Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cintiq 24HD and ArtPen: problematic combo.

Update 8th November 2011: Link
Update 25 October 2011: Link
Update 22 February 2012: The ArtPen problem is now fixed. A firmware update removed all the problems: Link

What is the Art Pen?

The Cintiq 24HD comes with a very good Grip Pen, sensitive both to pressure and tilt. The Art Pen adds to the features offered by the Grip Pen the sensitivity to rotation. This means that if you are using a rectangular brush in Photoshop you can make a thin or thick line just rotating the brush in your hand. The pen also comes with different nibs, some of them are very similar to an highlighter head. The Art Pen is a pen that has pressure, tilt and rotation sensibility.

What is this article about?

Sadly I am experiencing some problems with the Art Pen KP701E01 used in combination with my Cintiq 24 HD. There are several Art Pen model numbers around. Please notice that is the Art Pen that Wacom Europe recommends for the Cintiq 24HD. I have asked what was the correct Art Pen for the Cintiq 24 HD because I was aware that more than one Art Pen exists. On the Wacom European Forum  (see post number 2, from Wacom) I got the answer that the KP701E01 is the right Art Pen for the Cintiq 24HD. I know for sure that in USA there is also another Art Pen, the KP701E2 LINK but Wacom Europe officially doesn’t know anything of this product. I suppose that is the same product as KP701E01, just a different name, but I might be wrong.

Are you sure that your Art Pen is not defective?

Yes, the Art Pen has been tested on an Intuos 4 Wireless and it works simply fine, flawlessly I would say. Very precise, all its functions are recognized correctly. The problem that I am experiencing is not related to the Art Pen that I am using, but to the Art Pen + Cintiq 24 HD combination. 

Did you try different nibs?

Yes, I tried all four kind of nib that come bundled with the Cintiq 24HD. I also tried to install them in different ways. Anyhow, as I told you, I am not suffering any problem with the Intuos 4 Wireless. This is not a nib problem. 

UPDATE (6th October 2011): Are you using a screen protector/screen guard? 

I am not using a screen guard. For what I know the screen guard is not recommended for two reason: the quality of the screen in terms of color reproduction can decrease and the pens could stop to work correctly. Anyway I don’t know any screen guard for the 24HD which is already for sale.

Ok, what is the problem with the Art Pen used on your Cintiq 24 HD?

More than one problem, unfortunately.

If I press low the computer recognize 2 double clicks continuously. Using the "sensitivity details" (I hope this is the correct translation, I have the drivers in Italian) and going to the test area I can see that no setting changes this behavior. This happens only with the Art Pen. The bundled Grip Pen works correctly. No “continuous double click” when passing the pen around the screen with low pressure.

Ok, what this “double click” issue means? I tried to describe it in the following YouTube video.

First 4 lines done without problems with the standard pen. Then 3 lines done with the Art Pen. The third line shows some serious problem. If you hear the sound (from sec 18) you can hear that I am applying a force with the nib, there is friction between the nib and the screen but nothing appears on the screen. I have done other tests like this and I tried to made some drawings but if I don't apply a lot of pressure the lines always have some problem. This is not happening with the default pen and I am using the same exact "technique" to draw.  So the “continuous double click" happens because the tablet does not recognize correctly the pressure “thinking” that you are continuously pressing and un-pressing on the screen. This is why the lines are not uninterrupted.

Another thing: if I go to the diagnostic information panel (in the "acom driver properties) I can see that with the Grip Pen the lower input pressure is detected properly. With the Art Pen it seems that the input pressure jumps from 0 to 20% without any lower value. I sometimes could get lower values, but always with the cursor "flashing" (same thing that it does when you touch the screen to make a "single click" but it does it continuously, like a strobe). Again, this is the “continuous double click issue”.

Ok. What other problems are you experiencing?

The Art Pen is also not detecting correctly the moment when I release the pen from the screen, as you can see in this video:

I am first using the Art Pen to draw 4 straight lines and then I use the Grip Pen to draw 4 other straight lines. Using the same exact "technique" (trying to apply the same exact amount of pressure). As you can see when I release the nib from the screen it seems that the computer sees an input that I never give. The end of the lines made with the Art Pen is never "clean" and I am experiencing a lot of times while I draw the problem that you can see in line number 3 and 4. It seems that there is a "deviation".

Maybe this problem is described in a more complete and appreciable way in this other video:

I am applying pressure only between the green lines. First the standard pen that comes with the Cintiq 24HD (black lines). Than the Ar tPen (red lines). As you can see also if I release pressure where the green line I get another input and another stretch is mad, in the direction where I move the nib. But the nib is no longer in contact with the surface.

What does this mean? 

It means that I simply can’t use the Cintiq 24 HD with the Art Pen. I endlessly get unwanted signs and invisible lines.

Are you absolutely sure that the problem is not you?

Well, I have asked a professional artist to test the Cintiq 24HD with the Art Pen a few moments ago and he was happy to do it because he is waiting to order one (at the moment they are sold out in the European Wacom  Store). He experienced the same exact problem. I have also asked 4 other people to test the tablet and they were all disappointed in the behavior of the Art Pen.

Couldn’t it be that it is just your Cintiq 24HD that has some sort of problem? What is Wacom saying about this issues with the Art Pen?

At the moment it seems that I am the only Art Pen user of the Cintiq 24HD and, also if I asked other Cintiq user to give me feedback on several forums, I didn’t get them. I started a topic on the Wacom European Forum describing the problems that I have, but I didn’t get any complete answer from Wacom. For this problem, and the other problem that I had with my Cintiq (the fan problem) they told me that I have to send my Cintiq 24HD, so maybe it is just my Cintiq that is defective (I will let you know when I will get a new Cintiq 24HD to test).

I will keep you informed if I get any news from Wacom or other users. 

Update (3th October 2011): Are you sure that your computer is not the problem? Maybe it is a low performance or  a wrongly configured machine.

My computer is not giving me problems with the Intous 4 Wirelss, that is based, for what I can understand, on a very similar (if not the same) technology of the Cintiq 24HD. I don’t think that the Cintiq 24HD requires a largely different type of calculations to work. My computer was bought two years ago but has been updated regularly to keep the performance high. I have a water-cooling solution that allowed me to overclock the CPU to 4.1Ghz since the first days of usage. I did many benchmarks and stability test and I had no overclocking-related problem during this years. Anyway whenever I have a problem with some hardware that I use or test I reset all the values in the BIOS to their default to be absolutely sure that the OC is not compromising anything. I am using 24Gbyte of RAM (8 are for a RAM Disk) and working with P30+ and P65+ files I can see that Photoshop and Lightroom benefit from this amount of RAM. I have also 2 SSDs, an older but still good X-25 M G2 Intel and a recently purchased Vertex 3 (that is not working in best conditions since I don’t have a SATA3 controller). I have an ATI FirePRO V4800 (to use 10bit displays like the Nec SpectraView recent models) and an nVidia 480GTX. I don’t like to have both installed in the same time, so I change the graphic card depending on my needs. Anyway each time I clean the system and install the proper and most recent drivers. To be absolutely sure that the problem is not my PC I did the same tests on an older mobile PC and I had the same results. I will also try to test everything on other PCs and let you know if anything changes.

 Update (13th October 2011): My unit wasreplaced. Wacom told me that this should be a driver problem. Read here for more details.


  1. FYI:
    the KP701E2 product is the ArtPen for the Intuos4 tablet.

  2. Thanks for your comment.
    Please read answer to question "What is this article about?". Wacom told me that the Art Pen for the Cintiq 24 HD is the KP701E01. There is no KP701E2 in Europe.

  3. i have the same problem with the ArtPen.
    Are there any good news?

  4. I am sorry, at the moment no good news. I am waiting for an answer from Wacom.

  5. Hey Vittorio,
    I use Cintiq 21Ux, and now 24HD daily for product design drawing sketching and rendering. Your problem, as you described it is 100% clear. My problem is exactly the same-only now I have the problem with the stylus which shipped with my 24! Have you got an answer yet?

  6. -happy news about this issue: I simply switched nibs-I was using the spring-loaded gray one before, and now I'm using the solid black plastic one...problem solved!

  7. Yeay, mechanical problem. That little spring loaded sucker got me too