I’ve finally bit the bullet and laid down the cash for a new Wacom Cintiq to replace my ten year old Intuos. It’s terrifyingly expensive, compared, to say, a mouse, for example. I’m really happy with it though, and I’m glad I got it.
Anyway, here is a short review of the Cintiq, and pros and cons as I see them.
I spent about a week tracking my Cintiq’s progress across Europe, via the UPS tracking system. It seemed Â to be heading in the wrong direction at first, but fortunetly it did a screeching 180 degree turn around NÃ¼rnberg, and thereafter started heading in a vaguely London-y sort of direction. Phew! Initial disaster averted!
When it eventually arrived, the box looked like this, and it smelt nice when I opened it. This box itself came in an even bigger cardboard box, which I intend to turn into a small car for my toddler daughter later; Bonus points to Wacom for that.
The Wacom Cintiq 12W is essentially a small monitor screen and tablet combined. Hence the first big stumbling block, being a monitor, is that it needs it’s own power supply and also to be plugged into the computer’s graphics card, as well as the USB. Thats a lot of cables and a power supply unit that one needs to mess around with, and as such, it reveals that the Cintiq isn’t as portable as Wacom’s advertising likes to suggest. With current technology being what it is however, I can understand that this is a necessary compromise for something like this. Wacom have dealt with it relatively well by having everything go through special brick-like box. This helps to keep things a bit tidier than they might otherwise be, and it also means that only one cable needs to actually lead into the tablet itself, from the special box.
The special box also has controls for adjusting the display on the Cintiq.
There is also a stand underneath the tablet, so you can set it up on your desk at a drawing angle, like a proper drawing board. I’ve found that in practice, so far, I’ve tended not to use this as much as having the wacom on my lap, but its good to know that the option is there.
Initially I was slightly worried that I should have saved up twice as much money and went for the bigger Cintiq. The screen is a bit small. Having said that, I quickly got used to it. I also found that, as the Cintiq has a long cable, I was able to sit back in my chair, and draw in a more comfortable position Â with the Cintiq on my lap. Being able to turn the tablet around and draw on it like I would draw on paper was just brilliant.
One small gotcha to look out for when drawing in bitmap, is due to the small screen size, and if you’re working a very large canvas, lines that look fine when drawn at 25% zoom can turn out to be a bit jaggedy at less than 100% zoom. That can be slightly annoying, but something I can learn to work around.
The buttons on the side of the table are great to work with. There is a zoom slider, a button to drag the canvas around both of which are very useful for drawing with. There is also a button to switch the cursor between different monitors, without having to mess around with different input devices, or split the resolution of the tablet between monitors. I long dreamt of such a button ever since I first started attempting to use my old Intuos tablet in multiple monitor setups. Its great! It means I can easily put reference material up on my laptop screen, and carry on working on my Cintiq screen.
The pen is the same as an Intuos, and comes with a handy pen holder. Nothing new there, but all good. Having said that, being able to actually see what you’re drawing with it, in contact with the screen, makes using it much more intuitive and enjoyable than with an Intuos.
This is the big thing really, with this Cintiq, being able to actually see what you’re drawing. It removes a whole layer a thinking involved when drawing with an Intuos, where you have to be able to draw looking up at the computer screen while your hand draws out of sight. Its not a particularly nice way of working really. In comparison, with the Cintiq, I was quickly able to just get on with the drawing itself, without using up yet more of my increasingly rare spare brain cells on the non-drawing stuff.
I think my new Wacom Cintiq is brilliant. I haven’t felt this exited about drawing stuff for a long long time, and my head has been spinning with lots of new ideas. Although its a massive financial hit in the wallet, I think it will turn out to be worth every penny, and I am confident that it will pay for itself very quickly. Hurray!