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Cintiq and Tablet Based Animation

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Cintiq and Tablet Based Animation

I have sort of a question more of a fear concerning the new direct draw tablets for animation connected with this months article on workflow.

In terms of rough shape animation where you are not doing much detail I could see how it would be easy to use a tablet. On the otherhand if you are doing detailed key drawings straight up for animation how do the tablets interact with ability to quickly percieve squash and stretch.

Does the artificially flat surface and flip flow interfere with the three dimensional-ness of drawing in realtime?


my first post

I recently bought myself a 12wx. If your buying from europe then the cheapest way to get yourself a cintiq is from america via a company that will send it as a gift to avoid taxes, 1000usd is 500quids at the mo.

anyway, my tablet is great but the cursor does move away from the tip of the pen, especialy near the edges of the screen. Ive calibrated it with a small ofset so that i dont lose the cursor under my hand whilst im drawing. Is this a standard problem with cintiqs? how do you guys calibrate your tablets?

Im also wondering about software, i have downloaded a demo for toon boom digital pro, the program is a lot of fun and i think its probably what i will settle down with. There are so many options like mirage, after effects, anime studio etc. I need to try after effects. I love photoshop and hate using illustrator and avoid vectors at all costs so i do at least know that i need a 2d animation program but which one? what are the differences between them?

the wisdom of the pro's and veterans would be greatly apresiated, apolagies for my spelling

Even if a tablet is not set by default to your current preference for the sensitivity to thick or thin lines etc... you can always change it in the preferences (there are graphs and whatnot to set how 'hard' you have to push to generate thick or thin lines).

Also, they are very responsive, the only trouble (less so with a cintiq) is that the 'feel' of the plastic on the tablet with the pen is not at all like pencil on paper. But it just takes some getting used to, Ive had wacom tablets since '98 and I dont think about it anymore.

The only other thing to watch for is how fast you draw and to get software that can keep up. The most common animation software, if you draw a quick circle on the tablet - they cannot keep up and you end up with something like an octogon. Even in photoshop... some software has corrections for this, but it feels unnatural to have your line be drawn after you put your stroke down (even if its only a fraction of a second). My animation and drawing software of choice is Mirage / Aura / TVPaint ( is the Newest version)... there is a demo, but you wont get the full effect without a graphics tablet of some sort... I think the lowest end graphire is something like 99$...

Evar Simon
The Phi Phenomenon


I looked at the TV paint site and there's no animation demos there. I've seen the Chaos thing and I know that it was rendered entirely in LW. I think Aura is functional with LW so I wonder if this program integrates at all. Trying to recall the name of a similar all in one paint animation program. This one had included all the options of Painter,PS with a little AE mixed in without any thought to the creation of animation.

I agree with you on the line correction bit. This is a feature?! I thought this pack was for pros. Still trying to decide how I feel about onion skin tech. Kinda like 'ghost and stretch'! Sounds like the next Pixar hit! Jokes.

Generously Cintiq looks very attractive. Very futuristic if you can remeber the sort of sketch pad you dreamed about while scatching out conte in your high school arts class...but animation?


I suppose there arent any animation demos... TVP Animation is still in Beta (not officially released yet) so I bet we'll see some animation demos soon enough.

Other similar Raster video / paint / animation sofware:

- PD Pro (or project dogwaffle)

- discreet *paint (pre combustion)

- Ulead Video Paint (used to come with Media Studio Pro)

- Creature House -Living Cels (now owned by microsoft, used in their acrylic suite)

- Cinepaint (aka Film Gimp - which is basically Gimp animated)

- Crater CTP (you 'can' paint in this app, but it is designed mostly to time and sequence scanned frames - a computerized X-Sheet)

When you were voicing your concerns about using tablets, my mind went to (jeez, I dont have any trouble of that sort) But I think the reason why is because I've worked through any 'problems' Ive encountered along the way... For example, one thing about using Wacom tablets, or even 2d computer animation in general - I always work 10 to 15% larger than I need, 50% if I can.... Except when Im working in HD, where it is too time consuming and computer resource intensive... So, you do your work zoomed in, and when you finish and size your project to video resolution, it then hides some mistakes, line inconsistancy etc. etc..

This first image (courtesy of Nick Bradshaw) is done with a tablet, zoomed in, its obvious that it was done with a tablet.

When you make it smaller, the details that you would have to work on if it was a static image and maintain a large resolution - dont matter as much.

Similarly, if you have ever watched the DVD's of any newer cartoons, you'll get the effect of Broadcast (which does add some fuzzyness etc.) VS direct from computer. I really noticed this with Futurama, I had never been distracted by the quality of the characters lines, or the uniformness of the lines (no variation) when I watched it on TV, but on the DVD it is apparent...

Evar Simon
The Phi Phenomenon


So do you do all of your artwork outside the computer and scan in for color, or just do everything zoomed in. That seems like it might take a really long time!

Like the picture you have attached, it seems like a lot of seperate elements pasted into the same frame. Just curious, is this an animation someone is working on? Looks really awsome and detailed.

As for Cintiq, I volunteer to be an tester for any animation software!!!:D

I do everything in the computer, and if Im working with scans - its for someone else :)

And really, it doesnt take That long - its a thing I learned to accept from a few comic book artists, who always work larger than the final print size.

The attatched picture was for a proposed comic book, not for an animation - though the level of detail is a little more than 'the norm' - but I suppose that is in terms of American animation... if you look up some screen shots from some anime (try Ergo Proxy) you'll find a nice well-rounded level of detail (is what I try to go for)...

I'd happily test any software that provided a cintiq for testing as well !!!!!!!

Evar Simon
The Phi Phenomenon


I did see Ghost in Shell which has a very good LOD. I managed to find the Ergo Proxy site and actually found a few clips. How did you find out about this particular animation? There are a lot of really good animators out there.

It looks like they(Ergo Proxy) are using some CG, kinda like Ghost in Shell, but I still think that it has achieved the best quality detail for number of episodes created. They hold the characters together for a longer stretch of time in a given animation sequence.

Again I wonder if this is possible with the Cintiq. I think it must be a similar situation doing animation with a tablet. What has been your experience? What animation are you working on?


...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

Hi, this is my first post.

I use a Cintiq at work. I have been using one for about 3 months now and I find it difficult to go back to normal wacom tablets! But I have no choice when I'm at home.

I use felt tip nibs on my stylus at work as you get more traction (more of a pencil on paper friction). As a result, I have started using them at home on my old Intuos2 6x8 stylus. I highly recommend the felt tips over the plastic ones that come with most wacom tablets (wobbly lines).

I too have noticed the slight blurryness that broadcast gives animation. I like it as it takes the edge off the raw scenes we actually work on and somewhat creates a little visual cohesion.

I look forward to spending more time here at the AWN forums.



Welcome to the AWN Forums AJR. What size Cintiq are you working on? I wouldn't mind trying one out at work, but I don't think it's nessicary for me as I don't do that much drawing. I'd rather leave it to our character designers and riggers to use.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

Thanks for the welcome, Ape.

I have a 21UX at work. There was a problem with one of our Cintiqs where a 2 or 3 inch vertical strip would deflect the crosshair/pointer either side of it. Imagine the mouse pointer is the south pole of a magnet and so is the 2-3 inch invisible strip. The pointer would just flick to either side it, making it impossible to use properly.

Fortunately Wacom recogise it as a hardware defect. Other than that, the Cintiq is very stable and comfortable to use. Although they do heat up a little and your hand can feel warm, but it's barely worth mentioning.

One thing I did feel frustrating was constantly manouvring my keyboard to the side when bringing the Cintiq toward me to use. An AWN forum member posted a link to his "digidesk" on another thread and I thought it was a great idea, but the Cintiq 21UX is quite large and has a very heavy (and excellent) base/stand. It seems to be unavoidable and the best I could do was get a replacement keyboard with a small footprint, such as the current basic Dell keyboard.



I use a Cintiq 21UX as well at work, and I am absolutely addicted to it! I am using it for broadcast flash animation, as well as with sketchbook pro for storyboards/character design. It only took a day to get used to working with the cintiq, but it's truly in ym opinion the best way to work digitally. There is no disconnection of hand and eye coordination when drawing directly onscreen.

I find the felt nibs much better, as mentioned before, they provide more friction and thus a steadier line. Sigh, if only they weren't so pricey, I'd have one at home!


...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

I too am a newb to the forums and i draw almost entirely on a cintiq now. It was hard to get used to at first to be sure. I didnt even know felt nibs were available - it sounds like something i really must try. if anyone knows where i can find some please let me know. I even tried putting tracing paper over the screen for the friction i was missing, but i never found paper that was transparent enough with the texture i wanted. But when it was on there it felt like i was drawing with pencil and paper.

I am stuck on an old 15x and the resolution, work area size and parallx all leave something to be desired, but i swear by the thing. I am not sure tho how much good it is for final hand drawn frames as i use if for concepting and storyboarding. But the freedom of risk free digital drawing and painting outwieghs my emotional attachment to pencil and paper. Also i was drawing thousands of individual frames for storyboards and it removed scanning from the process (paid for itself just in saving that time) and allowed me view them in sequence so easily.

If i end up having to storyboarding much of the next episode of the series i am on, i will definitely make sure i get the larger new cintiq model.

I have run into many old schoolers who have written off new fangled technological gizmos and stubbornly refuse to give it a try, but i think they are really missing out. It takes a bit to get used to, but anyone can make the switch.

If you are on the fence i urge you to go for it. :D

again... felt nibs! where can i get them?


...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

Hi Dangel,

I've never had to buy any felt nibs as I havn't destroyed them all yet. They flatten out quite easily, depending on your natural drawing pressure, but it doesn't affect the quality of your lines...obviously. If you want some fast and without hassle/searching, try an Apple store.



woot. just ordered my own brand new cintiq 21. i can finally scrap my 5 year old 15in model.