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In Painter 11 Essential Training, John Derry, one of the original Painter authors, demonstrates basic and advanced creative techniques that can get beginners up and running. He also shows old hands the new features that can get a creative vision out of the head and onto the canvas. John demonstrates how to establish an easy workflow in Painter by using a Wacom tablet, and he explains how to create, edit, and publish projects. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download the Painter/Photoshop Consistent Color Management PDF and the Brush Troubleshooting Checklist PDF from the Exercise Files tab.
We've been talking about the six axes of motion and basically, they are just the ways that we can measure the motion of the artist's hand, wrist and arm and all of those combined together is how an artist expresses themselves through the medium of a stylus-based instrument. Well, how do I get this information from out here into in there? There's actually a very good technology that helps that happen and that's pen tablets and in the world of pen tablets, Wacom is known as the gold standard of this technology.
They've mastered the ability to get all of these axes of motion into the computer and ultimately to Painter, which takes advantage of it. The first tablet we're going to take advantage of and take a look at is Wacom Intuos3. The Intuos3 is been out now all about four years and this tablet introduce some new features that have proven to be very popular and in fact this tablet right now in its various sizes is probably the most widely in-use pressure sensitive tablet around today because it's been around for few years.
Now, I want to talk a little bit about the control surfaces that we have to deal with here. What you get within Intuos3 tablet, by default, is the Intuos Grip Pen and this comes with it, so there's no extra expense involved with this. But if you want to explore the six axes, which you remember is barrel rotation, this pen does not communicate that information. To get that, you've got to go to the 6D pen and the 6D pen is an optional purchase by the user, but this pen does understand barrel rotation.
So if I go in here and start to use it, I think you'll see how this pen actually, depending on my hand motion, does take advantage of barrel rotation. In fact I found that using this pen is actually very good to kind of hold it farther back in the hand, like you would a traditional brush. In doing so, you actually get a better leverage on the pen to show off and control all the different axes of motion and really it becomes a subconscious thing. You really are not thinking consciously about doing it.
It just becomes part of the use of the tablet. Now, I mention the control surfaces and these are built into the sides of the tablet on both the left and right side. These control surfaces enable me to map various commands in my applications, in this case, Painter, to be able to have a shortcut without having to go to a menu or a pop-up or context-sensitive menu. I can do several things from here, and over time, I figured out several commands that work for me.
It's never going to be the same for two people. You're always going to have someone who wants to do one thing and someone wants to do another, but the idea here is that you actually can build into your workflow through the surface of the tablet, the types of things you want to have access to. Now there's two types of controls on here. You have the ExpressKeys, which are literally buttons you can use to assign a shortcut, which would normally be, say, a keyboard shortcut could be assigned to this. You can even, if you want to, keep this one as the Command or Ctrl key, one as the Option or Alt key, one as the Shift key.
So you can actually use combinations if you want. I prefer to just have them used for one combination or one press causes one thing to happen and the thing about it is, you have to remember well, what does this button do over here, what does this button do, and what I've actually done is created little labels for myself so that I could remember that, oh yes! This is my Rotate Page button or this one is for adjusting the Brush Size button. So, even though I use them all the time, every once a while you'll kind of forget which one does what and I have these here, just as a mnemonic way to remember what it is I'm supposed to do.
The other piece of technology on here are the Express Strips and you could see, this one is set up to zoom in and out, so that just using my finger here, I can actually use this to adjust whether I'm zoomed in or out on the tablet. So, the Wacom 3 Intuous tablet really has some very interesting features in it. One of the things I do want to bring up, as we're going to look at the next generation tablet here in a moment. This tablet has 1024 levels of pressure, which sounds great and it is.
There is no reason to think that this is a limited tablet, but the next tablet we're going to talk about is the Intuos4. This tablet goes a little further and it actually has 2048. So it's doubled the amount of pressure that it has and so I'm going to show you a little bit about it. It gets into being a little bit of unique way that they've done away with control surfaces on both sides. It's now only on one side and you think, well, how is that going to work for left and right-handed people? What they've actually done is you can flip these around and actually there's a pair of USB ports in here, so you can decide most people want the cord leaving from the top of the tablet.
So either left or right- handed, people can do it. Another great innovation in here is that unlike my previous tablet where I had to deal with the little mnemonic devices that I put on here to remember what the pen controls do is this actually has LED displays built into it and when I use the Wacom driver, I can go in and map exactly as I want various controls into this tablet. So that I have the same functionality I had before. It's just now it's all on one side of the tablet.
This leaves in my case, this leaves my left hand available for drawing and concentrating on the activity of your expressing through the pen itself, but the right hand is now available so that I can use it for things like redoing or undoing what I'm doing. I actually got this setup to undo my strokes. You can see here it's going backwards in time in undoing the stokes and I can go forward, back through my undo. So, it gives me a great way to have a bit of a safety net built in here.
I know I can try something out, like well, I guess I don't want that. So what I would do is just undo that and it's a really nice feature to have this new, what they call the Touch Ring involved. So the control surfaces have been updated with this pen and the sensitivity of it has been updated. Part of this sensitivity involves the technology of the pen. This is a new technology pen that actually is sensitive to less than one gram of force and because of that, that's why the 2048 levels of pressure come in handy when you're dealing with media like pencils or chalk and charcoal.
Those kinds of mediums are very sensitive to a light touch and the expanded range of pressure allows there to be much more overhead in that lighter touch. It just makes for a much more sensual almost feel when you use it. The first time I used it, I was really impressed with how different it felt by having those additional degrees of pressure available to me. So, the one thing about this tablet, unlike the earlier Intuos3, which does have the 6D pen, this is so new and the pen technology is so new, they don't currently have the 6D pen available.
It will be available later this year and I'm looking forward to it to have all of this cool, new technology, new sensitivity and the barrel rotation as well. But for the time being, I'm totally happy. So we've looked at the Intuos level of tablets. Next, we're going to take a look at the next level up and I think you're going to be thoroughly impressed when you see what you can do with the top of the line tablet.
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