Wacom generously sent me an advance copy of the new Cintiq Pro 24" and it's a hell of a machine. Easily the most impressive piece of tech I've used yet. Unboxing and quick review in video below. I'll be doing a live demo of the product this Friday night in New York when it's out.
I've been messing around with some new tweaked brushes in photoshop this weekend, using the new Mobilestudio Pro from Wacom. The etched glass is a matte finish, so I get a nice smooth friction on the surface with the felt-tipped nib. Check out my unboxing video here.
Have a great week!
This week I was drawing live caricatures on the Lenovo Yoga Book.
I had high hopes for this product, as it has Wacom integrated technology in the pen, and the 'any pen' feature was pretty exciting. However, it still pales in comparison to its competitors. There is definitely an entry-level aspect to this product, but I wouldn't recommend it for fellow live artists... I think it needs to go back to the drawing board.
Speaking of which! Here are a few scribbles from the last couple of days... You draw on the pad and it comes up on the screen - same as "live mode" on the Wacom Bamboo Folio/Slate series.
Want to book me for your live caricaturing event? Click here!
Hi, my name's Jason Chatfield, I'm a syndicated cartoonist working out of Australia and I've been asked by Wacom to try out the new Cintiq Companion Hybrid.
This is not the stand-alone windows tablet computer version- this is the one that runs Android, works as a stand-alone tablet AND a Cintiq if you plug it into your computer using the HDMI and USB cable that comes with it. It's compatible with both Mac and PC.
Right up the top, in the interest of transparency, I don't work for Wacom, I never have, and I haven't been paid to review this product.
I've been using Wacom tablets for over 10 years now. So I've been asked to test drive a lot of unreleased products for Wacom in the past and I've always been very honest with them- and to their credit, they always listened. No matter how, uh, honest I was.
One of my biggest gripes was when I was asked to test drive the Cintiq 12WX - it was so close to what we'd all been asking for but it just wasn't there yet. It had to have its own power source and just wasn't portable. You literally can't use it 'on the road' without a power point.
Thankfully, the tech is now available for The Cintiq Companion to exist. It's the missing link -they've nailed it. They didn't rush it; they took their time with it, they got it right, and now they're releasing it as a self-contained mobile tablet computer.
I'm going to try and be as thorough as I can with this review, but I won't be able to cover absolutely everything. So what I'd like you to do is post any questions on stuff I haven't covered in the comments below and I can answer them personally. Be sure to read through the previous comments before posting your question so we don't double up.
I've been using this tablet solid for the past month- I don't mean just playing around with it, I mean really putting it through its paces, doing full days of work in real-world scenarios. I travel a lot with my work- so this tablet is something I've been asking for for a decade. I've taken it on domestic trips to Sydney, Perth and overseas to Indonesia and done actual finished work on it- not just sketches and concepts like I do on my iPad.
I currently have a Cintiq 21" in my studio which I rent, and I have an Intuos 4 tablet for when I'm on the road. The drawback with the Intuos has always been that if you learned to draw traditionally by hand, like me, you're not used to looking at your screen while your hand is drawing, and that takes a lot of getting used to. Your style often changes as a result too, so it's not ideal.
The Cintiq Companion Hybrid's Display is 13.3 inches. It's running an Nvidia® Tegra® 4 Processor with a full HD Resolution of 1920 X 1080 with 16.7 million colours and 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and multi-touch (just like the Cintiq 24). It comes in 16GB or 32GB options and weighs about 1.8 kg / 3.9 lbs.
It has Wacom's trademark Boosters ExpressKeys™, Rocker Ring, Home Button and On-Screen Controls. It comes with an Ergonomics Adjustable stand with about 3 different angles. It comes with the usual stable of pens and 10 interchangeable nibs. I prefer to use the classic pen with a felt tip nib for better friction, like pencil on paper. It isn't the official pen that comes with the tablet, but it works perfectly and has the full tilt recognition of a regular Cintiq.
It has two HD cameras, front and back for video conferencing, some pretty nice speakers on the bottom and full wifi and bluetooth connectivity. I'd recommend getting a bluetooth keyboard if you don't like typing on tablet screens.
It comes with a felt carry-case and a pen case if you don't own a laptop bag.
If you've never used Wacom product before, it's very easy to learn. If you have used a Wacom product before, there's nothing new to learn about the interface- it's just a miniature Cintiq. The only difference is I can take it out on your balcony and get some sun on my pasty skin.
As I mentioned earlier, in Tablet mode, this model runs on Android OS. The other model runs Windows and is a complete tablet PC.
Now, I know there's a lot of you whinging that it doesn't run Apple's OS X or iOS. Look, I'm an Apple fanboy myself, I work on a Mac and have for 7 years, but are you kidding? You honestly thought Apple would let another company run it's operating system on non-Apple hardware? Really? You should know Apple better by now.
The other important point to realise is, and I don't like to admit this, but from the moment in late 2007 that Google unveiled Android and its own plan to dominate the world of mobile devices, Google hasn’t just tried to compete with the Apple; it's succeeded. Android's share of the global smartphone market is approaching 80 percent, while Apple’s has fallen below 20 percent.
A similar trend is under way with tablets: in 2010 the iPad had about 90 percent of the tablet market; now more than 60 percent of tablets sold run Android. So the decision for this bad boy to run Android was well made, (even though I still hate Android...) :)
If you really must use iOS, you're probably better off buying the new Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus for iPad. It's actually pretty cool- it's bluetooth, so it actually handles the same level of pressure sensitivity as this Cintiq.
Android's a very easy OS to learn if you haven't used it before, and with the NVidia processor, it's fast. The lag time on the pen stroke, which is one of the most important factors for me working on a tablet, is remarkably low. If you had to measure it, you'd have trouble. It's very fast- I wish I could get a higher frame-rate video to show you exactly what the precise delay is, but rest assured, it's miniscule. That was going to be a deal-breaker for me.
When I first got the tablet, it was one of very few in existence and had been built from the BIOS up- so there were obviously a few little bugs and memory management issues. After a couple of firmware updates it was perfectly fine and ran without any memory issues.
There's an app called ASTRO File Manager™ which lets you pull your files from Dropbox, USB or a bunch of other sources. Ask me any specific questions about this down in the comments.
I'm actually really impressed with the battery life. Owning an iPhone, I'm so used to the battery just running down halfway through the day. I started an illustration commission at the departure lounge, and finished it on the plane on my tray table in under an hour, and I still had 8 hours battery left. I then used a bluetooth keyboard and ran the macbook in clamshell mode for the rest of the flight. The official battery life in tablet mode is 12 hours.
If you're running in Tablet mode, you have some good apps to choose from- Native Wacom drawing apps as well as Sketchbook pro, which is really great. Photoshop's Android app is okay, but obviously has less features than the desktop version.
Which mode do I prefer? it depends on what I'm doing. When I'm sketching and drawing up concepts and drafts, I love being able to sketch on the couch or outside. When I'm doing finished artwork, inking or colouring, I prefer hybrid mode. To be honest, this is really just because I'm stuck in my ways of using the OS X keyboard shortcuts and I work faster that way.
Boiling it all right down, do I like drawing on it? The answer is yes. I've worked full days on it while travelling for the last four weeks and it means I'm not pulling all-nighters to get my artwork done before I leave for a trip. I can get the exact same result on this tablet as I can on my big Cintiq 21 in the studio. It does take a minute or two to get used to the resolution if you run it in 1920 x 1080 but the definition is very impressive.
Whether it's the right product for you is obviously going to depend on the kind of work you do, so it's worth using a friend's Android tablet to see how Photoshop and other mobile tablet apps work before you make the purchase.
Speaking of that - The other big dealbreaker apart from pen-lag is price-point. The official pricing for these has just been released- the Cintiq Companion Hybrid (16gb) - AU$1,849 or (32gb) AU$1,999 the Cintiq Companion (Windows) (256gb) - AU$2,499 or AU$3,299 for the (512gb). Check their website for US prices.
For my money, I think the 16GB Companion Hybrid is well worth the price, and I will definitely be buying one. The waiting list is long, so sign up as soon as possible if you're thinking about getting one. They'll sell out in Australia very fast- I'm not sure what the stocks are like in America, the UK, Japan etc. but this is definitely going to be a popular one with the modern traveling artist.
Thanks for watching, and remember to read through the other questions before posting yours in the comments below!
FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, has to be the most insufferable of the first-world syndromes to transform my generation from hopeful, ambitious innovators into a huddled clump of simpering drones, desperately clenching their smartphones, refreshing and checking notifications for their next hit of Derpamine. And I'm one of them. (Yes. I just officially made up a word.)
FOMO is a psychologically compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience or other satisfying event. This is especially associated with modern technologies like smartphones and social networking services. A study by some guy called Andrew Przybylski found the condition was most common in those who had unsatisfied psychological needs such as wanting to be loved and respected. So, most of us.
In a society where we're bombarded with advertising imagery to make sure we're all super-insecure, it's the perfect storm for a FOMO epidemic. Get your tinfoil helmets ready, kids!
I can't remember the last time I went out with friends and we didn't all have to compete for each others' attention. We're instantly pitted against the un-winnable battle of a universe of other non-present people who are potentially more interesting. Sometimes it literally takes playing the phone stack game to get us to engage like adults. I'm the guiltiest of my friends of this heinous social disease. I've done it for a long time.
Ever since Facebook and Twitter became available on a handheld device, I was that guy checking it for updates. Checking out of wherever I was to be somewhere else. A scorching case of FOMO not seen by the likes of any other early adopters.
Such was the severity, my friends just started excluding me from conversations. What was the point? I was just going to stop half way through and check my phone anyway right? I am also a dork. And who wants to talk to a dork? (Except the Lord)
Trying to hold a conversation with me while I was holding my smartphone was like trying to read bedtime stories to a hyena ripping into a squealing zebra. The amount of patience required not to punch me in the face couldn't be quantified. The lack of restraint on my part was unfathomably rude.
Nomophobia (which is a thing, sadly) is the chronic, crippling fear of being out of mobile phone contact. Add a hefty dose of FOMO into that equation and you've got yourself a serious social problem infecting an entire generation.
This all may sound like I'm being harsh on a seemingly harmless social faux pas, but as I've written before in 2010, social media exists on the very requirement of you obsessively needing to check back in and obsessively tap that little red circle to see how many people Liked or commented on your genius photo of a duck wearing a hat.
There are two parts to this:
1.) By Design
Social media sites know exactly what they're doing. Peoples' addiction to them is no accident. Facebook has been redesigned more times than Tori Spelling's chin, but there's one thing on the user interface that has never changed- that's the little red circle with a number in it, hovering over a small light blue globe. The small indicator of how many notifications are sitting there, waiting for you to check. There's a reason they haven't changed it too - the human brain.
The way the human brain forms habits and addictions is through triggers. Triggers are really powerful things. You can use them to your advantage if you want to hack your brain, but if you let them run your subconscious it's a one-way trip to the above mentioned simpering mess of FOMOsexual. (I don't know what the sexual part is. Let's not think about it. But I will gift you my new favourite word: Infornography. You're welcome.)
2.) The Greatest Hits.
FOMO is mainly associated with Facebook and Instagram, which provide constant opportunity for comparison of one's status.
Oddly enough, people on Facebook and Instagram don't tend to post photos or check in when they're doing nothing. They tend to image craft; posting photos of themselves doing fun things, out with friends, eating great food or having heaps of fun at a bar. With Facebook, you're getting everyone's Best Of album. Their Greatest Hits. Epic FOMO bait.
What's the solution, dork?
Solar flare? Wipe out the internet? FOMO Anonymous?
The first step is stopping the trigger. The next, ideally, is a digital diet to reset your triggers. I tried a little experiment would recommend you try if you have FOMO issues.
I wanted to see if I could extricate myself from the lure of the little red dot for as long as I could. I would see how high I could get that little number before I felt the need to click it. The result? I'm four days in and I'm recognising the desire to click it every time it pops up, but guess what. I haven't been socially excluded/missed out on anything/died. I am, however, still a dork.
The first part of breaking an addiction is recognising the trigger. (This is super easy if your addiction is guns.) I've still been logging on every now and then, checking on the events panel. I'm still responding to friend requests and DMs, but I haven't clicked the notification button. It's up to about 104. The idea that this is somehow heroic strikes me as more and more ridiculous as each day goes on.
The link between seeing the red dot, and needing to click/extinguish it is diluting and my brain's circuitry is rerouting my attention to other things.
I use an app called SelfControl.app for Mac to blacklist Facebook.com and other tempting servers from access on my laptop, effectively blocking social media from my 'work' computer altogether. The spike in productivity is astounding. (and sad, really.)
Not to over-simplify neuroscience, but basically the habit forming pattern is trigger > action > pleasurable response. (Rinse, repeat.) The more you do it, the stronger the habit/addiction becomes (the stronger the neural pathways become). The more reliant on the dopamine drip you get from that pleasurable response, the less control you have over that addiction. It gets a lot more complicated; but them's the basics.
The interesting thing is once you've clicked on the red dot, the pleasure disappears. The idea of having the red indicator with numbers in it ready to click is more pleasurable than the seconds after you've clicked it. It's the same principal of the study of why window shopping is so pleasurable; The desire to buy a thing is more pleasurable than having spent your money and bought the thing.
That's the scientific reason people buy things they don't need or can't afford. The reason people feel like they need the new iPhone. The excitement of the experience of owning it is far greater before you purchase it than after you purchase it. There's a reason you can't walk into an Apple store without feeling excited about potentially walking out with one of those shiny new gadgets. It's experiential marketing, and they're very good at it. (They also use knolling... KNOLLING!)
There's a bunch more scientific research as to how Facebook makes you jealous and sad in the New York Times seemingly rehashed the same time each year.
Without getting too far off track, the basic principal of overcoming FOMO and information addiction is
..Sorry I just got distracted by an article about Bees.
What was I saying?
Interested in reading more about this stuff? Take a look at the neuroscience (new research) behind What Happens In Your Brain When People Like Your Facebook Status.
My friend here in Melbourne, Gavin Aung Than has done a great comic based on Marc Maron's bit about this. It's excellent. Click the image to view the whole thing.