tool produces unique uneven brushstrokes, which further personalizes your artwork. For example, adjusting the Opacity Jitter setting allows you to create brushstrokes with varying degrees of transparency instead of a uniform percentage of opacity—which is more versatile and effective than natural, or traditional media.

 

dragon

 

NEW SINCE V12! FLOW MAPS

Watercolors are beautiful and translucent, but if you don’t know what you’re doing you may get mud instead of contrast, harmony, and gradations of luster.

Designed to help artists maximize the creative potential of Real Watercolor, flow maps are textured surfaces that direct the flow of paint as it dries. You can also use flow maps with Real Wet Oil brushes.

Flow maps work in a similar fashion to paper textures, but produce higher peaks, and deeper valleys that allow greater water displacement, resulting in paint that flows, pools, and settles in unique and irregular patterns. Each stroke in real-time animation reveals its transition from wet to it dry—which is amazing in itself.

NOTE: You can use flow maps in combination with paper texture to retain the paper grain. What papers work best for your art is a matter of experimentation. For example, if you work with heavy impasto paint, then paper grain is of little consequence.

With Painter X3, artists can choose from four Real Watercolor variants: Noisy Flowmap Fringe, Melted Flowmap, Real Wet Flowmap Wash, and Wet Flowmap Fringe, as well as seven expressive flow maps found in the Flow Maps Libraries. You can also use flow maps with other Real Watercolor and Real Wet Oil brushes, and you can generate custom flow maps from images or from paper textures.

For example, I adjusted the Opacity Jitter setting on the Noisy Flowmap Fringe variant to different percentages and created what looked like a grouping of single cell microscopic bacteria.

NOTE: I did notice a performance boost (less lagging) with X3’s watercolors.

AUTO-PAINTING PANELS

Applying effects to an image does not an artist make, but it can be a start. Experimenting with Painter’s auto-painting over an underpainting or other image is fun, instructive, and a great way to begin a new painting. After auto-painting with your configurations (Smart Stroke Painting, etc.) concludes a brush operation (you can stop it at any time you desire), you can then manually take over to leave your mark.

While auto-painting is not new to X3, it can be easily overlooked among the many other tools. Corel Painter continues to provide leading auto-painting tools that streamline the process of creating a painting based on a digital image or a scanned photo. While previous experience with digital art is not required to use these tools, it’s important to know whether you or the Painter app made the paining.

If you haven’t yet explored auto-painting, I encourage you to dive in, push the go button, and experiment to see what you can create.

 

cloning colors

 

NEW! PERSPECTIVE GUIDES

Perspective as an art technique that tricks the human eye into perceiving depth has been found, lost, and then reclaimed in the modern era—and X3 is up to the task. Portraying real figures in real pictorial ‘three-dimensional’ space is a distinct Renaissance characteristic.

PERSPECTIVE HAD TO BE INVENTED

I delve in some depth into art of the Renaissance in my most recent book, An Artist Empowered:

In 1434, two years before the Duomo was completed, Filippo Brunelleschi (1337-1446), contributed yet another milestone of ingenuity. He changed the perception of Western art forever by reproducing a three-dimensional object in two-dimensional space; by employing a mathematically based illusion of reality, he devised perspective, which would become the hallmark signature technique of Renaissance painting and drawing.

As Ross King (author of Brunelleschi’s Dome) informs us: “Filippo [ Brunelleschi ] is generally regarded as its ‘perspective’ inventor, the one who discovered (or rediscovered) its mathematical laws. For example, he worked out the principle of the vanishing point, which was known to the Greeks and Romans but, like so much other knowledge, had long since been lost.”

THE SECOND COMING

Before the second coming of perspective during the Renaissance, it was generally accepted that the function of art wasn’t naturalistic representation, but rather the expression of spiritual power. When we think of ancient knowledge being lost we tend to think of it in relation to our present day culture. Seeing how ancient knowledge was also forgotten or lost during the Renaissance gives us a sense of how close we are along the historical timeline to the 15th century, Brunelleschi, and the first stirrings of what would become ‘modern’ art in our own age.

 

concept art

 

THE NEW PERSPECTIVE TOOL

If perspective is important to your work (especially in concept art where depth enhances the illusion), then you’ll appreciate working with Painter X3’s new perspective tool. Painter already has a Divine Proportion panel that divides the image into mathematical configurations that have proven organic and pleasing to the eye.

X3’s snap-tool makes it easier to draw accurately in 1-, 2-, or 3-point perspectives. These non-printing and fully adjustable guides are useful for creating paintings with objects or scenery that portray spatial depth.

GUIDELINES

Four presets help you get started. Each vanishing point includes primary guidelines that allow you to change the alignment to a reference image or brushstroke. Intermediate guidelines provide visual assistance when zoomed into the document. You can also toggle perspective-guided strokes off or on, which snap in the direction of the brushstroke so that it aligns precisely with the vanishing point.

ENHANCED! CLONING IMPROVEMENTS

Corel has been improving cloning features with nearly every version of Painter.

In response to customer feedback, Painter X3 includes additional support for its traditional cloning workflow. You can now position the source image beside the clone; another advantage is the new crosshair cursor that indicates the area being cloned. The crosshair cursor is especially useful for working on fine details, and for general painting accuracy.

Painter X3 also auto-embeds clone source images of varying sizes, which travel with your file. This feature allows you to make adjustments to the source image, such as applying effects, and then save both the original and adjusted image.

ENHANCED! TRANSFORM ACROSS LAYERS

Until now with Corel Painter, you could move and reposition an object across layers. But, if you wanted to transform or scale an object, you’d have to save the file as psd, and transform in Photoshop, then return to Painter.

Painter X3 addresses a timesaving feature that users have been requesting for some time. If you rountinely make one object with many layers, you’ll appreciate that you can now apply a transformation to a selection across layers individually or to multiple layers simultaneously, including layer groups.

NOTE: Select the Transform tool from the tool bar, or assign it a keyboard shortcut (I used Control > Shift > T). If you use the keyboard shortcut Command > Shift > Option > T (Mac) or CTRL > Shift > Alt > T (Windows), you’ll get a duplicate transform.

COMING SOON / MOTION GESTURE SUPPORT / LEAP FOR JOY

"He thought it was an odd sight, as he then came upon a group of spectators watching an artist painting the air with three dimensional fluid pigment emanating like ribbons of colors and shapes from his fingertips."

—from my upcoming novel that takes place in alternate universe

In a free future update for Painter X3 customers, Painter will soon introduce motion gestures to the digital painting experience. When integrated with Leap Motion technology, Painter Freestyle Gesture Control is touted as a revolutionary feature that lets you paint with your hands. No screen to touch, or stylus to pick up, you simply use your hands to command Painter Freestyle. It will even let you paint with all five fingers at once.

If you want to read more about it, you can check out the Painter Freestyle beta site here.

I look forward to seeing how this new free form painting technology works.

 

cintiq

 

WACOM TABLET SUPPORT

If you’re going to work with Corel Painter, then you’ll need a Wacom tablet as the hardware tool for your digital brushes. You could use a mouse, but that’s awkward and clumsy for painting, plus you’d miss out on the full expression of your brushstrokes that are possible with a Wacom pen.

Wacom multi-touch support has been improved and now provides full integration with the entire Wacom product line, including the Intuos Pro and the Cintiq 24HD interaction pen displays.

NOTE: Read the new Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch tablet review in the article below.

MEMORY MANAGEMENT

Memory management is much better with X3. Naturally, if you have several memory intensive apps open, performance will degrade. So far, I have noticed a speed bump in overall performance.

NIP IT IN THE BUD / THINGS TO CONSIDER

To improve Painter’s performance, I typically set my images to 200ppi. When the art is complete, I increase the resolution to 300ppi with great results using Perfect Resize from the Perfect Photo Suite 7 (Suite 8 is now available). I also keep memory hungry apps off when working with Painter. I save my files every few minutes, as a matter of habit and good practice. And, I back up regularly.

FINAL STROKES

X3 delivers as marketed, and that’s a good endorsement for any product. It’s not perfect, as I did run into a few glitches, but on balance it didn’t crash (Let’s not jinx ourselves.) on me, which is a huge plus for stability, something Painter has been lacking until now. If you regularly use two or more of these new tools and features, then it’s worth upgrading, especially for the noticeable performance boost.

I’ve been using Painter since it was being shipped in a Painter Can marketed by MetaCreations, and at one point I was a beta tester, and contributed some art, too. Painter X3 for digital painters and other visual artists is a must have tool.

 

box left


Corel Painter X3
$429.00
$229.00 (upgrade)

Download your trial version here.

 

NEW! INTUOS PEN & TOUCH (MEDIUM) TABLET FROM WACOM

FEATURE RICH / TRAVELING COMPANION

 

 

intuos tablet

Bamboo pen tablets (e.g., Bamboo Capture) have been reimagined and rebranded as Intuos. A separate redesigned Bamboo Pad line is still available.

WA—COM DEFINED

From master Painter artist, John Derry's Wacom Essential Training (lynda.com): “Wa is Japanese for harmony, and com is short for communication. So, Wacom stands for harmonious communication. A little mnemonic to remember this is, especially if you're a dog owner, what do you do with your dog everyday? You Wacom.”

PRESENTATION

Besides making first-rate input devices, Wacom like Apple, Inc. realizes the importance of taking pride in their products through branding, packaging—and attention to detail and presentation, which is also a distinct cultural Japanese touch. For example, with the Intuos Pen & Touch tablet, wondrous graphics on the outer sleeve hint at what is possible with the tablet at hand.

Opening the inner packaging, Wacom acknowledges you with ‘welcome’—an invitation to unpack your new goody. The tablet itself is carefully wrapped and then stored in an outer elegant black fabric-like sleeve.

LEARNING CURVE SHIFT

I've met artists who told me that making the transition from traditional means to a tablet to paint or draw is off-putting, as it requires a leap in eye-hand co-ordination that appears unnatural. But, this shift is easily doable, and over time using a tablet becomes second nature after all. This learning curve is similar to going from handwritten work to using a typewriter, and then onto a natural progression to a computer and word-processing.

 

pen eraser

If the blue band on the pen doesn't suit you, Wacom provides an alternate black band to ease your taste.

TRANSPARENCY

If you haven't yet used an input tablet, take note that with a bit of practice, you will soon get the hang of bypassing the technology until the process becomes transparent. You can practice eye-hand coordination video lessons from beginner to master in Wacom Essential Training with John Derry in lynda.com.

A Wacom Cintiq is more traditional in that the tablet and screen are one, letting you draw directly on its surface.

NOTE: Difficulty does not exist in the creator's handbook for living—so off-putting is no excuse for not embracing technology to create art. Inveterate Renaissance inventor Leonardo da Vinci who was well-known for adopting new art media would have immediately put a Wacom tablet to good use. With that said, let's take a look at the new Intuos Pen & Touch medium.

THE FEEL

Wacom designed the Intuos Pen & Touch as a synthesis of features and style between the old Bamboo type tablet and the new Intuos Pro line (formerly the Intuos5 tablet).

The sleek wedge-shaped PT is silver and black, a color scheme that complements a MacBook Pro. Lighter and slimmer than its bulkier Bamboo ancestor, the Wacom Pen & Touch manages to maintain the same active drawing area. Additionally, multi-touch pad navigation, four ExpressKeys, an improved pen that’s more comfortable to hold add up to an overall better value than the previous generation Bamboo model that it replaces.

Starbucks, Santa Fe, NM (2014)

eden tablet cafe

Eden Maxwell : Working on a painting in a cafe. Years ago, I'd bring my paper pad and color pencils.
Today, my art tools on the go include the Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch tablet and a MacBook Pro.

HAVE TABLET, WILL TRAVEL

Having a versatile lightweight (18.3 oz) tablet that you can store in your laptop bag and take with you would be handy and useful. Although the Pen & Touch may initially be perceived as a good choice for first timers, which it is, the tablet also excels with features sufficient for experienced users.

NOTE: I highly recommend the wireless option (sold separately: $39.95). Having a wireless setup means that I can get additional perspective by working on a painting from a distance, and it also makes for less cable clutter at home and especially on the road.

PEN & NIBS

While the included battery-free redesigned pen includes an eraser, rocker style switches with two customizable functions (e.g., clicks: double click, right click, keystrokes, modifiers, and other commands), and 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, it does not support tilt and bearing sensitivity found on the grip pen of the Intuos Pro and Cintiq line.

Using my thumb to engage and press the rocker switches places less stress on my hand while working.

Additionally, the Intuos Pro Grip and Art Pens pen have 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, which offers users double the responsiveness of the Pen & Touch. The PT pen has no rotation (the Art Pen does), either. But, I found these limitations did not in any way hamper my drawing, painting, and creating.

WORKFLOW / ART PEN

After beginning a painting in my favorite cafe with the Pen & Touch on my MacBook Pro, I would later work on the art on my iMac with a Wacom Intuos Pro medium; this tablet has more pro features (e.g., eight ExpressKeys, Touch Ring, etc.) and enhanced Grip pen sensitivity.

I use the Wacom Art Pen exclusively with the Intuos Pro because its the ultimate in control, as it supports tilt, bearing, and pen rotation—features that combine to faithfully translate your onscreen gestures with your virtual brush, pen, or marker.

intuos tablet bag

The Intuos Pen & Touch medium easily fits (top) in the carrying case with my MacBook Pro.

TACTILE RESPONSE

The pen comes with a black nib that is hard plastic; you’ll find the extra three replacement nibs under the center removable plastic plate, which also covers a nib puller (angle the nib into the hole sideways then gently pull; be careful, as the nib can fly out), and a die cut slot for replacing the default blue fabric pen holder; if you don’t like the color, Wacom lets you switch it out with the optional black pen holder. To complete your color coordinated makeover, you can also replace the blue band on the eraser end with the included black band.

NIBS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL

I prefer the felt tip nibs, which are sold separately; if you like that sensory feel (similar to the traction made by a felt marker), they’re worth it. Depending on your pen pressure (soft to firm), felt nibs can wear more quickly than hard plastic, so replace them as necessary to protect the drawing surface.

DRAWING SURFACE

The silver drawing surface has an unusual metal melded with paper feel; the fine tooth texture provides a satisfying tactile response to both the pen and your fingers with multi-touch. For example, in Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop, you can more fully express a broader variety of brushstroke widths with oval or fan-shaped brush shapes than you can with round-based brush tips.

You can make medium-size gestures in the active area (8.5 x 5.3 inches) of the tablet without feeling constricted. If you can work small, you can work large, too.

The PT’s drawing surface is also slightly soft and appears to be resilient; after a couple of weeks, there’s no noticeable wear; time will tell how the surface holds up.

NOTE: Don’t hold the pen toward the top end, as you might a paintbrush; hold the pen as you would a pencil for better control and less hand stress.

TABLET PLACEMENT

I would like to use the tablet directly over the keyboard on my MacBook Pro, but it won’t work in that position—both plugged in or wireless. Interference from the computer’s build in track pad must be at work here.

Plan B places the PT directly in front the keyboard, or below the computer itself. Positioning depends on your preference and the size of your work area. Placing the tablet directly in front of my MacBook Pro works well for me. To avoid fatigue, I change my position by keeping the tablet in my lap for a while.

intuos pt pen

 

USB / CHARGING

My keyboard USB port on my iMac is sufficient to power the Intuos Pen & Touch. When charging the battery for wireless mode, I noticed the Wacom icon in the menu bar never got beyond 95% charged. But, then when turning on wireless mode, the icon reported 100% charged. A Wacom tech told me that there’s no issue, as long as there is 90% charge, or more.

A fully charged battery easily lasts me an entire day.

TRACKPAD / DOUBLE DUTY

The Pen & Touch is a good value for another reason. I also use my tablet as a versatile trackpad. Sometimes I navigate using the multi-touch feature but use the pen more, as it’s easier to maneuver (select, move, right-click, etc.), and saves wear and tear on my fingers.

CREATIVE SOFTWARE BONUS

To get you started, Intuos Medium comes complete with a variety of easy-to-use creative software; a code key is provided for these downloads. These apps will help you edit and add funky effects to photos, and sketch, doodle or draw with that familiar pen-on-paper feel.

Full versions of Adobe Photoshop® Elements 11, Autodesk Sketchbook Express, Corel Painter Lite, and Nik Color Efex Pro WE3 are included.

 

pen front

The versatile all in one PT pen: brush, pen, marker, and trackpad tool

WHO IS THE INTUOS FOR?

The Wacom Pen & Touch medium is definitely a good choice for hobbyists and beginners in digital art and photo retouching looking for an affordable feature rich tablet.

Additionally, experienced Wacom users can add the PT to their input device toolkit, as it makes a great traveling tablet. The main thing here for professionals is that they can work with their PT without giving up quality.

Whoever you are—newbie or experienced artist—the new Wacom Pen & Touch medium is definitely a wise choice for all the reasons mentioned above.

Wacom

$199.00 - Intuos Pen & Touch medium

The Wacom Pen & Touch is also available in a small size.

$39.95 - Wireless Option

 

 

 

eden at work
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