Blog: Secrets from the Chef

Quick review of Wacom Cintiq 21UX Intuos 4

Evgeniya RodinaAuthor: Evgeniya Rodina
29 April 2010

One of the goals I had for the visit to the recent Creativefuture 2010 conference was a “conversation” with the outstanding new Wacom Cintiq pad. Each professional is very careful about his working tools, therefore I went straight to the Wacom’s stand. There was a thick crowd of curious people and I had very limited time for the test drive – others were lining up behind me. I waited diligently in the line and started the “tasting” process.

I picked Cintiq 21UX Intuos4. Why going cheap? :)

  1. Neat black pad. Intous4 style design. Big and bright screen. Essentially it’s a large monitor that you can draw on.
  2. The screen is warm, you can merely warm up your hands in cold weather :)
  3. There is a gap between the screen that you touch with a pen and the glowing area (where the line actually appears). The gap is insignificant – not more than a millimeter – but it’s still there. So the feeling that it delivers is still different than paper and a pencil offers. You draw like through a thin layer of plastic with a certain distance to the drawing surface. My colleagues expressed this doubt: how do you get into the pixel? I think the zoom-in functions and your drawing habits will save the day.
  4. The magic Photoshop CS5 was skidding. You draw a line and wait until it appears on the screen. It looks as though there are still some flaws in the app-to-pad interface.
    We have somebody’s hands on the picture with one of the smaller models. In my opinion, it makes sense to buy a larger model if you want to own a pad, which will be a complete monitor replacement.
  5. The pad can be tilted to a certain degree: it operates with 10 to 60 degree tilts. You can turn it and fine-tune for right-handed and left-handed use. The pictured tilt was not very convenient for me. The elbow was either hanging in the air or was placed against the keyboard. And you need a good wrist support so that your hand does not get tired easily. I think this can be solved individually by customizing your working place. And yes, the pad requires a lot of desk space. Also, I wanted to place it on my laps as a drawing pad.

  6. It looks as though there is a possibility to plug the pad to a monitor so you could visualize the working process both underneath the hand and on the monitor. However, large Cintiq models are well off with the pad’s screen only.
  7. The pen did not feature any visual changes – it’s the same as with other models. One visitor even tried to draw with the pen by holding it as an artist holds a pencil and it looked kind of funny. I am not really able to comment on it.
  8. I don’t use Express Keys during my work, therefore I felt uncomfortable with zooming and changing tools. I had to lower my eyes to look at the keyboard. More likely, buying Cintiq would mean learning new tricks. :)

In conclusion I would say that Wacom Cintiq is a fancy thing but nothing to get overexcited about. If you settle on buying it, go for a large pad. Professional needs can still be satisfied with the wonderful Wacom Intuos4, though. The sensitivity and the tilt are the same and the lack of glowing screen under you hand you can live without still saving a few bucks. After all, it’s just a tool! :)

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