Fixing Surface Pen Pressure in Windows 10

Hey you, digital-painter-illustrator-artist!

Did you buy a Microsoft Surface Book 2 and the new Surface Pen with support for pen pressure and pen tilt? Did the pen not perform as expected and are you experiencing a little buyer’s remorse?

Well that’s exactly how I felt the first few hours with my new power laptop… but since I don’t like to dwell on problems, I’d be the go-getter and searched for a solution and in this post I’m sharing it with you.

Pen settings (Surface App)

If you changed the pen settings I recommend setting them back to their default value of 7 before going through the other settings. If needed, come back and adjust it after you get it working in all applications.

I made the mistake of adjusting the curve based on my experience with Wacom tablets (Intuos Pro and Cintiq). I don’t like the pen to be too sensitive when applying a light touch so I usually set the output curve to something that Wacom describes as firm. Because of this adjustment I had to press the Surface Pen so hard, I was afraid I would damage the screen.

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To test if the default value is right for you, apply a light, medium and heavy stroke in the test area and check the percentage graph on the right to make sure you are taking advantage of the full range of pressure values. Adjust the slider value to fit your needs. For me the default value worked just fine.

note: At this point your Surface Pen should perform as advertised in pre-installed applications like Sketchpad and Screen Sketch. Photoshop and or any other third party app might still not respond well to pen pressure.

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Disable “Press and Hold”

“Press and Hold” is embedded in the Pen and Touch control panel.

note: Some suggest to turn off “Flicks” (also part of the Pen and Touch control panel) but in my case that was not necessary.

Search for “Flicks” with the home search widget to open the Pen and Touch control panel window on the “Flicks” tab. Here you have the option to deactivate “Flick” if you want.

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The real problem maker is the “Press and Hold for right-clicking”. When I disabled this option Photoshop was able to register pen pressure.

To change the Press and Hold behaviour go to the Pen Options tab and double click Press and Hold in the list of Pen actions.

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In the Press and Hold settings you can uncheck “Enable press and hold for right-clicking” option.

Click OK, Apply and OK.

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Wintab driver

At this point I still had two third party apps (Krita and Mischief) that did not take advantage of the pen pressure output of my new Surface Pen.

Installing the Wintab driver is what solved that problem for both Krita and Mischief.

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note: Krita is set to use the WinTab driver by default (even when it’s not installed) but selecting the Windows Ink option also worked for getting pen pressure in Krita

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The Wintab driver can be downloaded from microsoft.com.

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Click the download button to open the download list. Here you can select the Wintab driver of your choice for download.

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I hope the information in this post will solve your Pen Pressure issues with the new Surface Pen and Surface Book 2.

Cheers!
Patrick

Share your own tips in the comments below for others to read.

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Settings: Require confirmation to…

In an attempt to NOT ruin a users project I added a few pop-ups to inform the user about what is about to happen and if she wants to continue. Once familiar with how the toolbar handles these situations, the warning can quickly become a nuisance. In the “Require confirmation to…” section you can turn these warnings off and speed up your workflow. In this post I’ll explain what default behaviours are affected by the required confirmations and what happens when you turn them off.

Toolbar Settings > General > Require confirmation to…

Require confirmation to: Auto-select Video Group content

When a Video Group is part of the selected layers the toolbar will ask if you would like to run the function on all the layers inside the (Video) Group. The confirmation is added to avoid the toolbar from unintentionally messing up the timing of a project. (note: you can always undo when that happens). By unchecking this box the toolbar will suppress the notification and automatically select the content of a (Video) Group to apply the requested function. Some functions work on both (Video) Groups and layers. In that case you have to select the content of a (Video) Group by hand.

pop-up nitification

 

These functions try to automatically select the content of a selected Video Group:

Trim Layer Start
Trim Layer End
Add Exposure
Remove Exposure

These functions can be applied to Video Groups and Layers:

Move Layer Start
Move Layer End

Require confirmation to: Duplicate multiple Layers as a whole:

This setting comes into play when duplicating layers/frames. When more that one layer is selected while clicking the Duplicate Frame function a confirmation window pops up, asking the user if she would like to duplicate the selection in its entirety.

When No is chosen: The toolbar duplicates each layer individually and places the duplicated layer next to its original.

No: All duplicate layers are placed next to their original layer.

When Yes is chosen: The toolbar duplicates all layers at once and all places all duplicates, as a whole, after the last selected layer.

Yes: All duplicate layers are placed after the last selected layer.

By unchecking this box the toolbar will suppress the confirmation pop-up and will automatically duplicate the selection in its entirety.

Settings: Video Group

You probably already figured out that Video Groups are true lifesavers when working with the timeline. Whether you’re editing video or creating frame by frame animation, you want your frames to stay in sequence and you don’t want to worry about random unwanted gaps between frames when moving layers around. But when and how you use Video Groups depends on the user and from my experience, animators can get very specific when it comes to workflow. The Video Group options are my attempt to give you control over the default behaviour of creating Video Groups with the Animator’s Toolbar Pro and in this post I’m going to tell you what it does.

When creating a new Video Group with the Animator’s Toolbar Pro, it tries to determine the most appropriate action based on the current selection and user preference. The default action is to take the selected layers and combine them in a new Video Group and keep only the top most layer (last frame) selected. When no layers are selected the toolbar will make a new Video Group containing an Artlayer with the duration value specified in the Frame > New frame duration field of the Toolbar Settings. When a (Video) Group is selected it is used as the entry point in the layer stack above which the new Video Group is created.

Video Group options

The Video Group options are added to override the default behaviour to cater to the users preference.

Always create new Video Group

Some users prefer to use the built in “New Video Group from Clips” from one of the layer dropdown menus in the timeline window to “video group” a selection of layers and use the New Video Group button to start a fresh animation sequence. When this option is ticked the toolbar will not place the selected layers in the new Video Group and creates a new blank frame/layer instead. The new video group is created at the top or above the top most selected layer in the layer stack.

 The clapperboard icon of the Video Group Selected button contains a dot to indicate the “Alway create new Video Group” option is active.

Create new Video Group at current time

This option only affects the creation of new Video Groups. When selected, the in-point of the Video Group (not the containing layer) is moved to the current time. This means that adding frames at the beginning of the Video Group will push all present frames forward from this point on.

Adding frames to a Video Group with a set inpoint

 The clapperboard icon of the Video Group Selected button is changed to a closed clapperboard to indicate the “Create new Video Group at current time” option is active.

Allow partial ungrouping

The secondary function (ALT-click) of the New Video Group button is to ungroup the (Video) Group containing the selected layer. With this option selected the default behaviour is changed to placing only the selected layers outside and above the containing (Video) Group. note: Layers in a Video Group will automatically re-arrange and close any gaps as a result from removing the selected layers from the group.

The “Video Group” options and” New frame duration” value are used by the “Video Group Selected” keyboard script.


Do you like what you see?
Get your Animator’s Toolbar Pro at Adobe Add-ons!

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Settings: Video Layer

Video Layers generated by the Animator’s Toolbar Pro can automatically adjust to your preference by changing the toolbar settings. This post contains a brief explanation of what the Video Layer settings mean and why you’d might want to use it.

By adjusting the Video Layer frame rate to accommodate a desired interval of drawings it is possible to use the convenience of Video Layers -namely not having to select every frame- and omitting the need to draw every frame while animating in Photoshop.

In the settings window you have the option to choose between: Ones, Twos, Threes and Fours. Animating on twos or higher is done to reduce the amount of work. These terms are derived from animators jargon where animating on “Ones” means drawing every (one) frame and animating on “Twos” means holding each drawing for two frames -effectively cutting the amount of work in half-, “Threes” for holding each drawing for three frames, etc.

This is how Video Layer Setting are used by the Animator’s Toolbar Pro

To get the desired effect of, for example holding each video frame for two frames, the Video Layer frame rate is lowered to a frame rate of 12 fps in relation to the frame rate of the timeline which is 24 fps. Photoshop makes up for the difference in frame rates by holding (when slower) or dropping frames (when faster) of the Video Layer. In this simple example it is simple to figure out what frame rate you’ll need but these frame rates are actually calculated based on the Video Layer Settings. This becomes obvious if you use a frame rate like 29,97 fps.

Calculated frame rates at 29,97 fps

The Video Layer preference from the Animator’s Toolbar Settings window are used every time a new Video Layer is created with the Animator’s Toolbar Pro. That is when the Video Layer box is ticked in the content section of the New Animation window and when the New Video Layer button (or script) is triggered.


Do you like what you see?
Get your Animator’s Toolbar Pro at Adobe Add-ons!

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