April 30, 2010

Holy Crap - I Want One!

Here's DC Turner's review from the ISO50 blog:

Setup and installation was very quick and painless, and calibration is a simple two-tap affair. Flash and Photoshop cs4 (64bit) both respond extremely well, and the hot keys make sketching very quick and easy. I love the fact that you can assign application-specific keystrokes to the touch strip, so in Photoshop I have it set to [ and ], which allows me to change the brush size by sliding up and down. It’s beautiful :D

I have used many other Wacom tablets in the past, and one of my main issues is the lack of pen friction when drawing. Even when using the ‘graphite feel’ nib, you feel like you are drawing on ice, which isn’t a very natural sensation. TIP: if you are using a standard tablet, and you are finding the pen to be too slick \ frictionless, then simply tape a sheet of paper onto the drawing area. It provides a more natural drawing sensation, and I have even found that it improves the quality of my brush strokes – improved pressure-sensitivity. THANKFULLY, however, the Cintiq doesn’t suffer from this issue; there is a surprising amount of friction when drawing, even with the standard smooth nib. I had to keep reminding myself that I was using a computer – I even found myself instinctively wiping away non-existent bits of graphite after each pen stoke.

The main benefit I have found in working with the 21UX is the cradle, which can be angled \ rotated to suit your posture. It means that you don’t have to contort your hand to sketch in awkward areas of the screen.

I did try to demo a unit before purchasing, but Wacom don’t have enough influence over UK retailers to make that possible. Even in London there isn’t a single store where I could try one out, which is very disappointing. To be honest, if I wasn’t working on a tight animation deadline, I wouldn’t have picked up a Cintiq. They are crazy-expensive, and I’m expecting a big slump in the overall cost of tablet devices in the coming months. If you can wait a year or two, I imagine the market will have evolved significantly, and Wacom will either reduce their costs, or produce something superlative. That being said, I’m glad I took the plunge. It’s an amazing tool.

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