Digital Artist's Tool: Cintiq Tablet

Posted on December 6, 2006

Cintiq TabletKevin Kelly is blogging about the Wacom Cintiq table which is a pen-based digital tablet you can draw on. Kelly says the tablet oddly feels like "paper under a pen."
Based on comics master Scott McCloud's recommendation (below), I bought a Cintiq. It does something I've always wanted to do since I first saw a computer. This thing is a pen-based tablet that doubles as a monitor. In other words you draw directly on the tablet, just like a paper-based drawing, but digitally. In fact the surface of the Cintq monitor/tablet feels like paper under a pen. Synchrony of image with your movements is almost exact, and the micro difference doesn't seem to matter. The result is weirdly like ink, or paint, but with all the control and magic of Photoshop. Of course, as a monitor, it will display whatever's on your computer, whether it's animation software or a spreadsheet. (You could hook it up to a $500 Mac Mini and have a fabulous digital art studio.) It's slowly being adopted by film animators and other high-end graphic professionals. A Cintq is expensive ($2,500), big, thick and bulky (it is too fat to sit on your lap like other tablets, but it can lay flat on a desk), but if you are producing digital images for a living, it speeds up your productivity and eases your hurt. It's fun to use.
The same post includes comments from comic artist Scott McCloud who says the Cintiq Tablet sped up his workflow by 30%. It is also McCloud's "all-time favorite digital tools" aside from the Mac. It sounds like a great tool for artists and it should be for $2,500. The Cintiq Tablet is sold at B&H and other digital photographic tool retailers. You can read more about the 21-inch Cintiq tablet here on Wacom's website.

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