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Product Review: Intuos5 From Wacom

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If you use a product like Adobe Photoshop, or Corel Painter, and you are not using a pen tablet, then you don’t really understand what you are missing. A pen tablet allows you much more control than you can get with a mouse. It gives you much more efficiency in your movement and the pressure sensitivity gives you the same kind of control that you would get from a pen, pencil, or paint brush.

The Intuos5 Touch, the latest release from Wacom, consists of a digitized pad that plugs in to the USB port on your computer and a digital pen that works in tandem with the pad. Your computer then treats the device as though it were a mouse. There is also an optional RF add-on that can make your tablet wireless.

Through the use of a product like Photoshop CS5 or Painter you can take advantage of the rich technology that the pad enables. Using the pen you can draw or paint within your application, you can apply more or less pressure which translates to various thicknesses in the case of painting or drawing, and this gives you much more control than you would ever get from a mouse.FDFF172FB2F840399DF37586A744CE49.ashx

There was a time when the pen tablet was geared just for the commercial artist. They were expensive and the limited amount of software that was enabled to use the device was also geared toward the professional. With the Intuos line, this began to change and especially with the introduction of the Intuos3 which, along with being reasonably priced, also had more products to work with, now had even more traditional artists, photographers, and graphics designers getting in on this technology.

Now enter the Intuos5 line of pen tablets. Not only has the price remained reasonable, but the quality of the product has improved dramatically. Continuing on with the improvements that came with the Intuos4 – the total shape and surface were completely re-engineered, but now they have added new touch controls, redesigned how the buttons work, and, the capability of being wireless.

I have worked with both the Intuos3 and 4 (the 6 x 8 inch medium tablet) for a number of years and it has become a mainstay in my workflow. Early on that workflow was primarily photography where it has helped me with things like dodge, burn, sharpen, and blur effects and many other techniques using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Over the course of the last couple of years, I have added Painter to my arsenal as well Adobe After Effects and would be hard pressed not having a Wacom tablet with both of those programs as well. The amount of control you have over your work is just phenomenal.PTH650_1.ashx

In the new Intuos5 line the tablet sizes are small (6.2 x 3.9), medium (8.8 x 5.5), and large (12.8 x 8.0). For those who still need an extra-large (18.2 12.0), the Intuos4 is still available. The one I now have is the medium and it is the same size as my Intuos4. For those who still use the Intuos3, this is a tad bit smaller on the overall area, but as I realized with the longer width and smaller height is that it works better with my wide screen monitor.

What do you need to run the Wacom Intuos5?

• Windows XP (SP2), Windows Vista, or Mac OS X10.4.8+.
• Color Display.
• Powered USB Port.
• CD/DVD Drive.
• Internet connection to download the bundled software that comes with the tablet.

What do you get with the Wacom Intuos5?
• The Intuos5 tablet.
• The Intuos5 Grip Pen.
• Pen stand.
• Ten replacement nibs (five standard, one flex, one stroke, and three hard felt nibs).
• Nib extractor.
• 5′ USB cable.
• Quick start Guide.
• Installation CD (includes tablet driver software and electronic user manual).

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.