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Cintiq's: What do YOU think? Cus i have no idea...

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Cintiq's: What do YOU think? Cus i have no idea...


I have a very nice wacom intuos, the latest version. Saved up my little account to buy it, bought it, and loved it. But, as per usual - my luck dictates that a few days after buying it, i discover the Cintiq 21UX: Which, needless to say, looks sexually moist!!

That was a while ago. Since then i've seen awesome things done with the CIntiq. I'm sure a few of you have seen that great blog where they've posted their Cintiq Animation DEsk. It rotates and is attacthed to an adjustable ani desk. For digital animation, it looks brilliant.

Now, it's got to the point where i could possibily, maybe, afford to bye one (yes, i've saved again - saving for uni, but the funds may have to be dipped into as it looks sooo good!)

So, what do ya think, all you people that have had the pleasure (or pain) of using one? Is it really worth the money? Is it as good as it looks? Does anyone know where i can get a cheap one?!

All comments welcome...

RTP's picture
________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

Cintiqs are really nice, there's no doubt about that. The surface is nicer to work on than the Intuos tablets too.

Are they worth the money? I think that depends if you'll be able to make profit with it or increase your current production with it.

Once you use one you'll probably not want anything else.

They do get alittle warm. So if you're one of those people who draw with their entire arm on the Cintq it might need a fan on you. Also because you are drawing on the sceen, your hand tends to get in the way of things sometimes, instead of just having the little curser on the sceen. They are really nice and great to work on, esspecially if you are drawing or sketching.

the Ape

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

Well, if you'll use the search feature here on the forums, I'm sure you can easily find some posted reviews.

I've a Cintiq, but hadn't used a tablet prior to that for something like 10 years. As a result, I cannot really compare the two methods. I will say that the Cintiq isn't the same at all as drawing on real media. The tracking of the pen is very inaccurate outside of a smallish square in the center of the display; because the tracking is not consistent, it can sometimes be difficult to draw straight lines or long strokes properly. I can't understand why WACOM wouldn't just have the Cintiq detect the point of the stylus and transfer that precisely - instead, they force you to calibrate it with a very inaccurate program. I guess the difference comes because there is a space between the stylus and the display, where the transparent surface protecting the projection is. If this could've been made thinner, or their calibration program were more accurate, then perhaps there wouldn't be so much of a problem. If you read the technical papers for the WACOM products, you'll see that the accuracy of the Intuos tracking is rated better than the tracking of the Cintiq21UX (the model I've got).

For me, it's been nice to have, but I think I would probably have found a tablet less frustrating and just as useful. I would definitely, in your place, attempt to try one before buying.

I have a Cintiq. The only way I could afford it was because I purchased it used from a studio which was liquidating all it's equipment , and I got it for a very good price. Othewise I probably would have had to wait .

Having used both an Intous 3 tablet and the Cintiq tablet I will say there are advantages and disadvantages to both. To me , the advantages of the Cintiq are obvious. It feels like a very natural way to draw for me , who was until recently strictly a pencil and paper guy .

As has been pointed out , the accuracy of the Cintiq stylus falls off a bit as it moves out towards the edges of the tablet or it the tablet is rotated more than a few degrees . In my own work I have been able to get used to that and now I find that I can compensate for the inaccuracy . The other big point that some people make is that the Intous tablet has the advantage in that you have a completely unobstructed view of your drawing , at no time is your hand in the way of the drawing. (this is not a big issue to me , but I can see the point)

For this reason some prefer the Intous tablet over the Cintiq. I have come to prefer the Cintiq , though I sometimes still use the Intous for certain types of work . If you have a Wacom reseller near you that sells the Cintiq and will let you try one out for a few hours in their showroom or the backroom of their store then you should definitely try it out to be sure you like it . You may find that you prefer the Intous, especially if you have used the Intous for a long time. In my case, I don't think I ever used the Intous for long enough periods of time to really feel "at one" with the tablet ; I never quite got over the awkwardness of feeling like I wanted to look down at the surface I was drawing on . Because I had a Cintiq at work I started using it more and it has become my preferred tablet, but again, some who have tried both actually prefer the Intous over Cintiq and make a strong case for why the Intous is better.

Some animation/drawing apps like TVPaint , ArtRage, and Sketchbook Pro have a rotating work space built in to the program, so you can use the rotation feature to move your drawing around to comfortable angles, especially when doing tight clean up work . This makes the Intous just as much a "rotating" tablet as the Cintiq (though physcially the tablet does not rotate, the software, such as TVPaint , does the rotating of the artwork) . Frankly, for any type of clean up or other tight drawings I use the virtual disc in TVPaint to rotate my drawings to comfortable working angles on the Cintiq, rather than rotating the Cintiq because it keeps the tablet leveled and the stylus calibration is more accurate than with the Cintiq rotated .

I use a Griffin Powermate to rotate the work space in TVPaint . This was trick I learned from Peter Wassink (a member here who will hopefully chime in on this topic) . Peter actually made one of the best cases for sticking with the Intous , rather than switching to the Cintiq .
His words make a lot of sense and if I hadn't had the opportunity to buy my Cintiq for such a low price then I'd probably be happily drawing on my Intous . Something to think about . Here is what Peter posted in the comments section on my blog , discussing the Intous vs. the Cintiq :

I use TVPaint Animation with an Intuos 3 A5. To control the rotation of my project I use a 'Powermate' (which is a simple USB dial).

To me its the perfect set-up. Its like having the lightest turning animation disk in the world ;-)

Other advantages over the Cintiq (apart from the price):[LIST=1]
[*]-there is no need to physically rotate anything, and menus stay horizontal all the time .
[*]-the drawing surface doesn't get warm.
[*]-the drawing surface does not get obscured by your drawing hand (I find this one of the most overlooked advantages of drawing with an Intous tablet) ... you can work on your drawing or painting without ever having to block your view of it![/LIST]So although I can see the atraction that the Cintiq has -- lets admit... the thing is sexy! -- but rationally I don't see it has a great many advantages over a nice dual monitor setup in combination with an Intuos 3 (Wacom now has these great widescreen models) .

So I would advise anyone who has the money for a Cintiq to instead invest it in a top notch widescreen monitor (or two!) + an Intuos3 + Powermate + TVPaint , and then take a nice vacation from the money that is left over ! ;-)


For those who wonder what I mean by "virtual animation disc" in TVPaint , here are some screen captures:

The "virtual disc" allows you to rotate the drawing around to any comfortable angle to draw at , depending on the drawing. This is exactly the purpose of the traditional animation disc and is replicated here in TVPaint's interface . (I posted a little "tutorial" on doing clean up with the Cintiq and TVPaint on my blog recently, if anyone's interested in checking that out .)

"EustaceScrubb" has left the building

Thanks for that EustaceScrubb, very informative and helpful.

I have to say the biggest attraction for me is the 'bridging' that the Cintiq can do from drawing on paper (as i am acustomed to) to drawing on the pc - as you can once again draw onto the actual surface. Feeling your hand move thru the drawing i think can help tremendously, 'specially when it comes to animating the feeling in movement. Of course you can get 'flow' on a tablet like the Intuos, but like you stated, it's not quite the same when you're looking down and up, almost like your drawing is teleporting! I think for this reason alone, i'd prefer the Cintiq (this is of course pre-trial assumption tho).

I hope i can find somewhere where i can try the Cintiq b4 i look at purchasing such an expensive item. Unfortuantley, i'm currently based in Florida so it's a little bit more distant from animation centres ('specially with the closure of the Disney satellietes etc which i didn't get here in time for). But, there's probably somewhere if i look hard enough.

Because i'll be heading off to uni next year (all being well), do you reckon acuiring a Cintiq would be beneficial?

Anyone know of cheap dealers too, perhaps second hand 21UX with a smaller price tag?


________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

Oh wow, that Griffin knob thing looks sexy. =O~

How long have you been using the Intuos?
I don't find drawing with the tablet awkward. It just takes time to get used to.
The only thing I don't like is the smooth surface and small size (6'x8' Graphire3), which is why I'm going to buy a larger Intuos model.

A question for those who are using widescreen monitors.
I haven't had much experience with widescreens. Is it really much, much better?
As I said, I'm planning to buy an Intuos, so I'm thinking whether I should get a widescreen monitor too (but this would mean getting a widescreen format Intuos).

Had one for about a year now. It's definitley helped bridge the gap from drawing with pencil and paper (which is my favoured technique), but it's still a way off from that experience on a pc yet. That being said, i do really like the Intuos (i've got the latest model, Intuos3 i think it is), it's just i'm assuming looking at the Cintiq, the 'gap' from paper to pc will be bridged even further again with that (of course, this is b4 trying it personally).

Still, theres things that having an Intuos has enabled me to do; and it has really helped with digital animation. But, as always, i'm continually looking to advance; and so i'm looking at the Cintiq and wandering if it's the next step (and can i afford it!)

I'm not sure what the definiton is of a 'widescreen' monitor, but my personal monitor is a large dimension LCD screen, with high res - and i've got to say, it's helped untold ammounts towards my work, so it's defo worth it if you work on a pc alot.

I'm contemplating getting a dual screen system - which my mate has. Ever been working on something like flash, and the timeline and library etc has gotten in the way of the stage? This dual screen setup helps that greatly. Course, then you have to fork out for another monitor... :(

________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

I would like to add in a question if I may.
I have been saving up for a tablet, and just figured that I would get a graphire tablet, as those were the cheapest ones. I have never even touched a tablet before, and I am really eager to try them and get used to one. Would it be worth the money to just get an Intuos3 even though I am a newbie to tablets?

I'll be honest and say i've never tried another tablet than the Intuos3, so it'd be wrong 4 me to compare to the Graphire. But what i will say is that the Intuos3 is a very good tablet, and to the best of my knowledge, top of the rage as far as tablets go. The zoom in/out strip is quite simply a godsend, and for that alone i'd probably bye it!

I usually try and judge things after the intitial wow factor has gone, and i can defo say the Intuos3 is still great after a year of use.

Hope that helps a bit.

Anyone got any Cintiq comments/know of where to get a cheaper one?

________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

I would like to add in a question if I may.
I have been saving up for a tablet, and just figured that I would get a graphire tablet, as those were the cheapest ones. I have never even touched a tablet before, and I am really eager to try them and get used to one. Would it be worth the money to just get an Intuos3 even though I am a newbie to tablets?


There was a thread about the merits of Intous vs. Graphire here :

Intous got the thumbs up from everyone as I recall. I think you will find the difference significant enough to spend the extra money on the Intous . Don't forget eBay and Intous 2 tablet is pretty good , better than the Graphire , so you might be able to pick up an Intous 2 or Intous 3 on eBay for much less than cost of a brand new Intous 3 or even a brand new Graphire.

"EustaceScrubb" has left the building

Anyone got any Cintiq comments/know of where to get a cheaper one?

Unfortunately , it's difficult to find the Cintiq 21 UX for much less than the manufacturer's suggested retail price because they are very much in demand and Wacom has not exactly been quick about manufacturing large numbers of the Cintiqs. In the past couple of years there have been major waiting periods while supply caught up with demand . (it didn't help that companies like Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks were buying them up by the dozens) . I'm not sure what the situation is currently; it may be that Wacom has started manufacturing more Cintiqs to keep up with the demand.

Even on eBay I have seen new (still in the box) or "like new" (very lightly used) Cintiq 21 UX tablets go for MORE than retail price , simply because someone was so hot to have it that they didn't want to wait until Wacom had filled more orders . However, I have seen some Cintiqs go on eBay for between $200 to $500 dollars LESS than the usual retail price of $2,500 . I bid (and lost) on a number of them until I was able to purchase mine from a local company that was liquidating their animation equipment . I think the lowest I saw one go for on eBay was $1,850 , with most of the tablets going for between $2,000 to $2,300 .

My impression is that the earlier model Cintiqs , the 15" and 18" models, are selling at a significant discount on eBay . I've never used one of those models , so I can't speak to how they differ from the current model (21" UX) other than the screen size . I don't think all of the earlier Cintiq models come mounted in a rotating stand , but if you use it with something like TVPaint or Sketchbook Pro which has rotating work space built in to the software then that isn't a big issue. Or perhaps you could mount it on something like this for rotation:

In addition to the Cintiq , have you considered a tablet PC or tablet Mac like Motion Computing's LE 1600 Tablet , ModBook Apple tablet conversion or one of the Toshiba Tablet PCs ? These are just a little bit less than the Cintiq (and the Toshiba can be quite a bit less depending on the model you get ) and are actually a full computer with a tablet screen you can draw on , not just a tablet as is the Cintiq.

Not trying to dissuade you from the Cintiq , but trying to make you aware of options.

"EustaceScrubb" has left the building

I believe that of the older Cintiqs, the 18" was the only size previously to have a rotating stand.

I think the dot pitch of the LCD on the 21" is better now as well. So in addition to size, the screen should be a little crisper.

Yeah i had noticed them, especially the LE1600, and this other one by Mirage. They look like they'd do a similar job (cept the rotating), but i've never seen these reviewed (din't even know they exsisted till the other day!). Anyone know much about them at all? Are they similar to the Cintiq, or are they gonna field something completley different?


________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

Yeah i had noticed them, especially the LE1600, and this other one by Mirage. They look like they'd do a similar job (cept the rotating).

Well, the nice thing about the tablet is it's small enough to hold on your lap or a table top and turn it by hand, so it naturally rotates to whatever position for drawing that you find comfortable. It can be mounted on a stand which will rotate , like the EVO Tablet Arm .
See attached image and this review:

Here's a review on MacWorld of Axiotron's "Modbook" (macbook conversion to tablet) :

I think Axiotron's web site has other reviews of the Modbook posted.

Being a Mac user myself, I'd tend to go with the Modbook , but since it's going to be a self-contained tablet for drawing/animating I wouldn't necessarily count out the tablet PCs .

My friend Rusty Mills' swears by his Motion Computing LE 1600 tablet. He says the smaller drawing surface (12.1" screen) doesn't bother him since he has the various buttons set up with shortcut commands to pop on the toolbars when he needs them, then pop off the toolbars again when he doesn't need them , thereby keeping his drawing window at full screen size when he's animating.

The Motion Computing LE1600 model sold by Bauhaus Mirage under the name "Nomad" is the same tablet you can get directly from Motion Computing , except it has Mirage pre-loaded on it . I got to use one for a couple of days when Bauhaus set up an in-house demo for us at the studio I used to work at . They brought in a Cintiq and the Motion Computing tablet . My impression then was that I liked the Cintiq more because of the extra big screen size (21") , but the Motion Computing tablet was very nice , too and certainly had the advantage of being extremely portable. I imagine if one configured it with lots of shortcut buttons as suggested by Rusty Mills , then the smaller screen size wouldn't seem too restrictive. (I think it's just a matter of getting used to it ; if you're used to drawing animation on 16 field paper then a switch over to drawing on standard size 8.5" x 11" copier paper is going to take some adjustment , but it's not a bad size to draw on. So, I imagine it's the same with the tablet screens , but the advantage of the tablets is you can zoom-in on a small drawing or part of a drawing that might be awkward if it were drawn on smaller size paper )

On Alan Cook's blog he mentioned that he had recently taken up a Toshiba tablet with a 14" inch screen size , precisely because he wanted the larger size to work at . Alan is getting great results with his Toshiba .


"EustaceScrubb" has left the building