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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Long Beach, CA
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Lightbulb tips for customizing wacom f-keys?

    Hey, I'm brand new to the whole Painter/tablet scene having just purchased an Intous2 6x8 and Painter 8. I'm not new to illustration or graphic design or computers. I'm pretty confident that I'll figure out the program fairly quickly, but I do have a couple of questions.

    I'm accustomed to using a lot of keyboard shortcuts in other programs like Photoshop, Illustrator or Quark. However, in Painter I would prefer to be able to do all (or most) of my shortcuts using only the tablet and the pen. So, what commands have you assigned to your tablet f-keys in Painter 8? I'm interested in learning which f-key you assigned each command to as well (so I can get a sense of each command's importance).

    I'm also curious about what percentage of zoom you work at and what ppi resolution you use. 300dpi is fairly standard for printing these days, but some printers are switching to presses that can hold 355dpi and I would like to make sure that I archive my work at a high enough resolution to take into account technical advances in the printing industry. As far as zoom goes, working at 100% seems the most logical, but I'm afraid that I will work too small at that size. At the same time, I'm finding that working at, say 30%, that finer brush sizes do not show up well. Perhaps I should sketch loosely with a course brush to start and fade it back as an underlayer, zoom in to 100% and work the details that way? I'm curious to hear other peoples working methods.

    Anyway, any thoughts on this stuff would be appreciated, thanks!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Thanked 197 Times in 170 Posts

    I, too, have an Intuos2 6 x 8 but haven't bothered to program the tablet.

    I program the F and Shift+F keys in Painter to do things. Mainly, I use the F keys to open and close palettes, then use the Shift+F keys for various things, depending on the project. For instance:

    If I'm working with Water Color, I might program the Shift+F keys to do things like Lift Canvas to Water Color Layer, or Wet Entire Water Color Layer, or Dry Water Color Layer.

    If I'm working with the Kaleidoscope Dynamic Plugin, I might program one of the Shift+F keys to File > Clone.

    I use the F keys for palettes because I can click them with my left hand while keeping my pen in the same position, ready to continue whatever I'm doing.

    This also cuts down on the amount of clicking I have to do with my right hand. Continual reaching and clicking hour after hour can quickly become a serious problem, painful, and ultimatly cause me to have to stop working and simply stay away from my computer.

    I think most people work at whatever zoom percentage is convenient at the moment, zooming in and out as needed.

    You won't work in any "DPI" in Painter as that's a term used in printing, meaning dots per inch.

    What you will use is PPI, pixels per inch and the usual recommendation is 300 ppi if you ever intend to print the piece, though that can vary depending on the printer as well as the kind of image it is.

    However, it's best to talk with your print shop to learn what DPI their print machine is capable of handling, the double that number to determine the PPI to use in Painter.

    If you plan to sketch, then paint, place your sketch on a Layer. If it's origiinally done on a white background, change the Layer's Composite Method to Gel or Multiply to make the white background appear transparent. Then you can paint either on the Canvas or on a Layer or multiple Layers below the sketch Layer.

    Good luck learning Painter quickly. It's a very complex program and I've not met a person yet, including the long time writers and professional/expert users who know absolutely everthing about it. I even asked one of the original Painter developers to explain some things about one of the features to me and he told me he couldn't. He then referred to me as the expert on that feature. (NOT!) I did end up figuring things out myself, though, and teaching it to other Painter users. It really tickled me, to say nothing of surprising me, that the developer didn't know that feature through and through. Guess I was expecting too much of one human being.

    It's an exciting and wonderful program, and I'm happy to say it still entertains me and presents new surprises regularly, even after years of using it. Great fun!
    Please do not PM me with Painter questions. Instead, post them here where everyone can benefit from them. Thanks!

    Jinny Brown
    and The PainterFactory

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Long Beach, CA
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Thank you for your helpful reply. I've been fooling around with the f-keys and have found the the most useful way of programming them is through the Wacom Tablet Control Panel. Painter only lets you customize f-keys up to F12, whereas the control panel lets you customize them all.

    So far I've programmed F12-F13 form Zoom In/Zoom Out and F11 for Fit to Screen. F1 is undo. F2 is redo. The others I've started to map to the ToolBox (magnify, select, dropper, etc.). I mapped brush and grabber to the two buttons on the stylus, although I'm now thinking that maybe I should just map them to the FKeys as well.

    By the way, I'm sure you read my post quickly but I actually mentioned PPI myself in the original message.

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