Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wacom Volito tablet in OpenSUSE

A while ago I bought a Wacom Volito 2 drawing tablet for just about 30 euros. A very good value-for-money, but I haven't used it much to date.
So I thought I'd try and get it to work with my OpenSUSE 10.3 installation and The Gimp. Especially getting pressure-sensitivity working would be nice.

Plugging it in
The nice thing about linux is that plugging a device in usually works right away, and this is also true for the Volito. Are we done? No, not yet.

Configuring the tablet in YaST
YaST offers a "Tablet" configuration panel in the "Hardware" section under "Graphics Card and Monitor". In the "Tablet" configuration tab, check the "Activate This Tablet" option and choose WACOM as the vendor, GRAPHIRE v1-4 (USB) as the model.
Next, go to the "Electronic Pens" tab and check "Add Pen". Save your settings (test if you want) and restart your graphical environment.

Configuring pressure sensitivity in The Gimp
When you get back into the graphical environment, start the Gimp. Go to "File", then "Preferences" and click the "Input Devices" section. Hitting the button "Configure Extended Input Devices" brings you in a somewhat vague dialog.
The "Device" pulldown menu shows all input devices configured in X, however YaST conveniently names them Mouse[0] etc. so you have to find out which is which. The fastest way to do this, is to open the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf and search for "wacom". The section that has the line
Option "Type" "stylus"

is the one you want; remember the Identifier (likely Mouse[5] or similar).

Now, go back to the Gimp dialog and select that device. Select "Screen" in the "Mode" pulldown menu, and leave everything else as defaults. Hit "Save" and OK your way out of the preferences.
Now, if you open a new drawing and select one of the drawing tools, you can activate pressure sensitivity through the options (ink and brush have this set already).

You may run into trouble, as I did. Somehow YaST did not detect my input device correctly. First, check your installed packages. You should have the following installed:

The input-wacom package installs the special XInput driver for wacom from the excellent Linux Wacom Project, version 0.7.8.
From the tools, you can use wacdump to determine which input device your wacom has been assigned to. As root, type
wacdump /dev/input/eventX
where X is any number between 0 and 9. Move your stylus over the tablet, when you see coordinates changing in wacdump, you've got the right device, otherwise, choose the next one. Once you have the right device, correct this in /etc/X11/xorg.conf in all the sections that have the line
"Driver "wacom"
and restart X.

And when it works?
When it all works, you'll notice that applying more or less pressure on the pen while drawing in the Gimp, leads to thicker or thinner lines, color changes, or whatever you selected in the Pressure sensitivity options of your drawing tool. Of course, this does not make everyone a great artist right away....


Lukas said...

Before some time I bought an bamboo wacom Grata. I looked for some drivers but I were not succesful. The I came to this site via an german forum. And it does work. So I want to say thank you!

Anonymous said...

Very few comments, but I'm sure this has helped a lot of people.

I've just used the same instructions to get my Wacom Bamboo running on OpenSuse 11.1 running KDE 4.2. The bit on identifying that mouse(5) (in my case) was the one to play with was particularly useful.

Many thanks. You've saved me hours of faffing about.