Saturday, 01 October 2011 20:52

Review of the Cintiq 24HD by Hal Hefner

This is an honest review of the Cintiq 24HD Monitor by Comic Artist Hal Hefner, someone who knows the Wacom Cintiq products well.

MY HISTORY AS A COMIC ARTIST USING WACOM PRODUCTS:

As a comic artist who does most of my work digitally, the development of Wacom’s Cintiq monitors has been one of the biggest, life changing and career saving technological advancements I have ever encountered.

Since birth I have been drawing and painting in everything from watercolor to oil to acrylic. But my art was missing something I felt, until I was able to combine these traditional painting medias with Photoshop. Since the moment I began using it in 1995, my life was forever changed.

But wielding a mouse instead of a paint brush as my artistic weapon was much different, less effective and less desirable. The mouse was my enemy, technology was not. For many years artists had to adapt to using a mouse and it was challenging to say the least. But then Wacom came out with the Graphire pen and things started to get interesting. I got my first graphic pen in 2004, right in the midst of a terrible bout with carpal tunnel syndrome. My wrist hurt, my shoulder hurt. Everything hurt and I was in some serious pain. This injury brought on by 8-10 hour work days as a graphic designer, then 2-6 more at home creating the new science fiction franchise, Gates was absolutely killing me physically. The mouse was crushing my circulation and my wrist.

The Graphire helped. It wasn’t perfect, but it helped. It allowed me to get through rehab and move on. I will forever be grateful to Wacom for the Graphire.

But it was the Cintiq in 2006 that changed my life forever. When I bought the original, first generation Cintiq I still hadn’t fully recovered from carpal tunnel issues. I still had occasional pain and had to rest for days at a time because of it. But the Cintiq was the first piece of technology I felt attached to. It changed my life. For the first time ever, I really felt like I was drawing again. It was a true, organic connection to Photoshop and I could control it like nothing else I had used before. It was the ultimate simulation and with this new tool, my style, my art and the world of Gates, really came to life. I have used it, abused it and re-used it over and over and over.

But it did have limitations as the wiring started to falter a bit as it aged and I was having issues with the pixelation on the screen because of it. It had some serious flexibility as a monitor but it truly lacked the ability to be on my lap comfortably and so often times my back and shoulder would be sore from having to adjust to its dimensions. It was good but sometimes cumbersome to work with. However it virtually helped me wipe out my carpal tunnel issues, altogether.

But it was aging and so was I and I knew its death was imminent, so when the new Cintiq 24HD was announced, I was ecstatic. I read about the dimensions, the ability to maneuver it in the ways I desired and I knew I needed to have it. Then I saw the price and I cried.

ENTER A NEW ERA: THE CINTIQ 24HD MONITOR:

My old Cintiq gave me so much love and I back to it. But I had to have the new Cintiq 24HD, as I knew it was the final piece to the puzzle I was putting together creatively. I knew the maneuverability was paramount to my health as a comic artist, writer and human being. So I saved up as much money as I could over the last six months and I bit the bullet and got it from Melrose Mac in Culver City, CA.

THE CINTIQ 24HD SPECIFICATIONS:

  • The Cintiq 24HD has a gigantic 24 inch display and is equipped with a large color gamut, a and wide viewing angle.
  • It sports a new, adjustable, ergonomic feature that allows it to be adjusted for optimal comfort for artists.
  • The Cintiq 24HD features a 1920 x 1200 HD display with 178° viewing angle and a 16:10 aspect ratio.
  • The Cintiq 24HD integrates Wacom’s newest and most sophisticated pen technology. The new pen is capable of detecting 2048 levels of pen pressure and 40° of tilt.
  • Touch Rings positioned on either side of the display can be adjusted to your own specifications customized to perform short cuts, such as zoom, screen toggle between multiple monitors and more.

COMIC ARTIST AND GATES THE COMIC ILLUSTRATOR HAL HEFNER’S REVIEW OF THE CINTIQ 24HD:

1. THE VIEW:

The monitor is gigantic and weighs like 68lbs. It is one massive piece of equipment. But it is sleek and incredible durably contstructed with a beautiful black covering. The monitor itself is much more fine tuned than the original Cintiq and is less clumsy and feels lighter and more like a piece of high end machinery than the last two iterations of the Cintiq.

Due to the wide viewing angle and the black color of the Cintiq 24HD, every piece of art I opened on it made me feel like I was working on something epic and movie like. It gives me the letterbox feel when I look at my art and provides a sense of awe due to the size of the image. The view is extremly impressive in every way from color to resolution to the industrial design of the equipment.

2. ERGONOMICS:

In my opinion, this is the most important technological decision made by Wacom. This is now the ultimate piece of equipment for any artist, designer or anyone that has a job creating, animating or producing anything digitally. For the first time in your entire life you can make the computer come to you and “bend to YOUR will”. The Cintiq 24HD’s new, adjustable, ergonomic features allow you to fit the monitor into your lap and to be adjusted at your height, regardless of your size.

It’s absolutely incredible how it works. I spent two fast hours last night working and I didn’t have one uncomfortable feeling and I felt ergonomically correct. Normally I would have taken a break but the comfortably I felt, got me caught up in the moment and before I knew it, it was 2am. The Cintiq 24HD allows you to position it exactly like a drafting table so it feels “right”. Its spring-loaded mechanism allows it to basically be put in any position almost in a floating kind of state. You can position just above your lap while you sit on a normal chair because it actually goes below the base level of your table.

This is the real deal and will save your career if you have carpal tunnel. I can assure you that the Cintiq 24HD is going to provide hours of comfortable and productive use.

3. THE NEW PEN:

The new pen is small, thin light and awesome. It gives you much more precise control over pressure-sensitive effects such as line weight and opacity. It’s great to sketch with, it’s great to paint with and just all around comfortable. It feels very much like a “real” pen. I haven’t tried out all the various tips yet but my initial reaction is that it is improved and in harmony with the monitor.

THE VERDICT:

THE POSITIVE OF THE CINTIQ 24HD:

  • The Cintiq 24HD is one asskicking piece of technology. The price point is hard to swallow and I know it is tough on the wallet, but if you are an artist or creative who spends 6 plus hours a day on a computer, then a highly suggest you encourage your agency or company to get you one immediately. This is the Ferrari of monitors in design, yet it has the practicality and usefulness of a mini van for a soccer mom. It’s a necessity in my opinion for any serious designer, artist or producer who creates digital work.
  • It is a life changing piece of equipment and I give the Cintiq 24HD two giant thumbs up and one big nerdgasm.
  • Sure you can see the pictures I have taken, but nothing is as impressive as using one. So my advice to find a way to save that extra cash to get it. That’s what I did. I don’t have a spare $2500 lying around and I know you don’t either, so when a piece of computer equipment that costs more than a TV and almost twice as much as the computer you’re working on, it’s hard to justify. I know.

THE NEGATIVE OF THE CINTIQ 24HD:

  • The lone negative of the Cintiq 24HD is it’s butt raping price and it’s sketchy stock availability.
  • If I had to say anything to Wacom I’d tell them that the price is in a place of arrogance (almost up there with Apple) where it most likely doesn’t need to be. It’s a great piece of equipment but the price seems to be too high for this ecoomy and we know it doesn’t cost that much to manufacture it.
  • Another dick move by Wacom, is that they produce very little stock so the demand is high and it allows computer stores to gauge you if you are not wise to the game. Again, this is very arrogant and makes me resent Wacom for the way they do business. Personally I think their production and sales tactics are pretty unethical and are the epitome of everything I hate about the current state of “doing business” in the world.

CLOSING:

All in all, the Cintiq 24HD is a great piece of equipment. I love it. I have no regrets in buying it.
Comparing the Cintiq 24HD to the Cintiq 21UX is like comparing apples and oranges. The 24Hd BLOWS the 21UX to pieces. It’s a stellar piece of technology and I highly recommend the Cintiq 24HD for anyone creative.
For everyone’s sake I hope Wacom has a change of heart and lowers the price.
Though I despise their tactics, I bought one anyway and I’m glad I did.

But when you buy it, buy it with your middle finger raised high to Wacom because the price point is bullshit. So my advice to you is to be on the lookout for computer places that will treat you good. Not everyone is souless like Wacom. Be smart, look for a deal and buy from someone you trust. And those of you in California, if you are in post production (just say you are because any art can be considered post production–to an extent), you get a tax discount.

Good luck on your journey and I hope you enjoy yours as much as I will mine.

Hal Hefner, creator Gates.

Wacom Cintiq 24HD

Wacom Cintiq 24HD

Source: gatesthecomic.com