How to Use a Pen Tablet in Photoshop

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Pen tablets are one of the greatest weapons in your Photoshop arsenal. Using a pen tablet, you can retouch photos, create original digital artwork and even create your own fonts based on your handwriting. Photoshop works intuitively with a pen tablet, recording all your movements. From the ease of each stroke to the pen pressure you apply, Photoshop will capture even the most subtle commands. This delicate handling of the pen tablet’s functions allows you to create natural-looking artwork and retouches without ever picking up a real pencil.

  • Connect your pen tablet to your computer via its supplied USB tablet.

  • Start the Photoshop program.

  • Create a new document of any size by selecting the "File" option from the top navigation menu and choosing “New.”

  • Select the size settings for your document in the new window that appears and choose “OK.”

  • Choose the “Window” option from the top navigation menu and select “Brushes.”

  • Choose “Shape Dynamics” from the brush option window that appears. “Shape Dynamics” is located on the left hand menu of the Brushes window.

  • Select “Pen Pressure” from the pull down menu labeled “Control.”

  • Click "OK."

  • Begin drawing or retouching with your pen tablet.

Tips & Warnings

  • Anytime you wish to use your mouse in Photoshop, return the settings to their default by accessing the Brushes window and selecting the default settings.
  • It will take some time to adjust to using your pen tablet if you’ve been using your mouse for some time. Familiarize yourself with the pen tablet’s sensitivities before beginning any in-depth projects.
  • This article was written for use with Adobe Photoshop 7.0 or higher.
  • Photo Credit Ciaran Griffin/Lifesize/Getty Images
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