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Since a nice Wacom tablet is a bit pricey, especially for someone like me who doesn't do much graphic editing, I was wondering if it is possible to use a tablet (i.e. my Nexus 7) as a Wacom-esque drawing tablet when connected to a Linux computer?

I did a bit of searching, however most of the info I found is for using a Wacom tablet on an Android device. I've never used a Wacom device, however I have been doing some graphic editing in Gimp, and think it would be much easier than just using a mouse. And since I have a Nexus 7, it seemed like the logical place to start. I would have to use the Nexus as a USB peripheral for the computer, and I don't know if it is possible to transmit the touch screen coordinates to the PC.

If anyone can point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it!

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

The GfxTablet project should allow you to do this. It's network-based rather than USB though.

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That looks promising, thanks. – Garrett Fogerlie May 8 '13 at 5:15
I think gfxTablet does not work on Windows. – bgmCoder Oct 22 '15 at 19:06
@BGM - The asker says in the question that they use Linux and the question is also tagged Linux. – Compro01 Oct 23 '15 at 11:47
@Compro01 My apologies; every time I read "PC" I associate it with a Windows OS. Maybe I shouldn't do that, but in my defense, nobody ever thinks of a Macintosh as a "PC". It's usually "Mac and PC". – bgmCoder Oct 23 '15 at 15:43

A touchscreen tablet is not like a Wacom tablet. Drawing tablets use a stylus with one or two pressure-sensitive tips and several buttons. The stylus is also sensitive to the angle you hold it at, and the tablet can detect when the stylus is hovering above the tablet, even with no contact. A drawing tablet has a resolution of a fraction of a millimetre. You can wield the stylus like a calligraphy pen, an airbrush, or anything in between.

A capacitive touchscreen such as you get on a Nexus 7 is designed to detect fat blobs like finger tips. It can't react to you hovering over it, to the natural pressure changes you get over the course of a stroke, or to the angle. Samsung's Note series has a pretty advanced stylus, and it makes a nice drawing tool, but it still lacks the advanced features like angle sensitivity.

Sure, you can use a touchscreen to draw and to create artwork, but asking it to replace a Wacom tablet is like asking finger-painting to replace the whole range of artists' paintbrushes. You'll never be satisfied with the results.

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I agree with many points in your answer, but but I also think it's likely that an individual who is looking for a hack rather than an actual graphics tablet may not need the entire functionality of a true graphics tablet. Also, graphics tablets are serious tools in their own right. Someone without the training and experience to effectively use them will likely have similar results as with an android tablet. – JSON Jan 15 '15 at 23:32
@JSON Even when a layperson with no art background tries to sign their name with their finger on a touchscreen, the results are completely different from doing it with a real pen, even a biro that isn't pressure- or angle-sensitive. Sure, many users won't need the entire functionality of a graphics tablet, but they will need the precision and responsiveness, and to use it on a PC they'll definitely need to be able to point without clicking. – Dan Hulme Jan 16 '15 at 8:18

I am the developer for Slide Graphic Tablet. The app connects over USB or WiFi that is meant for this. It also has support for the S Pen in the paid version.

You can also visit my website.

The projects source is also available on GitHub: Android App | Desktop App

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This looks really cool. I've edited your answer to be a little clearer, and also added a direct link to the app in the Play Store. – dotVezz Jan 8 '14 at 21:15

A Samsung Note II has all of what you are looking for. It uses pressure sensitivity like a Wacom, and it even has a Wacom digitizer built into it! Doing some research now, apparently there is an app that allows connection to a PC for that purpose exactly.

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Can you tell us what app you've found that does that? Does it work with Linux? – Andrew Lott Jul 3 '13 at 14:22

The Virtual Tablet app is free on the Google Play Store. It works with some flaws but overall good. See the developers site for more information

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Works great but pressure sensitivity works only with sketchbook – Denis May 15 '15 at 9:15

For this I use AIRDROID which turns a tablet in a third display for me, on which you can diplay your 'edit' window of the programs you like to use

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I see that apps like iDisplay and Splashtop Extended Display can answer the question in the manner you suggest, but reading the features makes it sound like Airdroid works in the opposite direction. Can you add some clarity to this answer? – Saiboogu Jan 28 '15 at 18:46

This app seems a good match: works over your local WiFi and brings all the functionality transparently

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I don't think you can actually have it communicate with the PC but if you have the right tablet or phone (Galaxy Note 2) you can create art on the device itself. Check out this video.

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