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Artist's Essential Tool Guide: How to Make your Android tablet into a Wacom Tablet

This section of Cal's Blog, hosted by Grip Fast Artworks, is part of the Artist's Essential Tool Guide's How-To/Must-Have Linux series which focuses on GNU/FOSS technologies that are of particular use to the artist (specifically Ubuntu). These techniques come courtesy of Grip Fast Information Systems & Technology.

You might be asking, "what is Wacom?"

Wacom is the name of a Japanese company that specializes in tablets, digital pens and styluses made specifically for by artists, graphic designers and digital artists. The name itself is a Japanese portmanteau: Wa for "harmony" or "circle", and Komu for "computer". Be warned: an Android device certainly isn't an expensive, pedigree Wacom device which can run in the thousands of dollars. Fortunately your Android is surprisingly capable when used in this role, especially the Galaxy Note 4+.

The device used in this tutorial is bottom-shelf: an entry-level 8" Dell Venue 8 3830 touch tablet running Android 4.4.2. The cost of this device at the time of this writing was approximately $130. It doesn't have a pressure-sensitive stylus, only touch/dual touch capabilities. It does have an HD screen. More specs can be found at the link below.

At this point I would like to make clear the inspiration behind this tutorial. First, the people at MetaCreations who brought us a much beloved program, Painter (before it was corrupted by Corel) in the early 2000's and more recently, the phenomenal artist David Kassan. and his iPad paintings (he uses ArtRage and the Nomad Brush).

For this tutorial...

What is used? Here's the skinny: 

UPDATE:  03/5/2016

The Ubuntu 14.04 version of Splashtop Streamer works if you follow this instruction but substitute the .deb files from this Google Drive download location (tested on Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Beta):

The biggest issue in transforming your Andriod device into a wacom tablet is obtaining the required .deb packages and dependencies which the Splashtop Desktop Streamer requires for Linux. The streamer has an official .deb for Ubuntu 12.10 in the software center (or via App Grid) but has since dropped all Linux support and development. If one tries to install it straight away, it will fail horribly.

The order in which one installs the required dependencies is of the utmost importance. Here they are as follows:

Step 1: Download the required dependencies from the GFA Google Drive account: Libx264-120_0.120.2151 and the Splashtop_Streamer_Ubuntu_12.04_v2.2.5.1-4_i386.

You may need to also download:
  1. QT (if you don't have it already).
  2. Python Webkit (you might have the new version, must have the old one too). Python-webkit (>= 1.1.8) is required.
Step 2: Install the dependencies via terminal. Be sure to replace YOURUSERNAME with the name of your currently logged-in user profile:
  1. # sudo apt-get install python-webkit

  2. # sudo apt-get install python-appindicator

  3. # sudo dpkg -i /home/YOURUSERNAME/Desktop/libx264-120_0.120.2151+gita3f4407-2_i386.deb
Step 3: Install Splashtop Streamer for the desktop (x32).

        # sudo dpkg -i /home/YOURUSERNAME/Desktop/Splashtop_Streamer_Ubuntu_12.04_v2.2.5.1-4_i386.deb

Step 4: Install the Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop App from Google Play on your device.

         Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop App (on your Android device)

Step 5: Permit the devices to connect by opening your desktop's ports. Requires making the iptables accessible:

        # sudo iptables -A INPUT -m conntrack --ctstate NEW,RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT

Step 6: Start the Splashtop Steamer desktop application for the first time by running:

        # python /opt/splashtop-streamer/SRStreamer.pyc

Step 7: Start the Splashtop 2 app on your Android device and fill-in the prompted values. Splashtop offers a tutorial on initial setup.

Look for the icon of your desktop. If there is a satellite dish icon over the corner of your monitor, your ports are not open.

Step 8: Download and install Krita. The best [and only] painting focused program.

Step 9: Open a new project image in Krita and begin to finger paint away on your new wacom tablet!

Digital painting done in Krita by Toni W.

I am extremely interested in other users installing this combination on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, 32-bit. Please comment on this tutorial if you run into any issues and I will review the installation instructions and help you in any way that I may for your install. Please use the contact page at GFA to send email.