Quick Tips on Using Your Wacom Device for Digital Painting
It’s a good possibility that as a digital artist, your tablet is a critical piece of hardware in your day-to-day work. Whether it's your grip pen, express keys, touch strip or radial menu, each is a powerful feature that will extend the functionality of your Wacom much more than a simple surface for drawing or painting.
To help you start maximizing your Wacom device, here are two quick tips, and a video below, to make the most out of the brush tool inside of Photoshop for digital painting.
Adjusting Your Grip Pen Properties
Using a display or tablet, you can open your Wacom Tablet Properties by simply pressing the hardware button. With the Grip Pen selected in the Tools bar, you can press the + button to the right of the Applications bar and add Photoshop as an application. Now, you can make specific changes to the Grip Pen properties when you’re working in Photoshop.
Of the two buttons on the Grip Pen, by default, one is set to right-click and the other is set to double-click. In Photoshop, a right-click brings up the Brush Preset Picker, which works really well. A double-click; however, doesn’t work so well in Photoshop.
There is a better alternative to the double-click that you will find come in “handy” (forgive the pun). Change the selected choice in the drop-down menu from double-click to keystroke. As a result, a pop-up window will open allowing you to record whatever keystroke you press next. Enter a “space bar press” by hitting the space key on your keyboard and then apply the name Hand Tool. Now, when you’re in Photoshop, you can right-click to grab the Brush Presets, and you can use the other toggle on your grip pen to pan around your canvas.
Increasing and Decreasing the Brush Radius
Keyboard junkies know that you can use the bracket keys to increase and decrease the radius of your brush. They also know that you can hold down the ALT key and right-click. Since you’re reading this, you’re probably not an aspiring keyboard junkie, and so here’s a keyboard-free alternative you’ll love.
In the Wacom Tablet Properties, select Functions in the Tool bar and add Photoshop again to the Application bar. Then, look under the ExpressKeys tab and you’ll see on the Left set of ExpressKeys that the second ExpressKey from the bottom is assigned to the Modifier associated with the ALT key. No changes are needed. That’s exactly what you want.
When you go back to Photoshop, press that same ExpressKey and combine it with the toggle button you applied the right-click to in the tip above. Now you can dynamically increase and decrease the radius of your brush simply by holding down those two buttons on your Wacom hardware. You’re welcome.
Watch the video to see how to implement these quick tips step-by-step for your Wacom device.
Want to fully harness the power of your Wacom tablet? See the complete tutorial featuring dozens of tricks and tips on Maximizing Your Wacom Device for Digital Painting in Photoshop.