Does the new Wacom graphics tablet live up to expectations?

3D World technical editor Rob Redman test-drives the Cintiq 24HD Touch.

Wacom Cintiq 24HD Touch review

I'd like to open this review with a warning: make sure you either own or budget for a sturdy desk if you buy one of these. At nearly 30kg, it isn't light, but that's not necessarily a bad thing - you are going to spend a lot of time leaning on it and, if it were lighter, you'd be chasing it across your workspace.

The Cintiq 24HD Touch is, in appearance, very similar to the previous, non-touch version, with the same control layout and overall design. You can position the display in a number of ways - upright, flat on your desk, or any number of in-between positions. For extended sessions you can even have it hanging over the edge of your desk so it sits in your lap.

There are controls on each side, which can be mirrored or customised according to your needs, with three more toward the top of the device - one for showing your control layouts and accessing the preferences, one to show and hide the virtual keyboard and the last for toggling touch on and off. On top are standard style monitor controls for calibrating and adjusting the screen itself.

Calibration is as simple as with a standard desktop monitor, but make sure you are using the best cabling option. If you use DisplayPort you will get over a billion colours and 97 per cent Adobe RGB, but this drops using other connection methods (to around 16.7 million colours).

Setup is quick

In use the Cintiq is responsive and accurate. The screen is bright, clear and detailed - not quite as bright as, say, an iMac on full tilt but it is more than enough. After a couple of days I reduced the brightness
to about 70 per cent. Some tablet/stylus devices (older Wacom gear included) suffered from jittering and loss of calibration near the edges of the workspace, but the 24HD appears to have fixed that. Once you run the initial calibration it's good from edge to edge.

The Cintiq's touch response is not quite up there with the best, but it is more than usable. Single finger and two-finger gestures work well, but the accuracy and response does fall a little for more complex gestures. The touch interface is a nice addition though, and touch is switched off when the stylus is close to the screen, so you can't accidentally interact.

For 3D work, the ability to combine touch with the stylus, and have app specific commands linked to the express keys, makes working fluid and comfortable. There are also two small legs you can use to rest the Cintiq on, allowing for a keyboard to fit under, for those who regularly use shortcuts.

The Cintiq excels for texture work too and is more than at home in Photoshop or Painter.

This article originally appeared in 3D World issue 182 - on sale now!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob Redman is a 3D artist working in VFX and motion graphics for print, TV and film.