Sunday, 26 October 2014

WACOM CINTIQ 24HD REVIEW: My Personal Impressions of the Wacom Cintiq 24HD.



For Many I know this review is like 4-5 years too late, but I also know that when I was trying to find out information regarding the Cintiq’s I was scanning Articles & Reviews for 1-2 months prior to me even making the final purchase, and must have viewed 50+ written & video reviews to make sure that spending soooo much money was worth it…

And the short answer is ‘YES IT WAS’… :D

I have been playing around and working with the Cintiq for a few months now and so far it’s been everything that I had hoped for & better. From the quality of the product to the ease of use of the monitor & software, everything about it just feels ‘right’…

I have been running the Cintiq 24HD on Windows 7 (64 Bit) and predominantly using Adobe Photoshop CS6, and I am still curious to try Illustrator with the Cintiq given the advantages of freehand drawing with the Cintiq.

For many people the maximum screen resolution being 1920x1200 is an issue (especially to those that use high resolution Apple Tablets) as well as the initial colour settings when turning on the cintiq for the first time.

Thankfully I haven’t had any issues with either since I usually work as the 1920x1200 resolution and the colour settings were easy enough to edit, but I ended up leaving them as they initially appeared as I loved the rich high contrast tones… :D:D:D


THE HAND ISSUE:
A lot of digital artists these days tend to like the disembodied feeling that comes with using a standard tablet to draw on & not your own hand obscuring the view…

As someone who personally prefers working traditionally with Pencils & Pens I like knowing that I can precisely see what I am doing when working directly onto a page or canvas…

And so I ignored all those that said, the hand obscurity when working on the Cintiq can be off putting, (since in most cases this message came from artists who preferred working directly onto the standard non-Cintiq tablets).

I have found so far that, that the hand-blocking notion is both true & false… Initially I was very aware that there could be a level of obscurity and so at first it felt like there was some obscurity with my hand there which I was also perhaps more aware of due to working straight onto a screen instead of a normal piece of paper.

But its not so much the hand itself being in the way, as obviously you can move the tools & options around the screen to where they are best suited in your view of sight…

What is a little obscuring is the thickness of the pen which comes with the Cintiq and then add to that your own hand when holding it.

As obviously the traditional Wacom pens tend to have a reasonably thick grip and so when holding that handle it does block your line of sight a little more than it would with a standard pen or pencil.

BUT this visual aspect is actually helped by the 0.5cm thick plastic perspects that separates the Cintiq’s working surface from  the actual screen and allows the user to gain a slight bit more unobstructed visual working area.

I have since Purchased a Thinner Wacom Pen Model to use on the Cintiq.

WHAT ABOUT THE CINTIQ 24HD TOUCH?
When considering this purchase a little part of me was curious about the HD Touch Version as one would think that it would allow greater use of things like the rotate & zoom functions. I had read & watched numerous reviews with about 95% of the people commenting within their reviews saying that if given the choice again they would purchase the standard 24HD model instead.

Especially now that the 24HD touch is not completely compatible with some of adobes latest program’s/ updates and so for that reason I decided against it, and I can safely say I am so glad I did. So far I haven’t come across a single instance when the touch rings have not provided the ample control & function needed.

Admittedly once or twice my fingers have pressed the screen in order to trigger a button before remembering to use the pen instead. ^^


2 MONITORS:
Since the Wacom Cintiq 24HD is essentially a Touchscreen Monitor & not a Stand Alone PC it does mean that in order to run 2 monitors you need to make sure that you have a Duel Monitor Connector slot on the back of your PC.

The Cintiq does come with DVI & VGA cables if you perhaps only have one DVI & one VGA port (as I do), initially I was kind of put off by this, as I plugged the Cintiq into the DVI slot & my Standard Monitor into the VGA slot.

I could see the slight difference in the colour richness on my standard monitor when I plugged it into the VGA slot instead of the DVI. But ultimately its been fine, as that slightly loss of colour richness & image clarity is not as crucial for me now that I use the Cintiq as my Primary Working Monitor.

POSITIVES:
*) SUPER EASY TO INSTALL AND VERY NATURAL TO USE.

*) VERY STURDY & SLEEK, even more so than I had expected, The screen & arms rotate with ease all the while taking all the weight and strain from the huge 24 inch display, allowing you as the user to casually lift & rotate the screen as needed.

Never did I think I would find a tablet that makes slouching in ones chair a comfortable working position… ^^

*) In addition because of the Monitors rotation & locking system whenever you need to stretch your legs you can just lift the monitor up & work standing up.

*) The Visual Calibration of the cursor seems to compensate very well when going from one side of the screen to the other… (As the users visual perception changes as the viewed angle of hand movement alters from ‘center to left’ & from ‘center to right’).

*) The Touch Rings and Express Keys are so easy to program and use, I expected them to take me hours to assign, but had them done in 15-20 minutes after turning on the cintiq for the first time.


*) It feels sooooooo much more satisfying to colour and seeing it happen beneath the pen instead of as a disembodied cursor on the screen.

*) The Cintiq 24HD comes with 11 Free Pen Tips/ Nibs.
- x3 Felt Nibs – I think they are felt nibs, to me they feel like really super hard compressed paper or card & they are actually my favourite nibs as they offer a slight bit of resistance & texture when working on the cintiq's screen which makes the movements feel that slight bit more traditional.  

- x1 Stroke Nib – This nib kind of Feels like a brush, it has a spring half way down the nib which softener’s the users line-stroke.

- x7 Standard Plastic Nibs – These just feel like you standard Wacom nibs, smooth, solid and like you would expect the Wacom tips to feel if you have previously used a Wacom tablet or pad.




NEGATIVES:
After Having Downloaded the Latest Wacom Updates for the Wacom Cintiq, 1 Main Issue Started to Occur:

*) If I turned on my standard monitor before I turn on the Cintiq monitor when turning on my PC, the mouse calibration goes waaaay off, so much so that it cannot be re-calibrated by the pen itself… BUT… the issue could be fixed by

- Either by rebooting the PC
OR
- By going into the ‘services’ menu in windows & restarting the driver, these 2 options do fix that issue.

(Since writing this post, I have Reinstalled JUST the ORIGINAL DRIVERS which came with the Cintiq (and None of the Updates) and its Been Absolutely Fine).


*) So far I have only had one very, very minor issue that has slightly arisen. It’s the same sort of issue that occurs with the standard tablets.
After prolonged use they tend to have a build up of plastic on plastic when drawing onto the tablets which causes slight areas that I can only describe as smooth but a wax-like texture friction.


In this case is has already begun happening on the screen, which is kind of concerning given that I had only been using it a few days and been drawing & colouring quite lightly…

There are certain areas of the screen where I work more than others and in just a few days I have already noticed a slight change in the screen texture that now doesn’t quite have the silky smoothness of the rest of the monitor.

For that reason I purchased a screen protector to help avoid this becoming a permanent issue or problem and so far it seems to be working wonderfully. J

*) The Little Plastic spring-mounted Support legs that flick down at the base of the Cintiq feel so fragile & weak that I haven’t yet dared to use them while working on the Cintiq, in-fact they are the only part of this beautiful tablet that feels like it was a cheap after-thought.

*) The Pen tips wear down Very Quickly, My previous little 6x4 Wacom pads pen tip lasted over 10 years... and in the space of 3-4 months I have already gone through 2 Wacom pen tips, one of the black plastic & one of the textured tips.

Having said that, they are really cheap to replace. :)



FINAL THOUGHTS:
None of the Negatives I have mentioned in any way have swayed my love for this beautiful piece of hardware/ equipment.

My initial trepidation's before purchasing consisted of 2 things:

1) Concerns about the consistency of the hardware as many ‘Early’ reviews when the Cintiq 24HD first came out years ago were flooded with large & small hardware compatibility issues…  But to date I have yet to have any such issues... :D

2) Secondly From an artistic standpoint, my other main concern was to do with the transition from paper to screen & especially when attempting to draw straight onto the screen and having the need to rotate the pad/ screen as your working. But thankfully that concern was immediately dispelled as soon as I started using Photoshop CS6 & being able to use the ‘Rotate Canvas’ tool freely with the ‘Touch Rings’. With just an hour or 2 it felt very natural to work like this. ^^;

I have found with Photoshop especially I have been able to create brushes to duplicate the feel of drawing on paper, and to be honest, I didn’t even realise I had begun to transition into solely working straight onto the Cintiq until this past week when I went to do an annual shop & re-stock on art supplies & paper & realised that I hadn’t really even been using any paper for the past few months (aside from a couple of small sketchbook doodles), as even my sketchbook work has begun transitioning to the Cintiq.

3) The one thing that has been apparent, is that I have been able to really play around with the way I colour, and even though I don’t in any way consider myself a good colourist, I have been very happy with the way that the Cintiq 24hd has allowed me to gain a much greater grasp with applying & mixing colours, textures & generally manipulating an image to become something that much closer to what I would like it to be.



RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL PURCHASES:

01) SCREEN PROTECTOR SHEET - I would highly recommend purchasing a Screen Protector sheet, It not only helps generally improve the longer life & smoothness of your screen, it may also help you the user to let go & treat the screen a bit more like a piece of paper that You can apply pressure to with the pen etc without worrying about causing the perspect’s screen layer to become textured with that plastic-wax feel.

02) SMUDGE GUARD GLOVE - Secondly I would also highly recommend using a Glove/ Smudge Guard to help allow your hand to move smoothly over the screen without causing any friction from your hands natural sweat or oils.

If anybody has any questions please feel free to ask. :)

Pink & Fluffiness
K@T

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2 comments:

  1. Glad you like your Cintiq so much despite the price tag. No way could I buy something like that now 9_6

    Also I can't wait to hear about your new comic/project!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Anonymous, Thank you for your comment. :)

    I really could not have imagined how much the Cintiq would help me being able to convert my traditional work style into the digital medium. Especially when compared to the old standard wacom tablet I had before, I never realised just how much working on that old tablet held me back (in a manner of speaking).

    I am not saying that with the Cintiq I am now suddenly a fabulous artist, far from it.. But I am now enjoying my art a lot more than I ever was when having to work on my old tablet.

    I hope that the new comic/ project will be well received... :-s ^^ :-s
    I wont say anything about the New Comic/ Project now, I am trying so hard to keep my mouth closed (so to speak) until Saturday. ;D;D;D

    Pink & Fluffi Wishes

    K@t ^^

    ReplyDelete

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