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Wacom Devices and Photoshop Pen Pressure

March 25, 2012 7 comments

9/9/2014 update: Earlier this year Wacom released updated drivers for Windows for supported PEnabled devices (the HP 2740p included) at http://us.wacom.com/en/feeldriver/.  I’ve confirmed that in Windows 8.1 and after uninstalling (and rebooting) any existing Wacom pen driver packages (e.g. “Pen Tablet” listed n Add/Remove software) and then installing ISD_DualTouch_720-10.exe (“Enhanced Tablet Driver 7.2.0-10”) enables Photoshop pen pressure support or similar in any other application that relies on Wintab driver support.

wacomDeviceUpdateEnhancedTabletDriver7.2.0-10

Information below is about my HP 2740p (and possibly HP 2760p) tablet running x64 Windows 7.  Suggestions here may or may not help with your particular hardware/software configuration.

My HP 2740p tablet’s great and after the HP touchscreen firmware update (3043-35D_0C6C, 4012-FOA (14 Jul 2010) – sp49201)– to fix the issue with touch not working in certain situations usually after resuming from sleep– everything works reliably. 

Pen pressure generally always works with Windows apps like the pen input dialog, OneNote, or Windows Journal.  But getting pen pressure to work in Photoshop was a pain.  It entirely depends on which Wacom packages are installed, which versions of them, and what Wacom device drivers are being used.  If you get the combination incorrect, you’ll see a yellow exclamation icon in Photoshop’s brush Shape Dynamics pane and no pen pressure functionality:

photoshop_wacom_penPressure_yellow_exclamation_icon_sm

(“Control by pen pressure requires the use of a pressure sensitive tablet”)

Once you get compatible driver packages and versions installed, Photoshop is happy and the feature works:

photoshop_working_with_WacomDevicev3.0.4.1_sm

 

Wacom Dependencies

Using Dependency Walker to profile Photoshop, I found that Photoshop loads and executes code within the following Wacom files found at c:\windows\syswow64\, Pen_Tablet.dll and Wintab32.dll. The versions I have installed, from the Wacom_PenTablet_521-6a.exe package listed below, are: 5.2.1-6 and 1.0.4-3 respectively.

windows_syswow64_wacomFiles_penPressureNotWorking

I haven’t tried it, but if those files aren’t present and you have a compatible Wacom Device device driver installed, Photoshop could fail to let you use Pen Pressure functionality.  Check for those files in your Windows install and if not install the Wacom_PenTablet_521-6a package.

 

Wacom Packages to Install

Search online for this Photoshop Pen Pressure issue and you’ll get a variety of helpful suggestions and links to different Wacom packages.  I wish this process was more deterministic but here’s what works for me (installed in this order):

9/9/2014 update:

Previously I was using (and used to work):

Here’s what certainly didn’t help:

  • Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch – Driver 5.2.4-6(RC) for Windows 7, Vista & XP (32 & 64 bit versions) – PenTablet_5.2.4-6.exe
  • Wacom Digitizer Driver 3.0.7.20 – sp51088.exe (22 Nov 2010, w/ wisdpen.sys v3.0.4.5)
  • Wacom ISD_DualTouch_701-8.exe
  • Wacom Penabled Driver Driver 7.01-8 (RC) for Penabled Tablet PCs – ISD_DualTouch_701-8.exe

Wacom Device, wisdpen.sys, and Windows Update

      Additionally, once you have a working version of the Wacom Digitizer Driver above installed, if it’s outdated, and you have your system’s Windows Update process set to search for driver updates online, Windows Update will notify for an update to the Wacom Device (HWID: ACPI\WACF00E):

WU_for_WacomDevice_20110634_IgnoreThisUpdate(the More Information link goes to a bad WinQual destination)

      If you install this driver update, it will update the

Wacom Device

      from (driver date:12/30/2009, driver version:3.0.4.1) or (driver date:5/14/2010, driver version:3.0.4.5) and updating to (driver date: 12/20/2010, driver version: 3.1.1.2).  While that update works fine with Windows, it breaks pen pressure functionality in Photoshop.  If you want Pen Pressure in Photoshop,

don’t

    install this update.
      If you have installed the update already, open Device Manager (run: devmgmt.msc) and open the properties for node Human Interface Devices >

Wacom Device

      .  Switch to the “Driver” tab and click “Roll Back Driver”.  After a reboot you will be back to the old version:

roll back Wacom Device driver

(Hardware Id: ACPI\WACF00E)

 

Wacom Driver Differences

Here’s a neat tip for searching for Windows driver updates used by Windows Update. Go to the Microsoft Update Catalog (you will need to install an ActiveX control) and search on the hardware ID you’re interested in, e.g. ACPI\WACF00E. The x64 3.1.1.2 package for “Wacom – Input – Wacom Device” updates the driver ACPI\WACF00E which is installed to c:\windows\system32\drivers\wisdpen.sys (Wacom ISD Tablet HID MiniDriver).

Pen Pressure in Photoshop? wisdpen.sys Version wisdpen.sys Date Modified
Works 3.0.4.1 1/4/2010
Works 3.0.4.5 5/14/2010
Doesn’t Work 3.1.1.2 1/4/2011

So something changed between Wacom’s wisdpen.sys v3.0.4.1 and v3.1.1.2 to break pen pressure sensitivity in Photoshop.  I tried poking around for public exports on wisdpen.sys for clues why but none exist. I also took a look at the differences pre/post update installation of the registry for the wisdpen service at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\wisdpen—no differences.  And the only difference between the 3.0.4.1 and 3.1.1.2 driver installation file, wisdpen.inf, was adding a registry value for BaudRate at the above key.

There are some interesting string differences between the two wisdpen.sys drivers themselves, like missing DefaultPenMouse/DefaultTouchMouse entries, but no smoking gun like “DisablePhotoshopPen” and nothing actionable.  At this point, unless I write my own Wacom Digitizer driver, I’m likely grasping at straws.

 

If anyone has any pointers on Photoshop interaction with digitizer minidrivers, please leave a comment.