Graphic Tablets on Linux

Since I decided to stop making art as a profession, I am planning to move to Linux because I don’t see any needs for Windows only software like *Unity, Substance Painter etc…

  • I know that Wacom works out of box in Linux. Just suggesting ‘Wacom’ makes my poor money sweats like hot potato sitting on a stove.
  • I am currently using HUION tablet which is affordable but doesn’t have Linux Driver support.
  • Surprisingly XP-PEN has Linux Beta Driver which draws my attention but it’s not available in my local area so a little bit annoying.

If there are Linux users here, I want to hear what is your experience with Graphic Tablets on Linux and what brand you are using and Why ?

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@raghukamath what do you use?

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Just wondering, which Huion model do you have? A good number of them are supported through digimend:
https://digimend.github.io/tablets/

Getting a decent pure digitizer tablet that works on Linux doesn’t seem to be the biggest issue, but if you want something with a display, it seems the air gets very thin.

Basically, you got Wacom Cintiq and that’s about it for display tablets I read positive reports about. I’m curious about XP-Pen too, but their driver is proprietary, I couldn’t find any proper documentation at all, just a bunch of zipped binaries leaving me to figure out what they could do…that’s not what I’d call “support”.
I heard the Dell Canvas works, but it’s way to big (and expensive, even though cheap compared to Wacom) for me to consider, and reviews are mixed too. Then there’s pointless products like >20" with just 1920x1080.

The XP-Pen Artist 12 Pro would be something I’d like to try, but as said, I just find close to zero info on their Linux “support”.

I’m currently using an old Wacom Graphire 4 btw., it just has pressure sensitivity and that’s it.

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Currently using HUION GT-221 PRO. Digimend Project has some Huion Tablets support. But support for newer tablets would be too slow since it’s one man project. ( I don’t need fancy tablet shortcuts since I am more comfortable with keyboard. )

For XP-PEN, my opinion is having something for Linux is better than nothing.

Currently, I am thinking of buying new tablet so I just want to know how things work in Linux. If situation is not good, I will just continue with Windows.

I’m using Genius brand, because that’s what’s largely most available in South Africa without breaking the bank on things like imported Wacoms. I’ve used this brand for years and they consistently work better in Linux than they do on Windows!

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I am using an old Wacom Intuos 4 medium, I also have huion 610 at work, but I never used anything other than the Wacom Intuos 4, I hear that the newer Wacom models are just same thing with extra hype :slight_smile:.

On linux Huion is also supported but I buy after researching.

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I use Linux for a long time now mostly with Wacom tablets. They can work out of the box but it kinda depends on the Linux Distro and/or Desktop. Back in in the days Ubuntu with Gnome had already a nice GUI to set up your tablet, it was gone then for some time for some reason but I heard its back. On XFCE desktop setting up the tablet is still a matter of config files and terminal fiddling. I currently use Manjaro (Arch) with KDE Plasma 5. KDE has a tool for setting up and calibrating your Wacom too, even lets you create different profiles.

I used my Wacom Intuos 3 for a looong time with no issues. Then I switched to Intuos Pro because it had a higher resolution and better pressure as well as tilt detection and such fancy stuff, also wasn’t that bulky which was good on my small desk. Just a few days ago my monitor broke down and I used this as an excuse to get a Cintiq 22" with 4k resolution and it was (to my surprise) basically plug and play on my Linux. There were some small issues to get it working correctly but that was mostly because my desktop didn’t recognize my display setup correctly. But now it works like a charm.

I tried a few tablets from other companies before (Aiptech for example because I had a small budget) but they couldn’t convince me in terms of quality and functionality (but I heard they have some solid devices now). Once I was with Wacom, I stayed with them. I didn’t spend enough time with my Cintiq to give a good review yet, but what I can already tell is that newer models don’t have hardware buttons to set up brightens, contrast, color etc, that previous models did have. It’s all software now. There are command line programs that can help you do it on Linux, but for now I simply booted into Windows (I have a dual boot system for gaming) and set it up there with the official driver, then switched back to my Linux, the set up is saved on the Cintiq.

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Hi!
I’m currently using Huion Inspiroy H950P and works like a charm, I haven’t taken the time to program the buttons since I’m using the keyboard most of the time, though.
Cheers!

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I use a cintiq companion 2, and krita is the only software that lets you use the full potential of this tablet pc. I can make a brush engine that combines rotation, tilt elevation and -direction, pressure and speed into my own favorite ‘digital charcoal’. Awesome!

Having the tablet set up correctly, however, is a bumpy ride. I settled with manjaro & KDE (plasma), because this is krita’s natural habitat, and the wacom-kcm gives you more freedom than the windows-wacom settings interface.

Since a month or two, the pad buttons of my tablet are recognised correctly by -i assume- the kernel (bottom one and up were one and the same) plus, multitouch pan-zoom now also has rotation included in one gesture. Sweet!

I have just one little issue left, wich is hard to explain: switching between pen strokes and multitouch gestures is very sketchy and/or clumsy. Simetimes the point where the stylus exits the field is included in the multitouch gestures. I plan on tackling this issue in a dedicated thread.

Apart from that, the combo wacom+linux+krita is PERFECT

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Hi everyone,

Just wanted to say that we also do maintain a community curated list of tablets that work with Krita, If you have any tablet and knwo that it works you can add the information here . If you don’t know how to add the information let us know.

This list may help future artists to make a decision while buying tablets :slight_smile:

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I use a XP-Pen Artist 13.3 and like it a lot, it works with Krita and Blender really well. My current system is running Linux Mint 19.3 and the XP-Pen beta driver works well. My only issues with it is that it doesn’t support the buttons or more importantly allow me to calibrate the tablet. The pen offset is ok for the most part, at least I don’t notice it very much.

I have also gotten it to work with Substance Painter and 3D-Coat (kindof, if you enable the tablet, you lose the use of the mouse).

Jason

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I have a new Huion HS610 and Nick from Digimend was able to get it working well within the span of a month. A few of us gave him tablet diagnostics (he has a guide for how to do this on the Digimend website) and did a bit of testing, and he was able to deliver a working version in an impressively short amount of time. So, as with all things open source, even though it’s a small, one person team, a little bit of community cooperation can go a long way.

If you really want a plug-and-play tablet experience on Linux, Wacom is probably your best bet. But I’ve been very happy with my Huion so far, especially considering the low price (like $80 USD, iirc). I have no experience with XP-PEN.

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I use a Gaomon PD1560, and I can’t lie, it’s pretty darn great. I use the Wacom Linux drivers to register input, and things work pretty darn great. I didn’t get Digimend drivers to work, although there is a Github Issue for it.

I tested it on Windows, and despite there being some advantages in terms of overall latency, it’s not really that noticeable unless you are actively looking for that. I also think that it’s a lot more useful on Linux because I set custom keybindings to map directly to the Gaomon’s display and to map to the two monitors. This is super useful for getting reference images in one monitor, and paint on the other monitor, all with a simple keybind and never using the mouse.

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David Revoy has an older article about the Huion Giano 1409 on Ubuntu 16.04 and Mint 18 and hot to get it to work.

https://www.davidrevoy.com/article331/setup-huion-giano-wh1409-tablet-on-linux-mint-18-1-ubuntu-16-04

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It’s me again :smiley:
I confirm I managed to set the Huion Inspiroy H950P buttons with this solution, super simple, it could work on other tablets as well:


So, with this and the DIGImend drivers:
http://digimend.github.io/drivers/
this should be good to go.

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That’s good to know, so at least one could think about buying one given that the Cintiq variant is pretty much twice the price. I don’t really see any obvious differences in Specs in the “Pro” variants, both 13.3" FullHD, wide-gamut, same pressure and line resolution etc. (although paper specs and real-world performance are two things of course, and good customer support has to be paid from something…)

But it’s still too little information to me, like what is their driver actually? A kernel driver? X11 input driver? Libinput (wayland) compatible? It really only lists a number of distributions (without version) but no word on kernel or xorg requirements…

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It’s a bit strange how the driver works, you run it as root (sudo) and just leave it running (with a & if you like). A window opens up that allows you to set how the pen buttons work and another tab that lets you choose how the tablet is mapped to the display(s).

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@grimm @cowc2 I use a XP-PEN Artist 12 Pro and I also have the same issue as it relates to wanting to calibrate the tablet keys. I had emailed them earlier in the year about installing the driver when I was using a tablet from their star series but I had issues because I was using Fedora. They recommended using Ubuntu so I had to switch to it instead and it worked fine. They said there are too many Linux distros to work with and their drivers were updating. Wish the next driver updates to be able to customize the keys.

Also I prefer using Xp-pen because it’s much more more affordable than other brands, especially Wacom. Was able to get a tablet that’s less than half the price for their Cintiq 13 that’s customizble. Though the absence of a touch screen may have influenced the price somewhat. But I think the price still wouldn’t reach Wacom’s if it had that feature.

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Thanks for your time and reply.

  • I noticed Digimend Project and some Huion users finding unexpectedly working out of box with Linux
  • Also some XP-PEN news seems good news although lacking features.

For a time, I will stick with Huion and Windows. I wish in the future I might be able to switch to Linux Easily

Hey Pablo, could you make the tilt function work?