Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cintiq Review

I recently purchased a Wacom Cintiq21UX. I thought about getting the smaller version for the cost savings but being used to a larger Intuos, I didn’t think I would like it. Having tried both at the NYComicon I confirmed my suspicions. I wanted the big one. They were offering a discount if purchased there so I ordered it (thanks to a fortuitous timing of my tax return which cleared that day).

I couldn’t wait till they delivered it less than a week later (with very inexpensive shipping). The day the delivery was due I had to have checked out the window a dozen times an hour for the UPS truck.

Finally it arrived. I took the stand out of the box and placed it on my newly cleared desk (where the Intuos previously dwelled). All seemed to be going fine until I put the Cintiq on the stand and realized that if I wanted to tilt it down to a more horizontal position (which I certainly did) than my desk would need modifying.

The way y desk is configured my monitor is on a raised platform toward the back end of the desk. The platform consisted of 3 sections: the middle one which had the monitor on it and the two end ones which angled in toward the front. Those end sections had to go, so I put the Cintiq back into the box and did the necessary modifications all while hearing the Cintiq’s siren song beckoning (and faintly in the background the Intuoses mocking laughter).

Finally I got it all set up and spent about an hour or so configuring my system. I have it set up so that the Cintiq is my main monitor and my Dell monitor is my secondary one with the desktop continuing up form one to the other.

I find the Cintiq to be a fantastic tool. It has made it far easier to do detail work. With the Intuos I sometimes had to guesstimate where to draw whereas with the Cintiq, I know. I also like being able to draw on the Cintiq with my reference on the other monitor thus freeing up valuable screen realestate. Another benefit of the Cintiq is that it doesn’t succumb to Cliff’s First Law of Flat Surfaces: They can and will collect clutter. The Intuous did frequently.

The Cintiq has programmable buttons and a touchstrip on either side of the display. You can set them up differently depending on the program you are using. I currently have mine tweaked for photoshop but not yet for my other art programs. The pen also has a programmable side switch which acts in the same manner. On the other end of the pen is an ‘eraser’. The ‘eraser’ is an eraser by default in most art programs but can be changed just like the other buttons and switches. By default it uses whatever settings the eraser is set on without regard to the settings of the current drawing tool. This can be changed so that it keeps the settings of the tool you are working on already thus you don’t find yourself erasing more or less than you intended.

The only thing I have found annoying is the right side touch strip which I have a habit of hitting with my palm. This seems to be a rather common problem. The discontinued 20” inch model had this problems solved by placing the touchstrips in a different location, not sure why they didn’t do that with the 21”. Overall well worth the money (now if only I could convince the wife of that).


William Appledorn said...

nice, sometimes i wish i could afford one a those. i just wonder what the difference would be compared to the intuos.

Cliff Roth said...

I find it to be better than the Intuos because I can more precisely attack the drawing so to speak. It is nice to look at what I am drawing as well as where I am drawing. I probably wouldn't have upgraded so soon if I didn't misdiagnose a problem I was having with the Intuos. I thought the board was going because stuff had been spilled on it, in reality it was just the pen that was virtually shot.

I realized this when I tried my original pen on the Cintiq and it was doing the same thing whearas my new pen wasn't.

Now I have to really sell to justify the cost of this puppy.

Scott Sullivan said...

Great comments on the Cintiq. I'm with you a hundred percent on that. We've got a 21UX and 12 inch widescreen Cintiq.

As far as justifying the cost... man, all I can say is efficiency.

My wife and I have become much more efficient drawing since we started using ours.

By the way, try doubling over a few inches of masking tape and taping that piece in the touchpad groove. If you press hard, it stills senses it, but brushing your hand past it won't move the curser.