Wacom MobileStudio Pro: Powerful portable packs 8,192 levels, up to 4K display, 3D camera
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
Cintiq Companion case on knee
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.
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.
Cintiq Companion case
FlipSteadies are for sale only at flipsteady.com. Use the tabletsforartists during checkout for $5.00 off.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
DIY FlipSteady kit
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.
Isaiah in his studio, a line of FlipSteadies behind him
This Cintiq 13HD review 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.
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.
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. (You now get a plastic case for the pen).
CINTIQ 13HD TOUCH
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.
The Cintiq is reversible and thus fine for both right- and left-handers.
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.
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.
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.
A Cintiq isn’t the type of thing you can tuck under your arm and run from place to place, though in a car it’s fine. 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. 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.
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.
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.
At around a grand, it’s pricey, but Cintiqs’ resale value holds quite well so far, and the tablets 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.
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.
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
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)
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. Sometimes I watch movies on it sometimes (got to take a break from work 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.
6D Art Pen The 6D art pen with its chisel tip is great for painting. It’s compatible with other Cintiqs and the Intuos Pro 4 and Intuos Pro 5. 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. The newer XP-Pen Artist 22E tablet monitor is also something you might want to check out as it has Express Keys, like a Cintiq.