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Monday, June 18, 2007

The Right Tool For The Job

Graphics tablets offer superior control for precise image adjustments

The Right Tool For The Job Always choose the right tool for the job—you know that. You wouldn't use a beach towel to clean your lenses, for example, so why would you choose a mouse to do the work of a stylus? Using a mouse often is too clumsy for the precise work of creating selections or spotting filters and effects.

A better choice for many digital imaging tasks is a graphics tablet and pen. Designed to give you pinpoint accuracy and a more natural way of working, the graphics tablet is one of the best accessories you can have if you do a lot of Photoshop work and an essential tool if you work with painting or illustration software as well.

Comprised of a tablet and a cordless, pressure-sensitive stylus, a graphics tablet capitalizes on our familiarity with the pen. While a mouse is well suited for selecting menu items and placing a cursor, a pen is far more agile and easily manipulated when making finer, precise movements, especially when trying to follow organic curves or to spot-retouch.

“Typically, if I wanted to selectively darken certain areas of a subject around the ears, nose and hair, I'd have to create a mask, adjust the threshold or use the Polygonal lasso to create a path,” says Vincent Versace, a photographer and educator, who has made the use of graphics tablets a key component of his digital workflow. “All of that could take forever. What I can do with a pen and tablet—incrementally adjusting my brush size and pressure—is far more intuitive. I'm using my eye and my perception of the image on the screen to decide how deep I should go with a brush. I could never achieve that kind of a control with a mouse.”


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