Cintiq 21 UX Review: The Missing Link for Artists
As an artist, you will really appreciate that this technology gives back your creative workflow. First, by allowing the immediate eye to hand co-ordination, by working directly on your digital art surface; second, providing the subtlety and intuitive expression you want because you finally get the super-sensitive feedback and control of more traditional mediums. Adding to this, hotkeys, keyboard and software specific functionality, the Cintiq can effectively combine your canvas, keyboard, display and mouse all into one -- it's a powerful combination.
Made by Wacom Technology, the natural advantage of the Cintiq, is that it combines an LCD screen and a pressure sensitive tablet to create a surface you can digitally draw, model & paint directly on, using a Stylus pen. The 21UX, however, is a big jump from previous Cintiq models with significant upgrades, as well as new industrial and ergonomic advancements.
I tried three major software programs as test subjects, Photoshop, Painter and ZBrush. I hope this will cover enough range for you to compare your own work-flow against. Review comments apply to all three of these programs unless otherwise mentioned.
Unlike most tablets on the market, the 21UX has a large 21.3-inch display, comparable to a good size drawing pad, allowing full range of arm movement, a blessing both artistically and ergonomically. It slides off easily from its fully adjustable desk-stand, so as you see pictured you can have it on your lap pretty comfortably and just create away. I have been sitting recently on my couch drawing with it. Only caution is it's a little heavy to lift off its stand initially, and be sure to not pinch or rest the rear chord against any hard objects. It's best to return the display back to its stand when not in use.
The screen is at a 4:3 ratio (which suits me), and for those of you who like doing wide view landscapes or cinematic proportions, where this may appear to be less than ideal, the interactive zoom, pan scroll functions make this a minor issue. You can also mirror your desktop to another wide screen monitor to overcome this.
Enhanced Pressure Sensitivity
The big plus, however, to the display is the increase in pressure sensitivity: the previous Cintiq registered from a delicate 10 grams of force & up (which was already pretty sensitive); amazingly, the 21UX registers now from only 1 gram of force. I really noticed an improvement in thick to thin drawn line quality and sculpting subtlety.