Setting up Wacom express keys
Video: Setting up Wacom express keysIn this movie and in the next two following it, I'm going to go through customizing the Wacom tablet, so that you have a set of commands that are available to you right on the control surface of the Wacom tablet. I'm going to break it down into three segments. So we're first going to take a look at the ExpressKeys customization, then we'll take a look at the Touch Ring, and finally I'll show you how I customize the buttons on the barrel of the Wacom pen itself. So, the first thing that we need to do is to install the customized version of the Wacom preferences, and if you go into the Exercise Files folder, Custom Content, you'll see right here I've got some Customization for the Intous.
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Learn to think like a painter and render images that look like they were created with oils or acrylics, using the latest digital artist's tools. Author and artist John Derry introduces the process of interpreting a photograph into a painted work of art. He begins by explaining his system of visual vocabularies, which describe how to replace the visual characteristics of a photograph with that of expressive painting, and also shares the custom brush sets and actions he uses to achieve these results in Adobe Photoshop. The course also covers working with filters, layers, effects, and more to add further detail and texture.
- Setting up a Wacom tablet
- Removing lens distortions
- Correcting distracting image elements
- Making shadow and highlight adjustments
- Simplifying details with filters and Smart Blur
- Modifying color
- Cloning layers
- Using a traditional paint color swatch set
- Using custom actions
- Working with canvas texture
- Creating physical surface texture effects
- Painting with custom brushes
Setting up Wacom express keys
In this movie and in the next two following it, I'm going to go through customizing the Wacom tablet, so that you have a set of commands that are available to you right on the control surface of the Wacom tablet. I'm going to break it down into three segments. So we're first going to take a look at the ExpressKeys customization, then we'll take a look at the Touch Ring, and finally I'll show you how I customize the buttons on the barrel of the Wacom pen itself. So, the first thing that we need to do is to install the customized version of the Wacom preferences, and if you go into the Exercise Files folder, Custom Content, you'll see right here I've got some Customization for the Intous.
I've got it for both the Intous4 and the Intous5, and you'll see there's a left-handed and a right-handed version for both of them. Let's take my example, I'm left-handed. So in my left hand, I'm typically going to have the stylus and that leaves my right hand available to use the control surface, which means, for me, it needs to be, it needs to be on the right side of the tablet, and based on most people's preferences, the right-handed world, you're going to want that control surface over on the left side, so that while you're holding the pen in your right hand, you'll have your left hand available to access these commands.
So, basically just select the preferences for your tablet, and which hand you are, and I'm going to go ahead and do my Intuos five left-handed here, so I'll just double-click this, and this will launch the Wacom on tablet utility, which comes with your tablet. So you'll have it on your system, it's automatically installed. And I'm going to go ahead and say Replace, and it's done its job, so we can go ahead and close this up. And now let's go into Photoshop.
With our customized Wacom settings installed now, we can access these custom commands I've given you. And I'm showing you now, the ExpressKey heads-up display, and you'll see that there's a set of commands available to us. The first two I'm going to show you actually relate to this Top button and the fourth button. So if we kind of break this down before we get too far. This top set of buttons, the four buttons you see here that I'm highlighting, these are buttons that in one way or another access and give you a way to get to Color controls.
In the next video, we'll look at the next four, which involve Brush controls. But in this movie, we're going to concentrate right here, and the first two buttons I'm going to show you actually work in tandem with another, and what these two buttons are going to give me is the ability to call up the Photoshop Heads-up color display. And you can do this with keyboard commands in Photoshop, but it's a real handful. On the Mac, for example, you have to hold down the Control, Option, and Command keys to bring it up, and then you need to hold down the Space key at the same time, when you want to switch between the Hue Ring and the Saturation Value square that we'll see here in a second.
I think it's a little bit easier to do this, and typically I use my index finger on the top key here, which is going to bring up the Heads-up Color Display, and then I use my thumb to access this fourth button, which is the focus, and I'll show you what I mean here, so let's go over here, and I'm going to hold down that top key, and it immediately brings up our color picker. Now one of the things that you can't do with one finger is, if you want to switch over to here, I can, but you see what happens is, I lose the focus over here.
Let's say I want to have a certain shade or value in here. I would prefer to keep that right where it is, and then be able to go over here and then change my hue. But you can see what happens, as you move between these, you have to literally move this to jump over to here, and that's what the other key does. So the fourth key down, if I press it, changes the focus now. See how I can now move this without this moving, and when I let up, I'm now focusing in this square.
So let's say I want to get, you know, full saturation value, I hold down now the fourth key. That lets me switch over, and then when I let up, I can select it. So it takes a little bit of practice to learn how to do this fluidly, so you can move back and forth between the two, because you've got to be pressing a key and then un-pressing a key to switch back and forth. I know it took me a little while to get used to it, but once you do, it's a very good command for having color, literally, at your fingertips. So, those are the first two commands.
Let's look at this display again, and the next one is for the standard Adobe Color Picker. So if we go over here, and I press down the second key down, this brings up the standard Adobe Color Picker. So, some people are more comfortable with this, and this is the way to get one key-press access to this Adobe Color Picker. Now to dismiss this Color Picker, you need to say either OK or Cancel in order to get out of it.
The third command is for Sample One Color, and I'm going to show you what this lets me do, and to do this, I'm going to put some color onto here. So, let's just mix up a few colors. Here's why I put this in here. When you're in the mixer brush, which many of these tools are in our tool presets, when you press down on the option key, what happens is you get this little target, and what this is intended for is to allow you to click down and then when you draw, what you've done is you've picked up multiple colors, which is very useful for a lot of painting techniques.
But what if you just want a single color when you're in the Mixer Brush? The normal hold down the Option key doesn't work, so what I've done with this third key, Sample One Color, when I press it, it switches temporarily to the Eye Dropper. So now I can press on a single key, I let that up, and now I'm selecting with a single color. So with this third key on the Wacom tablet, this gives you the ability to sample one color, as well as have the ability to sample multiple colors, and I'll show you in the third movie when we look at the buttons on the barrel of the Wacom pen, how we can even make this a little simpler.
But for now, the idea here is to show you that this third button then gives us the ability to sample one color. So, we've gone ahead now, and we've looked at these four top keys. We're now going to focus on the four bottom keys, and this is where you start to get some control over the behavior of the brush itself. And I'm going to select a different tool here, just to show you what's going on with these tools. When I'm painting, a lot of times I will want to reload my brush, or clean it off, for example, and that's what these keys do.
You can see the first two keys here are to load the brush, and to clean the brush. Now typically, if you wanted to do this the long-handed way, you'd have to go up to your Color Display in the Mixer Brush property bar, and you can see here, you've got Load Brush, and Clean Brush, and so normally these controls are stored here, but for all of these controls I'm putting onto the Wacom tablet, my intention is to minimize the amount of interface time you have to take to go up and select these items.
It interrupts your flow. What I'm trying to do here is keep our workflow fairly centered on the screen, so not having to go up to various parts of the interface makes the workflow much more fluid. So, if I'm painting here, and let's say I pick up multiple colors. And in some cases, I may run out of paint, or I need to reload this. Particularly, let's take something like a dirty brush.
So, let's take the Flat Smeary Dirty brush, and let's just take a look at what this does. So let's say I'm coloring with a brush that is blue, and I happen to go into something like this yellow. Because this is a dirty brush, when I go over here, see how it's contaminated that stroke. Now, there's times when you want that, but let's say you're painting with this brush, and now, you don't want that to happen. If I do Load Brush and click on that, now I'm back to the original color that was on my brush.
So, being able to reload the brush is something you're going to want to do, depending on how the style of the current brush you're using is set up. Also, I may want to clean the brush, and when I clean the brush by clicking that second button, you can see it over here, see how there's no color on there anymore? That's because I've cleaned it, so, it's temporarily become a smeary brush, but as soon as I pick it up and start to paint again, it's back once again to being that dirty brush. So, the two commands of Load Brush and Clean Brush are just shortcuts for being able to temporarily alter the behavior of your brushes.
Now, the other tool I'm going to show you here, and it's going to take a layer here to show you this, is a lot of times, when I'm working with a tool, a lot of times when I'm working with a brush. In this case, I'll be painting, and I'm on a layer, but I may find I want to not only sample this red color on this layer, and if I do right now, if I sample with my multiple colors, what happens is, see, what it did, it only picked up the colors on this layer.
So we have to have some way to be able to sample multiple layers, and as long as you're in the Mixer Brush, right up here there is a command, Sample All Layers. But, once again, just like we were looking at some of the commands earlier, to switch to that means that I've got to interrupt my flow, go up here, turn it on. Now I can sample multiple layers, and when I paint with it, you'll see that both of those colors are in there. However, and this isn't as bad as it used to be, but when you have Sample All Layers turned on, and your'e working on a large, high resolution document, you can find that Sample All Layers being on, when you start painting with it, can really slow down your brushes.
And so, you want a way to very quickly turn this on and off, just to temporarily turn it on, to sample loadable colors, and then be able to immediately turn it off. And that's what this button does, right here, the toggle SAL, which is short for Sample All Colors, allows me to do that. And if we watch up here, I'm going to click it, see how it's off and on? That's all happening now, because I'm doing it from my button. So normally, like I'm saying, I'd probably want to just be not sampling all layers when I'm painting on a multiple- layer environment, but then if I want to be able to quickly sample multiple layers I would click that on, Sample Multiple Colors, shut it off, and now I'm painting with whatever colors I've picked up, as long as I was temporarily in my Sample All Colors mode.
So, once again, this is a quick way to be able to enable and disable Sample All Colors while you're working, and stay within your workflow. The final one we're going to look at is Sharpen Erodible Tip. And to show you that, I'm going to switch over to the Dry Media. So now I'm in the Dry Media Brushes, and let's for example go to the Soft Opaque, and what I want to show you, and let's go ahead and I'll get rid of this layer, and let's clean off the background so we can see this.
So I'm going to go ahead and select a tool here, and I'm also going to temporarily turn on the Brush Heads-up Display. So we'll go around here, and what I want to show you is, when I use erodible media, you can see what's starting to happen in that display. It's starting to wear away the surface of the erodible media. Which means, over time, the shape of this is going to change, and that's one way that this acts like a very traditional media.
The shape is changing over time, but there's times where you're going to want to quickly sharpen it. And typically, we'd have to go, once again, over here, and we can say Sharpen Tip. However, if we go ahead and look at our commands here, Sharpen Erodible Tip is here. So, if I've been eroding this over time, we can watch here, if I click on that, it immediately returns it to its full size. So, the Sharpen Erodible Tips is for use in conjunction with any of the erodible media that you may be working with.
So that covers the ExpressKeys on the Wacom tablet. In the next video, we're going to take a look at the customizations that have been added to the Wacom Touch Ring.
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Digital Painting: Architecture .
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- Q: I'm unable to install the custom Wacom settings included with the exercise files. Any advice on how to load them?
- A: After the course was recorded, we discovered that the Wacom preference files are not cross-platform and are specific to the machine that created them, which limits their use. However, in the exercise files you'll find a PDF labeled Intuos4 Mapping_PS_CS5.pdf; using this document, you can manually enter the settings in the Wacom control panel. Also, please note that the settings are not necessary to complete the course.
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