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Thread: Wacom pen tips

  1. #1

    Wacom pen tips

    I just set up my new wacom cintiq companion and I think I may need a wacom for idiots tutorial. I'm not sure how to program the pen and other controls to work most effectively with artrage. I wonder if any of you could share some tips with me. Maybe there are previous posts you could direct me to. I'm not finding the manual very useful since it doesn't give any specific examples.
    Salubria

  2. #2
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    Hi Snickelson,

    Gratz on your CC!!

    The reason Wacom probably avoid giving specific examples is that customizing your Wacom product is all about personalisation and they might not wish to steer people into thinking there's a 'right way', as which shortcuts to set up will vary from application to application and from artist to artist.

    A person using the paintbrush in Artrage might not need an undo shortcut as they can paint out their mistakes, but a hardcoded undo might be critical to someone who inks.

    How you setup your CC for a certain program will require you to think of your typical studio session within that product and examine what commands or features you use most often and then decide if a shortcut (tablet buttons, pen buttons, on screen buttons, radial menu) would speed up your workflow.

    As an example, I typically use a dirty oil brush in Artrage. I find it slows me down to have my hand travel from where I'm painting to the water glass to clean it all the time. I can't move the water glass to where I work and I can't access the water glass at all when working in the more tablet friendly workbench mode. So this is an ideal candidate for me to have as a shortcut specific to the artrage application. I can setup using any method offered (pen button, tablet button, radial menu item, onscreen button), it is up to me where I prefer to have it. I find it suits me to have the top button on the tablet act as the water glass when I'm within the Artrage application, so I set that up. Now when I paint with my right hand I can keep my left hand resting on this button and clean the brush more efficiently.

    Another shortcut I find crucial to my painting workflow is to have the right and left rocker controls resize my brush up and down respectively. I tried this as an onscreen touch slider but for me it seemed to be 'in my way' and lifting my pen up to use the touch didn't feel right for me so I prefer it to be on the hardware rocker buttons.

    Zoom in/out is nice as a touch screen slider but could also be set up on the rocker wheel, the pen rocker button, two of the hardware buttons or as two onscreen touch buttons depending on ones preference. I don't set zoom for Artrage, I prefer the drag up/down live zoom of the Workbench mode.

    On a tablet, being able to work 'keyboard free' is important to me and helps me determine what I need to shortcut.

    The following video from Wacom takes you over the 'how to' for a cintiq 13hd. The tablet properties for this driver is very similar and most of the setup methods you will use are covered in this video. It does not cover the touch part, but Artrage only supports Windows touch gestures so set it up to use those.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63jmK_flFVA

    This second video covers the setup for the onscreen touch controls for the CCH. Setup is the same for the CC.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGho40iAVQw

    In General:-

    Anything that can be a keyboard shortcut can be configured as a tablet shortcut. If there is no shortcut for the function you wish to call, open the Artrage keyboard shortcut preferences and see if you can create a custom keyboard shortcut for that function. You can then reference the new custom shortcut from the Wacom tablet properties.

    The radial menu is best for things that are tucked away in program menus. For example you could create a custom pie slice called 'layers' and put your most used layer functions within that submenu. You can use this feature to replace all of your needed menu commands if your software allows you to work with the menu's and palettes hidden. Personally I don't use this one in Artrage as I find working with the program menu's is faster for me, especially in workbench mode.

    If you use the radial menu or onscreen touch controls you will need to dedicate a button on either the tablet or pen to call the radial menu and a button to toggle the onscreen controls.

    What makes you comfortable and productive is what is right. Some people like a pen button to have undo mapped to it, some like it on the default right-click, others like the eyedropper tool (alt) so they can sample from their image quickly as they paint and some people disable this button altogether because they accidently lean on it all the time or because they want to hold their stylus like a brush. It will take a little experimentation to find what works for you.
    Last edited by Juz; 06-21-2014 at 11:37 PM.
    "I paint because I love to cut mats" (Arthur Alexander)

  3. #3
    Thanks so much for all of this information. I'm starting to get the hang of it. The videos were useful as well as the examples you gave about your own set ups for artrage. I've now managed to set a couple of my own including an express key that allows me to draw a straight line. I'm still struggling with the on screen keyboard that doesn't allow me to enter some commands as key strokes. (The control key, for example).
    Maybe I need to buy the Bluetooth keyboard that wacom sells for use with there products. Or maybe I'm missing something. Anyway, thanks again.
    Salubria

  4. #4
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    Actually I think you've found something Snickelson.

    I went in and revisted the touch controls on mine after your last post and it seems for whatever reason Wacom have chosen not to allow modifier keys to be mapped in the onscreen controls.

    Edit: After thinking about this I realized they cant possibly allow mod keys as touch buttons as the pen and the touch can't work simultaneously. The stylus overtakes touch functionality when its about an inch from the surface. So as a practical example I wouldn't be able to both hold down ctrl on the touch onscreen button and draw my straight line with the stylus in Artrage. The result would be a hand drawn line with no modifier (ctrl key) applied. The advantage of this is that there's no unwanted accidental marks from your hand brushing against the surface provided you keep your stylus held within this range. You can lean on the surface confidently with your stylus hand and never experience unwanted surprises from where your hand was. The disadvantage is it can feel disruptive having to be conscious of moving the pen away every time you want to engage a touch control. It's Wacom's way of handling palm rejection.

    The hardware keys down the left side of the tablet and on the pen have no such restrictions and will happily work at the same time as the stylus.

    On my own CC I have the 'All Programs' default setup so from bottom to top they are CTRL, SHIFT, ALT, Pan/Scroll. ("Settings" is a nice option, but I can remember where I have my defaults so I remap that key). This means that those mod keys stay in the same place and have the same function for all my applications.

    Then specific to Artrage I have my water glass overwrite the Pan/Scroll button. My pen button is set on right-click so I can hover and right-click to pan around the canvas quickly. In my other applications Pan/Scroll is often mapped to SPACEBAR.
    This is just the way I set up. You could use each of the rocker buttons as mod keys and use the onscreen sliders for brush sizing or such. Artrage itself offers many easy ways to resize a brush like dragging on the size area of the toolset, dragging up or down on the brush % area in the workbench or holding shift and dragging your stylus left and right on the canvas.

    You should not have to buy an external keyboard (unless you do a lot of typing). The only instance I have run into where an external keyboard was required was when I was running a game, and when naming a character the onscreen keyboard would not talk to the Direct-X surface of the game. Both the onscreen keyboard and Direct X are Microsoft babies so I expect this one small oversight will be corrected in short time. Other than this one exception I've been able to work completely without a keyboard and prefer to do so.

    The onscreen keyboard should not have any issues communicating with your normal software.

    If you were using software that was extremely dependent on a whole lot of keyboard shortcuts like Z-brush, then you might wish to consider using one of those mini Bluetooth keyboards. Something that allowed you to do all the shortcuts on one hand while working with the other. For most applications we have more than enough options to get around keyboard dependency. With Artrage, the Ambient team have always been conscious of making the software 'tablet friendly' so we get a lot of help from the software too.

    When you're happy with your setup don't forget to back it up using the Tablet Preference File Utility. That way when the Wacom driver updates you can just restore your preferences using the same utility rather than have to go through setting them up again from scratch.
    Last edited by Juz; 06-23-2014 at 07:20 PM.
    "I paint because I love to cut mats" (Arthur Alexander)

  5. #5
    Well, thanks again. Especially for the info on backing up my settings. I've got it pretty much set up now and am looking forward to actually doing some work. Had to reinstall photoshop for some reason but that's done also. I've had some connectivity problems with the tablet but those seem to be resolved. I noticed that wacom suggests that you restart the computer about once a week. Seems odd but I'll try to remember.

    It seems to be a great tablet which is good since it's no bargain!
    Salubria

  6. #6
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    Great Stuff!

    With photoshop, it just had a version change in the last week or so from photoshop cc to photoshop cc 2014. The 2014 is a new separate version that requires an install so that's what that one was about. Once installed, open it and it will prompt you to bring in your preferences from the other version. Once you've done that, close the program and you're free to go ahead and uninstall the cc previous version to get back your disk space. The new 2014 version has some 'experimental features' in the preferences that allow you to use windows touch features and scale to freakishly large 200% interface. These can be helpful on the Companion.

    The reason Wacom probably suggest a reboot once a week is so that Microsoft can run updates and do all its maintenance routines like updating virus definitions for security etc.
    Last edited by Juz; 06-24-2014 at 11:50 AM.
    "I paint because I love to cut mats" (Arthur Alexander)

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