Wacom released a new driver for Macs on 9 Nov 2015. I am unsure what is new, but I imagine more stuff for El Capitan. I am hoping to see a release for PCs soon, too. There was a windows update last night and this morning I had trouble booting my machine. After contacting Microsoft, which wasn’t helpful…sigh, I contacted Alienware support and they were able to get me up and running. However, I could only boot up if my Cintiq HD 24″ Touch was not connected. All is fine if I have the Cintiq turned off during boot up and turn it on after all is up and running. This isn’t a major problem, but it is a bit annoying. So I do hope there is a new driver for PCs coming soon.
I should tell you the last driver released on 8 Oct 2015 fixed the issues with names for the On-screen controls (Radial Menu). I blogged about the problem a few posts back. I was so excited about the fix because it makes using the function so easy; before it was difficult to find commands.
Windows 10 is poison to computers; stay away from it. You know me, I seldom write anything negative. But in this case, honesty is important; the negative stuff needs saying. Windows 10 is ridiculous and Microsoft help is woefully inadequate for the number and scale of problems arising. Here is an outline of my experience. I first wrote a 2400 word document which had all the names of tech support people and case numbers, but I decided no one would read it. Please read the shortened version…or just take my word for it…Windows 10 is poison.,
Day 1: Installed Windows 10 on my Surface Pro 3; installation was smooth. Decided it was safe to install on my Alienware desktop and ran into problems. Contacted Microsoft who after several hours told me I needed to let the process run for at least 1 to 3 hours. I let it run 17 hours.
Day 2: Connected with Microsoft again with a different agent. Explained the problem. Worked with her another 5 hours. At the end, she decided she needed to escalate my problem to a level 2 engineer. She set the call for between the hours of 10 and noon the next day.
Day 3: Microsoft level 2 engineer didn’t call. I call them around 2 PM and a level 1 tech suggested I wait and he was sure someone would call. I could wait, I didn’t have to install Windows 10, but it looked so neat and I believed all the press.
Day 4: The Microsoft level 2 engineer called around 10 AM. I worked with her for 11 hours. Most of that was downloading time. At the end of the day, no resolution was in sight. She couldn’t get Windows 10 to install. She promised to call the next day. Odd thing happened. My Surface Pro 3, which had worked fine before Windows 10, no longer could see my audio hardware. I no longer had sound.
Day 5: The level 2 engineer called and we continued working, but we kept getting failed attempts and various error messages. At 4 1/2 hours, I had to stop because I had a live session with a student scheduled. She tried one more time and this time my computer went to the screen of death or the blue screen. It restarted again, thank goodness. At the end of our call, the tech said that she didn’t know of anything else to do except wipe my computer and install Windows 10. No thank you was my reply. I mean really, she couldn’t promise that even that would work. We ended the call.
She had asked me to uninstall Norton and disconnect all peripherals from my computer before the last installation attempt. I set everything back up, started my computer, and immediately crashed to blue screen. I couldn’t correct the problem. Horrified, I called Microsoft back. The support tech informed me that since Windows 10 never installed and I was trying to get Windows 7 Ultimate back on the machine, I would have to call another department and pay for the support. I remained calm on the outside, but it was good that he couldn’t see my eyes, which I am sure would have shot laser beams penetrating his skull and vaporizing his brain on the spot. I then spent another 4 hours holding on the phone waiting for a tech at a different department, who informed me that the first tech should have never sent me to him. The other tech should have returned me to the level 2 tech I worked with. OK, I really am getting angry. It is 9 PM and he tells me he will contact the tech and her manager and they would call me within 2 hours. They didn’t call. I wonder if he contacted anyone or was just trying to placate me.
Day 6: My computer is still crashing to blue screen on opening. I am trying to restore to an earlier point, which also fails. I call Microsoft. During the 3 hour wait time, I decided to revert my Surface Pro 3 back to Windows 8.1. A miracle happened. The Surface was now able to see my audio hardware and play sound again. I then found out that Microsoft was aware of the problem and needed to give new drivers to the Window 10 users. Would have been nice if they had notified us, right? But, I guess it is way more fun to let its loyal customers flounder about.
OK, so I get a new level 2 tech who is very apologetic and says she will help me, right? She started by trying to restore my computer to an earlier time, which I patiently explained wouldn’t work. She did it anyway. It didn’t work. Then she asked me to do something, I couldn’t make it out. I asked her to repeat herself and she didn’t. Then she started saying hello and trying to get my attention. I could hear her, but she couldn’t hear me. She said that she had to end the call. Not ten minutes earlier I had given her my call back number and begged her to call me if we got disconnected. She did not call me back. I call Microsoft back once again. One hour into the wait time I get disconnected. To this point, my writing has been kind, but let me be perfectly frank. Microsoft’s help system sucks. I cannot write the words I am thinking…you can read between the lines. And, their product sucks, too. It killed one of my computers and disabled the other.
I called Alienware support and on bended knee, I asked if they could help. It probably took 5 minutes to reset the bad stuff that the repeated installation attempts and reverting back to Windows 7 created. I spent another 15 minutes with the tech while he ran diagnostics on my machine to see if all was OK and it is. Compare Alienware’s performance to Microsoft’s…15 minutes versus 6 days.
Please do not try to install Windows 10. I know it is safe for some folks, but you will not know that until you try. Then, you must call a help system that isn’t capable of correcting the problems that are occurring. Please share this post with others. Everyone needs to know the dangers here…and the appalling lack of support from Microsoft.
Alienware support is my hero, Microsoft support is the spawn of the devil.
What a difference a day makes. Yesterday, I wondered if I had done the right thing installing the new Wacom driver; today, I am glad I did. OMGosh, the new driver can make custom palettes…actually they are like the radial menu, but I believe that the users will embrace the new way to create radial menus more than they did previously. But, first…let’s talk about other stuff I discovered today.
First thing I did was uninstall the driver I had installed yesterday. Then I downloaded the driver directly from Wacom. BTW, the legacy drivers have not been updated…just the Cintiqs, Cintiq Companion products, Intuos Pro and Intuos. You can download the driver from Wacom Drivers. I didn’t have the trouble with the installation, so, if you plan on updating, I would suggest uninstalling your current driver, disconnect your tablet from your computer, install the new driver, and finishing, then reconnect your tablet.
Unfortunately, some of the issues I saw yesterday were still there this morning. I talked with my mate, Tim Shelbourne in England, and we met via G2M and had a great deal of fun sorting it all out. This first video talks about some of the stuff we discovered and what I needed to do to correct any problems that occurred yesterday. If you are not interested in that, but want to find out about the Custom Palettes, skip to the next video.
In the next video I talk about a really neat function available with the new driver. You can now display the radial menu in single column, double column, single row, or double row. It seems more familiar than the radial method and reminds me a great deal of the way Painter handles custom palettes. I think Painter users will love it. In the video I wasn’t so sure, but I have changed my mind. And, I think Photoshop users are going to really love it the most because this will be the first time they can make custom palettes. Remember, it is the same as the radial menu, but that configuration never caught the public’s eye. I think the new method will. Here is the video…enjoy.
Give the new driver a try and let me know if you like the new way of doing the Radial Menu. Don’t forget, you can go back a few posts and get my custom shortcut keys for Painter and for the Wacom.
A friend sent me an email telling me that there were new Wacom Drivers available. Surprisingly, my Wacom Desktop Center hadn’t told me about it this morning, but when I opened the Center again, there was the message new drivers were available. I decided to use the Wacom Desktop Center to install the drivers. I did that the last time without issue. That wasn’t the case this time. The installation appeared to go as planned, but when I rebooted, I came back to black screens. I was able to get everything back without much hassle, but it was such a surprise to have something like this happen.
Next I loaded my preferences and then took a look at my Wacom Tablet Preferences window. Yikes, it look similar, but on closer inspection, I found many changes. I’m not even sure how it works. I did go to the Wacom site, but I couldn’t find any information about the changes. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t there…I just couldn’t find it.
I suspect that I am going to roll back to the previous driver until I can figure out what is going on. I’m not worried; Wacom products are fine. I just need to learn a bit about the new look and feel of the Wacom Tablet Preferences. I’ll let you know when I do.
In the meantime, look at the video below. It will tell you in more detail about what I found when updating to the latest driver.
OK, Painter crashed and no matter what I did, I could not open it again. To start Painter I had to either use a Shift-Start or uninstall and re-install, which meant I would lose all of my custom brushes, papers, flow maps, etc. Sound familiar; I hope not. But, I know that some of my readers have experienced this same horror. Well, all is not lost. Follow along as I show you how I recovered my custom files.
The first thing to do after a crash is to try to open Painter again. If that doesn’t work, then try rebooting your computer and then open Painter. If that doesn’t work, then try uninstalling Painter, but when you start the process you will get the option to either repair or remove Painter. Do not remove it, but do try a repair. Hopefully, one of the above steps will allow you to open Painter again, but if it doesn’t, then follow what I did.
For a PC first copy and save your workspace information to your documents. In a PC, go to Desktop > User System Folder (usually your name) > AppData > Roaming > Corel > Painter 2015 (or X3, or 12.2) > Your Workspace name…or default if you haven’t made a workspace. Once you get to your workspace, copy the information and paste it to a new folder in your documents or somewhere you can find it again. Do not copy it in the Painter user area.
If you are on a Mac, then go to your Finder Menu and select Go > Go To Folder and in the box that opens type: ~/Library and hit Go. Now in the finder select Application Support > Corel > Painter 2015 > Your Workspace name…or default if you haven’t made a workspace. Once you get to your workspace, copy the information and paste it to a new folder in your documents or somewhere you can find it again. Do not copy it in the Painter user area.
Watch the following video about saving your workspace.
Now that I saved the workspace, I can open Painter using a Shift – Start or uninstalling and re-installing. What is a Shift – Start. It is a very neat way to open painter with a corrupted workspace or something that blocks Painter from opening. Hold down the shift key and start Painter normally, but don’t let up on the shift key. A window will open that asks if you want to set Painter back to factory defaults. At this point, release your shift key and select all workspaces and hit the enter key. At this point, Painter deletes all custom files. That is why it is important to copy your workspace files before a Shift – Start. The same is true if you uninstall and re-install Painter.
Once Painter is operating again, I want to import my saved workspace into Painter, but I have to prepare it for import. I do this by selecting the contents of the saved workspace folder and zipping them. Then I change the name to the name I want to use for my workspace, and this is very important, I changed the extension .zip to .pws. Changing the extension prompts the OS to give me a warning that changing the extension can corrupt the file. I ignore the warning and proceed with the changes. Now the file is ready for import.
I opened Painter and went to Window > Workspace > Import Workspace > and navigated to my zipped file, selected it, and hit open. If my workspace isn’t corrupted, it will open in Painter. My experience is about 50/50; meaning that about 50% of the time this will work, but 50% of the time my workspace still crashes Painter.
The following video shows you how to prepare your workspace for import:
All is still not lost. I can import my custom files individually from my saved workspace to Painter. I started with brushes. In my saved workspace folder, there are a series of folders and some files. The first folder is Brushes. I opened that folder and found another series of folders. Each one of these folders represent a Painter brush library. Three of them are the default brush libraries that came with Painter, Painter Brushes, Painter 13 brushes, and Painter 14 brushes. Don’t let the name Painter 14 brushes confuse you; that is the name of the Painter 2015 brush library. It is possible, if you have never created a Painter brush library, these three libraries will be all that you have. You do not want to import these libraries again. More on that later.
If you do have more than the three default libraries, you do want to import each library into Painter. To do that, I opened the brush library folder and selected the contents of the folder and zipped it. Again, I changed the name to the name I want to use for the library. This time I changed .zip to .brushlibrary. To import into Painter, I go to Brushes > Import > Brush Library and select my newly created file for import. I do this for each library.
But, I also have some custom categories in my default brush library. Most of you will, too. It is not a good idea to import the default libraries into Painter, but you can import each category. To import a category, I open the Brush library folder. In the folder, there are another group of folders plus .jpgs with the same name. I want to select one of the custom folders and select its companion .jpg. I zip those two items and change the name to the name of the brush category and the .zip to .brushcategory. Before import, I make sure I am in the library I want the category placed. Then I go to Brushes > Import > Category and select my newly made brush category for import.
The video version for import follows:
But what about my custom papers, flow maps, patterns, etc. I can hear you saying. Don’t worry, that is what I do next. Back in the corrupted workspace, notice the folders called papers, flow maps, patterns, looks, gradients, weaves and so forth. Those contain your media libraries. To prepare them for import, I followed the same method used for preparing brush libraries. For papers, I opened the paper folder and each folder therein represents a paper library. I opened one of the paper library folders and selected the entire contents, zipped it, and then changed its name to reflect the name of the paper library. I also changed .zip to .paperlibrary. I did this for each paper library folder contained in the paper folder. Next, I opened Painter and opened my Paper Library Panel and selected the fly out menu in the upper right corner and picked import paper library. I navigated to my newly made paper library files and selected one to import. I did this for each paper library.
I used the same technique for flow maps, patterns, and the rest of the media libraries, but each extension is different for each type of library. To find the extension needed, I went to each type of library, for example, I opened the flow map library. I clicked on the fly out menu or option button in the upper right corner. From the list, I pick import library. A window opens and in the lower left corner above Open and Cancel is a drop down menu. If I hover my cursor over this menu, I will see the extension necessary to import the file. In this case I would change .zip to .flowmaplibrary. Come on…it isn’t that complex. Watch the next video to see how to do it.
Import Custom Media files in this video:
So, what’s left? Color sets, mixer pads, arranged palettes, and even custom palettes can be recovered. Actually, these are easier to do, but there are a couple of tricks. It is easier to explain in the following video.
Importing Color set, etc.:
That’s it. Yes, I know it is a lot of stuff, but is way easier than rebuilding all your custom files from scratch. In my case, if I lose a brush that hasn’t been exported, it is next to impossible to recreate that brush from memory. However, if you are just using a custom brush set made by me or someone else, it is easier to just import the set again.
But even easier that importing the set again, it is best if you export the workspace monthly, weekly or even daily. Let’s talk prevention. A workspace has all the custom information…everything. Painter offers the ability to export workspaces. There is one warning. It is static, meaning that the information is current to the date of export. If you add more custom stuff, unless you export your workspace again, that new stuff will be lost. I try to export my workspace weekly and if I am making a bunch of stuff, I will do it daily. Then if Painter crashes, I can just import my exported workspace and be back in business quickly. It is always good to export custom stuff individually, too. You can export custom palettes, brush categories, brush libraries, brushes, paper libraries, etc. But, for me, I find exporting my workspace routinely works well, and I don’t export custom files individually.
The next video tells you how to export a workspace:
That’s all folks. I hope you never have a Painter crash and lose your custom stuff, but if you do, these procedures work well for me. One last warning. Every computer is different and your results may not be the same as mine. I cannot guarantee everything will work the same for you. Proceed with caution.
Spring Open Studio starts Saturday at the Digital Art Academy. The instructor is Corel Painter Master Elite, Karen Bonaker, and the topic is Contemporary Japanese Ink Paintings. Registration closes Friday, March 27, 2015…so hurry and register before it is too late. The course will include a custom brush category, paper textures, overlays and reference materials. Karen provides video and PDFs, plus moderates and comments on all student work.
I’m excited about anything that talks about watercolor in painter and this class focuses on it. Karen talks about flow maps, watercolors, selections, and demos tons of new brushes. Check out the following work by Karen. This is the type of work demonstrated in the class.
I love that the images also have a Sumi-e feel to them.
Finch on Bamboo, Karen Bonaker, Corel Painter 2015
The textured backgrounds are wonderful.
Landscape with Growth Effect, Karen Bonaker, Corel Painter 2015
Of course I love anything with flowers.
Orchids in a Pot, Karen Bonaker, Corel Painter 2015
OK, I can’t stand it. I had to do a practice one. I used a new brush of mine and a texture overlay. Loads of fun, but I can’t wait to learn Karen’s new techniques.
Practice Sumi-e Style, Skip Allen, Corel Painter 2015
If you are working in Windows on a PC, then Corel Painter has released a hot fix that corrects the problem with NET Framework 4.5.2. Again, if you are using a Mac, this fix isn’t necessary and you should ignore this post.
PC users should have gotten an automatic notification that the fix has downloaded and requests installation. If you didn’t, then go to Patches and Updates and download the Painter 2015 – Hot Fix. Save it on your computer and then double-click the saved file to install it.
I love mixing colors…traditionally or digitally. There is something so wonderful about looking at colors as they develop. I have to admit, I haven’t been completely happy with Corel Painter’s mixer pad. It does a good job, I’m not saying that, but I have difficulty with it. I’ve seen others mix lots of colors beautifully with it. And, there are some who never use it at all. While making my latest set of watercolor brushes, I noticed that some mixed colors better than the mixer pad. I started testing and actually went back to the default Watercolor category in Painter 2015 and started using Watery Glazing Flat variant to mix colors directly in the document. I bet other transparent glazing type variants would work as well, but I haven’t tried them.
The transparent character of watercolor variants allows the paint to mix optically, which is why it is so beautiful in my opinion. It is possible to mix very vibrant colors, too, but I was going for more subtle combinations of soft colors. This image is a mix of Phthalo Blue Green, Cadmium Yellow Deep, and Permanent Alizarin Crimson. This one is the most vibrant of the ones that I did today.
Watercolor mix using Phthalo Blue Green, Cadmium Yellow Deep, and Permanent Alizarin Crimson
The next two examples are definitely more subtle and softer. I love the grayed feel of the colors. The top three rows are French Ultramarine, Aureolin, and Permanent Carmine. The last three rows are Phthalo Blue Green, Quinacridone Gold, and Permanent Alizarin Crimson. I am so attracted to these types of colors. I know this is a personal thing, but they do seem luscious to me.
Watercolor mixes. First three rows are French Ultramarine, Aureolin, and Permanent Carmin. The last three rows are Phthalo Blue Green, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and Quinacridone Gold.
OK…want to know how to do this type of color mixing. It really is easy. In the first video, I start using Corel Painter’s mixer pad. It is fine and I get good color, but when I switch to mixing the same colors with a watercolor variant, I get many more choices…and I think better choices. But, judge for yourself.
In the second video, I mix three colors in one area using the watercolor variant. Then I sample the colors created. It is pretty cool. To alter any color, I can simply add more color to an area. That is hard to explain. Watch the video.
In part 3, I again use three colors painted inside of a selection. But this time, I drop the layer to the canvas layer and add a new white layer with a composite method of overlay. Doing this, brightens the mixed layer. Now I let Painter do the work and create a new color set from a selection. Deciding how many colors is always problematic. But, I really think 16 is the highest number needed and 8 might be just as good. What do you think?
As usual, I go off on a tangent in video 4, but I think it is an interesting tangent. I am still mixing colors using a watercolor variant, but instead of using the traditional concept that the primary colors are Red, Blue, and Yellow, I use the correct version of Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. What? I knew you would say that. I know it is crazy. I toyed with this concept for several years and it is hard to wrap my head around it. Basically, old Issac Newton thought the primary colors were Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, but he couldn’t prove it. I think in the late 1800s or early 1900s, scientist began to tell us that the real primary colors were Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. What makes them primary is that they cannot be mixed and a mixture of them produces black, which is the same thing I have thought about Red, Blue, and Yellow. I am almost used to the idea that Pluto isn’t a planet and now this. Of course, I thought this was about light, but not pigments.
Hold on, not so fast…did you know that there are paint companies now producing tubes of Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow as primary colors. Not all of course…this change will take some time and a steep learning curve…especially for older dudes like me. But, I have to admit, I find the concept strangely appealing and very interesting. And there is something to it. Take a look at the video and watch me mix blue and red. Something, I didn’t think could be done. Now, I haven’t tried this traditionally, but I’m thinking why not. So, what do you think about Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow as the real primaries?
The next video probably is overkill. I continue to mix Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, plus the secondary colors of Red, Blue, and Green. I was curious more than anything else. I wondered what colors would emerge. Really, once you get past the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow start, it seems pretty much like the traditional mixing methods. Actually when all is said and done, color mixing is pretty much intuitive or innate. But I do find the explorations fun.
I hope you enjoyed the techniques and will give them a try.
Winifred Whitfield has added another class to her popular Inspired Master Artist Series. The class opens Friday and uses the work of Vincent Van Gogh for inspiration. I talked with her briefly about the class and she discussed Van Gogh’s color choices. I found the conversation very interesting.
I am sure you will find the class interesting, too. Winifred describes the class in this video:
Check out some of the work that she will be demonstrating in tutorials:
I posted about the updated drivers for a PC 3 days ago. Today, Wacom released new tablet drivers for the Mac. You can find them here. Wacom Tablet Drivers for the Mac
I did update my Windows Drivers on March 3rd, and I have had moderate success. I did have some problems and had to restart the tablet services several times. But, all has been good the last couple of days. If I continue to have problems, I’ll let you know.