The ability to use Wacom Wintab based pen drawing tools on my Surface Pro has really made a difference in my artistic workflow. I’ve been photo painting using a combination of Adobe Photoshop CS 5.5 and Corel Painter 12 (I got one sweet deal when I called them to purchase, $159, good on three computers).
From what I have been reading online, it appears that the drivers that Wacom released will indeed by repackaged by Microsoft and released during some future update cycle. With the current Wacom supplied driver, my feeling is that this is the best experience I’ve had yet on a touch device with pen drawing.
The painting below has quite a lot of work yet to do, but I’m having a great time with my new digital art tools working on it.
People have been asking me why I was so determined to have working Wacom Wintab drivers for Surface Pro.
The above is a work in progress. A combination of Photoshop CS 5.5 and Corel Painter 12 (Trial Version) on my Surface Pro (using both the Microsoft Surface Stylus and a Feel IT Wacom Stylus). I’m finding that everything works (although some processor/graphics intensive operations tend to take a while). Seems like I now have a great portable tool set. Not as powerful as a full graphics desktop workstation, but definitely usable.
Corel Painter is fantastically awesome. I’m not going forward with upgrading to Adobe Cloud so I’ll be staying at Photoshop 5.5 and adding Corel Painter 12 on my desktop soon as well. It looks like Corel licensing, unlike Adobe, requires a separate purchased license for each computer and I’m looking for discounts on Painter 12 so I can use on both my desktop and my Surface.
After a long and ridiculous wait for functionality that in February was promised to be coming soon, Wacom pressure sensitive functionality has arrived for users of Photoshop and other products that rely on the Wintab API.
On May 9, Panos Panay tweeter he was using beta drivers. I replied to that tweet asking if drivers were/would be made available to the public. No response. No indication in the on-going forum thread at http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro-surfusingpro/surface-pro-pen-pressure-sensitivity-is-not/72f34b0e-e931-4fa0-8322-5f3933b061f6?page=1&tm=1368189377290 of driver availability either (but Microsoft personnel abandoned users in that thread long ago)
Strangely, not a single mention of Surface Pro in the description. The description reads “Expand the capabilities of your tablet computer with the enhanced tablet driver for systems that use Wacom Feel IT® technology! Installing this driver will provide many advanced pressure-sensitive features that Wacom pen tablet users have come to enjoy.” And no mention of Feel IT on the official Surface Pro specifications page at http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-US/surface-with-windows-8-pro/specifications
Shortly after that tweet from Panos Panay, strangely labeled drivers appeared on the Wacom driver download site. And again, not a single tweet from Microsoft, Panos, or the official @Surface Twitter account about this.
I downloaded the drivers, and after a restart, launched Photoshop CS 5.5 and did this quick and dirty test.
Yes! Exhale. Deep sigh of relief.
I find it odd that the Microsoft folks are so quiet over this release. There are release notes showing some potential bugs, but to have ANY driver in hand at this point is great.
There have been a lot of Windows 8 users looking for a solution to keep Windows Media Center on top of other applications. Here’s a quick and dirty registry setting. Use at your own risk, back up your registry, etc. etc.
First, find this key on the registry:
Right click and edit – change the Value data from 0 to 1
Reboot and enjoy.
My last post detailed the process to add Microsoft non certified devices to the list of supported “Play To” devices in Windows 8 Modern UI Start Screen Apps so that they appeared in the Charms/Devices menu. Once again, if you experiment with this, you will need to verify that your device is a DMR (digital media renderer) that works from the classic desktop explorer/libraries interface by right clicking an asset and verifying Play To appears and that you can successfully send the media to the device).
I already knew my circa 2009 Samsung LN52B750 series TV was not the greatest Play To client (which is why I have been using the WDTV LIVE Hub) but I wanted to enable it to see what kind of results I would get. The LNB Samsung TV series is neither certified by the DLNA.org folks or by Microsoft (just as my Sonos speakers are not certified by either organization).
In DLNA years, 2009 is ancient, and in TV cycle years, prehistoric. Samsung stops issuing firmware updates after 9-12 months so there was really not much hope of improving the DLNA experience after that time. Aggravating, but true. So for most people, the iffy DLNA experience (due to codec and transcoding support) the Microsoft decision to not show these uncertified devices is justified. It would be a support nightmare. But, if you are a geek and accustomed to tinkering with the registry, etc., once again, enabling these devices let you experiment.
Again, this is for geek enthusiasts only and unsupported. Backup your registry and the subkey before you begin. Proceed at your own risk.
Note: I performed this exercise on my Surface Pro and Surface RT with success.
To add the TV to the whitelist, once again, from the Network window, I right clicked the media icon for the TV and accessed the properties.
Since the DeviceShims registry already listed Samsung Electronics,all I needed to do was add the subkey for Samsung DTV DMR and the 32 bit dword IsLegacyDMR and set the hex value to 1. I did have to take ownership of the Samsung Electronics key and give local users full control in order to perform this modification.
Next step was to reboot.
Concurrent with my experimentation with non MSFT certified DLNA DMR’s, I also was looking to be able to play MKV files and had downloaded the trial of Cyberlink’s Power DVD Mobile from the Windows 8 App Store. (I’ll have more to say about this app soon, but I had a WOW experience; it’s one awesome program).
I opened my Avatar MKV and it played beautifully on the Surface Pro. Now the moment of truth, could I send to my Samsung TV through the Devices menu. You can see in the screen capture below that both my TV and WDTVLiveHub are available from the Devices charm.
The answer is a big YES. My Surface Pro displayed the following:
And the output to the TV worked perfectly.
The picture looked great and there was no lagging/glitching (and sound was in sync – I run audio from the TV out to a home theater system via Digital Optical SPDIF). I won’t say it was a good as watching the original Blue Ray, but close. This same TV has had trouble with mp4’s using Play To where it doesn’t correctly handle the aspect ratio at times. And when I set still digital images via the Device charm, they displayed beautifully.