Cintiq

Category Archives: Cintiq

Cintiq Wacom MobileStudio Pro

Wacom MobileStudio Pro: portable Cintiq packs a punch

Wacom MobileStudio Pro: Powerful portable packs 8,192 levels, up to 4K display, 3D camera

Wacom MobileStudio Pro

Wacom MobileStudio Pro With Pro Pen 2. Source: Wacom

Wacom has created an amped-up successor to the Cintiq Companion 2, this one a lightweight portable with up to a 4K display, 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, discrete NVIDIA graphics, and a 3D camera. It will run Windows 10 and full versions of desktop programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, and Cinema 4D.

Engineers, artists, and designers can all tote it around, as it can run not only art programs, but CAD. There will be two sizes: four versions of a 13.3″ display and two 15.6″ models, all with Intel processors, and NVIDIA Quadro M600 or M1000 graphics, depending which model. Storage will range from 64GB to 512GB.

The pen will be the all-new Pro Pen 2, with 8x the pressure levels of the current 1,024-level Pro Pen.

Some of the models will include an Intel 3D camera called RealSense, which captures 3D scans that can be opened in 3D programs such as Zbrush.

(For those without the budget for this who still want to work in 3D, Wacom is also releasing the Intuos 3D).

wacommobilestudiopro

Use as standalone or as Cintiq with Mac or Windows computer

The controls for the Wacom MobileStudio Pro will be similar to the ones on the Cintiq and Cintiq Companion line, including ExpressKeys and Touch Ring, and programmable pen buttons. As with the Cintiq Companion 2, users will be able to attach the MobileStudio pro to any Mac or PC and use it as a Cintiq display and input device, so you’ll be able to use the Mac OS as well as Windows.

MobileStudio Pro 13 vs. 16 specs

The four models of  the13.3″ display, called the MobileStudio Pro 13, will have 2.5K WQHD resolution as well as a wide color gamut of 96% of Adobe RGB. SSDs will have 64, 128, 256, or 512 GB storage. The 512GB one will have the 3D camera.

The 15.6″ models, called the MobileStudio Pro 16, have the nearly the same color gamut with 94% of Adobe RGB. SSD sizes will range from 64GB to 512GB. The 16 hasa 4K UHD display and the 256GB will have NVIDIA Quadro M600M an 2GB VRAM. The highest-end model of all of them is the 16 with 512GB SSD, NVIDIA Quadro M1000M, and 4GB VRAM. Both models of the 16 contain the 3D camera.

With these high specs and high expectations, we can only hope they’ve improved upon the flaws of the Cintiq Companion 2, including loud fan noise and not-so-great battery life. This has got to have a pretty major battery to power the display and discrete graphics, and hopefully it will also power the computer for a long time. The NVIDIA graphics should keep things moving without lag. Maybe the MobileStudio Pro will be the moveable feast so many are waiting for.

(Note, will update info as soon as possible)

See more about the Wacom MobileStudio Pro on Amazon.

Also check out specs on the CIntiq Pro, released Dec. 31, 2016, or see it on Amazon.

Cintiq

Artisul D13 review: quality pen display tablet lets you unplug

Artisul D13 review: Cintiq alternative lets you unplug

artisuld13review

Artisul D13 with U-Pen

See it on Amazon

Artisul is part of UC-Logic, a Taiwanese company that has been making digitizer tech since the 1990s. The Artisul line, which includes the Artisul D10 (which has very similar specs to the D13 but is smaller) and Artisul Pencil Sketchpad, are the first tablets company has produced, and their Web site describes the tablets as the culmination of a dream.

The D13 is a tablet monitor you might consider if you are looking for a Cintiq 13HD alternative. Artisul kindly lent me an Artisul D13 for review.

The tablets are designed in San Francisco and created in Taiwan. The name comes from Art and Soul. Will this drawing tablet find a place in your heart?

Type of tablet

Tablet monitor/pen display tablet (draw on screen)

Digitizer

UC-Logic
Electromagnetic resonance (EMR)
2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity

Dimensions

13.3″ diagonal screen

What’s in the Box?

Tablet
Pen (called U-pen)
Pen case with 9 extra nibs and nib remover
Pen stand
HDMI cable (HDMI on one side, mini HDMI on other)
USB cable (USB on one side, micro USB on other)
Y-type cable
Power adapter, plugs for U.S./Asia, Europe, Australia

Opening the box, you can’t help but being wowed by the presentation. The cables and small items come in individual, black, quality cardboard boxes in a sturdy, sleeved box with a foam-lined lid. The tablet is sleek and solidly built, and the slim, gold-trimmed pen looks would look good in one of those fancy pencil cups executives keep on their desks. The D13’s packaging pretty much screams “gift me!”

artisul d13 review

Unboxing the D13. There’s an outer sleeve with a box inside.

Features

Works with: Win 7/8/8.1/10, Mac OS 10.8 or later
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Active Area: 11.5″ x 6.5″
Weight: 2.42 lbs. (1.1kg)
Dimensions: 12.8″ (L) x 7.6″ (W) x 0.7″ (H) (in mm: 389.0 x 250.7 x 14)
Screen: LCD, 13.3″ FHD 1920 x 1080 IPS
Wide Viewing Angle: 178° (89°/89°) H, (89°/89°)
Brightness: 300 nits
Resolution 5080 LPI
Reading speed 200 PPS
Powered by: USB 3.0, HDMI input
6 assignable hotkeys and Quickdial scroll wheel on tablet
2 pen buttons

The build quality is excellent, with a solid plastic body. I only had a it a month, but the ports seem durable and the cables fit well. The thin, relaxed cables actually put less stress on the connectors.

Unusual Features of the Artisul D13

One really cool thing is that you can power the Artisul off your computer’s battery alone. This will work with a single USB 3.0 port, or two 2.0 ports. This ability to unplug  is a major advantage for those who want to work in places out of reach of a wall outlet. You also have the option of plugging the tablet into an outlet. This ability isn’t unique (a small Yiynova also offers this feature, as mentioned in this New York Times article about trying out a Cintiq and a rival), but it’s not common.

Another unusual feature is that in Windows, the Artisul will work and get pressure sensitivity just from the pen and digitizer alone, without even installing the driver. Without the driver, you won’t be able to customize the hotkeys and other settings, of course, but let’s say you just got the tablet and have no Internet connection–you can still use it. On Mac, you will need the driver to use the tablet.

Portability

At 2.42 lbs., it’s quite portable–of course, you will also need to have a computer. The lightweight power cords and option to power from the computer alone adds to the Artisul’s portability.

For lefties

The tablet can be turned so that the hotkeys are on the left side, making it suitable for southpaws.

Setting up the Artisul D13

Documentation

The documentation is well-designed, but it could be more thorough. Some of the cables may not be familiar to everyone; the detailed diagram in the manual is hard to see clearly; and the instructions take you through, but don’t always explain what to expect. For instance, I thought the installer would show up on the desktop, but had to click on it from inside the folder instead.

There are ample instructions about working with different graphics cards, and some troubleshooting tips.

Cables

There are several cables you’ll need to use, including a splitter. Though it’s a lot, there’s no large power brick. To avoid having so many cables, you may choose to work more often using your computer power.

If your computer lacks an HDMI port, you will need to supply an adapter; that doesn’t come with it. (You can ignore the note in the Artisul manual about only using Artisul cables as far as HDMI adapters). You can find them on Amazon for various connections.

Artisul drivers

Installing the drivers is easy, though if you’re new to it, setting them up may be a little tricky. Like Cintiq drivers, the Artisul drivers offer lots of customization options. Once set up correctly, they perform well and and are free of the unpredictability that plagues some drivers in budget tablets.

More description on the download page of which driver to choose would be helpful–for instance, the word “beta” might scare some people off, but the beta drivers have been deemed ready to use. Capabilities varied a bit on different programs and different operating systems. The company continuously works on the drivers.

Be sure to uninstall all other tablet drivers you’ve previously installed before installing the D13 drivers.

You can use a mouse and pen, but you cannot use both at the same time. You can map the D13 to multiple monitors.

There are some preset hotkeys (the co. calls them FastAccessKeys) for Photoshop, CorelPaint, Clip Studio Paint (Manga Studio), and some basic defaults.

Though the drivers look like Huion’s, such as the little icon of a tablet and pen, UC Logic and Huion are not related. In fact, Artisul says UC Logic launched a lawsuit against Huion.

U-Pen

The batteryless, cordless fine-point U-pen weighs just 11 grams. It looks very much like a ballpoint pen. It would give more balance and drawing oomph if it weighed more, but I prefer light to too heavy, and didn’t feel that the lightness affected my drawing. Your hand won’t get tired holding this pen for hours. If you’re a fan of heavy pens, this one may feel too light.

It comes with 9 nibs nested neatly into the pen case. The nibs are hard, and they’re all the same; they don’t have different tips or pen choices.

This Artisul tablet is aimed at the educational market as well as consumer, and I think the pen, being light and suitable for small or larger hands, is ideal for kids middle-school age and up for note-taking and art. It’s used in classrooms for creative learning, writing, and calligraphy, and the company offers a student discount for educators and students in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

Screen

The screen comes with a removeable, replaceable anti-glare matte screen protector that cuts glare and allows the brightness of the display to shine through. It gets fingerprinty, but cleans up well. As with other tablet monitors, you can wear an artist’s glove to keep the screen clean and keep moisture from your hands from sticking.

Neither the D13 nor the 13HD are super sharp, both being HD, but the display looks good. The screen gets a bit fingerprinty, but cleans up well. You can wear an artist’s glove to not only keep the screen clean, but to keep moisture on your skin from causing stickiness.

The screen protector has slight texture that’s pen-and-paperlike and not slippery or glossy.  It lacks the rougher “bite” of the Cintiq but has some tooth. The D13’s surface provides enough traction for a pleasant drawing experience. There are color calibration settings. Colors are bright, with a 75% percent Adobe RGB coverage, same as Cintiq 13HD. Bottom line, the screen is nice.

Drawing on the D13

The drawing experience is excellent. I got no lag when drawing and almost no parallax (the slight gap between pen tip and screen) either; the line was right under the tip; I did not have to keep an eye on the cursor to see where my line would appear.

The D13’s pressure curve is smooth. The pen makes a bit of tapping noise, but no squeaking, as can happen with glossier screens.

cintiq alternative reviews

Drawing with the U-Pen

Drawing on the Artisul easily matches drawing on a Cintiq. The Artisul uses EMR tech, as does Wacom, each using their own technology. EMR offers the most sensitive digitizer outside that of Apple’s iPad Pro. You don’t have to press hard at all to make a mark with the Artisul pen.

I don’t have a number for the initial activation force, but I noticed dragging the tip lightly across the screen made marks, also some skips due to my not being able to precisely control the pressure. This means it’s very sensitive. The pen is also lighter than the Cintiq’s. I would guesstimate that this is as sensitive as the Cintiq.

Palm rejection worked well, with a comfortable hover distance.

Art Programs

Will work with most software, including Photoshop, Sketchbook, Maya, Corel, Clip Paint, Photoshop, After Effects, Anime Studio Pro, Toon Boom, and Affinity Designer. Works with Illustrator, but without pressure sensitivity at this time (this may change). I tried it with Photoshop, Sketchbook, Gimp, and Illustrator. Photoshop and Sketchbook worked great. The manual has instructions about working with Paint Tool SAI.

I told the company about some issues I had with Gimp with one of the drivers and they quickly identified the problem and said they’d fixed it (that was after I returned the tablet). Later they said they had a new Windows driver that fixed that issue plus some others.

Controls

The six hotkeys are on the tablet and are round and a good size. They’re a little bit stiff to click on. You can program the hotkeys to presets, or customize your own commands. You can also assign them to different programs–the programs don’t automatically show up in the driver as with Wacom; on the Artisul, you program the buttons, then save them, and on the next screen assign them to the applications of your choice. There’s also a scroll wheel. The two pen buttons are programmable to an extent.

The stand goes from 13 to 70 degrees, which is a lot more flexible than the Cintiq stand’s three positions. Easel mode is good for working on and gallery mode for admiring your work.

Artisul Freestyle Stand

artisulstand

The Artisul Freestyle stand is made of is fully adjustable to any angle between 13 and 70. You can use it when drawing in “easel” mode or upright in “gallery” mode. (20 degrees is an advisable angle to draw on for good ergonomics).

artisul stand gallery mode

Artisul Freestyle stand in gallery mode

Artisul D13 vs. Cintiq 13HD

The Cintiq 13HD and Artisul D13 have a lot in common, and some differences.

Win for Artisul: Artisul is more portable because it doesn’t always be plugged into a wall outlet. The display is 50 nits brighter. There are six hotkeys embedded into the tablet body, as opposed to just four with the Cintiq 13HD. The screen protector is removeable and replaceable. The Artisul Freestyle stand adjusts to any angle between 13 and 70, as compared to the Cintiq’s 3-position stand.

The response rate of the monitor is 19ms to the Cintiq’s is 25 ms (milliseconds)–lower is better. 

Win for Cintiq: The Cintiq offers tilt sensitivity, rotation sensitivity with an optional pens, and pressure sensitivity in Illustrator two pen buttons have more customization options. The Cintiq’s pen has an eraser end, which also has 2,048 levels of pressure.

The Cintiq has various kinds of pens and nibs as an optional purchase. The Cintiq screen has more “bite,” though Artisul’s has enough.  Cintiq comes with some freebie software and Artisul doesn’t. The Cintiq’s cords are simpler.

The Artisul’s design and build are just as good, I think, and its ports seem durable. Many of the Artisul specs are identical to the Cintiq, including screen resolution, resolution in lines per inch (5080), and amount of colors displayed (16.9 million).

Customer support

Artisul was extremely helpful in answering my questions both about products and technical aspects. You can contact them or post on their forum. They will set up a remote screen-sharing session if needed. They are a small and dedicated company and open to feedback.

User reviews and reactions

User reviews have been positive. Reading the Artisul forums and some other comments, some people are having some issues with things like offset, but this should be fixable by adjusting the driver. Some people have had some glitches but overall this tablet has been well-received so far.

Pros

Pressure curve
Quality build
Stylish
Pleasant drawing surface
Comfortable pen width
Lightweight, portable
Reversible for lefties
Drivers work well
Battery-free, cordless pen
Can work without being plugged in to wall
Can work without driver in Windows

Cons

Can be a little tricky to set up, depending on your skills
Documentation could be more detailed
Drivers have some differing features, so it can be hard to know which to choose
Nibs all the same (for now)

The Verdict

This is not a budget tablet, but a high-quality one that offers value. It’s similar to the Cintiq, but has its own character and some unique and convenient features, particularly that you can run it from your computer’s battery, adding to the tablet’s portability. The Cintiq provides more options, but not everyone uses all of them. The Artisul is a durable and well-made tablet with great drawing capability for tablet users whether students or pros.

artisul d13 pen

Artisul U-Pen with nibs and carrying case

 

See the Artisul D13 on Amazon – includes pen and stand

Mini Display Port to HDMI Adapter on Amazon

Extra screen protectors, pens and nibs, cables, and stands are all available on the Artisul site.
end of Artisul D13 review: Cintiq alternative lets you unplug 

Cintiq xppen22review

XP-Pen 22 review: a tablet monitor that rivals Cintiq 22HD

XP-Pen 22 review: a Wacom alternative that rivals Cintiq 22HD

The company started in Japan in 2005, has offices in Taiwan and China, and in 2015 XP-Pen opened in the U.S. The company states that product development is in the U.S. and meets U.S. standards.

Type of tablet

Pen display monitor or tablet monitor (Draw on the screen, must be connected to a computer to work–like a Wacom Cintiq)

XP pen 22 review

See the XP-Pen 22 on Amazon

 

The XP Pen comes in both 22″ and 10.1″ models. This XP-Pen 22 review will focus on the 22″. A 27″ model is slated to come in late 2016.

 

What’s in the Box?

Two pens
One pen charging cable with pin-type USB charger
pen holder
8 nibs
nib remover
CD (drivers also available on the XP-Pen site)
smudge-protection glove
screen protector
power adapter, power cord
VGA cable, USB cable, HDMI cable, HDMI to Mac adapter cable
user manual
cleaning brush
microfiber cleaning cloth
Adjustable stand (attached to monitor) made of plastic with rubber on feet
monitor has rubber on base and bracket

 


Features

Weight: about 15.4 lbs (7 kg)
2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity
IPS LED screen with good viewing angles (178 degrees, or +/-89 degrees)
Dual-monitor, Mirror/Extended mode
Diagonal 21.5″
57 x 321 x 30 mm
active area 18.76″ x 10.5″ (476.64 x 268.11 mm)
16:10 aspect ratio
worth with Windows (XP through Windows 10) or Mac. No Linux.
1920×1080 dpi up to 16M colors
VESA-mount compatible
Report rate 220rps
Accuracy (parallax, gap between pen’s drawn line and screen) plus or minus .01 in
Resolution 5080 lpi
UC-Logic digitizer

The tablet is not multitouch, meaning you can’t use your fingers to paint or do anything on it.

For Lefties

It’s fine for lefties. Controls are on the right side, but they don’t need to be used frequently. There are no Express Keys.

Screen

The display, color quality, and resolution are equal to the Wacom Cintiq 22HD non-touch model. There’s no real difference there. On the XP-Pen’s glossy screen, colors look brighter; there is little difference in covered color gamut between the two. The matte screen of a Cintiq tends to mute the color, though many find it preferable to draw on as it offers a paper-like “bite.”

You can choose a 4 or 9-point display calibration. Pen accuracy is very good, and most people say they do not need to calibrate it as it’s calibrated correctly out of the box.

The included glove, which is pretty large, keeps your screen clean and smudge-free. The glove has nothing to do with the palm rejection, so you do not have to wear it if you don’t want. It covers your pinkie and ring finger only, so your hand slides smoothly across the screen. Without it, you may find that your hand may stick to the screen while drawing broad strokes.

A screen protector is included, but you might choose not to use it. It cuts down on the glossy glare. The pen slides quickly, since the screen is slick. Using a protector slows it down somewhat. Some people like to draw on a glossy surface; others prefer a textured screen such as that on the Cintiq, or a more matte screen protector.

The 178-degree viewing angle means the picture will be clear even if you are standing somewhat to the side of it, up to 89 degrees on each side.

Unlike Wacom, the XP-Pen doesn’t offer a  multitouch model. Multitouch isn’t necessary to draw with and some artists don’t even use it if they have it. Reasons to use it are to take advantage of the increasing Adobe software touch features, and it can be seen as future-proofing the device for a while. Others just like to finger paint or manipulate tools by hand.

Pen

The pen has good tracking, with a bit of parallax due to the thickness of the screen, as do Cintiqs. No one has reported lag or jitter. The company says the digitizer does not create jitter.

The pen features an auto-sleep function to save battery life. It takes 1 to 2 hours to charge the pen, which will last a couple of weeks depending on use. Because two pens are included, you can keep one charged and switch to it when needed.

The pen has a blue light indicator to signal when the battery is low. The pen is rechargeable, but the battery that comes in it is not replaceable.

While charging, the pen light will be red until fully charged.

The two buttons on the pen are programmable in the driver. You can toggle it with just one click and one hand, since the button is within reach of your drawing hand’s fingers, so you could program one button to switch to the eraser, which could save you time. The pen does not have an eraser on the back end.

The pen’s build quality isn’t as premium as Wacom’s Cintiq pens, which do not take batteries so they do not need to be charged. It’s just a different technology.

The XP-pen has an unusual feature, the ability to let you choose an angle in the pen settings that will remember the way you hold the pen. The settings are for 0, 90, 180 or 270 degrees. The tablet doesn’t have true tilt sensitivity, but you could readjust the pen-angle settings to get a rather labor-intensive facsimile if you need that. You can, of course, freely draw at any angle you want. Lack of tilt sensitivity means that the line will not change as it would if you were holding a real pencil.

Tilt sensitivity is not a dealbreaker for most people. Nor is rotation sensitivity (barrel roll, when you can twist the pen to make patterns), which this also doesn’t have–only the Wacom Intuos Pro and Cintiqs support rotation sensitivity, and only with certain pens.

The pen can be squeaky while vigorously drawing or erasing, but as the nib wears down it should stop squeaking.

There is only one kind of pen, whereas with Cintiqs, there are several options for pens and nibs.

 

Tablet and Stand

The buttons are on the bottom, but are easy to reach because the stand lifts the tablet above the table. The monitor build quality as a whole isn’t as premium as Wacom’s, but it’s solid and stable. Though there are volume controls, there are no speakers; they are for speaker support.

The device is made of rugged textured plastic with rubber on the base and bracket.

The stand can be adjusted up and down to any angle but does not rotate (the Cintiq 22’s metal stand both rotates and goes up and down) It’s a good idea to replace the stand with a mounting arm such as this Amazon Basics one.

The monitor sits on the stand above the table, making the buttons, which are on the right and along the bottom, easy to access. The ports for the cables are on the back, and a little hard to get to because of the stand. The cables can also get mixed up in the stand.

The stand is removeable; you can replace it with a mounting arm.

Software

Programs for Mac and Windows,including open-source software, work fine, including Photoshop, Paint Tool SAI, Illustrator, Open Canvas, Comic Studio, and Zbrush

Here’s the company’s video, so you can see the XP-Pen in action:

 

Drivers

Some users report no problems at all and others had some glitches. The XP-Pen site has a page of troubleshooting tips. Drivers from other tablet systems, such as Wacom, should be uninstalled. So if you want to switch off with a Wacom tablet or Cintiq, you would have to reinstall those (it’s probably a good idea to uninstall the XP drivers before reloading the Cintiq ones). There don’t seem to be major driver issues overall.

TIP: There is a conflict in Windows 7 and 8 laptops where the XP “Star” driver may stop the computer from being able to type. This is fixable and the fix is covered in Troubleshooting on the XP-pen site.

Pros

Value
Screen and display of high quality
Good accuracy
Comes with generous amount of extras (extra pen; several types of cable; cleaning brush and cloth, screen protector, adapter for Mac)
programmable pen buttons

Cons

No programmable express keys
No tilt or rotation sensitivity; pen tilt is manually adjustable, though.
No multitouch option
Pen needs to be charged, though the extra pen helps
Only one type of pen and one type of nib, as opposed to the variety vailable for Cintiq

User reviews and experiences

Users have been positive about this tablet. They report no dead pixels (a problem sometimes with Cintiqs, though it could be that many more Cintiqs are sold, since Wacom takes most of the market).

Artists have had few issues with it, and many did not have to do any calibration at all. They do well using a mounting arm. Some felt the stand wasn’t very useful. Several report that the XP’s colors are slightly better than on a Cintiq.

One XP-Pen 22 Display review said this tablet monitor is the same as the Ugee 2150. This is quite possible. Both have UC Logic drivers, as do the majority of other Wacom alternative tablet monitors.

Some have commented that this is one of the best Cintiq alternatives in its class.

Customer service

The customer service has received praise, and people are available via Skype from the U.S., China, and Taiwan. Email addresses and phone numbers are also on the XP-Pen site. XP-Pen emphasizes its commitment to listening to customer requests and taking them into consideration in product development.

They state their commitment to the environment as well, with all products conforming to the European ROHS  standards, which restrict hazardous substances in electronics.

The Verdict

The XP-Pen is an excellent and economical choice as a Wacom Cintiq alternative. It offers almost all the Cintiq 22HD’s features, with only some bells and whistles missing–chief among them are tilt/rotation sensitivity, the XP-Pen tablet’s lack of programmable express keys, the coating over the screen, and a touch option (the Cintiq 22HD comes in two models, the 22HD and the 22HD Touch). While many had no problem with drivers, some did.

So, some willingness to troubleshoot potential driver issues is in order; the company is helpful but you may need a bit of confidence with such matters. This XP-Pen 22 review gives a thumb’s up as an impressive art tool and Wacom Cintiq alternative.

See the XP-Pen 22″ display on Amazon.

See the XP-Pen 10.6″ display on Amazon.

Accessories

Amazon Basics mounting arm lets you mount, rotate, and tilt the screen as you wish.

Read our review of Yiynova tablet monitor.

Read our review of the Cintiq 13HD tablet monitor.

Read the homepage article for more help finding the best drawing tablet, read the homepage a

end of XP Pen 22 review

 

Cintiq flipsteady cases

A talk: Isaiah Coberly of Flipsteady Handmade Cases for iPad, Cintiq, more

A Conversation with Isaiah Coberly of FlipSteady Handmade Cases for iPad, iPad Pro, and Cintiq Companions

Looking for a handmade iPad case? Now you can have one that’s not only handmade, but opens like a Transformer, folds and unfolds like origami, and has an adjustable stand that can rest on a tabletop, lap, or knee.

designeripadcases

If you’d like to hear our recorded interview with FlipSteady inventor Isaiah Coberly in which he talks about his ideas and and the meaning of being a small, independent designer and inventor in a world of mass production, click the button above for the audio.

These unique, artisanal cases are available for iPads, iPad Pro, and Cintiq Companions. The FlipSteady is the brainchild of Isaiah Coberly, whose home and workshop are in Tacoma, Washington. His company is called New Pencil.

 

handmadeipadminicase

FlipSteady with iPad mini

You can get a FlipSteady case for:

iPad
iPad Pro
iPad mini 4
iPad Air
iPad Air 2
Cintiq Companion 1
Cintiq Companion 2
Cintiq Companion Hybrid
Coming soon: Surface Pro 3 and 4
In the works: FlipSteady for a paper pad

 

vegan leather ipad case

Cintiq Companion case on knee

Stand

The cases stands up on many surfaces, including your lap. You can work on a plane, on a park bench, on the sofa, or in bed. Just open the cover and set it down. You can stand it up in portrait or landscape. You can rest it on your knee as an elevated desk with a rotating stand.

Materials

The cases are made of fine-hand Majilite synthetic leather and synthetic Toray suede, the same materials found in yachts and high-end car interiors. The stand is made of 50/51 aluminum, which is thin and pliable, yet rigid. The glue is a non-toxic, water-based glue that’s a recent innovation from 3M. Isaiah was familiar with these materials from years of working with his friends at the upholstery department of Belina Yacht Interiors. Belina spares no expense when it comes to quality, and Isaiah shares the same ideal.

FlipSteady cases are vegan-friendly, including the glue.

handmadeipadcase

Cintiq Companion case

FlipSteadies are for sale only at flipsteady.com. Use the tabletsforartists during checkout for $5.00 off.

 

ipad 2 leather case

The story of FlipSteady

Isaiah is not new to tech. His background is in CAD and CADCAM software for architectural and industrial design. In the 1990s, his inventor’s mind saw a relationship between those 3D design programs, mostly used by architects and industrial designers, and art programs such as Alias Wavefront’s Maya and Pixologic’s ZBrush.

He realized a way to use these art programs to fabricate actual sculptural carvings. Word got out, and furniture and interior designers of custom high-end carved interiors began calling. They flew Isaiah back and forth to California where he programmed automated wood-cutting machinery to carve sculptural moldings 20 to 30 feet long, installing these in ritzy homes and casino interiors.

But he grew dissatisfied. These beautiful interiors were not shared with the public. He wanted to do work that made a difference. 

i pad cover

Custom-carved moldings

Around that time, he also worked alongside artist Ulrich (Rich) Pakker to create several monumental sculptures. These metal and glass structures could withstand absurd amounts of wind, some standing as high as 25 feet in the air. The sculptures still live in public places around the continent.

Working with Rich was pretty satisfying, but the work became less frequent. I didn’t want to go back to doing custom interiors so I kept kicking around ideas to make my own things. I kinda always new that I would eventually invent something. I don’t even really know that the FlipSteady is that thing,” says Coberly.

handmadeipadcover

He started FlipSteady with a successful Kickstarter campaign in late August, 2012, raising nearly $30,000. He shipped backers their first-generation cases within a week of the scheduled delivery time, unusual for this type of project, which often runs late.

luxuryipadcase

Isaiah Coberly working on a FlipSteady case.

Moment of Discovery

In the spring of 2011, when the iPad came out, Isaiah excitedly got one. Examining the Smart Cover available for it, he noticed some shortcomings: you needed two hands to hold it, and they only had two positions, both landscape.

He thought, “there has to be a better way.” As he was walking from his car to his home, the idea hit that a case could be made with a different cut pattern that would make a better stand. He went home, grabbed a shoebox, cut it up, and using duct tape, assembled a case. The first FlipSteady prototype was born. Here’s a video of Isaiah with the prototype.

By 2012, he had learned all about the materials and automated machinery needed, and started a beta production process. Belina Yacht offered him floor space on weekends. Recruiting his friends to the shop, they turned out 300 or so FlipSteadies in two weekends. These were shipped all over the world.

Since then, it has been a process of refinement. Coberly is constantly investigating and experimenting with ways of improving the cases.

designeripadcase

Cintiq Companion in FlipSteady case, portrait mode

Being in the arts, he decided to only make cases for artists, so besides the iPad cases, he chose art tablets that lacked case solutions, such as the Cintiq and Cintiq Companion, which only had sleeves available. He also made a case for the Samsung Ativ 700t, a 2-in-1 Windows art tablet.

Once the FlipSteady came out, artists came out of the woodwork. FlipSteadies are used by many well-known digital illustrators, fine artists, designers, animators, CG artists, and even tattoo artists.
Coberly even did a line of Lenovo Helix cases for corporate clients that supply employees with the hybrid laptop, which detaches from its keyboard to become a tablet with a Wacom digitizer.

DIY kits to help others help themselves

Coberly has a vision of using his cases to help others by creating do-it-yourself computer and paper-tablet cases that people such as artists, those with disabilities, and pregnant women can put together and sell. The case is a totally new way to express his invention using bamboo ply, suede hinges, and recycled rubber components. He’s designing the kit so that it can be made by any able-bodied person with a bottle of super glue and a razor blade. He explains in more detail in the recorded interview.

bambooipadcover

DIY FlipSteady kit

customcaseipad

The DIY case

While he gets asked about cases for the Surface Book, he feels that particular case is too identified with the keyboard. But he is at work making cases for the Surface Pro 3 and 4.

Recently, he was contacted by a rep from Apple Business Development, a concierge for local Tacoma businesses that use Apple products for work. The rep strongly believes in the cases and wants to use his connections at Apple and hopes to get the FlipSteady into Apple retail stores everywhere, right alongside Apple’s own cases.

Shark Tank… almost

Isaiah is used to enthusiastic reactions. “I love to give demonstrations of my invention in bars, cafes, and wherever I go…. It never mattered whether I was showing a cardboard-and-duct-tape prototype, or a carefully finished product. I flip the invention out onto a bar and I’m guaranteed to see jaws dropping like dominoes in a row. From my end of the bar, it always looks to me as if everyone has just seen a glimpse of the future and is now in a state of shock. “You’re going to be rich!” “You should go on Shark Tank.”

He DID almost go on Shark Tank, the famed reality show where  small businesses vie for seed money from a panel of wealthy investors. He was approached by the show and got the 29-page application packet, but he had doubts. It didn’t represent what he believed in. Listening to his inner guidance, he decided against it.

“I personally feel humbled to be a maker of things”

Isaiah encourages others to follow their dreams.  “I believe that it’s my job to encourage these shy ghosts of ideas to materialize themselves and take their place under the spotlight….

“I think hands are doomed to be underutilized in a time when people make less of their own things. There seems to be a common belief that creating things is reserved for rare talent, those trying to be famous, or the less educated. On the contrary, I personally feel humbled to be a maker of things and remain dedicated to the mastery of my craft.”

Besides showing people the FlipSteady in “bars and cafes,” he gives talks to schoolchildren to inspire them. He says, “I tell my kids all the time, you will eventually master whatever you practice enough at, and I hope they practice good things.”

So if you’re looking for a unique and versatile handmade case for your iPad, iPad Pro, or Cintiq (complete list above), check out FlipSteady, where you can purchase the cases. Use the code tabletsforartists to get $5 off.

ipad2leathercase

Isaiah in his studio, a line of FlipSteadies behind him

There’s lots more videos at the  FlipSteady YouTube channel and more photos and info at the FlipSteady Facebook page.

Here again is the audio link.

designeripadcases

 

And here again is the FlipSteady site where the cases are for sale. Use code tabletsforartists at checkout to get $5 off.

 

 

 

See our iPad Pro review
See our Surface Book review
Read iPad drawing stylus reviews

 

 

 

 

 

Cintiq

Wacom Cintiq 13HD review, now with Cintiq 13HD Pen and Touch

Cintiq 13HD Review: quality tablet gives you choice of pen or multitouch too

by Tablets for Artists cintiq-13HD-review

Wacom Cintiq 13HD

This article has been updated to include the Cintiq HD Touch.

The Cintiq has long been considered the top-of-the-line tablet for artists, including illustrators, graphic designers, fine artists, video artists, and photographers. Its high-resolution 13.3-inch, 1920×1080 display can render 16.7 million colors and offers 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. The Cintiq 13HD is the successor to the 12UX. Weighing 2.6 pounds, it is considerably lighter than the 12ux. The peripherals (cables, converter box, power supply) add about another 6 pounds. This is about 2 pounds less in total than the 12ux. The dimensions are 14.75 x 9.75 x 0.5”.  The expansive 178-degree viewing angle lets you see the image on the screen if you’re not directly in front of it.

TYPE OF TABLET

The Cintiq is a  tablet monitor, pen display tablet, or hybrid (those are all terms that apply to it), meaning it’s a monitor that combines a digitizer and screen so you can draw directly on the screen. It If you have never used a drawing tablet with screen, the experience is hugely different, even life-changing. You can choose to see the same thing you see in your computer screen or an extended view (this is set up in the computer’s Control Panel) and you can add more monitors as well. It’s quite different than a graphics tablet such as the Intuos or the old Bamboo line (some of the current Intuos lines used to be called Wacom Bamboo).

The Cintiq is pretty easy to set up and comes with everything you need. On a Mac, you will need an HDMI input, an adapter costing about $15 that you have to buy separately. Wacom claims 85% of the art tablet market and is the most well known and trusted name in art tablets. than its competition, such as the Yiynova. Read our Yiynova review here.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

Included are a detachable, adjustable kickstand with 3 viewing angles (all landscape mode, not portrait), Pro Pen, a collection of 10 nibs (including the one that comes in the stylus) with a variety of tips, pen case, nib remover, 3 colored pen rings )so if you have more than one pen you can tell them apart) converter box, 3-in-1 cord, installation and driver CDs, and manual, and a download key for bundled software. (The main photo on Amazon is actually incorrect since it shows the old pen holder; you now get a plastic case for the pen).

CINTIQ 13HD TOUCH

wacomcintiq13hdpenandtouch

 

I’m updating this post to include information about the Cintiq 13HD Pen and Touch (see it on Amazon), more formally known as the Cintiq 13HD Creative Pen & Touch Display. Wacom added multitouch to this tablet monitor in 2015. For two years, it did not have touch. Now you can use gestures to navigate, pan, zoom, and rotate. Larger versions are now also outfitted with touch, including the 22HD Cintiq Touch Interactive Pen Display (note: though for some reason it is not called “pen and touch,” it is), and the mother (in terms of size) of all Cintiqs, the 27″ one. So now you can happily finger paint on the Cintiq and play with vector lines with your finger. Palm rejection works well. You won’t get pressure sensitivity when drawing with your fingers. Art-software companies including Adobe, Corel, and Autodesk, maker of Sketchbook,  are increasingly integrating touch into the interface, giving your more capabilities.

If the topic interests you, here is a YouTube video that shows the Touch and also shows the artist using a plugin to draw with Adobe Illustrator with your fingers and actually get some variable line width based on speed. You can start at about 9:35 to see that demoed.

 

To do what he’s doing with Illustrator–getting a varied line width, you need to use the plugin he’s using. Without the plugin you would still be able to use your fingers to manipulate vector lines and shapes, sort of like on the iPad.

So now the iPad has a full-featured stylus version in the iPad Pro (see our review), and the Cintiq has incorporated touch. Nice that we can all get along.

 

13HD vs. CINTIQ 12UX

There are now fewer cords than the 12ux had; the whole thing is more manageable. The 12WX had a large, heavy converter box with cables sticking out of it, creating cord spaghetti, plus a hefty power brick. The 13HD has simplified the peripherals considerably. In the 12WX version you had to connect the AVI cable and a USB from the computer to the converter box and power brick. Now, a single 3-in-1 cord goes from your computer and branches out to the box that holds the power supply, HDMI port, and USB.  The colors in the 13HD are brighter than in the 12WX. The screen on the 12HD is 13.3″ diagonal and on the 12WX it’s 12.1.” There is less plastic surrounding the screen on the 13HD. The 13HD weighs 2.6 lbs. and the 12WX 4.4 lbs.

 

FOR LEFTIES

The Cintiq is reversible and thus fine for both right- and left-handers.

SCREEN

cintiq-tablet-with-stylus

The beautiful HD display with a 16:9 aspect ration will show off your artwork. The display is ultra sharp. It’s not searingly bright, less bright than it probably is on your other monitor. The screen’s matte finish gives it a pleasing, paperlike bite. The matte finish cuts glare. More space is taken up by the display as compared to the 12UX display, which has quite a bit of plastic around it.

 

You can calibrate colors using your preferred color-calibration software. Only the Cintiq 24HD Touch comes with Wacom’s own color-calibration software, which can be used on the 13HD as well. The detachable stand has 3 positions, the one probably the most comfortable for drawing for most people being the 20 degree one.

 

If you already have a 12UX, the 13HD isn’t a must-have, but it’s more pleasant to use because of fewer weighty cables and boxes and the great HD display. The Cintiq 13HD is no multitouch, only pen input. You can’t use your fingers or hand gestures.

The only Cintiqs with multitouch are the larger, pricier 22HD Touch and 24 HD touch.

Because of the HD screen resolution of 165 pixels, icons in Photoshop will show up small. This is an issue with all high-res tablets. So it can be a little fussy to use, and better to look at Photoshop icons on your main monitor rather than on the Cintiq. (This could just as well be in an Adobe review as a Cintiq 13HD review, since the issue is the software not keeping up, and this should change someday, Adobe willing.)  The 178-degree viewing angle makes it so you can see what’s on the screen from many vantage points.

PEN

cintiq-tablet-with-stylus

The battery-free Pro Pen feels substantial, and the silicon grip makes it comfortable to hold for long periods.  It’s solid but doesn’t feel too heavy. The tip and the eraser each have 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Pen accuracy is great, with very little parallax effect, meaning the line you see on the screen appears to be directly where the pen tip is touching it (in reality you are seeing the line under the glass). You can recalibrate the pen easily whenever you want by opening up the calibration screen and tapping on a series of points. The pen has a tip switch and two side switches for shortcuts and modifiers (these are optionally used).

The grip has no latex, so you don’t need to worry about latex allergies. The pen does not need to be charged. It’s nice to not have to worry about batteries or recharging the pen.  The Pro Pen has plus or minus 60 levels of tilt recognition, so just like in the real world, the line will change according to the angle at which you hold the pen. This tilt can be very handy both in drawing lines and in creating patterns.

The Pro Pen is as it sounds–professional. There’s no advantage to replacing it, unlike with some tablets. While it comes with a nice sent of nibs, if you want even more variety, you can buy additional pens with different tips, such as the Airbrush Pen, and the Art Pen, which has the feeling of a felt-tip marker and allows for painterly strokes.

The Cintiq pen won’t work on tablet PCs, since the technology is different. Some pens work on both Cintiqs and Intuos tablets.

 

PORTABILITY

A Cintiq isn’t the type of thing you can tuck under your arm and run from place to place. On top of its weight of about 8 lbs. including power stuff, you would need to also lug a computer, the Cintiq cords, power brick, and converter box. Taking the whole shebang in a car is fine, and I’ve taken my laptop, Cintiq and all in my carry-on bag numerous times, leaving some clothing behind in order to make room. Airport security, while they allow Ipads through without a hassle, often doesn’t know what to make of the Cintiq and one agent dusted it for explosives! A Cintiq isn’t something people see every day, so leave a few extra minutes for possible airport hassles. There are now a couple of more portable Cintiq options: the all-in-one Wacom Cintiq Companion, which is an artist’s dream, a portable Cintiq (the computer is part of it, it’s the ultimate art tablet PC), and the Cintiq Hybrid, an Android tablet that’s a bit cheaper than the Companion and can work either as a standalone tablet or as a regular Cintiq that attaches to a computer.

 

SOFTWARE

You can use whatever software is on your computer (Adobe Suite, Maya, etc.), and you can use Mac or Windows. According to forums, it can be set to work with Linux. (For more Linux and Wacom info and drivers, please visit this page at Sourceforge.) Wacom drivers are on the Wacom site and also come on an included disk.

 

CONTROLS

The rocker ring and four express keys give you a convenient way to program shortcuts. The default ones are pretty good. You can use these keys to bring up an on-screen radial menu with further options. Personally I use the keyboard shortcuts since I’m used to them. Resizing a brush using the express keys requires several clicks, it can sometimes be simpler to use the commands in your art program.

 

PRICE

At around a grand, it’s pricey, but Cintiqs have held their resale value quite well so far, and they last for years. The 13HD is comparable in price to to a tablet PC such as the Surface Pro. You get more screen real estate with the 13HD, but of course you need to attach it to a separate computer.

TIP: A [easyazon_link asin=”B00115OFJK” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”quicofnow02-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Wacom Cintiq 12WX 12-Inch Pen Display[/easyazon_link] 12-Inch Pen Display may be a good option if you’re really counting on a Cintiq but the 13HD is out of reach.

 

CONSUMER REVIEWS AND RATINGS

Many users love their Cintiqs, but there are some detractors. In reading each Cintiq 13HD review, we looked for common complaints. The biggest gripe was that the USB connector was loose. There are some workarounds, but they are annoying. Other users had no problem or didn’t think it was a big deal. The USB issue seems to be a fairly common issue with Wacom as well as some other tablet companies.

TIP: A good place to look for Wacom answers and discussions is forum.wacom.eu.

 

PROS

Terrific art experience

Size is big enough to draw comfortably, small enough to hold in your lap

Simple to set up and use

Can outlast your computer; can be used with different computers and operating systems, including netbooks

Holds resale value

Pen is battery-free and does not need to be charged

 

CONS

Jitter in corners, common in Wacom digitizers

Some users complain of USB port looseness

Not easily portable

Some users have issues with the drivers

High-resolution screen means some programs’ tools, such as Photoshop, will be small on the Cintiq (hopefully Adobe will catch up)

Not cheap

 

THE VERDICT

I couldn’t live without my Cintiq. To me, a tablet PC is useful as an add-on or something to travel with, but  it’s not a replacement. I like the line quality I get from the slight bite provided by the matte finish of the screen, it’s closer to what I would get on paper. I also prefer having a dedicated work area, one I can hold in my lap. I even like to watch movies on it sometimes (got to take a break from art now and then). If portability is a priority, the Cintiq may not be for you.  If you need a lower price, there are some other feasible options, though Wacom is still top of the line.

 

OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES

 

wacom-6d-art-pen

6D Art Pen
The 6D art pen is great for painting. It’s compatible with other Cintiqs and the Intuos Pro 4 and Intuos Pro 5. It’s a chisel-shaped pen tip. You choose whether you want plastic or felt. You can rotate the barrel 360 degrees while drawing for interesting designs. It includes both hard plastic and felt nibs. I use the felt tip to mix colors and get painterly effects.

Read our review of the XP-Pen 22 tablet monitor.

Read our review of a Yiynova tablet monitor.

end of Cintiq 13HD Review