How To Use a Wacom Tablet With Photoshop: A Complete Guide

If you’re an aspiring photographer or graphic artist, then you know that editing your photos and artwork can be a real pain without the right tools. And if you don’t have a Wacom tablet, you’re definitely missing out.

Wacom tablets are designed specifically for use with Photoshop and other graphics editing software. Not only can you edit your photos with more precision, but you can also use any brush tool and effects that wouldn’t be possible with a regular mouse or trackpad.

So if you’re ready to take your Photoshop skills to the next level, here’s how to use a Wacom tablet with Photoshop.

What Is a Wacom Tablet and What Are Its Features?

Wacom offers a range of pen computers, pen displays, pen tablets, as well as styluses and other accessories that can be used for a variety of creative tasks. While Wacom tablets come in all shapes and sizes, they all share a few common features that make them ideal for use with Photoshop.

A Wacom tablet for Photoshop and drawing is a pressure-sensitive input device that can be used to control digital art software. It’s a graphics tablet (also called a pen tablet) that consists of a flat surface, which is often made of glass, and an attached stylus.

Wacom tablets come in all shapes and sizes, from small travel-sized tablets to large desk-sized ones. With productivity booster buttons on the side: ExpressKeys, Home Button, Touch Ring, and time-saving settings, users can set up their Wacom tablet exactly how they like it.

Wacom’s ergonomic design allows right or left-handed use. Some of the newer models even come with built-in Bluetooth so that you can wirelessly connect your tablet to your computer. And lastly, the most important feature you should pay attention to when searching for how to use the Wacom tablet with Photoshop is a pressure-sensitive, cordless, battery-free pen.

Types of Wacom Tablets

The main tablet lines that Wacom produces are One by Wacom, Wacom Intuos, and Wacom Intuos Pro, covering a wide range of needs from beginners to professional photographers, graphic designers, and other digital artists. Unfortunately, its once famous Bamboo line has been discontinued.

1. One by Wacom

One by Wacom is the most basic and affordable model, designed for those who are just starting out with graphics editing software. It comes with all the essential features you need to start using the Wacom tablet with Photoshop, including pressure sensitivity, programmable buttons, and a pen without batteries.

Available in two sizes, small and medium, it can be used on PCs, Macs, and most Chromebooks with creative software and online learning applications.

2. Wacom Intuos

If you’re looking for a more advanced tablet, then the Wacom Intuos is a great option. It comes with all the features of the One by Wacom, plus Bluetooth connectivity, a battery-free pen with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, and a variety of felt and flex nibs to choose from. It’s available in three sizes, small, medium, and large, to suit your needs.

3. Wacom Intuos Pro

Before you search for how to use the Wacom Intuos Pro, you should know that it’s a top-of-the-line model designed for professional photographers and graphic designers. It comes with all the features of the Intuos, plus an extra-large tablet surface, a super-sensitive Wacom Pro Pen 2, different texture sheets, the Paper Edition software that converts your paper drawings digitally, and much more.

How To Set Up Your Wacom Tablet

Now that you know what a Wacom tablet is and what features it offers, let’s move on to how to set it up. The first thing you need to do is unpack everything and find a suitable spot for your tablet on your desk. Now, here’s how to use a Wacom graphics tablet: Once you have the tablet in place, connect the USB cable from the tablet to an available USB port on your computer.

When everything is plugged in, turn on your computer, download and install the drivers, and get your complimentary software. You can also connect the tablet via Bluetooth if your tablet supports it; you simply need to turn on the Bluetooth on the computer, turn the tablet on, and pair your device with your Wacom tablet.

Configuring Photoshop Settings

Now that your Wacom tablet is all set up and ready to go, it’s time to configure the settings in Adobe Photoshop to make sure everything works correctly. To start setting up the Wacom tablet for Photoshop use, make sure to add Photoshop in the Application section of Wacom Tablet Properties.

  • Choose the Sensitivity and Tip Feel

Go to the Wacom Tablet Properties window and click on the Pen tab. Here you can set up how you want the pressure sensitivity to work in Photoshop. For example, you can set it so that the harder you press, the thicker the line will be.

You can also change the Tip Feel settings to adjust how soft or hard you want the pen tip to feel on the tablet surface. If you’re not sure what to choose, start with Medium and then adjust from there until you find a setting you’re comfortable with.

  • Change the Double-Click Distance

Now that you know how to use the Photoshop pen tool with the Wacom tablet, another setting you might want to adjust is the Double-Click Distance. This is how far you need to move the pen tip before it registers as a double-click. You can also turn the double functionality off altogether if you don’t need it.

To change the Double-Click Distance, go to the Wacom Tablet Properties window and click on the Pen tab. Here you’ll see a slider that you can use to adjust the Tip Double Click Distance.

  • Update Your Mapping Settings

The next thing you’ll want to do when learning the ropes of using the Wacom tablet for Photoshop is to update your mapping settings. Mapping is how the active area of your tablet corresponds to the screen of your monitor. You can change the mapping settings so that the entire tablet surface is mapped to the entire screen, or you can choose to have only a portion of the tablet mapped.

Go to the Mapping tab with two drop-down menus – for screen and tablet areas and play around with the settings until you find those you’re comfortable with. You can also choose to have multiple displays mapped if you have more than one monitor connected to your computer. Simply use the Display Toggle to quickly switch between displays.

  • Set Your Pen Button Commands

Finally, you’ll want to set up your Photoshop pad and pen buttons for the most frequent commands. You can use the buttons on the stylos to perform various functions in Adobe Photoshop, such as keystrokes or erasers. To configure your pen buttons, go to the Wacom Tablet Properties window, click on the Pen button tab. Here you’ll see a list of all the available commands that you can assign to each button.

To assign a command, simply click on the drop-down menu next to the button and choose the desired command. For example, instead of entering the OPTN + CMD + Z for Mac or ALT + CTRL + Z for PC command every time you want to undo an action, you can simply click on the Undo button.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to use a drawing tablet with Photoshop, you’ll be able to take your skills to the next level. With a Wacom tablet, you’ll have more control and precision when working with photos and graphics, making it easier to create the exact look you want.

As you can see, using a Wacom tablet with Adobe Photoshop is relatively simple and straightforward. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder how you ever went without a Wacom tablet! We can’t wait to witness your creative endeavours.


FAQ

How do I use a drawing tablet in Photoshop?

If you’re new to using a drawing tablet with Photoshop, there are a few things you’ll need to do in order to get started. First, you’ll need to install the drivers for your specific tablet model. Once the drivers are installed, you can then launch Photoshop and begin configuring the tablet settings.

If you’re using the Wacom tablet, make sure to add Photoshop to the Application section in the Wacom Tablet Properties tab. Then, go to the Pen tab and start adjusting the tools and preferences.

How do I connect my Wacom pen to Photoshop?

To connect your Wacom Pen and start using it with Photoshop, you’ll just need to touch the screen with the pen. Once it’s detected, it’ll automatically connect to Photoshop. When the device is recognized, and if you know how to use the Wacom tablet with Photoshop, you’ll be able to adjust the pressure, tilt, and rotation sensitivity in the Pen tab in no time.

If you’re using a Bluetooth-enabled Wacom Pen, you may need to put it into pairing mode before it can connect.

Is the Wacom tablet compatible with Photoshop?

Yes, Wacom tablets are compatible with Adobe Photoshop. In fact, Wacom tablets are widely used by professional photographers and graphic designers for their precision and control. If you’re new to using graphic tablets, be sure to check out the helpful tips in this article.

With a little practice, you’ll not only learn how to use the Wacom tablet with Photoshop, but you’ll be able to take your editing and design skills to the next level.

Damjana Cikaric

After teaching for 8 years, Damjana found a new challenge — writing. With her academic background in the English language, doing research and writing is always fun and enjoyable. In her spare time, she loves binge-watching TV shows, especially crime documentaries, or spending time with her dogs.

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