Lower than a decade in the past, a desktop drawing pill was a vital instrument for almost each skilled digital artist. Extra just lately, the iPad Professional, Apple Pencil, and different competing merchandise just like the Microsoft Floor line have given artistic professionals a variety of reasonably priced and moveable choices to contemplate. Nonetheless, many artists think about devoted graphics tablets the gold normal for illustration and design. Main the business is Wacom, recognized for its line of Cintiq pen displays. For 2019, Wacom has launched the entry-level Cintiq 16, and I’ve been testing the way it compares to an 11-inch iPad Pro and Apple Pencil 2.
Wacom’s Cintiq line has historically supplied a high-end vary of merchandise with worth tags to match. The brand new Cintiq 16 (distinct from the Cintiq Professional 16) is essentially the most reasonably priced within the line at $649.95. It was first launched in January at CES, and is positioned to lure first-time consumers, potential iPad clients, and people upgrading from the Intuos line of pen tablets with out shows.
The Cintiq includes a 15.6-inch show with a matte, paper-like end. It comes bundled with the Wacom Pro Pen 2, which presents 8,192 ranges of strain sensitivity and tilt response. In contrast to the Apple Pencil, the Professional Pen 2 by no means wants a cost and has an eraser instrument built-in without having a gesture to activate it. Two folding legs underneath the show supply a single viewing angle, however Wacom additionally sells an non-obligatory adjustable stand for $79.99.
You’ll want to attach the show to your Mac with each HDMI and USB-A cables. This answer is a bit bit clunky, and it will be good to see Wacom make the change to USB-C. When you’re utilizing an iMac or have a everlasting workstation, you in all probability wont’t discover the cable nest, however I continuously transfer my MacBook round the home and coping with the dongle required wasn’t splendid.
The pill itself feels sturdy and effectively constructed, and I by no means anxious in regards to the weight of my arm damaging the stand or LCD show. Whereas considerably thicker and heavier than an iPad Professional, the show can also be bigger than something Apple presents on an iPad. Sadly, that measurement benefit is misplaced as a result of 1920×1080 decision panel Wacom is utilizing. It’s been a very long time since I’ve used a non-Retina show, and the distinction was jarring. Graphics work requires shut inspection, and I discovered that lots of zooming was required to see small particulars. Facet by aspect with my MacBook, brightness and colour copy appeared missing.
I exploit my iPad Professional for 3 primary artistic duties: picture modifying with Adobe Lightroom, vector artwork with Affinity Designer, and illustration with Procreate. On my Mac, I examined these similar three duties with the Cintiq utilizing Adobe’s suite of apps.
Prime: Cintiq 16 (left), iPad Professional 11-inch (proper)
Backside: Cintiq 16 (left), MacBook 12-inch (proper)
Whereas it was nice to see my pictures on a bigger show, macOS apps sometimes have extra UI chrome and toolbars, making the workspace smaller. This highlights one of many challenges of utilizing any desktop drawing pill: macOS was designed for a mouse and keyboard, not “contact” enter. I exploit scare quotes across the phrase contact as a result of the Cintiq technically doesn’t assist it both. The show can solely deal with enter from Wacom’s pen, which means that multi-touch gestures like zooming and informal finger faucets are off the desk. You’ll want a costlier mannequin to get a full contact show. Coming from an iPad, this was extraordinarily troublesome to get used to.
After ending every edit, I felt the necessity to preview the picture on my MacBook show to see the “actual” picture. The Cintiq’s outdated show expertise meant that I couldn’t belief it to point out me the entire element and colour vary in a picture. The matte end over the show softens the image and produces an unlucky rainbow glowing impact as you progress your head. This partially defeats the aim of a devoted show, and lessens the machine’s benefit over my previous screen-less Wacom Bamboo pill.
Adobe Illustrator on the Mac continues to be extra highly effective than Affinity Designer on iOS, and I discover myself coming again to it continuously once I can’t accomplish one thing on my iPad. The prospect of pen enter mixed with desktop energy was thrilling. In apply, the expertise was irritating.
Illustrator is constructed round keyboard shortcuts, and there’s simply no means for me to make use of the Cintiq and my MacBook’s keyboard on the similar time. Wacom’s show drivers embrace software program that provides fast motion menus to the Professional Pen 2 accessible by urgent considered one of two buttons on the pen, however these had been no substitute. Vector manipulation felt slower and fewer exact than on my iPad or with a trackpad. There’s additionally a big air hole between the show and pen tip, which makes pixel excellent alignment difficult.
With a big time funding, maybe I might turn out to be simply as environment friendly doing vector work with the Cintiq as I’m with the Apple Pencil or a trackpad. However for artistic professionals, time is cash, and I discovered the preliminary studying curve from Illustrator on the Mac to Affinity Designer on the iPad extra manageable. I’d love to listen to reader solutions for different Mac vector design apps that is likely to be extra pleasant to a pen show.
Air Hole between the Professional Pen 2 tip and show
Portray and sketching are the place the Cintiq shines. Photoshop required minimal setup to adapt to pen enter. The iPad might take the crown when Photoshop for iOS arrives later this 12 months, however till then, the Mac + a drawing pill are nonetheless essentially the most highly effective.
The matte end of the Cintiq show is extra nice and pure to attract on than the graceful glass of an iPad. The sensation isn’t equivalent to a sheet of paper, however it’s shut. The expertise falls brief as a result of Wacom Professional Pen 2. In comparison with an Apple Pencil 2, the pen is way lighter and cheaper feeling. Each the eraser finish and pen tip have a slight wiggle to them as you draw. The pen’s buttons are straightforward to by chance press when you’re drawing, resulting in errors and sudden menu pop ups. In the case of portray and sketching, the Cintiq is extra succesful, however the iPad is extra enjoyable and fascinating.
Would I like to recommend the Cintiq 16? It is determined by your wants. If you have already got a favourite artistic Mac app you can’t dwell with out, swear by the desktop expertise, or are merely trying to improve from a inexpensive Wacom pill, you’ll in all probability be pleased. The product will not be with out compromise, however it’s nonetheless essentially the most reasonably priced strategy to enter the Cintiq line.
When you’re new to digital illustration and making an attempt to determine between the Cintiq or an iPad, the scenario is extra difficult. Attempt to get hands-on time with each merchandise first to see which one you’re extra comfy with. At $649, the Cintiq is $100 inexpensive than the ten.5-inch iPad Professional and Apple Pencil. However that additional $100 will get you a richer, greater decision show, full multi-touch capabilities, and a complete laptop. $429 will get you the entry-level 9.7-inch iPad and Apple Pencil which continues to be an ideal expertise and infinitely extra moveable than a pill that should keep tethered to your desk.
Lastly, if you have already got an iPad and Apple Pencil and are contemplating the transfer to the Cintiq 16, I’d recommend both aiming for a Cintiq Professional mannequin or simply upgrading to a more recent iPad as a substitute. Making the change between units would require a big psychological shift and workflow realignment. The shortage of multi-touch and low decision show shall be jarring to iPad homeowners. These compromises are solved by the Cintiq Professional line, however you’ll must pay fairly a bit extra.
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