Android: A barren wasteland for pressure sensitive pen hardware and apps...

Discussion in 'The Tablet PC Life' started by Shogmaster, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. NamelessPlayer

    NamelessPlayer Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Any luck with that yet?

    It's probably a bit soon to be asking, but I'm getting anxious about trying to get TWRP running on this thing. It's oddly made me more focused on trying to learn Android development than actually practicing my drawing skills on it.

    If only all those CCH owners thought to actually look into the ROM porting process and thought to ask for the kernel source per the GPL two years ago, maybe I'd have something going by now! But as it stands, I'm singlehandedly trying to drum up interest in this thing that Wacom has all but abandoned themselves.
     
  2. Racer_J

    Racer_J Pen Pal - Newbie

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    The Galaxy Apps version of ArtRage supports tilt but, it looks like it only has a specific setting on the Pencil tools. Open up the brush options for a Pencil and make sure Precise is unchecked. You should see a slider bar for "Tilt Angle". Set that to 0 for the most pronounced effect. If the "Precise" box is checked, the "tilt Angle" slider bar will change to "Smoothing". The tilt will require a device and S Pen that supports tilt though (note 4, Note Edge, Note 5).

    I agree, it's not nearly as pronounced as Procreate is with the Apple Pencil on the iPAD Pro. However, Android's ArtRage limits the brush size to 100% and that could be one of the reasons why the tilt won't make extremely wide strokes. The main reason is, ArtRage doesn't appear to want an unrealistic tilt effect. Their Android Supported Stylus Features page says the following about tilt. "The effect is very visible in some tools (e.g. Airbrush, Pencil, Gloop), but much harder to spot in others. This is designed to mimic the effects of these tools in real life (you can’t tilt a paint roller, for example!)."

    It looks like some of the tools support tilt without having an adjustable setting for it. The Glitter Tube clutters the glitter closer together (applies more of it) without tilting and spaces the glitter further apart when tilting (applies less of it). I'm guessing it's to simulate how much glitter dumps out based on the angle you are holding the tube (e.g. a salt shaker). The Gloop tools have a similar effect but, it is far more pronounced.

    The Airbrush tools will lay down a darker line with even bending/fading around it without tilt and it will lay down a lighter line with pronounced blending/fading on one side with a hard edge on the other when tilting. That accurately mimics what an actual airbrush does.

    The Felt Pen will lay down a thicker line without tilt and a thinner line with tilt. That seems backwards as a Sharpie would behave in the opposite manner as would pretty much any other marker. It may be based on a chisel tip making full contact with tilt and the chisel tip only making contact on it's 90° edge without tilt.

    I didn't notice any difference at all on the other tools and, there is certainly room for improvement. The Android version has only had 3 updates though so, it's likely that it will see some improvements.

    *edited for coding error*
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
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  3. NamelessPlayer

    NamelessPlayer Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Huh, I don't know how I missed the pencil tilt in Android ArtRage the first time, but you're right - it's there, and it works on the Note 4!

    The interface also turns out to adjust itself automatically for tablet-size devices, no weirdness with lack of DPI-awareness. It still doesn't match the Windows version on the CCH, but oddly enough, it's actually better in that you can turn off single-touch-to-draw. However, it still loses in that you don't have single-finger-to-pan like on Clover Paint and Clip Studio Paint, which I greatly prefer having since two-fingers-to-pan often results in accidental rotation and zoom.

    Meanwhile, on the "getting a dev scene going for the CCH" front, someone from the Wacom Developer site actually responded to my source code request and said they were looking into it, but I haven't actually heard from them since. Better than nothing, I suppose.

    If I just had that source code, it'd be easier to set up a device tree that anyone who wanted CM or TWRP or whatever could compile against and be likely to get something that works, all while still retaining the Cintiq functionality.
     
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  4. Racer_J

    Racer_J Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Most of the differences are because they had to specifically rework their engine for Android. There were a number of technical issues they ran into during development that didn't have any real resolutions (and possibly still don't). source

    Matt from ArtRage made a fairly detailed post in 2014 about how the program works and why there are limitations with Android. Most of issues hinges on the fact that Android can not make use of the multithreading that ArtRage can use on the PC and iOS platforms. Android's multithreading system doesn't work well with the type of calculations ArtRage needs to perform and, adding threads on multi-core CPU Android systems actually slows the program down. There are probably a ton of other posts in that thread but, it's 209 pages long and I haven't had a chance to sift through all of it. It's possible that these issues are partially responsible for Wacom abandoning Android as an OS on their portables.

    Android is probably going to remain an ecosystem where multiple art apps are needed which will require constant importing and exporting of projects back and forth to the programs that have the right tools for the right job. I wish the devs would start adopting the most popular features of the other apps into their own but, doing so with such a small selection of apps would lead to cries of homogenization by users/fanbases. I'm not even sure if TVPaint Pro would be an all in one solution but it's a moot point for most people because it requires a $1394+ USD Pro license for their desktop program to use the Android version and the $167+ Nomad (Android) license (which you have to purchase separately) is limited to one Android device and the license can not be upgraded. You're also not allowed to use nor purchase multiple Nomad licenses. They will probably stop Android development at some point since it was designed to be used on the CCH and Wacom has abandoned Android as on OS. It's almost impossible to read the UI in the TVPaint Pro demo on the Note 4 because there is no UI scaling and the display is 2560x1440. The UI for it on the Note 1 looks gigantic in comparison and it was already pretty small there.

    However, the tilt settings on TVPaint Pro for the Android are pretty slick and can easily do the width range that Procreate does on the iPAD Pro with the Apple Pencil. You have to set up the tilt though for each brush which can be problematic if you don't know how TVPaint Pro works. All you really have to do is to make sure the brush's size is controlled by the Azimuth (the parameter connected to Azimuth will vary proportionally to the angle formed between the stylus projection on the tablet and the vertical plane) instead of one of the other controls and then make sure it is inverted so that you get a thin line without tilt and a thick line with tilt. Setting it to Altitude (the parameter connected to Altitude will vary proportionally to the angle formed by the stylus inclination on the table) will also work. There are several other settings that need to be adjusted in order to fine tune the results which is ultimately a pain in the ass compared to something like Procreate which looks like it just works without any major setup. FWIW, even the Note 1 stylus will make use of the tilt when used on the Note 4 but obviously the Note 4 stylus and the Bamboo Feel for Note stylus work better.

    Long story short, apps are capable of fully supporting a wide range of tilt on the Note 4 but, only a few of them do so. It's possible that the devs of the various apps may start supporting it but, I doubt anyone is in a rush to do so given the lack of affordable Android tablets that support tilt and the demand for apps to use on them.
     
  5. Selofain

    Selofain Chronic Lurker

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    I've never understood why so few art programs implement single finger pan. I despise two finger pan for precisely the reasons you said- you end up zooming and rotating while panning. Even pen-based software like Artrage don't have it. Do they think we all want to finger paint? Is it so difficult to code it in? Until I got CSP, I still turned off touch to draw because touch was only getting in my way.
     
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  6. AveSharia

    AveSharia Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I gave these all a test last night, and you're pretty much spot on. The airbrush tool uses tilt so well that it made me mad how bad it works with other tools! I can actually get a perfect, wide, "shading" pencil effect with the instructions you had above (precise unchecked, tilt angle 0), but the trouble is I can't get a precise pencil line with the stylus 90-degrees to the screen with those settings:

    http://i.imgur.com/dvtMQIl.png

    It ends up being a weird mix of a harsh line and some fuzziness around it, almost as wide as the tilted, "shading" pencil. So I guess I'd say that it's not really that the tilt isn't implemented well, but the normal pencil behavior itself.

    On a non-textured canvas its easier to see the fuzziness I'm talking about (the writing is all with the pen tool):

    http://i.imgur.com/yCYvNin.png

    Regardless, I think at this point I'm looking a gift horse (albeit a $5 gift horse) in the mouth. Weird tilt is still better than the no tilt I had before.
     
  7. Racer_J

    Racer_J Pen Pal - Newbie

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    That's odd, I don't have that issue. I get two entirely different widths at 90° and when tilted.

    I do see what you mean about the fuzziness. I kind of wish I could get the effect you get at 90° when tilting. Which Pencil tool were you using?

    ArtRage was free on my Note 4 via Galaxy Apps and, I'm not that I would have bought it if it hadn't been. It's far from perfect but, ArtRage is really all about the brush system and the canvas texture. I'm not aware of anything else like it on Android. However, there is a lot of brush lag (which requires you to move very slowly) with the Watercolour tools for some reason which isn't present with any other tool. Honestly, It's probably worth the cost just for the Oil tools, Pallet Knife tools, metallic paint, and the canvas texture.

    CloverPaint has a better control of the tilt if you know how to work with its brush settings and properly manipulate the power/ratio, spline, free curve options. It looks like it would have enough adjustments to give you a razor thin line at 90° and a fuzzier one when is tilt applied. To set up tilt you need to open the brush properties>click the box to the far right of Size>Delete the Pressure setting>Click Add next to Tilt (Cintiq only)>Choose the method. I have Power and Ratio as the method with the ratio set to 0.99 and the power set to 0. You'll also want to adjust the "Min Limit" setting in the previous menu. I have it set to "by absolute value" of 0.2. I honestly have no idea what I'm doing setting wise but, that's the general idea of how to make tilt function at it's most basic level while providing a large range of size change based on the tilt. CloverPaint is extremely sensitive to tilt on the Note 4 so, further adjustments will need to be made if you want the smallest size of the line to be drawn when holding the stylus at any angle other than a perfect 90°. Even the slightest change of angle on the Note 4 stylus will alter the size of the line being drawn. On the plus side, CloverPaint's tilt system will work regardless of how you are holding the stylus. e.g. holding it like you would normally hold a writing instrument, flicking it up and down like a light switch (or when painting a wall), etc. TVPaint Pro's tilt also functions like that. ArtRage's tilt only works when holding the stylus like a normal writing instrument.

    The demo video for Corel's Painter Mobile looked amazing for the Watercolour tools but, there are so many missing options on the actual app compared to said video and the UI is also different. Apparently Corel stripped out a ton of features (including 30+ brushes, custom brushes, brush settings, etc.) to "simply the workflow for new users" and to "streamline" it which has lead to a string of complaints from new and old users. I would be pretty livid if I payed for something and then had most of the functionality stripped out via an update with no way to revert to an older version. I can not believe they are still trying to charge money for it as the brush settings are now limited to only size and opacity. It's flat out false advertising to leave the original product's video and description up. Versions prior to 2.0 were apparently the last one with all the features but, Corel and GooglePlay obviously do not supply older versions. It's a shame really as I would be more than happy to try version prior to 2.0 based on their demo video and would most likely wind up paying for it depending on the brush functions. Painter Mobile just isn't worth the money in it's current incarnation but, the two of the Watercolour tools (brush 2 and 4) are really nice and you can make the eraser function like any of the tools. It also lacks tilt support which is odd since it is a Corel product combined with the fact it was released about a month before the Note 4 was and it would have been in direct competition with ArtRage's Android release.

    The odd thing about all of it is that Infinite Painter (not sure about the free version) has substantially more brush control than Corel's Painter Mobile does as well as a majority of the other apps. You can even mimic Watercolour brush 2 from Painter Mobile in Infinite Painter by selecting the Watercolour Turner brush and then going down to Jitter>Scatter to 100>Angle, Size, Flow, Spacing to 0>Hue to 13>Saturation to 8>Brightness to 12. It's not exact but I just messed around with the settings until I had a reasonable representation of Painter Mobile's Watercolour brush 2. Infinite Painter doesn't have all the brush controls that CloverPaint or TVPaint Pro do but, Infinite Painter is substantially easier to navigate and make alterations to. The major drawbacks to it are the lack of tilt and, still being able to pan when using two fingers (at least it has single finger pan though). I'm sure it has other flaws as well but it's hands down the Android app with the largest feature set while being easy to navigate (small learning curve).

    *edited to reflect that Corel Mobile Painter stripped out features from 2.0 and on, not 2.0.2 and on*
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2016
  8. Racer_J

    Racer_J Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Speaking of being devoid of apps, I really wish a viable app would be released in order to use an Android device like the Note series as a Cintiq on Windows. Linux (via GfxTablet allegedly with no delay) and iOS (via Astropad and a 16ms delay) have had functional solutions for forever and a day now. There is something drastically wrong when the two companies with the largest market shares are lagging behind like this.
     
  9. NamelessPlayer

    NamelessPlayer Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    GfxTablet is apparently like SunnySideSoft's VirtualTablet, though - it's more like a decoupled drawing tablet in that you're not drawing ON the screen.

    Only Astropad bothers to go that far. It's a big reason why I'm dropping my T902 for the Cintiq Companion Hybrid; most tablet PCs that can't act as monitors are a pain to set up for things like drawing on desktop apps or setting up touch cockpit panels with Helios.

    Given that VirtualTablet and GfxTablet exist, I don't think getting the pen digitizer data with pressure sensitivity across the network is going to be a problem. The challenge is instead having to deliver a full video stream to a Galaxy Note smoothly, consistently and without loads of video artifacts - not to mention with as little latency as possible.
     
  10. colanah

    colanah Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Long time lurker, infrequent poster here. At present, I have a Nexus 5x and while I love the little dickens, I had a hankering to actually try using it for boredom sketching. This thread has given me lovely examples of apps to try but there's been little information about how to draw on a device.

    I.E. The stylus of choice. This is where the wasteland seems to be and most forums or threads encountered (what tiny few there are) for the Android. Truthfully, besides advising to get a Miix or Galaxy (which I'd love to but it's not in the budget right now), what is a good Android stylus for sketching with?
     
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