Starting out with Photoshop and a graphics tablet

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Stardotboy, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. Stardotboy macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2008
    Manchester, UK
    I've been itching to do some drawing and painting for a while as I haven't done any for a few years, but I currently don't have the living space to store much equipment - so this weekend I had the idea of unleashing some of my creative energies via my iMac!

    The tools I have at my disposal are:
    - Wacom Bamboo tablet (just ordered, arriving this week)
    - Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CS3
    - My trusted 24" iMac
    - Two hands (steady)
    - Two eyes (some wear and tear but decent working order)

    What I was really looking for here was some tips to help me (or anyone else starting out in a similar position) break into this world of computer assisted graphics. I've used Photoshop before for fairly light-duty image manipution, but have never faced starting with a blank canvas before - something of a daunting prospect.

    My current concerns, in no particular order, are:
    - What's the best way of learning how to best use the features in Photoshop? Is it worth picking up a book about it or just going for the trial and error approach?
    - Are there any great tutorials on the internet for using a graphics tablet and photoshop for drawing/painting on the net that I've missed? So far the ones I've come across have been a little lacklustre.
    - Is Photoshop the best software to use for this kind of thing if you're using a graphics tablet for input?
    - Can you recommend any sites to share drawings, tips and tricks?

    Any help would be much appreciated - wish me luck :)
  2. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    does the bamboo come with any software, I know my intuos came with a version of painter. This is more natural painting style of approach and may be worth playing with. It will probably take you a few days to get to grips with the eyes not looking where the pen is so to speak.

    As to photoshop - personally I like to get a program and just have a play around at first. Then if I can't figure out how to do something I read the instruction manual, failing that a google for (example) photoshop tablet techniques ends up being a good course of action :D

    Link to a quick help page so to speak
  3. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    The old ones did, I have no idea if bamboo does. Intuos and bluetooth graphire did.

    Try tracing a few things to get an idea how the pen works.
  4. jerryrock macrumors 6502


    Sep 11, 2007
    Amsterdam, NY
    If drawing and painting are your goals, Photoshop is not the program for you. Corel Painter X is the best fit for what you want to accomplish. Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard for vector art. These programs can be daunting to learn and I would recommend a book such as:

    Adobe Press- Illustrator CS3 Classroom in a Book
  5. InLikeALion macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2007
    Greener places than I used to live
    Ditto on Painter X and Illustrator.

    However, I would recomend getting a (or membership. You pay $25 a month and get access to hundreds of online video tutorials, covering many subjects and software titles.

    My vote is for finding some sort of video tut. over buying a book. Even though I do buy books on design and web coding, etc, I find that video is a quicker and easier medium for learning on-screen tasks/skills.
  6. aldog macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2007
    I'm a photoshop man myself, I've always found it the best. Gimp is also a good program for digital art, but I wouldn't use it for website building, or basically anything but drawing, but it's free, and very nice. is the best site I've seen for artists, great feedback for the most part and tons of tutorials. is also great for those 2 things, but moreso for tutorials than feedback, because it can take a while before people start commenting on your work.
    That's about 1/10th of my stuff on there, I have lapses where I don't upload anything because I already spent so much time uploading my wip's to sites like cgtalk and amateur illustrator for feedback that by the time it's done i'm done with it all together.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    There are two version of the Bamboo. One with and one without the software for $100 or $60 respectively.

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