Category Archives: Equipment and supplies

Shoe-lace Bug (brush-strokes do not taper) in PS CC-2014 on Mac Yosemite

Recently I have switched to Mac I currently run Yosemite 10.10.3 on a late 2013 27 inch I-mac, 32 gb memory and I work on a Cintiq 24hd. There is still a major issue with line quality in Photoshop and this time I believe it is a Photoshop-Yosemite compatibility issue and Wacom is not at fault. The issue is the notorious shoe-lace bug effect that ruins the end of pressure sensitive lines. Basically the pressure sensitivity does not smoothly taper off to zero as you lift your pen at the end of the line and instead remains at a minimal amount adding an ugly “shoe-lace” at the end of the lineShoe-lace bug

This effect does not exist in PS5 however in PS6 there was a different bug in a delay between the scroll ring and scrolling. Adobe provided a White Window Workaround plugin. This Plugin solved the delay problem and re-introduced the shoe-lace bug problem.

In PS CC2014 Adobe seems to have integrated the White Window plugin into the software. They have solved the delay problem and cemented the shoe-lace problem into the software. I have tested extensively with different Wacom drivers. They are not the source of this problem. I have spoken to friends and they told me that this problem did not exist in Mavericks. It is clearly a Photoshop- Yosemite compatibility issue. For Windows users they can use Lazy Nezumi to solve this issue but it does not work for Mac. I think many artists especially Mac users who can not use Lazi Nezumi would appreciate more control over the brush smoothing settings in Photoshop. It is really high time to update the very minimal current smoothing options.

A separate Yosemite bug in Cs5 is that if you color sample the frame/ border outside the page Photoshop crashes.

Also I have noticed that PS5 brush engine is actually lightly smoother, faster and more responsive than later PS versions and is currently the best (and only) option for inking in PS on a mac because of the shoe-lace issue.

Interesting that Will Terry has also found cs5 to be smoothest:

If you turn off smoothing the bug will disappear and instead the taper will be smooth but short (still not as nice as cs5 longer pressure sensitive taper) The problem is that then your curves will appear jagged so there is no solution as of now in CS6 and up.smoothing offsee this post for more on resolving line smoothing issues in PS and Wacom


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How to Fix the Wacom Cintiq from Shaky, Jittery, Wobbly, Jagged Lines

Cintiq-jittery-line-solution[1]I recently upgraded and purchased the Cintiq 24hd. I had a major problem with wobbly lines in Photoshop. The lines seemed to break up into small sections, especially curves. If you look around the net you will see Wacom claiming that this is largely due to interference issues from nearby equipment. As usual don’t believe them. I also called and they told me they never hear this issue about the 24hd – clearly baloney from a quick look around the net.  (see my post on scratches on Cintiqs to understand why I have such a frenemy relationship with them)   It’s possible that interference is the cause in some cases but it is clearly a driver-Photoshop-Windows related issue. After endless, and I mean endless, research, and trying everything on earth, I finally found what seemed to be an answer:

The thrust of the approach there is to do a thorough removal of current Wacom driver (more thorough than simply remove program) and then install a legacy driver -6.36

After more usage I noticed unfortunately that the 6.36 driver has a slight lag to it. I tried using the same total clean install for the latest driver 63.84 but it also has the wobbly problem although slightly better. So basically my choice seemed to be either 6.36 with slight lag or 63.84 with slight wobble. If you look at this screenshot of 63.84 you can see how it started of clean but if you look at the swirls on top the wobble returns ( in the 63.84)63.84I also tried my Cintiq 24hd with an old Imac – no wobble at all but it is too slow for heavy usage. I have heard of people going the Hackintosh route because of this issue but it sounds extreme.

After a bit more experimentation I finally found the winning combo – smooth lines and super fast:

Important: Unplug the usb from cintiq to computer before you start uninstall process and plug it in only after installing new driver.

The basic approach is:

1) A thorough removal of current driver including all tablet related folders in program files and program files(x86) ( see the link above – I noticed that it is important to do this from an administration account because then it seems to remove all folders automatically, and probably other stuff too, just getting permission when you are still in a secondary account will not work.  You might have to stop a process in order to do this. Just go to the process tab in task manager and make sure to click – “show process from all users” if necessary, and stop the process blocking it.

2) Turn off – tablet input service– in windows system, then step on it, burn it and scatter its ashes to the wind.tablet input service3) Install driver – 6.2.0w5 (update: 6.3 6-3 is better, see later comment)- This is the winning driver! It is before they added windows ink option which I think has something to do with this. I tried this driver a while ago but it did not work consistently because I had not done it combined with the other steps.

4) Turn double click distance off or you will get occasional blotches:double click2double click large

5) Put your Cintiq screen on right side if you want to use it in a multi screen setup:screen on right

Bottom Line: This fix has solved it for me after lots of trying. I believe the issue is clearly related to windows ink-Photoshop-Wacom driver. Others have had success with other legacy drivers so I wonder if it depends on your system. However either way I could not solve it until I realized there were a few other factors such as the thorough removal issue, and the double click issue. It now works perfect on PS CS5 and CC. Surprisingly CS5 seems to work the slightest bit faster than CC but that might just be my settings.

Curious to hear anyone else’s experience with my combo fix.

Here are some of the sources I researched for this issue:!!!

Update 5/30/14: I still have occasional skips and blotches with the 6.2.ow5.

Update 9/12/14: Because of the occasional blotches on the 6.2.0w5 driver I changed to legacy driver 6.3 6-3 which seems to give me both smoothness and almost no blotches.

Bottom line is that the legacy drivers seem to be the answer along with fixing the other variables mentioned above- experiment a bit if necessary till you find which legacy one works for your system, either 6.2.ow5, or 6.3 6-3 seem to be good candidates.

Let me quote Frenden:

“In Windows, be sure to install the drivers before plugging the tablet in. Windows has insidious default tablet drivers it will install otherwise. They don’t work well and you’ll swear there’s something wrong with your hardware. There isn’t. Deleting your HID stack in Device Manager is the only help here and even it may not work. You may have to reinstall a fresh copy of the OS. Additionally, in Windows 7 at least, disable Tablet PC services from the services menu. Uninstall Tablet PC components. Uncheck “Support Tablet PC Features” from the tablet driver icon in the system tray. Minimally, disable Pen Flicks. All of these things impact drawing performance.”

Basically: Always download drivers and install BEFORE plugging in a new tablet so Windows can’t vomit drivers at it.

If anyone comments on a similar experience please note which graphics card and system you have. I am curious if Nvidia has anything to do with this issue I have Quadro 2000.

Update 4/26/15:
At this point I decided to get a new computer and go with a mac because I never managed to perfectly fix Windows/Wacom so that I wouldn’t get occasional blotches and I always felt a slight disparity between my input and long lines in terms of wobble.

Overall I feel that OSX and Wacom drivers do much better together. The reason is probably that windows ink screwed everything up. Although recent Wacom driver update might have finally addressed the jagged issue.

There is an issue at this time with Yosemite-Photoshop compatibility and the shoe-lace effect where the end of the brush strokes do not taper smoothly. See my blog post here.

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Digital Painting Texture and Color Resources


Great free sites with many, many, textures:

Color Schemes:

Use James Gurney’s Gamut masking method: ( Basically limit your colors to a specific range/mood,  with maybe a dash of contrasting color for flavor- or the character. Also read everything he has ever written on that blog, really, don’t just sit there looking at me, get started.)

Here is an online tool to help make gamut masks :

Here is a great interactive Painters wheel like you find in Corel Painter that opens in Photoshop -free from Len White and here is a color wheel that imports into your swatches from Sketchling at CG Hub

Here is how it looks when photoshop is opened:

sample screen



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Best of the Best – Free Painterly Digital Photoshop Brushes

Painterly brush set

The Painterly Digital Brushes Collection:

The main quality I look for in a digital brush is a painterly responsive feel, or brushes that look like they were made with brush strokes, not a hard captured/scattered/ photo/shape.

There are certainly plenty of general texture/brush tip brushes out there. The trick is to find brushes that specialize in a certain purpose ie grass, leaves, water, clouds, stone etc. but still have a painterly feel. These painterly, purpose-specific brushes are also out there, and can significantly speed up your work-flow, but unfortunately you have to hack through miles of evil, stencil-like, scattered leaves to find them. The above screenshot is of my constantly evolving painterly brush set.

These are the best painterly brushes from the pros that I have found:

My Main Painting Brushes:


DanLuVisiArt  / Adonhis brush pack – one of the most popular collections on the net. Amazing basic, plus, great cloud, glow, phenomenal fur/ hair, all painterly, a very good foundation to build your collection)

Mike Nash’s brushes Look on bottom of the home page for the brush download link. No imitation leaves, just bristle/texture etc. Each brush is perfectly suited for it’s purpose- a small and perfectly balanced collection- almost like a classic oil painting set)

Sketching Brushes:  I love this rough sketching brush exceptionally  natural and responsive.


• Textured pencil brush by Denis Zilber that he used in this incredible Leprechaun painting video (brush link from his FB page) great textured pencil look / see a sample I did with this brush here

Specialty Brushes:

• Mar-Ka Brushes / Margarita Sheshukova (bristels and texture, great painterly leaf, grass brushes)

• Imiliea Lush Grass (lush painterly grass brush)

• Fox- Orian Brushes  ( nice general shrubbery leaf shapes, great light rays)

Extras: (link to several top notch collections. You can also see their websites for examples of how they used the brushes. – warning: you can spend days on these)  (great collection- again pro industry artists only)

* For beginners here’s how to load brushes

Collections by Artist:

I am a little crazy over brushes. Here are some of the artists brushes that I have collected over time. I try to collect each one with some sample art that they have done so I have a better idea how they use the brush.

( I know it’s not the brush that makes the picture and.. yada, yada… trala -la… – I still love ’em and yes they make a HUGE difference in terms of speed, a.k.a. $)

Click (twice) for large version if you would like to see the names in my current collection:

master brush collection

Collections by Subject -The Ultimate Tool:

I believe that the real ultimate strategy is to organize all your digital painting assets ( brushes, photos, patterns, scripts, actions etc) by commonly used subject. Give each subject it’s own titled folder in your general art assets folder.

The only way I have found to transfer select brushes from different assorted use, “mixed” sets into a “master subject” set ( for example taking different leaf brushes from various mixed use sets into a master “leaf” set) is to:

a- Have the “master”set open.

b- Load/add the “mixed” set  to the master.

c- Use the preset manager to delete the extraneous brushes from the added “mixed” set leaving only the select brushes that you want plus the original master set. Save.

d- Repeat this process/ for every subject/ with every brush set/ one at a time   —– very/ super/  duper/ ridiculous – Adobe? Hello! (Even with the abr viewer programs)


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