To make digital analog of some natural process you need to keep key points on this process unchanged or as close to original as possible. Art is a good example of previously totally natural process that took new branch in digital world. So in this topic I will tell you about one of the best digital drawing solution on the market along with technologies that makes this solution so great. Also this topic contains detailed guide about setup and tweak of this device.
From my opinion "Wacom Intuos Pro L" for now is one of the best digital drawing solution on the market for money which is superior even his oldest brothers with screens and in this chapter I will try to explain main conception of it.
This is a peripheral device and it looks like a board with drawing surface that connecting to the host device like PC/Laptop/Tablet. While you are working with it you are looking on your main devices screen but actual drawing process happens on the tablet surface where you are making input with digitizer pen.
Yes it's screenless and usually people thinking that natural-like drawing on such kind of device is impossible. There is misconception that if you do not see your physical pen tip during drawing it's become inconvenient to draw. The truth is that cursor on the screen that response on your hand gestures is pretty enough for your brain to be deceived and feel process as natural as you are drawing directly on the screen. Only one big mistake that you can make here is to keep your drawing tablet not in the parallel to the screen... it ruins all the magic and cause lots of discomfort.
The main parameter that meters here is actual size of drawing area. If you want more natural experience in digital drawing you need big active area. Not as big as your actual screen, but big enough to draw with whole hand starting from shoulder instead of making small and fuzzy movement with you wrist.
In short - it doesn't matter where your hand is, what matters is how it moves.
The truth is that EMR (Electromagnetic Resonance) technology presented by Wacom company is the oldest one that and it's still the best one. Its perfection in simplicity and this is one of the greatest examples when we are saying that less means more. So let me tell you how it works.
This technology based on electromagnetism. Sensor surface have a lot of small separate transmitters and pen has a coil inside its nib. Transmitters creates electromagnetic field around drawing surface and when we bring pen nib close to this field if becomes part of electromagnetic chain where energy goes though the pen circuitry. So by processing of data from this multiple transmitters its detecting precise position of pen over drawing surface.
But position detection is only half of a deal. Pen tip itself looks like a small piece of plastic that inserts in the hole inside pen nib with coil about we are talked earlier. By pressing on tip it mechanically transfers this pressure on one small moving anchor behind coil. Anchor goes up and down inside and changes its properties. So when transmitters detecting coil to recognize position they are also take readings about pressure that was applied on pen tip.
Even more. Who said that we can have only one coil inside pen nib. Position of two coils on the same axis at different distances from the surface can be detected separately and by calculating this data from both of them we can detect amount of pen tilt.
Some pen models even have third coil to transfer axis rotation data. It's not perfect but still.
It's hard to believe but all this communicating between pen an drawing surface happens in totally passive way because electromagnetic field strong enough to feed the pen with energy so pen do not need any additional built-in power source. It helps to make pen balanced and handling of it natural.
Electromagnetic field even strong enough to recognize pen at the distance of 15mm from the drawing surface without need to touch it with pen tip. So when your palm that holding pen hovering over drawing surface you can see moving cursor on your host device screen directly on the point above which the pen tip is located.
Drawing surface and pen communicate on particular frequency and this means that the drawing surface can only recognize the pen and does not respond to other objects including your skin. It means absolute palm rejection. So you can freely move your hand over drawing surface without afraid to put some accidental strokes on the drawing.
Combination of screen-less construction with big drawing area along with EMR multi-coiled technology - this is what "Wacom Intuos Pro L" is. In this part I will explain what makes this combination perfect.
As you see EMR looks like a great technology where all features plays in harmony with each other. But even here we have few cons.
Parallax effect and edge shifting... this is the main problems of EMR technology. Fortunately both of them appears only in devices with screens. In EMR technology drawing surface is not a transparent layer - it's a separate plate with lots of electronics on it and it can't be placed over screen. So if we have construction with screen we need to put drawing surface under it and this is where problem starts. Thickness of the screen itself and air gap between glass and matrix of the screen cause static errors in communication between drawing surface and pen and as the result can play negative role in accuracy and precision of drawing.
But "Wacom Intuos Pro L" have screenless construction and it makes this two cons not relevant for this device. So we have perfect technology with few restrictions and construction of device help's to avoid this restrictions! As the result we have perfect device for natural-like drawing with extreme accuracy and pinpoint precision without lag, errors and almost without jitter.
Yes, you can still have doubts about screenless construction, and I can't change your mind here so just try how it goes on more simple Chinese analog with more simple construction that recognize only pressure sensitivity but with big drawing area. I think it will be enough to crash your doubts and proof what i's saying in the beginning.
The screenless design itself looks like a limitation, but in fact it helps you to get rid of a number of them. When you are working on drawing devices with built in screen you are always have limitation in size and quality of this screens and with screenless design you can use your lovely 27inch monitor with perfect color reproduction. I think it's better than staring in 15inch. Also you do not have any limitation in computing power like it is with self-standing drawing devices.
I hope I was able to bring my main idea and also I hope my simplified description about technical part was interesting for you. And this part will be useful for people who already have this device and want to get maximum from it in perspective of natural-like digital drawing. I will try to gather here all actual tweaks and update them time to time to keep information actual.
Ah, yeah - one more thing... please keep you tablet connected during this changes, because some of this options and sections appears only when you have device connected to your PC.
1. Disabling default Windows 10 touch and drawing features
Windows 10 itself is a cross-platform OS so it has a lot of tablets features. But we simply do not need them. Most of the time they are ruining everything and interfere with work of "Wacom" drivers. So let's get rid from them.
First at all let's disable strange default Windows visualizations, like annoying cursor rings.
[WIN + X] > Windows PowerShell (Admin) > *type "control panel"* > [Enter] > Pen and Touch
Untick "Use the pen button as a right-click equivalent" and "Use the top of the pen to erase ink" check-boxes under "Pen buttons" section.
Select "Press and hold" from the list of "Pen actions" and press "Settings...".
Untick "Enable press and hold for right-clicking" check-box.
Press "OK".
Apply > OK
Bye-bye annoying circles under cursor!
Now let's suppress "Windows Ink" features in as much as possible. I know it's not actual anymore, but just in case.
Windows > Settings > Devices > Pen & Windows Ink
In "Pen" section untick all this "Show Visual Effects", "Show cursor" and "Ignore touch input when I'm using my pen".
Finally let's disable "Windows Ink" completely.
Wacom Tablet Properties > *select your pen* > Mapping
Untick "Use Windows Ink" check-box.
And that's all - no more weird behaving of "Windows Ink" middleware.
2. Advanced lag reduction
There is one interesting trick to reduce lag during drawing even more. But it's required changing of register so you are doing this at your risk.
[WIN + X] > Windows PowerShell (Admin) > *type "regedit"* > [Enter]
Proceed to: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\TouchPrediction
Select "Latency" key, press [Right Mouse Button] and click on "Modify...", change "Value data" to "2" and hit "OK".
Select "SampleTime" key, press [Right Mouse Button] and click on "Modify...", change "Value data" to "2" and hit "OK".
*reboot your PC*
And I can confirm that it's really works for me and especially noticeable on monitors with high refresh rate.
3. Drawing area aspect ratio and alignment
If you are using FullHD monitor it means that it's aspect ratio is equal to 16:9. And drawing tablets usually are bigger in vertical. By default Wacom driver fitting this two areas to cover both completely. And it means that in this case we have distortion in drawing lines... for example if you are drawing perfect circle on the tablet actually you are getting ellipse on your canvas. To reproduce your drawing gestures as accurately as possible we need to keep aspect ratio of both areas at the same value equal to your screen.
By default Wacom driver has this possibility.
Wacom Tablet Properties > *select your pen* > Mapping
Tic "Force proportion" check-box.
Now drawing area aspect ratio on the tablet is equal to aspect ratio of your monitor and we have big inactive area in the bottom.
I think that better to spread this inactive area equally between top and bottom of the tablet.
Wacom Tablet Properties > *select your pen* > Mapping
In "Tablet Area" drop-down select "Portion".
In "Portion of Tablet" window we can determine actual size of the active tablet area in lines by looking at the maximum values of the "Right" and "Bottom" points.
So I made some simple calculations.
Lines in tablet: 62200 x 43200
Target aspect ratio: 16 x 9
Lines per part: 62200/16 = 3887.5
Parts in tablet vertically: 43200/3887.5 = ~11.11
Tablet aspect ratio: 16 x 11.11
Difference between monitor and tablet aspect ratio: 11.11 - 9 = 2.11
Spacing in parts: 2.11 / 2 = 1.055
Spacing in lines: 3887.5 * 1.055 = ~4101
Value to set: 4100
So now we can set this value into "Top" field.
Now active drawing area aligned vertically in the middle and its aspect ratio is equal to aspect ratio of your monitor.
Ok, so in the future I have plans to add some data about hardware improvements, but for now that's all.
Thank you.
ULITIMATE WACOM TWEAKS FOR WINDOWS USERS – NO MORE LAGS! - I took some data about software tweaks from here and improve it a little bit by structuring and some explanations. Really great topic.
Wacom Digitizer Implementation Guide - I took screenshot with principal scheme of EMR technology from this documentation.
Created by TennojiM
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