What’s wrong with Wacom drivers And Their Issues? And what are the alternatives?

Whats-wrong-with-Wacom-drivers-And-Their-Issues-And-what-are-the-alternatives

Wacom Drivers Have Been Giving Artists A Hell

If you are a user of a Wacom’s graphics tablets or pen displays they produced in the last few years. Chances that you encountered some of the driver issues they have been having for a while now. Sometimes the driver doesn’t work, or simply can’t find your Wacom device, despite the fact it’s connected & all. Sometimes the tablet works, but you don’t have pressure at all. The express keys settings are wiped often so you’ll have to customize them again & again. The issues are different for each artist. Many of us have encountered such lovely dialogs like these:-

Wacom-Graphics-Tablet-Driver-Was-Not-Found-Error-Dialog Wacom-A-Supported-Tablet-Was-Not-Found-On-Your-System

As you see, these issues are simply not just about getting rid of circle that appears under your pen when you hold down the pen on the tablet, which can be solved by following certain steps in Windows.

Books you may find useful, check them out:- :)

See more drawing books in Amazon

A common & simple solution that works most of the time is to restart the Wacom service. That solution can help in many cases. Some artists don’t know about it, and so they restart their computers, thinking that’s the way to do about it.

It’s common to see complains about Wacom drivers from people who used Wacom devices for years. They used to have devices that “just works”, only to start having issues later on after they upgrade to a newer device. In my experience, the Intuos 4 worked very well for me. It didn’t have any of these problems. Many artists say that their Intuos 3 worked wonderfully for years.

In Twitter. It’s very common to see people complaining about the drivers like this:-

The only company I see people complain about that way are ones like Dell. At least Dell don’t sell you expensive stuff compared to their competitors.

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A common trick to counter these issues is to find an older driver version that works, and then stick to it. And never try anything else. You don’t really need a new driver as long as your Wacom device is working properly. I was able to do so with my Intuos Pro, I tried many versions until I get it to work. The driver version I use have an issue with the wireless auto turn-off, it fails to remember to turn off after 20 minutes like I set it up, and always resets to 2 minutes, but it least it works properly now.

There was that one time where the Intuos Pro failed to work even after trying different versions. Apparently, something wrong happened to my system, like a conflict between different version of Wacom driver. Fortunately, I was able to solve it by restoring my system from a checkpoint (it’s always a good practice to create one every time you install a Wacom driver. It could save your day).

Because the driver version trick works. It’s not uncommon for me to have all sorts of drivers in a folder on my computer:-

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My 16-inch Cintiq Pro barely worked with many of the driver versions I tried. And when it worked with some, it stops working when I turn it off then on again (it happens when my computer goes to sleep too). The driver I am using seems to work for now, except that the touch goes to another screen. I plan to try to follow Wacom’s advice & set my Cintiq Pro as a primary screen can help here.

The cute thing is, installing an older driver goes directly against Wacom’s common advice of installing the latest driver, which could work at times. But leaves you no other option if it didn’t, and that happens quite often.

Wacom’s Unhelpful Support

What makes things even worse how unhelpful Wacom support can be at times. They tell you cookie cutter solutions like to install the latest driver or to install the driver the right way (what’s that?). They tend to tell you to plug your Wacom into a USB port directly, not via a USB hub (a solution that only works in specific instances). Support issues like these are not only with Wacom, many big corporations have issues like these.

In All Fairness. Wacom Have Good Points

While I said a lot of bad things about Wacom in this post. Things I believe they deserve. I think I need to mention that they have their good side. Despite all the horrible experience they made for their customers face because of their drivers. There are times where they did wonderful things. Like that time when they replaced a Cintiq Companion even after warranty is done, which was quite nice of them.

I think Wacom hardware is still good for the most part. Sure they have issues like the connectors of the Cintiq 13HD. Or the graphics cards issue with the MobileStudio Pro. But people don’t complain about the hardware as much as their drivers, which are hurting a wide range of people.

Wacom Alternatives & Competition

If you’re sick of Wacom’s bad drivers, chances you’re looking for an alternative for them. And you may be aware of the options to use.

There are 3 kinds of alternatives out there. Each has their own advantages & disadvantages.

Wacom Competitors That Make Similar Products By Other Companies

Huion GT-220 Review Featured
Huion GT-220, one of the alternatives to Wacom Cintiq

These are the most obvious alternatives among the bunch. Companies like Huion, Ugee & Monoprice to name a few, create very similar products to Wacom’s, and for a fraction of the price. Once you get one of those & get used to them & any possible quirks to them, you could create great artworks with them.

These competitors are still behind Wacom in the technical side of things, by the time I am writing this post. For one, Wacom have 4K screens on their 16-inches Cintiq Pros, while the competitors still ship their products with 1080P resolution. I am sure these competitors will release a 4K pen display soon. As they have been catching up to what Wacom is doing. While features like the additional pressure & resolution are nice, you won’t be able to appreciate them much if your driver didn’t work.

The Wacom alternatives also can have driver issues, but if you’re sick to Wacom, or you want to save some money. They are totally worth trying. As they could work for you. I, for example, ended up returning my Monoprice 22-inch (reviewed here), since I find it hard to use. I did a review of it here if you’re interested. I once used a Chinese graphics tablet that worked quite well with the driver that came in the CD, except that the wireless feature never worked with pressure at all. So I tried installing a new driver, which kept hanging during installation. If I didn’t care about wireless, I could have used the tablet perfectly with the driver in the CD. One thing I noticed about that tablet is that you needed to press a bit more for a stroke to register. This is something you need to get used to if you’re a long time user of Wacom.

It’s worth noting that sometimes the support of these companies are not helpful at times (they are awesome at other times). So keep that in mind before you try them.

Kindly find links to thse competitors from the following Amazon links:-

Huion:-



Ugee:-

Monoprice:-

Products That License Wacom’s Technology

The Surface Pro 2 used Wacom digitizer
The Surface Pro 2 used Wacom digitizer

Some 3rd party companies produced computers that uses Wacom digitizer. Like Lenovo Yoga Book & Surface Pro 2.

The main advantage with these devices is that you won’t have to worry much whether you will like drawing on the device or not. The device already uses a technology you’re used to. These devices can be cheaper than Wacom too.

The main issue with these devices is that the company that licensed the digitizer may not continue to license it in the future. For one, Microsoft used the N-Trig digitizer starting from the Surface Pro 3. So you may have to face this issue every time you renew your device.

Big Companies That Indirectly Compete With Wacom, But In A Good Way

Surface Pro 4 Review Featured
The Surface Pro Can be used for drawing as well

The prime example for that categories are Apple & Microsoft. None of their products, the iPad Pro & the Surface Pro, are exactly intended to just be used for drawing, but to do way more than that. That makes them interesting competitors to Wacom.

I am an advocate to the iPad pro. It’s a great device for drawing that doesn’t requires too much of a hassle to use. You only need to pair the Apple pencil to your iPad. Download one or more drawing apps, and then enjoy drawing. No crappy drivers to deal with for the rest of your life. It also works very naturally, it’s the closest thing I know that’s close to drawing on paper.

Tired-Of-Wacom-Don't-find-digital-drawing-comfortable-Try-drawing-with-The-iPad-Pro
A drawing of Lolita (protagonist or Lolita Caramel) I made with the iPad Pro

Kindly find some of these products in the following Amazon links:-

iPad Pro:-

Surface Pro:-

Some Tips On How To Deal With Wacom Drivers

As I kept saying. The most common solution to Wacom driver is to try a previous version, hoping that it works.

Here are the steps I advise you to follow to find a Wacom driver that works are:-

    • Uninstall your currently used Wacom driver.
    • Restart your computer.
    • Install the new driver.
    • Restart your computer again.
    • Try your Wacom device to see if it works now.
    • Repeat until you find a driver that works for you.

Since the regular Wacom site only gives you 2 driver versions. I go to their Asian site to get the older drivers, for both Windows & Mac OS.

Restarting the Wacom service is a common solution for many of the simpler issues you may encounter. I have wrote on how to do that here.

And Finally

There’s a consensus between artists that if these issues kept on. Wacom is going to lose some market share (and some think Wacom will go down).

The scenario I am imagining is similar to what happened in the browsers market. Where Internet Explorer was the lead browser despite all of its problems & issues. And despite the fact it hasn’t been updated for years. Until a light browser that works called Firefox came on & started taking market share from it, which made Microsoft finally started to care for it & released Internet Explorer 7. Then Chrome came & became the most used browser (I tried it in the beta & liked it). And the rest is history.

Internet Explorer (and Microsoft Edge) are still available if you want to use them, but they are not the only option out there. It’s nice how Microsoft kept on improving Internet Explorer once it got a competition. Nowadays, Internet Explorer only has a market share of 12.71% only. According to this post, which is quite a change from what it used to be.

In the end, maybe we just need to wait for the Firefox equivalent to Wacom, one that gains the trust of many artists. The signs for that are there. We only need to wait & see. I am sure we will see well-made drivers from Wacom once that happens.

To be quite honest, I never contacted Wacom to comment on this post. I didn’t think they would reply to a blog post like this one.

 

Sources & Useful Links

See Also:-

SweetMonia
I am an anime artist, and huge fan of digital art. I love drawing with pencils too. But I rarely do that anymore nowadays. Since some aspects of digital art can be tricky, I try my best to explain the concepts as easily as possible.

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