Of Tablets and Cintiqs

June 22, 2014

Latest Post The Hound of the Baskervilles by Owen Soule

I first started using a Wacom tablet back in 2004, it came in handy for digital painting and the odd Worth1000 Photoshop contest.   Around the same time I switched jobs and started marathon training which lead to a sharp drop off in my computer art production.    And so the tablet was foisted off onto a shelf to hold various knick knacks and other such objet d'art.   There it sat until I got enamored with ZBrush a few years back, at which time my trusty Wacom Intuos3 9"x12" was dusted off and started seeing some heavy, heavy use.  

There is no desk, only Intuooooossss....

Other than its hulking size taking up 1/3 of my desk I was pretty happy with it, that was until I needed to buy an additional tablet for Laura so both she and I could work on Peck, Peck, Peck!  I wandered haplessly into the digital input Mecca of Wacom's online store, and while I left with not but a medium size Intuos5 tablet for Laura that day, the seed of their Cintiq pen display was left clinging to my mind like an Alien Facehugger. Suddenly, my old Intuos3 was really starting to show it's age, and a dark cloud of Cintiq-less-ness fell over the Soule Designs workshop...

Do you remember laughter?

For those who don't know, a Cintiq is basically a monitor you can draw on with the same pen you use on a Wacom tablet.   The input is more direct because you are seeing your hand work, very much like you would in any traditional art medium.   Anyway, I was Cintiq smitten, and once Cintiq takes hold there is no escape!   After deliberating if I should or shouldn't Cintiq, I wound up pulling the trigger...

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth?

Boom!  Cintiq 22HD display brings you its happiness pie!  This is the non-touch model because I'm cheap and didn't want to spend the extra $500 to get touch features.   Also, you'll notice the Cintiq is mounted to an Ergotron LX arm.   This allows me to move it all over the place, with this mobility and my height adjustable desk I can pretty much work in any position imaginable. So it has been about a week with the Cintiq and I am extremely pleased with the purchase.   Reviews on Amazon and other retailers inevitably state that the Cintiq won't make you a better artist and this is true.   But it does make the experience of creating digital art more enjoyable and it feels more traditional while retaining the benefits of undo.   Also, with the Ergotron arm and the ability to twist and move the display easily I've had no aches and pains even after hours of use.

No one cared who I was till I put on the SmudgeGuard.

In the various reviews I read, many people recommended getting a SmudgeGuard glove for use on the Cintiq.   I opted for the two finger dark blue version shown above.  The gloves were designed for left handers to keep from smudging their writing, but they work equally as awesome on right handers in keeping oily finger funk off your Cintiq and allowing your hand to slide around smoothly. I'm still getting used to the ExpressKeys on the Cintiq, which are the little buttons on either side of the display.   They can be programmed to do a myriad of application specific functions, but for someone like me who has been using keyboard shortcuts for years I'm much more likely to keep one hand on the keyboard and one hand on the Cintiq.   I think after another few weeks of use the whole process will become second nature and I won't even recall those dark pre-Cintiq days. In my pictures above I'm working on a ZBrush beast which I'll blog about in the coming days, but for now I'd just like to write Cintiq one more time, aaah.

Owen Soule

Published June 22, 2014