Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Cintiq 13 HD

I recently purchased a 'Wacom Cintiq 13 HD'. I originally considered an 'Intuos' (standard graphics tablet setup), but was fascinated by the idea of having a tablet/ monitor, creating a feeling much like painting on a canvas. I did consider a higher priced 24" Cintiq, which in turn offered more accurate colours, but opted for the more affordable option. I have noticed that when I drag paintings off of my Cintiq onto my Mac screen, the colours need adjusting as the levels are usually blown out and slightly harsh. This is because the colours on the Cintiq monitor appear slightly washed out, meaning you find yourself compensating by exaggerating the saturation, shadows and highlights.

I find the perhaps the greatest advantage the Cintiq offers, is simply the fact that the external monitor gives you two screens to work with. This means you can keep all of your painting windows on the Cintiq screen, and any reference images on the computer screen. This eliminates screen clutter and the constant need to juggle windows around.

The experience of drawing directly onto an image itself is okay, although I don't find it to be highly advantageous. Perhaps it speeds up the process of line art, but as far as painting concept art in general, I don't find using a standard tablet too difficult in comparison. I often find myself plugging in my 'Bamboo' and cracking on with painting instead of clearing a large space and setting up my full work station. Perhaps this is simply laziness. On another note however, I do find there is something more organic feeling about the standard bamboo tablet. The surface is slightly rough, making it feel more satisfying as the pen passes over it. The Cintiq monitor however feels very smooth like drawing on glass, reminding more of interacting with a Nintendo DS or touch screen phone with a stylus. This isn't a massive issue, as it doesn't affect the outcome of the paintings, just a personal note on feel.

Focusing on some of the hardware, the stand supplied seems quite flimsy, and I often find that if I rest on the corners of the monitor, the plastic fold out stand slides and collapses in. On a positive note, the Stylus is far superior to the one that came with the Wacom Bamboo. It comes with its own compact case complete with replaceable coloured rings for customisation, and nibs to replace the ones that gradually become worn down.

I haven't really tapped into to the express keys just yet, although they could improve my workflow significantly.

The key advantage that outweighs the small gripes has to be the dual monitor capabilities. Particularly for larger projects where I will be working with large amounts of reference materials. On the issue of time and set up, perhaps if I had a permanent workstation instead of having to constantly pack and unpack the Cintiq tablet would defeat the tediousness of setting up the monitor and encourage me to work with the duel screen setup more often. When looking at studio diaries, concept artists are often seen using Cintiq monitors, meaning they must have an advantage over the standard Intuos setup. Perhaps with more time and experimentation, I will reap the full benefits of working with a tablet display.

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