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July 2014
Issue: October 1, 2012

Review: Wacom's Cintiq 24HD

By: David Basulto
PRODUCT: Wacom Cintiq 24HD 

WEBSITE: www.wacom.com

PRICE: $2,600

- Massive screen size and clear colors
- Highly programmable
- Easy set up

I can recall, many moons ago, the first time I saw someone using a Wacom tablet. It was an NAB, and I remember thinking how impressive it looked. I also remember thinking it would never be adopted by the masses; that a great mouse was better. Boy, was I wrong!

I bought my first Wacom tablet about six years ago, and I can’t imagine doing my work,  or any computer-related task for that matter,  without one. The Intuos 3 goes everywhere with me and is vital to my workflow. I use it to edit in Adobe Premiere Pro, create my visions in Adobe Photoshop, and exploit its flexibility while using my favorite 3D app, Maxon’s Cinema 4D. It’s so intuitive that it puts me in creative mode from the start.



Recently I also have been creating fun art and previs for upcoming student projects (I teach at a local high school when not shooting my own work) using my iPad. After picking up a stylus and being able to draw right on the image, I began to wonder what Wacom’s Cintiq would be like to add to my workflow. As luck would have it, I ran into the Wacom crew at SIGGRAPH 2012 in Los Angeles and begged for, I mean requested, a Cintiq 24HD to try out.

WACOM IS WOW-COM

The first thing I should mention is the Cintiq 24HD is big….and heavy. When the FedEx guy arrived with it on a dolly I should have realized that carrying it by hand inside wasn’t the smartest move for my back. The Wacom Cintiq 24HD, for both Mac and PC, comes in at a massive (for tablets) 64 pounds! Needless to say I got my workout in. 
As I set it up I could see that half of the weight belongs to the stand, which acts as a counter balance. This counter balance enables you to maneuver the Wacom tablet at will. Set up was painless, plugging it in via USB to my Mac Pro and installing the Wacom drivers. After putting it together I could see the screen was going to be amazing, but that it would take up a lot of real estate. 

A DREAM SCREEN

The Cintiq 24HD was gorgeous. Is gorgeous. Key features are the 1920x1200 high definition display, a 16:10 aspect ratio, and the tremendous color performance featuring a 92 percent Adobe RGB color gamut. 

I fired it up and launched Premiere Pro CS6. The first thing I realized was I loved the size of my workspace. It took a few minutes to get used to, but I really got into editing video with all this space. My attention was really directed at the clips since they were literally in front of my face and at my fingertips. 

I also loved painting using Photoshop CS6 and the Cintiq. The brush strokes felt so real and worked smoothly. I’m not Van Gogh but I sure felt like it for a few moments.

I really saw the power of the Cintiq 24HD when I launched Cinema 4D and began to model. Since I was using the latest version of Cinema 4D, R14, I loved the ability to transform any base mesh into virtual clay. I was in creative nirvana. I believe any 3D artist would be in heaven if they got their hands on this bad boy. For the review, I was working on a Mac Pro sporting an Nvidia Quadro 4600 card, so response time was great.

INTUITIVE WORK TOOL

Using the Cintiq is very intuitive. It can also really speed up your workflow. Once I programmed the 10 ExpressKeys that now contained keyboard shortcuts and modifiers, I was off to the races. The Touch Rings allowed me to easily scroll, zoom in, zoom out and change tools or brushes.

I have always loved the Grip Pen that comes with the Wacom tablets. It’s so easy to learn and customize, and this really shined with the Cintiq. If this tablet wasn’t so heavy, I could envision myself on the couch doing my creative visions with my legs up. On second thought, maybe its good I can’t.



What I really liked was that I could rotate the entire tabled while I sculpted. I never did this before using the Cintiq. I would rotate the image using a rotate tool, then work again. With the Cintiq I simply would rotate it while working. Huge plus.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Cintiq 24HD has a lot of pros and just a few cons. On the pro side it is an amazing, innovative tool. The fact that I can create my works of art directly on the digital canvas in realtime is amazing. The screen is extremely clear and the colors are vivacious. When using the Touch Rings and ExpressKeys you can speed up your workflow immensely. The pen is fantastic with its tilt technology. 

Now the cons. The Cintiq 24HD is massive in size. Its 64 pounds make it non-portable, unless you have won the World’s Strongest Man Competition — but the Wacom folks designed it for pros seeking a large, color-accurate work surface. [Editor’s Note: According to Wacom, “The counter-weighted integrated stand, while heavy, allows the pen display to be configured in a variety of positions, including the ability to position the display over the edge of a desk to match virtually anyone’s favorite working position.”]

Also the price point is about $2,600, leaving many non-shop people out of the market. If you can work it into your budget though, it is a tool that will be used by you for many years to come, so the investment is worth it, in my opinion. 

David Basulto is a Filmmaker with EngageMedia (www.noise@engagemedia.tv) in South Pasadena, CA.