Asking tough questions to HP and Wacom at Siggraph 2018 in Vancouver...

Discussion in 'Professions' started by stoneseeker, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    I managed to get free access thanks to Spark CG Society, and had a friend working in the VR Pavillion who took me into a lot of the amazing demos and immersion experiences that exist in the sprawling convention. Seriously amazing experience I highly recommend for anyone here who is in the Tech or Arts Industry to go check out!

    Anyway, I have too many stories and awesome experiences to share here, but the most relevant to the forums here perhaps was when I stopped by both Wacom and HP Pavillions and asked about the current state of sales in Canada and US, etc. So here's as condensed as I can be:

    HP:

    Saw they had a ZBook Studio x360 there and the ZBook X2. Got to try both but they only had the pen for the Canvas, not the 360 sadly, which was the pen I was most interested in giving a whirl since I still have never tried a Wacom AES system yet. Both of these machines are a real treat to hold and look at. They felt truly premium, so solid in construction and 360 especially is a real eye catcher in my opinion. So sharp. I was a little surprised how large the 360 was in contrast to the X2. The 360 feels like a much bigger screen despite it being only an inch or so larger I think? The ZBook X2 is a BEAUTIFUL beast to draw on. I only got to try out Sketchbook since that was already loaded on their demo unit, but this marks the first time a tabletPC drawing experience matches the feeling of drawing on my T902. I pressed HP about their pricing and availability to Canadian creators who aren't backed by large studios with tons of cash, and they said they would get in touch with me about potential consumer promotions or small business promotions for these machines, so I guess we'll see if that was BS or not, but they seemed genuinely proud of their products and wanted to see them in creator's hands. Would love to see big sales on the X2 like States have had in the past.

    Wacom:

    So I stopped by the Wacom booth and was happy to see a friend who animated on a feature I was on. She was demonstrating ToonBoom character animation on a new 24". There was an official Wacom rep there though and he felt a bit defensive when answering my questions about the slow roll out and seemingly impossible to purchase 24" and 32" cintiqs months after "release". Here's the abbreviated answer: 'We are a tiny company whom the LCD manufacturer's don't prioritize. We are always waiting on panels. Dell and HP order magnitudes more than we could ever do, we don't order 50,000 units we are a small niche company.'
    I was genuinely shocked that they DON'T order 50,000 LCD panels at a time. Don't you push at least that many units to studios across the world alone in pre-orders?? He said, nope.
    It seemed like a cop out answer from a slightly arrogant rep honestly and I wasn't impressed by their "we the ****, no criticism is valid" attitude.

    I asked about the slipping standard for Quality Control and customer service that many have been experiencing and he said they learned their lessons on the Companion (admitted it had some issues with power adapter pin) and that the Mobile Studio Pro had no such issues since they switched to USB-C, I felt like he was getting a little rigid in the realm of uncomfortable questions so I backed off and told them they were still the gold standard in pen performance and we all just want to see them grow as a company and remember the artists who got them to where they are now, not just the largest companies with the biggest pockets. Then I enjoyed talking with my extremely talented colleague.


    What a day though! Siggraph is a seriously inspirational convention and if you ever get a chance to go I highly recommend it!!
     
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  2. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    That's awesome reporting! I feel like I know Wacom just a tiny bit better now.

    I wish I could have been there.

    What other cool things happened/did you see?
     
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  3. WillAdams

    WillAdams Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Did you think to query either on the state of text selection / the stylus being dumbed down to an 11th finger since Fall Creators Update in Windows?
     
  4. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    No! I wish I did. In fact I wish I found a Microsoft rep to ask that question to! Although I feel like if I had anyone on the Windows Ink team in front of me I might get physically violent so maybe its best I didn't see any!
     
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  5. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    I'll try to come back here and share some of the "best of" as soon as I get past this deadline! Swamped and stressed right now... :(
     
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  6. CreateNowSleepLater

    CreateNowSleepLater Pen Pal - Newbie

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    All due respect to Wacom. You can't charge prices like that and cry we are the little guy. Competitors like Huion are shipping with tilt now. The gap is closing. It's no excuse to launch the 24 with dead pixels and loud fan noise.

    There are also ways to deal with supply issues. First of all, they have the capital but that is a whole other story. Second, they announced it 6 months in advance. Just do a pre-order and build to that number. Its not like people wont pre-pay.
     
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  7. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Even if he was a bit pretentious, the fact that he even knew that little bit of trivia impresses me. It means at least some Wacom reps must follow closely the QA issues and customer feedback on their products, even though Wacom remains famously tight-lipped on even their own forums.

    He certainly seemed a lot more knowledgeable about the hardware than the rep @darkmagistric spoke to at the NY ComicCon. He might have even been able to tell you the exact spec differences between HP's EMR UD gen 2 and DTK gen 2 in the MSP/Cintiq Pro, which I have been dying to know for a long time.

    For example, is the UD gen 2 that HP implements any different than Dell's? What about Samsung's EMR digitizers in the GB line, are they equivalent to Acer's S7 and any different to HP/Dell's more professional-oriented products? And how are all those different than the new DTK digitizers in the MSP/CPs in terms of polling rate, LPI and firmware enabled features if any?

    It seems like Wacom's recent strategy has been shifting towards more 3rd-party customization of the EMR drivers. So I wonder if that even extends down into the firmware, which would allow OEMs to select a performance level approaching DTK specs.

    So many questions! I wish you had held a livestream for all the members here! :p
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
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  8. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    I know! Sorry it was so last minute and I had to cram as much as I could into one day. If I had multiple days I would have certainly done it, that and done a quick prep on the forums to ask any questions anyone had. I got given the ticket fairly last minute so had little time to prepare.
    That said, I have a feeling that the informed rep at the Wacom booth would have not known those kind of specifics, yours sounds like questions for the engineers at Wacom. I would be disappointed if he wasn't aware of the biggest complaint leveled at the first gen Companion, but it was nice to at least talk to someone who I could see was clearly invested in Wacom, no matter how defensive the response.
     
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  9. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    @stoneseeker : That was a great, if abbreviated, summary. Thanks for posting it and I hope you come back and finish your report after your deadline...
     

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