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Real-World Examples

Beginning with Photoshop 7, Adobe introduced a brand new paint engine that takes better advantage of tablets. Obviously, the best way to truly experience the joys of a graphics tablet is hands-on. For Photoshop work – especially making selections and painting or masking and touching up, they're simply incomparable.

Selections

You've probably noticed how difficult and tedious it is to remove the background from a subject so that only the foreground object(s) remain. Part of the problem is that a mouse won't allow you to easily select a continuously smooth-curved area—it wants to jerk and move in a linear fashion. If you've ever tried cutting out an organic object you know exactly what I mean. With a pen and tablet, you can literally draw the selection you want. You'll never look at the Lasso tool in the same way again (i.e. with contempt). Don't forget, you can use the ExpressKeys to add to or subtract from your selection as you draw, without touching the keyboard. Say goodbye to fringing and aliased edges forever.

Painting, Drawing, Masking, and Touch-ups

Painting, drawing, and masking are where a tablet really shines. It's not often referred to as a "drawing tablet" for nothing. While it won't take the place of working with paint and canvas or graphite and paper, it will make your computer a viable tool for creating striking digital art. To add to the sense that you're using genuine art media, Wacom includes extra Stroke and Felt Pen nibs in the box. The Felt Pen nib feels rougher and grips the surface of the tablet, much like a real felt-tipped pen on paper, while the Stroke nib employs a small spring to provide a smoother, bouncier feel, reminiscent of a bamboo brush or perhaps a fountain pen. Since masking and touch-ups are really just an extension of drawing, it makes sense that a tablet is well suited for the task. You can work on fine areas to remove flaws in images and apply a light touch to create the perfect mask. Drawing a mask using variable pressure means you can get a feather effect wherever you need it, just by pressing gently down on the pen. Achieving something similar with a mouse would involve changing back and forth between paintbrushes or using varied selections with Feathering turned on or off. You'll also do some of your best Clone Stamping with your tablet, more quickly and easily than ever.

Figure 6

Figure 6 A landscape study drawn using a tablet

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