Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bizarre and specialised problem that perhaps no-one will be able to solve

There is a prize for a reader who can answer this question successfully. A really great prize. I have spent hours on google and forums looking for the answer to no avail.

I have a Lenovo X61 tablet and it is great, the finest thing. You draw on the fancy old SXGA screen, you put it in your bag, glorious. Home and away, the art stylings.

But two pieces of software (Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and Manga Studio 4 - both EX and Debut versions) share the same problem. One time in maybe 100 pen strokes pressure sensitivity is lost and the pen produces what I can only describe as an ink blot!

It occurs more frequently in MS 4 - usually when drawing something like an eye, with a little circle inside a larger one. Once it happens in one place on the screen, if I undo it will happen again and again in that same spot. It happens with far less frequency in Sketchbook Pro.

I cannot recreate the effect in Manga Studio 3, or Photoshop CS1 - which both work fine. I originally tested MS4 on another machine running XP service pack 2 (this one has XP SP3) and what I'm describing never happened there.

I suppose it could be a driver problem but I've tried a few variants of the Wacom penabled driver to no good effect. It could be a hardware problem, but it's a very strange one if it is.

Has anyone ever seen this before? Can you help? Or is it time simply to give up on computers and live under a tarpaulin on Saddleworth Moor?


ranjit said...

Stay away from my tarpaulin.

Struble said...

Just a guess... You're not running any other programs while you're doing this, right?

John A said...

Struble, this is Windows, can you imagine how many programs are running?

AVG anti-virus
Google desktop
Lenovo bloatware parts 1 through 100
"You accidentally moved your hard drive 1cm so I am parking it" (I can't remember what this is called)

I am going to run some tests with my other tablets.

Jonathan Bright, Freelance Spy-entist said...

Are you running vista or xp? I don't know about Sketchbook Pro, but I know that Manga Studio in Vista often has trouble if you don't disable the optional tablet functionality in the control panel. The tablet will still work, it just won't have handwriting recognition and the like.

John A said...

I'm using XP. Manga Studio 3 on Vista was a mess - all sorts of problems. I had to downgrade my new machine to XP in order to use it.

I uninstalled the Wacom penabled drivers altogether and installed my Intuos 2. Drawing using that, exactly the same thing happened. It must be a software issue, I just wish I knew what it was!

V^e said...

You've probably just discovered a new bug - that's why you haven't been able to find any helpful tips on forums, etc. Perhaps it's daft of me to say, but I imagine that the more accurate-to-life computer software gets, the more accurate-to-life the glitches will be. It's creating a blot because that's a normal "glitch" with real-life drawring (sorry, had to spell it that way).

Perhaps I'm just wrong. The captcha seems to think so, it's calling me a "commi".

Dean said...

Tarpaulins can have compatibility issues, depending on which OS the moor uses. You'd be better off building a sturdy shelter from mud and sticks.

Ben said...

Here is a bit of techno-arcana, found via Google:

1. Click on Start, then Run, then enter RegEdit in the Open textbox and click OK.

2. Click KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE then SYSTEM then CurrentControlSet then Services then TabletServicePen then PARAMETERS.

3. In the right-hand window pane, right click, then click New and then DWORD.

4. In the new dialog that opened, type WTKernelBypass, then click somewhere else to let it fill in.

5. Close the Registry Editor.

6. Reboot

Here is the original thread where the above info was found (the fellow also suggests, "for best results run the wacom driver calibration again after the reboot"). If you do a search for "WTKernelBypass", you'll see that the same technique is mentioned on other forums, and used with varying degrees of success.

Apparently, there's an issue where the drivers sometimes forget that the pen is a pen and, instead, assumes that it's a mouse (hence the lack of pressure sensitivity).

As always, caveat RegEditor.

John A said...

That last one improved the accuracy of my display no end! But alas the blobs still came.

I did however enjoy my brief visit to the Registry. Wasn't sure what a lot of that rubbish was for so I just deleted most of it. I've decided to keep all my animated "under contruction" gifs from the mid-90s in there instead.

Ben said...

Attempt #2:

There are a couple of tricks people have come up with in order to get around various tablet-related bugs with MS 4 on Vista. I don't know that they'll translate to XP, but I imagine that they couldn't hurt to try.

Disable "Press And Hold For Right-Clicking"

1. On the taskbar, tap the Start button, and then tap Control Panel.

2. Tap Printers and Other Hardware, and then tap Tablet and Pen Settings.

3. Tap the Pen Options tab.

4. Under Pen actions, in the Pen Action column, tap Press and hold.

5. Tap Settings.

6. Clear the Enable press and hold for right-click check box.

Run MS in compatibility mode

1. Right-click on your shortcut to Manga Studio and select Properties
2. Switch to the "Compatibility" tab
3. Tick the "Run This Program In Compatibility Mode For" tickbox and set the dropdown menu to "Windows 98 / Windows ME"
4. Tick the "Run This Program As An Administrator" tickbox then click OK
5. Launch Manga Studio from the shortcut you just modified. Note: You will be prompted to enter in your serial number again
6. Click OK to the warnings/errors
7. Confirm that everything is working again as it should.

Once more unto the breach!