Back when I edited this image in Lightroom, I used the selective exposure tools to bring out some contrast in the clouds and sky. It was painful, and the result was less perfect than I would like. Next time I revisit this image though, I will have a new tool to help. You see, the first time I did this, I was using a mouse. Granted, it is a Razer optical mouse with on-the-fly adjustable sensitivity, but it is still a mouse. Kind of like when I am trying to drive a nail with the handle of a screwdriver. It works, but a hammer is more efficient. Well, now I have the right tool for this kind of editing – a Wacom Intuos4 tablet.
It all started with a gift card I won at a conference (also won an iPod 16GB Nano, which I gave to my wife). I had always wanted a tablet, but didn’t know much about them. So I started out small. I got a Wacom Bamboo Craft. The price was right, and installation was a breeze. But then I started fiddling with the controls. I didn’t want to use it to navigate my whole desktop. And the resolution seemed goofy since I am running a dual-monitor setup (my 17″ laptop screen and an HP w2007 widescreen monitor). It just didn’t feel right, and none of the settings let me do what I wanted (namely, limit the input to a specific program). OK, do I take it back and get something better (ie, more expensive) or do I just say screw it, I’m a mouse guy. No, I wasn’t going to give up. It’s my friend Jeff’s fault, he has a tablet and swears by it. So I had to give it an honest try.
Back to the retailer to return the Bamboo. And as luck would have it, they had the Intuos4 Small. Now we’re talking. Supposed to do what I want, AND comes with a mouse and more robust pen. OK, I am pretty excited at this point. Get it home, and let it sit for a few days. I do have a real job after all, and I had more important things to do than play with pixels (or maybe it was the 3 business trips in 5 weeks – my head is still spinning).
About 4 days later I installed it. Went just as easy as before. But this time, I found the settings the Bamboo was lacking. A few simple dialogue boxes later, and I can isolate it to one screen. Good enough for me. Open up a picture in Lightroom and start playing. Wow, this is a dream come true. Such control, and the quick buttons are helpful too. Not long and I am feeling really confident. Yep, this will ease my workflow for sure.
And then my 4 year old came down to see what Daddy was doing. She took to it instantly. I now have two original works of art created digitally by my 4 year old. She loves it, and still asks to use it. Way better than crayons she says.
The bottom line is this: if you do any sort of image editing, you owe it to yourself to try one of these. There are a couple of brands out there, but Wacom is the recognized leader. And speaking from experience, I can say I wouldn’t buy any other – and yes, I actually paid full retail for mine!).