Using Wacom Intuos 3 with Photoshop (ExpressKeys and Touchstrip)

April 4th, 2007 by Kat Kingsley-Hughes

Expresskeys setup for PhotoshopI said in an earlier post that I was experimenting with speeding up my workflow in Photoshop by making more use of the keyboard shortcuts and that I would write more as well about using the Wacom tablet’s built in buttons (called ExpressKeys).  These are a group of buttons on either side of the active area of the graphics tablet and the idea is that you use your dominant hand with the Intuos pen (or mouse) and your other hand on these buttons (hence there is a set either side, but that’s not to say that you can’t use both sets if you prefer).

After experimenting for a while the way that I’ve found most useful with the Express Key buttons so far is in the following configuration (shown in the photo above):

  • Two buttons set to [ and ] keystrokes in order to increase/decrease brushsize – this works quite well and is much quicker than the right click (on the pen) provided that I do not need to change the pen hardness at the same time
  • One button set to the keystroke Control D – this allows me to quickly deselect any previous selections that I’ve made using for example the magic wand tool or the lasso.
  • One button set to the ALT modifier – this is most handy when selecting a source, such as when clicking to choose the area you wish to clone stamp from or when setting the source point for the healing brush.

These settings can all be programmed through the [tag]Wacom[/tag] Tablet Properties which you will find in Control Panel. 

Expresskeys Setup in control panel - click for larger image (click for larger image)

Also on the Intuos are the touch strips (again one either side), which by default are set up to enable you to very quickly zoom in and zoom out in [tag]Photoshop[/tag].  This is somewhat useful but it zooms in on the center of the screen which means that you still have to do a lot of panning to locate the part you really want to zoom in on. 

Touchstrip Setup in control panel - click for larger image (click for larger image)

Again this is setup in Wacom Tablet Properties which you will find in Control Panel. Click on the Advanced Options to set the action for press and hold at the ends of the touch strip and also to set the touchstrip on the dominant hand side to only work off the pen touching the strip (rather than your finger, as most often you will have the pen in this hand).

Intuos Touchstrip Advanced setup in Control Panel | Wacom Tablet Properties

Buy a [tag]Wacom Graphics Tablet[/tag]Wacom Intuos 3 A4
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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 at 12:02 am and is filed under Hardware, Software. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

7 Responses to “Using Wacom Intuos 3 with Photoshop (ExpressKeys and Touchstrip)”

  1. Speeding up workflow with Photoshop Shortcut keys » Vexentricity Says:

    […] « DST starts early! Using Wacom Intuos 3 with Photoshop (ExpressKeys and Touchstrip) » […]

  2. Alex Says:

    When I program the keys to act as wand, eyedropper, undo, etc, they all work fine – except for the brush (b). It refuses to let me reprogram the top right button. It must fuction as the pen tool (p). It will not accept any other function. XP never did this to me so I think it’s another annoying Vista glitch

  3. Alex Says:

    Wow, I’ve never in my life found a solution to a problem that quickly. In case anyone’s having the same problem as me, go to Control Panel – System – Device Manager – Human Interface Devices – and turn off the Wacom Virtual HID Driver. You don’t have to reboot even though it will whine to you about how it needs to.

  4. georgios petridis Says:

    when I use the ”magic wand tool” or the ”lasso tool” in photoshop the picture shaking(flipping) and if I zoom out and save then it stops. after wile it does it again. What can I do?

  5. HalloDieMama Says:

    Why not only bind the modifier keys (ALT SHIFT CTRL) to the wacom express keys?
    My setup for wacom + PS is:

    lower Wacom Express Key is SPACE (most needed key in PS)
    the other three are ALT SHIFT CTRL

    The touch strips can be used for zooming and changing brush size if needed
    (just bind the bracket key to one of the touch strips)

    alternatively I change brush size and hardnes with ALT + Klick + Mouse left/right or up/down

  6. Seraki Says:

    I cannot for the world of me get the change brush size to work, I assign a keystroke to the touchstrip, [ and ] but it just doesn’t work. instead of using the ] function, photoshop just tries to use ctrl and alt and 9, all at the same time, which results in the cursor rapidly changing between eyedropper tool and what not..

  7. Vexentrix Says:

    I assigned a numerical keystroke in the end. I find it handy to have the keyboard nearby and just use the number keys to type in the shortcuts

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