Archive for February, 2009

Using Wacom Cintiq & Intuos

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

I love my Wacom Cintiq as I loved my Intuos 3 tablet before it. When I first got the Cintiq I read a lot of comments from people who loved their new Cintiq so much they were immediately consigning their Intuos to eBay or FreeCycle (or - heaven forfend! - the trash), and this really bothered me as I dearly loved my Intuos setup which it had taken me ages to get just right. The Intuos is also a much bigger area than the Cintiq (I only got the little one) so as excited as I was didn't want to let it go. But being the 'have my cake AND eat it' kind of person that I am, I decided to keep both!

  • Although Wacom don't advertise two tablets as being a viable option - it is! The same Wacom driver works for both devices and is happy to let you set them up with different settings.

    The Wacom control panel app allows you to setup the Cintiq and the Intuos independently which I've found really useful. I have my pen set up to work on the cintiq screen area only (because you point at the screen to use it - you may need think about this for a second if you don't have a Cintiq of your own) but as soon as I move that same pen onto the Intuos tablet it gives me immediate access the entire desktop area across all three monitors - great for multi-tasking as I don't need to go scrabbling for my mouse. Also within Photoshop you only pull just the workspace area onto the Cintiq, leaving all the other controls, history palette, layers palette etc back on your main monitor. Ordinarily to access those settings the Cintiq comes with a monitor switching button but I don't use this as I find it interupts my workflow too much - as does scrabbling for the mouse. What's great about having my old Intuos right alongside the Cintiq is that every time I need to change color or function in one of the palettes in Photoshop I can do it with the same pen just by moving it onto the Intuos.

  • The button layout on the Cintiq is similar to the Intuous so by having both I doubled the number of buttons. If you use the default button layout for Photoshop it is mainly modifier keys, which I don't find that useful. So I've always set it up to change functions in Photoshop which lets me work faster. In order to use the Cintiq I have to pull it into my keyboard's normal position on the desktop, so functions that would once have best been performed by shortcut keys (for example, b for brush, d for default, x to swap colors etc etc) are more difficult. Having twice the number of buttons between the Cintiq and the Intuos is therefore very useful!
    Here's my button layout with the Cintiq on the left and Intuos on the right as it appears on my desk when I'm working. I realize the button setup is a very personal thing, so this is what works for me, yours would be different, but it demonstrates the benefits of using both tablets together.
    My Cintiq and Intuos button setup (Cintiq on the left)
  • The pens for the Intuos work on the Cintiq which is good as it doubled my pens straightaway. Voila double the settings options!
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