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N-Trig Tablet Not Recognized

Jan 29, 2009 11:18 AM

A few other HP and Dell tablet PC users and I have noticed that photoshop does not recognize the pressure sensitivity of the N-trig tablets. I bought this laptop thinking that it was Wacom because I knew it was pressure sensitive (which it is on a couple other programs) so I was a little surprised when I found out that there was more than one type of digitizer pen.

Is there a work around, patch or some other way to get Photoshop and Elements to recognize it?

I contacted N-Trig already and they basically said it's the software's issue.
 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 29, 2009 12:14 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    It's not the software's issue, if Wacom works and their's doesn't. Tell the company you want your money back, because their product doesn't work effectively with the number one tool for graphics production.

    (Not saying you will get the refund, but they might start paying attention to making their product work.)
     
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    Jan 29, 2009 8:31 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    Photoshop's tablet support is generic - supporting any tablet that writes to Windows standards.

    You'll have to talk to HP or N-Trig about why their drivers do not work.
     
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    Jan 30, 2009 6:40 AM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    Dunno if you will get it to work. As Chris said, Photoshop wrote generic links, and Wacom made their device work with them. (Not Adobe working to the Wacom standard). If N-Trig is not interested in doing the same, then you are out of luck.
     
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    Feb 4, 2009 9:24 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    Hi. I just recently purchased this same laptop as well and feel let down by N-trig. Since hearing from other users in the same situation that N-trig believes it is an Adobe issue, I have started looking into developing a workaround to allow N-trig users to still use pen pressure in Photoshop. Hypothetically, do you believe it would be possible to develop a .net application to read the x/y coordinates of the digitizer and the pen pressure value, and then somehow communicate them to Photoshop? I have looked into the Tablet PC SDK examples and pen pressure works fine on these, so it seems that as long as I could find a way to have the program run in the background, and have Photoshop interpret these values, it should hypothetically be possible. What are your thoughts? Thanks!
     
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    Feb 5, 2009 11:57 AM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    Not easily - you'd have to patch into the Windows tablet drivers to supply the pressure and other information correctly. (location comes from that API or just mouse coordinates)

    If N-trig published documentation on their hardware, it would be possible for someone else to write a driver that correctly communicates with the Windows tablet and mouse APIs.

    Of course, it would be fastest if N-trig fixed their own driver.
     
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    Feb 5, 2009 3:56 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    I have downloaded the latest version of the Windows SDK and am looking over the various tablet examples that are available. I am not very familiar with .net, but I believe that I am capable of eventually getting a program running that can generate x/y values for the pen location and a reading of the pressure sensitivity. If I am able to get this program running, how would I go about feeding this information into Photoshop so that is is compliant with the pen pressure brush settings? I appreciate all of the help you have provided so far. You guys are much more helpful than the N-Trig support staff. Thanks!
     
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    Feb 5, 2009 4:46 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    You can't feed it directly to Photoshop - you have to implement the tablet driver code that feeds the values to the Windows tablet APIs, which Photoshop then uses to get the information.
     
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    Feb 5, 2009 6:21 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    In the Windows SDK tablet examples the N-Trig digitizer is able to produce varying line thickness based on sensitivity. Do you think these Windows SDK tablet examples are using the API you are talking about or are these two completely different things? I'm sorry if I am way off here, it just seems like it shouldn't be that hard to come up with a way to get the pressure sensitivity to work in Photoshop if pressure sensitivity works in the Windows SDK examples and in the different Microsoft applications. Thanks for being so patient. I am very new to this type of application work.
     
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    Feb 5, 2009 7:16 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    I suspect the SDK example is using the more limited pressure API, not the "kitchen sink and more" API designed to deal with things like pen angle, rotation, etc. Yes, Microsoft has multiple API hooks for tablets.
     
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    Feb 7, 2009 8:08 AM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    N-trig in Alias Sketchbook is workable and support pressure sensitivity:

    maybe, it working with basic function now,

    maybe, photoshop needs requirement too much to do same thing
     
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    Feb 7, 2009 6:20 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    Yeah, this is such a thorn in the flesh. Do refer to this post as well http://www.touchsmartcommunity.com/forum/thread/423/TouchSmart-tx2-10 20-with-Photoshop-Corel-ARRRGH-PLEASE-HELP/;jsessionid=61705C16D82F34E F17E25FB8AA2713C0?page=2. We should really get the manufacturers to stand up and take notice, and add a patch so the drivers could work!
     
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    Feb 8, 2009 3:33 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    I just got an e-mail from the people at N-Trig after I tried posting a comment in the n-trig.com support section regarding the lack of pressure sensitivity in Photoshop. They didn't end up posting it to the site to be viewed publicly. I am guessing this is because in the comment I suggested people buy Wacom enabled tablet PC's until N-Trig fixed their pressure issues in Photoshop.

    Here is the e-mail I received:

    *****************************************

    Dear Tim,

    Thank you for your email.

    Regarding your issues concerning pressure, please note that the pressure data is publically available and used by most applications, including Windows Office, Windows Journal, ArtRage and so on. It can therefore easily be extracted and used.

    For any further issues with your computer, it would probably be worth contacting HP.

    Debbie Gold Hadar
    Business Development
    N-trig Ltd.

    *****************************************

    She says the pressure data is available for most applications, and then proceeds to only list Microsoft applications and an obscure graphics program that no one has ever heard of. Instead of then offering a helpful suggestion on how to fix my problem, she directs me to contact HP with any issues.
     
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    Feb 8, 2009 11:43 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    "Windows Office" maybe she meant Microsoft Office?
     
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    Feb 9, 2009 5:39 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    This sounds a lot like they didn't test their drivers with professional applications. I'll bet they only did the simple (incomplete) API and not the full information API.

    If Photoshop isn't seeing pressure from their device, it's because their device isn't providing pressure information to all the Windows APIs correctly.
     
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    Feb 10, 2009 12:40 AM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    This is the only thing keeping from purchasing Dell's new XT2 :(
     
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    Feb 10, 2009 4:50 AM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    tell dell that jarem! i'm sure they'd love that information.
     
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    Feb 10, 2009 12:36 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    Nick - I think you've got the right idea.
     
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    Feb 10, 2009 2:52 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    Chris - What is the exact API hook called that Photoshop looks to for input from a stylus? Do you know of any documentation that is available from Adobe for companies looking to make their products fully supported by Photoshop in the area of pressure sensitivity? I am trying to get as much information together as possible so that N-Trig won't have to do all the leg work if we can actually convince them to put out these new drivers. Thanks.
     
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    Feb 10, 2009 3:41 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    No, Adobe has no documentation on the tablet APIs we use. We shouldn't have to document that - the tablet maker should just implement the platform APIs for tablets. (but it sounds like this company may not realize that Windows has more than one API)
     
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    Feb 13, 2009 8:43 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    ok, so what api is adobe listening for? this would be the class or events that n-trig would have to dispatch events for, correct? if we know what ps is looking for then we can contact n-trig and have them support that api. tell us what to tell n-trig and everybody can mass email them and hp with this letter. thanks
     
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    Feb 15, 2009 1:47 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    Tell them to support the full Windows tablet APIs, including Wintab.
     
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    Feb 26, 2009 4:53 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    I found an interview from last March with a VP in N-Trig, where he has this to say:

    "Our digitizers are pressure sensitive. Any apps that accept pressure sensitivity will show up. We are happy to work with developers to ensure compatibility to WinTab. For Windows pressure messages, WinTab is out of date and is a legacy. ISVs should work with N-trig and MS to make sure pressure is implemented."

    That's a somewhat mixed message, but that bit about WinTab being out of date and legacy makes it look a little like their response might be a WONTFIX.
     
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    Feb 26, 2009 7:31 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    Well, we did work with Microsoft. But it sounds like N-Trig didn't. WinTab is currently the only way to get all the pressure/rotation/angle/other bits from tablets. The newer tablet API is very minimal, and doesn't supply all the needed information (it has other holes as well, but they're on the list to be fixed).
     
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    Feb 27, 2009 1:54 AM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    I was seriously considering buying a Dell Latitude XT2 to replace my current laptop (we are an all Dell outfit). If N-Trig's position is that they will not support WinTab then my response to their WONTFIX is WONTBUY (I'm not sure that's a reason code, but still)! A tablet with no pressure sensitivity in Adobe applications is useless to me. Is it worth me trying to put pressure on via my Dell account rep, or has anyone got any other suggestions?

    Ideally I'd want a tablet PC with a 100% Adobe RGB panel, a non-integrated GPU (though still low power) and Wacom Intuos 3 compatible (or Wacom equivalent) tablet features - which means tilt, rotation and airbrush wheel support. Surely I'm not the only one after the designer's / photographer's tablet PC?
     
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    Feb 27, 2009 3:12 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    Chris, I agree - this is entirely N-Trig's issue, not Adobe's. FWIW, I've now sent my tx2z back to HP (thank heavens for European consumer protection laws and their no-questions-asked return periods). I've also written to them complaining about this issue.

    It's a real pity that no reviews of the tx2z or XT2 have picked up on this point. It's an important point which IMO would be a serious deal-breaker for many people if it were more widely known. Also, negative reviews may be the only way to spur N-Trig into action.
     
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    Mar 2, 2009 10:06 AM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    @djw: I completely agree. I simply can't recommend Dell's XT2 to any of my graphic design buddies if it doesn't support the basic pen features we're used to. Especially given the price.

    I also question N-Trig's support... they don't seem to even recognize that a problem exist or at least state they're working on a solution in the future.

    Oh well, looks like I'm going with the Lenovo's ThinkPad X Tablet for now.
     
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    Mar 5, 2009 10:24 AM   in reply to (nick_caylor)
    Jarem - thanks for mentioning the Lenovo - that's maybe something I should be looking into.

    I've posted on the Dell forums at http://en.community.dell.com/forums/p/19262038/19441981.aspx#19441981 - I wait to see if that brings anything constructive.
     
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    May 7, 2009 7:47 AM   in reply to (nick_caylor)

    Adobe only supports Wacom's pressure sensitivity, which until last year was the only maker of digitizers. This is an issue Adobe needs to fix. N-Trig supports pressure sensitivity, and the theory that N-Trig doesn't support the Microsoft API and Photoshop uses that and that's why it doesn't work is totally flawed, because pressure sensitivity works flawlessly in microsoft applications. Adobe needs to add support for DuoSense, not the other way around. You guys are insane, just automatically jump to "it's not adobe's fault." "Adobe supported DuoSense long before the technology existed."

     

     

    Let's hope adobe gets crackin on this. the dell XT's came out a year ago for f's sake.

     
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    May 7, 2009 1:22 PM   in reply to arlynxyu

    arlynxyu - I'm sorry, but your statements are almost entirely incorrect.

     

    There have been many makers of pressure sensitive tablets, for at least 13 years back (and that's just from my personal collection).  You can even search the forum here for reports of problems with some of the other tablet vendors (usually due to driver bugs).

     

    Adobe supports the Windows standard tablet APIs, and works with many tablet brands beyond Wacom.

    But Adobe is not in the business of writing hardware support code for third party hardware manufacturers.

     

    N-Trig chose not to support the full tablet APIs on Windows, and chose not to support professional applications that use tablets on Windows.

    Only N-Trig can fix their drivers to support the full tablet APIs.

     
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    May 27, 2009 4:39 PM   in reply to Chris Cox

    Chris has evidently not heard about the patent lawsuits that have been encumbering Wintab for almost a decade now.  Result: those tablet manufacturers going back "at least 13 years" have, one-by-one, been dropping Wintab support.  New entrants into the tablet market (Finepoint, N-Trig) don't even want to touch Wintab with a ten-foot pole.

     

    It is also easy to get the wrong impression when Chris says that Wintab is a "Windows standard tablet API" and that "Well, we [Adobe] did work with Microsoft. But it sounds like N-Trig didn't."

     

    Let's be clear.  It is not a "Windows standard" (which implies Microsoft involvement).  It is a standard that someone else created, "for Windows."  Read the WinTab 1.1 specification: "This document is copyright 1991-1996 by LCS/Telegraphics."  It was LCS and Wacom who got sued by the patentholder.  Not Microsoft.

     

    Any tablet manufacturer that still supports Wintab has either paid ransom money, or is too small to get sued.  How can you call it a standard when the graphics tablet hardware industry (except Wacom) is running as fast as they can away from Wintab?  Adobe might as well just come right out and say it: "Wacom is our best buddy, and we will only support Wacom tablets."

     

    Talk to Microsoft in 1993 and they'll tell you to use Wintab, because there wasn't anything else available.  Talk to Microsoft in 2008 and they'll tell you to use the new tablet APIs, which Microsoft controls and will let you use without charge.  N-Trig has talked to Microsoft.  Has Adobe?

     

    Chris is right that the new tablet SDKs provide maybe 20% of the functionality of Wintab.  But this is a incredibly lame excuse.  Among this 20% is pressure sensitivity, which gets you 80% of the way there.  People using Graphires, and Tablet PCs, and other low-functionality tablets, won't even notice anything missing.  These don't have tilt.  They don't have all these extra buttons.  Pressure-sensitivity is enough.

     

    Microsoft has done its part to free us from the tyranny of Wintab, by providing us with an alternative API.  Finepoint and N-Trig have done their part -- they conformed to the Microsoft API.  Where is Adobe?  Making excuses.  And not even factually-accurate excuses, at that.

     

    Sources:

    [1] Email (secondhand) from Finepoint developer.  They deliberately avoided Wintab in their driver.  They even went so far as to provide an application-specific method for getting pressure sensitivity in Photoshop.  This is just ugly, and it's all because Photoshop doesn't support the new Microsoft APIs.  Think about it: Finepoint was willing to go that far, just to avoid Wintab.  Chris portrayed N-Trig as a clueless new company on the block; clearly Finepoint wasn't clueless about Wintab.  http://www.pixolator.com/zbc/showpost.php?p=271492&postcount=7

     

    [2] GTCO owns several tablet companies, many of which have been in the business for over a decade.  They used to have Wintab in their drivers, but they removed it in 2004.  Again, these are not clueless newbies here. http://www.interworldna.com/GTCO/gtco-drivers.php

     

    [3] LCS, co-defendent with Wacom on the original Wintab lawsuit, gives a short summary of the legal maneuvering here: http://www.pointing.com/Wintab.html  Because they settled and then exited the market, this is written up in dry, dispassionate language.  But chat up any one of their employees over a beer, and I bet you he'll have have colorful words for the patentholder.  Remember, LCS invented Wintab, after all.  How would Adobe like it if someone got a patent to key areas of Photoshop, today?

     

    [4] Wintab 1.1 specification, via Wacom (which doesn't mention this mess, since they're sitting pretty, with a license to Wintab that, although perhaps not legally so, is for practical purposes exclusive).  http://www.wacomeng.com/devsupport/ibmpc/downloads.html

     

    If anyone is clueless in this sordid Wintab mess, it's Adobe.  Why don't you stop blaming the victims, take some responsibility, get together with Microsoft and N-Trig and anyone else trying to make tablets, and help to lead ths industry out of bondage.

     
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    May 27, 2009 6:25 PM   in reply to ShootTheMessenger

    We've gotten together with every party that will return an email or phone call.  We spend a lot of time trying to make sure we support all the tablets available.

     

    And if everyone is running away from Wintab, why is N-Trig one of the few (only?) tablet vendors not supportting it?

     

    Microsoft's API is too incomplete for professional applications to use (so, they really haven't done their job).  Wintab is the standard on the Windows platform, like it or not.  And many standards have licensing involved.

     

     

    You make this sound even worse:  like a tablet vendor knew they needed additional driver support, but tried to save a few pennies on licensing and shorted their users instead.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 27, 2009 9:14 PM   in reply to Chris Cox

    . it's hard to believe N-Trig will return emails to me but not Adobe. that's

    in fact laughable.

     

    too incomplete? what's too incomplete? like just incomplete enough? just

    barely? it supports pressure sensitivity, and in my book, that's complete

    enough (all we are asking for.)

     

     

    support it.

     

    who cares if wintab is the "standard" by your definition. do you support

    other API's, even one? because if so, that second one, is NOT the standard,

    and if you can support one API that is not the standard, certainly work

    could be done to incorporate another. N-Trig is the only company putting

    affordable multi-touch technology at the consumer level. N-Trig will be a

    major player within the next 5 years in touch and multi touch vending. You

    need to adapt to new technology. It's arrogant to expect new technology to

    adapt to you. YOU ARE SOFTWARE.

     

    Also, I'm pretty sure you told me this was N-Trigs fault when I said it was

    Adobe's. But it isn't N-Trig's fault. Wintab is not your technology. That

    would be one thing, if developers had to license your technology to support

    it. But to force 3rd party developers to license 3rd party API's in order to

    function correctly with 1st party software is ridiculous. I sure hope the

    Wintab patent holders are paying you well to force other people to support

    it.

     

    I no longer use photoshop for image editing, (i have come to rely on my

    wacom tablet heavily, and after dropping 2 grand on a tx2z, i am furious

    that i cannot do what I bought this laptop to do.)

     

    I'd never purchase an upgrade or another adobe product due to the attitudes

    from adobe representatives in this thread (barring an unforseen change of

    heart..) As much as I respect a "tough ****, we got your money" attitude,

    support would be better.

     

    The Microsoft API may not be "good enough" for professional applications,

    but the attitude of, we aren't even going to do what we can do is not "good

    enough" for professional users.

     

    Livin the dream Adobe. I certainly wish I had a company that made me enough

    money to where I could **** on people who paid hundreds or thousands of

    dollars for my software, and not even have to blink an eye or worry about

    anything.

     

    "I am Adobe. I am the standard. you support what I support, or you are not

    supported. do it, or don't. I, Adobe, could care less. These dollars don't

    count themselves."

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 27, 2009 11:33 PM   in reply to arlynxyu

    Chris, before you do any more damage to Adobe's reputation, walk down the hallway to John Nack's office, and ask him how he'd handle it.  John Nack has created an enormous amount of goodwill for Adobe with his blogging.  He's your friend, right?  He's mentioned you on some of his posts.  Maybe the two of you can together draft a response that actually addresses people's concerns, rather than brushing them aside.

     

    Frankly, Chris's reply is completely bizarre, given the information I have documented:

     

    (1) This is a matter of N-Trig being too cheap to spend "pennies" on licensing Wintab.  This must be why tablet companies with decades of collective experience have decided to call it quits on Wintab, because the company holding the patent is so reasonable in licensing it out.  Note that even the company that developed Wintab in the first place is among the quitters, because a different company holds the patent.  In fact, the court ruled against the plaintiff in the lawsuit on every single count. Unfortunately, the appeals dragged on forever, and then they filed another lawsuit, and finally forced a settlement.

     

    (2) N-Trig is one of the "few (only?)" tablet-makers that doesn't support Wintab.  This is highly misleading.  Yes, there are other vendors that support Wintab.  AFAICT, all of these are Taiwanese peripherals makers whose sales are way too small to be worth suing in court.  Or maybe, being Taiwanese, they're just more adventurous than American (Finepoint) and Israeli (N-Trig) companies.  Whatever.  N-Trig seems determined to do things "by the book."  Can't fault them by that.

     

    Tablet PCs are a different market from dedicated graphics tablets.  First, margins are far tighter here.  Also, Finepoint and N-Trig are the only two companies that have ever made activie digitizers for Tablet PCs.  NNeither supports Wintab, and Finepoint has pointed to the patent issues as the reason why.  The fact that they jumped through hoops to get pressure sensitivity in Photoshop suggests that Finepoint, at least, wanted desperately to do right by their customers, but couldn't reach a reasonable licensing deal with the patent holder.

     

    Incidentally, the word from N-Trig is that they're looking into licensing someone else's Wintab implementation.  This might work, but first they've got to find someone who's willing to take on the legal risk of selling it to them.  This still doesn't let Adobe off the hook.  By insisting on Wintab, Adobe is basically keeping the industry at a standstill and forcing people to jump through hoops just to get pressure sensitivity, a basic function.

     

    (3) Microsoft's tablet APIs are incomplete.  This is a lame excuse.  Microsoft's tablet APIs give you pen up, pen down, position, and pressure.  That's 80% of the way there.  Refusing to support the Microsoft tablet APIs just makes you look obstinate.

     
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    Jun 10, 2009 7:55 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)

    I just bought, stupidly, the HP Tx2z, the sales people didn't know what the hardware and software they're selling actually can do and I bought something that won't work with the hundreds of dollars of legacy software I wanted to install on it.

     

    I'm weighing my options right now and unless I get some sign from the N-Trig company that they intend to play nice with Wintab in the near future I'm canceling my order tomorrow afternoon.

     

    I have no problem using my Wacom tablet hooked up to this new Tx2z for a couple months more if they are going to solve this--but if they're not "Hello Lenovo," "Good-bye HP and N-Trig."

     

     

     

    So, in trying to find workarounds, I'm learning the following

     

    There are some art programs that that are marketed toward tablets that use the microsoft APIs, Apparently ArtRage supports N-Trig style pressure sensitivity, so I have a low cost digitial painting option, there's even an optimized version for ulltramobile tablets.  http://www.ambientdesign.com/index.html

     

    And it actually works like Corel Painter, here's an image a forum user from  ambient design did with the program:

    http://www2.ambientdesign.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=27371&stc=1&thumb=1&d=1241359210

    I can survive (maybe) until N-Trig plays nice with Wintab--but they need to state they intend to make real progress toward that end or some jovial hacker needs to get this in motion and release some freeware that ignores licensing agreements-- otherwise this laptop sale is getting cancelled.

     

    Message was edited by: Tolouse, after much research

     
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    Jun 11, 2009 10:27 PM   in reply to (nick_caylor)

    After reading this thread, as well as many other sites and conversations on this subject, I have only one question for the Adobe staff: Since when does the fact that the newer Tablet APIs are paltry and broken mean that you shouldn't support them?

     

    As a software developer, I have to support garbage that I don't want to all the time, and I feel just as "unprofessional" while doing it as it sounds like you guys would feel about adding this stuff to Photoshop. However, isn't it a bit haughty to simply refuse if you know it would make your customers happy?

     

     

    Plenty of tablets - Wacom's Graphire and Bamboo lines, for example - don't support tilt features and other such things even *with* Wintab, yet I've seen many users happily employing them in Photoshop. You can't possibly convince me that these crippled new APIs would be completely useless - I think I speak for everyone suffering this problem when I say that we'd rather live with half-baked functionality than have nothing at all.

     

    Purchasing a Tablet PC in 2009 implies compromises: Overpriced hardware, grainy LCD screens, slow OS response times, and built-in digitizers which could never compare to ones bought separately. I'm not exactly going to be upset with your programmers if Photoshop doesn't have the same features it'd have on a five-star PC, because a Tablet PC is the farthest thing from that. For heavens' sake, I'd just like more than bare-bones mouse cursor functionality.

     

     

    This sort of run-around between companies - "It's the OS's problem!"; "No, it's the software's problem!"; "It's the manufacturer's problem!"; "No, it's the component's problem!" - has been going on for decades, and it only happens because every single company involved is too lazy to do anything about a person's issue. Usually it would only take a minimal effort from one of the companies involved to fix whatever's wrong, but of course nobody does.

     

    Seriously guys, if you don't give a flip then please just say so. However, if Adobe sees any value in being the one company in this chain of excuses that sucked it up and fixed this issue, I think a non-trivial amount of users (consider that almost 200-comment thread, for starters) will remember you for it.

     
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