Since a few years back, I decided to give my animation desk and professional 16 field chromacolour animation disk a rest, and try the new tech that was coming out by that time.
Animation was going more and more into digital tools, and paper and pencils were more and more a thing of a near past.
So I switch those “analogic” tools for the new tech, a brand new Wacom Cintiq 21ux. Year 2008 I think….gosh times flies!
I was a bit reluctant to it, you know, how it is gonna feel to draw with a plastic stick over a plastic surface, but for my surprise I found out that the tech was working very well, and my animation was getting better by working with the tool and speeding up the production time.
The fact that I can just press a key and see a pencil test without capturing drawing by drawing was amazingly comfortable.
So little by little I just left the paper and pencil behind and got very used to this new tools, that in my opinion are the truly evolution of traditional animation, not CGI, not Flash animation cut-out style, no CGI with some traced texture like paper man short-film, no, this was the thing that could made traditional animation go into the new times.
Unfortunately the media and the market are not asking that much amount of traditional animation feature films, but nevertheless, most of them, the recent productions are going full digital, with some exceptions of course.
I got in contact with Wacom Company in Annesy animation festival, some years ago, and when they’ve seen my work, they offered me to become part of a program compound of professional artists and digital artists which together we would suggest, and give feedback to make those products better and better and most important with the features that us, the users of the tech, we missed or needed the most.
I made some beta testing and feedback sessions for designers and technicians on new products, and one of those was the inkling, an amazing and charming little device that scans your drawing as you are doing it with ink and paper and allows you to transfer those creations directly in software packages like adobe’s photoshop for further work. Very nice device if you’re a illustrator or a graphic designer, I haven’t found much use for animation artists, but sure it is very useful for other branches in the arts. Good for storyboarding on the go too.
Lately Wacom had brought out the new tech for their Cintiqs, following the intuos 5 tech, my Cintiq had intuos 3 tech, and worked beautifully by the way.
The new Cintiq’s had HD resolutions and a more accurate and sensible pressure levels.
So I thought that was about time to change, the specs and new design were charming so I change my Cintiq 21ux for the brand new Cintiq 24 HD touch.
It was a big change, and I mean big in all the senses of the word, bigger screen, and bigger area needed to put this incredible monster on my working table, but despite the size, I found out that the stand and the possibilities of moving it in a lot of positions made it more comfortable and less space requiring than my old Cintiq 21.
Always it is better to have a bigger area to draw, thats for sure, but you always end up drawing on the same area of the screen, zooming out and in of it, but the extra screen space it is cool for have tool’s panels and such without compromising your working area.
The touch capabilities are a blast, even though that my windows 7 don’t have a big big use for it, and not to say the softwares packages that are not yet well prepared for a multi-touch 10 digits system, but Wacom guys told me that they’ve been working closely with Microsoft and other companies so the new and upcoming versions of their softwares include a better use for all the touch possibilities. Like the brand new Windows 8.
Just imagine to pinch to zoom , move the canvas, even flip drawings like we used to do in animation desks with paper, that’ll be great.
You can always deactivate the touch capabilities, it is true that when drawing your palm can interfere with the pencil and make things you don’t wanna, I found out that to use a thick cotton glove to draw most of the times keep your palm out of interfering with the touch system…..or you can just turn it off when needed.
The express keys and touch rings, are very useful and they are one of my favorite features in this products, you can fully customize shortcuts on them and keep you hands away from the keyboard for longer periods of time, just using your time to draw and do shortcuts with your left (or right) hand resting on a side.
So far, the Cintiq 24 HD touch, have me amazed, I didn’t thought that will it be better or much improvement from the cintiq 21, but yes it does.
I have to say thought that it is not a portable device, Cintiq 21 was on the very limit of being portable ( I mean portable in a sense that you may take the Cintiq to a studio when you’re freelancing), but no way that you’re gonna want to move this to some other place when you install it, it weights around 30 something kilograms which is a lot, so have in mind that it is built for comfort not for speed ;)
In case of need of a more portable device, like was my case too, I travel a lot freelancing and giving conferences and such, and you need a more portable device in those cases.
I had the Cintiq 12, which was a very useful tool, small screen, but perfect to adapt to a laptop and extend the desktop and work on that area.
The screen was little, but it all relies in getting used to it, after a few hours, well, you get used and it works perfectly. I had made countless commercials overseas by carrying the Cintiq 12 with me!
It is like I said a perfect device for freelancers that need to bring their own equipment to the studios.
I have to say that the Cintiq 12 have a amount of cables that made the device a little bit annoying to install, imagine, install and uninstall every day you go to work….just painful, but, fortunately, Wacom just released the new Cintiq 13HD and all that was solved, just one cable and a very very comfortable and flat screen with a extra inch to work with!
I’m testing it right now and I can say that it works great, the express keys had changed a bit from previousCintiq 12 but again, it is getting used to it more than getting mad :)
Cintiq 12 was perfect for this kind of jobs in were you needed mobility (a laptop and the cintiq in the same bag for example), and now with 13HD, well, it just improved a lot this aspect, it is more mobile than the older model, less weight than your shoulder will appreciate and great resolution full HD, plus all the pressure levels of the Intuos 5 tech.
The pencil was redesigned and it is more comfortable that the other ones, less thick, better to grab and work comfortably.
Plus, if you have a Cintiq 24 and a 13, well you can use the pencils in both of them.
I know this is a kinda weird post on my blog, I’m not selling products ;) I’m just telling my experience with it!
After all, it was what I did to give the leap of faith to the digital era, review and search for experiences on the net that gave me a better idea and make me go for it.
So I hope you find this useful and clarifying in some way.
And wait some more months in where Wacom will release the “dream Device” it’s gonna be awesome, all the artists that collaborate with Wacom and outside too had been screaming out loud for something like this, let’s just wait and see how far they go with the new device!
Cheers to y’all and keep the passion for art!
Technology is just a tool, and we have to be updated with it, it is very easy to become obsolete in no time within this times, but…..without skills, knowledge and craft, they are just merely tools.
Some links to the Wacom Facebook pages you may find interesting
Wacom Evangelists Facebook
Wacom Creative Pros