Helpful Posts: 0
13th November 2012, 04:25 PM
Linux and Graphics Tablets
I know there may at least be one linux user on here so it may be worth mentioning this.
I recently bought a Hanvon Artmaster 1 Graphics Tablet. It has a 6 x 5 profile ( 6in x 5ins active area ) scroll wheel and 4 button. Battery free pen, pressure and tilt sensitive. The resolution is very high as well - more so than many Wacom tablets. The company produce a number of different sizes. The prices of the ones that have older screen type aspect ratios are being discounted heavily at times. I went for the 6x5 version because of the space needed. These tablets have a wide enough surround to support the hand. Drivers are available for Linux.
My PC screen is a 23 inch 16 by 9 type. While the 6 x 5 aspect ratio tablet sorts this out the X and Y movement scaling doesn't match. There is a facility to get round this built into X windows that is described fairly well on here. This should work on any make of tablet. The commands can be entered in the console as an ordinary user - unusual for Linux.
The command xinput --list will list all devices and provide the name of the tablet that the system uses eg in my case
↳ Hanvon Artmaster I tablet id=9 [slave pointer (2)]
The command xinput list-props "Hanvon Artmaster I tablet" lists a number of things including the scaling and positioning of the tablet in respect to the screen. That particular line is normally as follows
Coordinate Transformation Matrix (123): 1.000000, 0.000000, 0.000000, 0.000000, 1.000000, 0.000000, 0.000000, 0.000000, 1.000000
The web link explains how this works using the words Matrix etc but essentially it controls scaling and rotation of input devices. I change mine using the following command
xinput --set-prop "Hanvon Artmaster I tablet" "Coordinate Transformation Matrix" 0.675 0 0.325 0 1 0 0 0 1
What this does is map the height of the tablet to be the same as the screen ( a value of 1) and the width of the tablet to 0.675 times the width of the screen positioned 0.325 of the screen to the right. If I made this 0.1625 it would place it in the centre. The numbers can also be entered as calculations based on the aspect ratios. As far as the screen is concerned this leave me with and area of 340mm x 280mm for pen work on photographs. That's about 2/3 of the width the screen. The mouse can still be used all over the screen as usual.
I believe it's also possible to map the width of the tablet to the width of the screen and alter the scaling in the other direction so they match but at the loss of some active tablet area.
This tablet also has a scroll wheel and 4 touch buttons. The scroll wheel works as soon as the driver is up and running. I believe that the buttons can be programmed for specific functions via X as well.
With thanks to Ondra Havel who wrote the driver for Hanvon tablets for suggesting this solution. A nice aspect of Linux. It's often possible to get help from the people who write the software.