Jan (cartoonwolf) wrote,
Jan
cartoonwolf

Wacom pressure tweak/hack

This is one of the essential tweaks I make in order to make my Wacom tablet work better.

For years, I found myself pressing too hard on the Wacom stylus in order to get thick/opaque lines in Photoshop, no matter what the "Tip Feel" setting in the driver is set to.  That's because the "Tip Feel" adjusts the intermediate softness/firmness pressure values, not the minimum/maximum.



I wanted to reduce the maximum pressure value... to save my wrist!  (Corel Painter and TVPaint allows you to do this, but not Photoshop.)  I searched around a bit, and found that you can indeed adjust the min/max via a preference file tweak.  Here's the thread that discusses this tweak: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=154862

And here's a nice utility that applies the tweak for you:
http://www.lab.envirex.cz/?page_id=3

Before that utility was available, the tweak had to be applied manually, and it helps to know how it works.  Here's how to do it in Windows XP:

1. Quit all applications using the tablet, and stop the Wacom driver.  Either:
   - Open a command prompt, and type sc stop tabletservicewacom
   - Go to Start --> Settings --> Control Panel --> Administrative Tools --> Services.  Select TabletServiceWacom and click Stop the service

2. Locate the Wacom preference file.  On Windows XP, it's C:\Document and Settings\<Your user name>\Application Data\WTablet\Wacom_Tablet.dat

3. Open Wacom_Tablet.dat in a plain text editor, like Notepad

4. Locate the lines that read PressureCurveControlPoint 40 0 512 512 1023 1023
The six numbers are actually 3 pairs of (input, output) coordinates -- (40, 0), (512, 512), and (1023, 1023).  The input is the physical pressure reading from the stylus, ranging from 0 to 1023.  The output is what the driver reports the pressure to Photoshop, ranging from 0 to 1023.  If you graphed it out, it would look like this:


I wanted to reduce the maximum input pressure to about 75% of the original, so multiply the input values by 0.75.  That would make the graph look like this:


5. So, let's change the input values.  Change all the occurrences found in step #4 to PressureControlPoint 40 0 384 512 768 1023 (leave the first coordinate at (40, 0) to prevent the stylus from accidentally picking up very light clicks)

6. Save the file, and exit Notepad

7. Start the Wacom driver.  Either:
   - Open a command prompt, and type sc start tabletservicewacom
   - Go to Start --> Settings --> Control Panel --> Administrative Tools --> Services.  Select TabletServiceWacom and click Start the service

Now go give Photoshop a spin.  Less hand strain!

N.B. If you're using Corel Painter, move the "Pressure Scale" slider to the left to decrease the max input pressure value:
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