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Fix The Wacom Pen Lag Issue
If you are coming from Mac and just built yourself a custom Windows machine to have better performance to much lower cost you might find, when retouching with a Tablet, the response is a bit different and can be considered laggy. I recently talked to my colleague Natalia Fadejeva who had to deal with precisely those issues.
Or, if you are a native Windows user, you might not even notice a difference, but more often than not the response and behavior can be improved quite a bit. You might appreciate the changes! So let’s dive in into which steps you can take to change your life for the better.
Why Does The Lag Issue With Wacom Pens Occur On The Windows Platform?
One reason why the pen/tablet behavior is different from MacOS is that Windows has an integrated touch engine built into the OS. On the one hand, this is very practical for all touch display devices but less practical for out pen/Tablet devices.
Follow These Steps To Fix Your Wacom Lag Issues:
GET RID OF OS PEN AND TOUCH VISUAL EFFECTS
[note: this part has become obsolete if you are following all the other steps]
go to windows settings –> devices –> pen
Switch off “show visual effects” and “show cursor”.
In the latest Windows 10 insider built, which is to be released soon it is settings –> devices –> pen & Windows Ink.
Never the less this setting is better to be controlled via the Wacom driver properties.
DISABLE “FLICKS” AND SWIPING GESTURES
Windows has different swiping and multi-touch commands of which we can get rid of because we are going to use the Wacom properties if we want to use gestures with our bamboo or Intuos pro.
So, type in the windows search menu “flicks.” Locate and run the control panel command “turn flicks on and off.”
uncheck “use flicks…” in the dialog box
DISABLE PRESS AND HOLD FOR RIGHT CLICK
go to the pen options tab
double click the “press and hold” pen action task and disable “enable press and hold for right-clicking”
SET UP WACOM DRIVER SETTINGS
What I found is that often the response is a bit laggy when using liquify or dealing with dialog box sliders.
I therefore highly recommend opening the Wacom tablet properties then choose the Tab “mapping” and in the lower left corner uncheck “use Windows ink.”
Your Wacom will then primarily work without really making use of the touch engine.
Unfortunately, this has a downside!!
When you now open up Photoshop, you most likely will notice that your tablet movements, slider dragging and so on work just fine but you have no pen pressure, and when you go into the brush settings it is signaled that Photoshop cannot recognize your pen anymore.
FIXING THE PEN PRESSURE ISSUE
Of course, it is something we would like to prevent and aim for making as little changes as possible. To this day there is no real way around it and worth doing those extra steps.
The issue with not having pen pressure anymore can be fixed with simply creating a custom users setting file that tells Photoshop to use the os connectivity that signals to the Wacom driver in the OS
The custom user settings file is a simple text file (right click –> save as)
Put the file in your Photoshop folder according to the PS version you are using:
File Path For Win7 and Win8 and Win10:
Users/[user name]/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CC/Adobe Photoshop CC Settings
if you do not see your folder, make sure to make hidden folders visible as shown in the image
REDUCE OS INPUT LAG
This step is not necessary, but I found we can tweak the Operating system a bit further to get a better response.
Meaning: There is a registry setting called touch prediction in which we can define sample times and latency for touch input. If we reduce those values input samples are being requested a more often and depending on your machine, the cursor can behave a bit more responsive when using your Wacom tablet.
You can download and use [at your own risk] this preset that changes the touch prediction setting to a smaller value
Congratulations To Achieving Ultimate Wacom Pen Performance!
Those simple but essential steps should have helped you with having a much better user experience when using a Wacom tablet on a Windows machine. I have never looked back after figuring this out but came to realize that not everyone knows about these steps. So if you found this helpful, please share it with your windows user friends so we can make their lives more comfortable as well.
BEWARE THE NEXT MAYOR PS UPDATE!
Unfortunately, when there is a major Photoshop update, they are creating different folders for the new version, and the custom user file is not being copied over to your new version. You most likely are going to notice this when you updated and had no pen pressure. Keep in mind to then copy over your custom user settings text file into the folder of the latest PS version.