March 10, 2016

Speed Up Your Retouching with Intuos Pro

With over a decade of experience working with Wacom technology, the Intuos Pro has become an integral part of Tigz Rice entire workflow. Setting the industry standard for detail, precision and efficiency in re-touching, here’s an insight into how the Intuos Pro plays a vital role in her post-production workflow.

In addition, Tigz Rice will be offering a series of live demonstrations of her re-touching workflow on the Wacom stand at The Photography Show 2016. For more information and timetables, click here.

1. Pick your image

After a shoot, all the images are imported into Lightroom for post-production. The first thing I need to do is filter out the best images, which can be done in multiple ways, including the Pick and Reject method. The shortcuts for Pick (P) and Reject (X) are at opposite ends of the keyboard, which for my small hands is a bit of a stretch, meaning I was often having to look down at the keyboard and reset my fingers on the correct buttons. If I was going through the images with a client, it also meant explaining what the shortcut keys did. Instead, I have the top two ExpressKeys on my Intuos Pro programmed with the P and X shortcuts so they are next toeach other and easy to find for clients. Onan average shoot, this simple switch could save me a few minutes.

ExpressKeys are simple to set up and can be done in System Prefer-ences. Click on Functions > ExpressKeys and either choose an option from the dropdown menu of suggested shortcuts, or assign your own cus-tom Keystroke as I have done above.

2. Map to screen

Once the best images are chosen, I can start to make the necessary adjustments to my chosen selection of images in Lightroom’s Develop module. With the Intuos Pro’s default settings offering a ‘map to screen’ functionality, my hand instinctively knows that it needs to travel to the right hand side of the tablet to access the sliders, rather than panning around the screen with a mouse or trackpad trying to get the cursor into the right place. Using the Wacom pen also gives me pinpoint precision and smooth adjustments on Lightroom sliders.

3. Customize buttons for easy access

Not everything in my retouching workflow can be done in Lightroom, so I need to make use of Adobe’s dynamic link to Photoshop. As with all software packages, some features in Lightroom - such as the extended ‘Edit In’ menu - don’t actually have shortcuts available and rely on right click sub-menus.

There are two buttons on the side of the Wacom Intuos Pro pen that can be customised - the lower of the two (nearest the nib) is by default set as right click. I rely on this shortcut button quite heavily throughout my entire workflow.

4. Gestures

Photoshop is where I get a bit more involved with my images, spending time cleaning up any including fly away hairs, spots and the occasional fire exit sign. I always take a close up look at these specific areas of my image first, using the Touch features of the Intuos Pro to zoom into the area in more detail. If you’ve used a generic smartphone or a tablet before, the Standard Gestures built into the Wacom Intuos Pro are very similar, including zoom, scroll and rotate.

There are 13 Standard Gestures in total, along with an additional 5 customisable Gestures, built into the Wacom Intuos Pro range. A full list of them - along with some helpful gesture demonstration animations - can be found in your Wacom Preferences Window under Touch > Standard Gestures.

5. Get editing

Once I’ve looked at the area in more details, its time to get editing in Photoshop. Most commonly I will reach for the Healing Tool first, turning on the Use Pen Pressure For Size option in the menu. (There’s also a shortcut icon next to Sample All Layers) This allows the Intuos Pro’s 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity to control the size ofmy brush without having to constantly scale the brush up and down for individual areas of retouching. A soft touch will result in a smaller healing selection, whilst a firm touch will fill the entire brush radius. This pen pressure feature also works with a wide range of tools including the Brush, Eraser, Clone, Heal, Dodge and Burn Tools.

6. Using the touch ring

On the occasions where I do actually need to go in and alter my brush size, the Touch Ring on the Intuos Pro offers a fast resize option without needing to go into any of the brush sub menus. Rotate clockwise to enlarge the brush size and anticlockwise to reduce the brush size.

7. Setting up express keys

Whilst retouching, I sometimes need to rely on the Undo command to take a step or two back in my workflow. However, the shortcut for repeatedly stepping back in Lightroom is CMD+Z, whilst Photoshop is CMD + ALT + Z. One of the great features of the Intuos Pro is that is allows a different set of ExpressKeys (as well as My Gestures and On-Screen Con-trols) for each of my software packages. Once again, this can all be programmed in Wacom Preferences by clicking on the plus icon next to the Applications ba rto add in details for additional software packages. Plus, I don’t need to worry about forgetting what all the ExpressKeys are set to, because the Intuos Pro has a has a handy Heads Up Display feature toremind me.

8. Setting up shortcuts

As for that second button on the Intuos Pro pen, this is where I keep all my processing actions, such as Dodge & Burn, Sharpen and handy links to tools like Liquify. Many of these processes involve the creation ofmul-tiple layers, so the ability to automate them at the click of a button signifi-cantly reduces the amount of time I need to spend in post-production overall. Under Functions > On-Screen Controls, I can set up a Radial Menu containing 8 of my favourite shortcuts and processes as before, which can be accessed at the click of a button.

For serious shortcut lovers who may want space for even more shortcuts, the On-Screen Controls will also allow for have sub-menus within the ra-dial menu, branching out into another 8 shortcuts. In fact, itis possible tohave all Photoshop shortcuts accessible from just the one pen button alone.

9. Save and Export

Finally, once I’m happy with my image, I can Save my image back into Lightroom by clicking onmy Save (CMD + S) ExpressKey on the Intuos Pro and then use my Right Click button on the pen back in Lightroom to start an Export preset running.

About Tigz Rice

My name is Tigz Rice and I am a photographer, retoucher and self-confessed lingerie addict based in the UK. I founded Tigz Rice Studi-osin 2009 as place for my adventures in photography to call home. Originally finding my niche in the burlesque and cabaret industry, mysignature style has evolved throughout the years to lend elements ofvintage glamour and theatrical grandeur to the world of haute cou-ture, contour fashion and luxury lingerie.

As a self confessed girl geek, technological experimentation and evo-lution plays an important role inmy post production. My first ever Wacom tablet - the Intuos 3 - was an early birthday present from myparents back in 2005, after having discovered the company whilst attending a trade show in London. Wacom had won me over instantly that day with the ability to work with my left hand on the tablet. Being a leftie, I’d spent over a decade trying to train my non-dominant right hand tobeas functional and skilled with a mouse, but had never real-ly managed to achieve results that were good enough. Asit turned out, the issue was never really about my non-dominant hand, but the quality of the tools used.

When introduced to the precision and efficiency of Wacom technolo-gy, the difference in the quality ofmy work was instantly noticeable. That Wacom tablet travelled back and forth with meto college, uni-versity and future freelancing jobs, before upgrading to the Intuos 4,Intuos 5 and now the Intuos Pro, which has pride of place in the cen-tre ofmy studio desk, enduring a full 8 (probably more like 12) hours of post production and admin every day.

 

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