PI6 QuickTip #14: Getting the Most From Your Graphire

If you've splurged on a Wacom Drawing Tablet but aren't getting the results you want from it, here are some tips on making it work optimally for you.

Start by setting the controls under File, Preferences, General (F6), and click Tools.

File, Preferences, Tools

In the Tablet section, set Stroke smoothness and Pressure sensitivity to Best. The default is Fair. You will see a world of difference in your pen's responsivity by selecting Best. No more broken or invisible lines when you draw! You don't have to set your Painting Cursor to Precise shape, but if you do it will be a lot easier to see the exact shape and size of your Retouch, Paint or Clone tool's brush. Click OK to close the Preferences box.

Now when you vary the pressure on your pen, you will be able to vary line thickness much more easily. In the example shown below, notice how the very light pressure on the left yields a thin, almost transparent line. As pressure is increasingly added to the right, the line becomes thicker and more opaque.

little to more pressure, left to right

Here's another tip that you might find useful. When you create your new file for painting or drawing, set the resolution to 300 dpi (or higher), even if you're making a web image. Having more pixels per inch makes for smoother lines and easier transitions when you change directions. 

To prove it to yourself, open two images 300 X 100 pixels, one at 300 dpi and the other at 96 dpi. Write your name across each one with the Pencil Paint tool, 2B Pencil Preset. You should find it much easier to write in a straight line and with smoother curves in the 300 dpi image.

Finally, choose Start, Settings, Control Panel and find the Wacom Tablet icon. Double click to open a dialog box from which you can tweak and fine tune the drawing tablet and pen features.

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