Did Microsoft finally fix the pen?

Discussion in 'Professions' started by doobiedoobiedum, Oct 8, 2021.

  1. doobiedoobiedum

    doobiedoobiedum Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    The cliffhanger is on around 10:08 and it finally looks like Microsoft are starting to create a pen that you can actually draw straight lines with when wanted. Brad does compare the new pen vs the old pen and it's not what I first thought (a software fix).

    The Surface Laptop studio reminds me of the Acer Concept D7 and D9 Ezel.... have Microsoft foolishly (for artists) taken on the visual language of the Acer without the pen performance?
     
  2. Tams

    Tams Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    It's great that it's much better.

    But it still isn't as good as Wacom EMR and you still need to charge the pen. Not only is that yet another thing to charge, it's yet another battery to eventually become unusable and end up as yet more waste. Meanwhile, I have decade+ old EMR pens (sure, there's offset and I don't use them much, but they do work and aren't terrible).
     
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  3. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    At least they are offering easy ways to stow/charge the pen with both the Pro 8 and Laptop Studio. Carrying around that little charging cradle was annoying as hell.

    And having had the Slim Pen for about 2 years now, its battery life isn't what it used to be, but it still works though. Just have to charge it more frequently then I'd like, which wouldn't be an issue with the new type covers.

    As far as how good the new pen is, well... I really liked the Slim Pen 1 on my Pro 5, I have plenty of Wacom EMR Devices, a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro, a Zbook X2, and a Galaxy Book 10.6, and believe it or not, but many a time I would prefer to draw with the slim pen over EMR. It's nib just had a really good feel on the Pro 5, and while its initial activation force might seem higher then EMR or the Apple Pencil 2, I found the level of control I had over the lower end of pressure scale was kind of unrivaled. Needless to say the Pro 8 with an updated pixel sense chip set to take advantage of the Slim Pen 2 leaves me very high hopes for it.
     
  4. doobiedoobiedum

    doobiedoobiedum Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Is that enough though?

    This video seems to suggest the Studio is Microsoft's offering to creatives (skip the first 5 minutes of waffle)



    Whenever I see a new Microsoft product, I skip straight to the line and art section and have always gone away truly disappointed. Like many other vendors (including Apple), Microsoft can fool 95% of buyers by showing an artist using it in adverts but the hard nitty-gritty of something that does what it should without compromise is what some of us really want.

    I get that the Microsoft thread in the main PC section has gone crazy for this thing but I'm starting to look at a replacement for my zbook (not spending £3500 for a Concept D7 or Concept D9 though) and does storability of the pen make up for those crazy wobbly lines of the past? Does the new pen begin to rival the Apple Pencil or is it even better it where the haptic feedback makes it feel like pencil on paper where the Pencil is still just slippery plastic on glass? Aside from the weight and the awkward screen ratio - it looks like my 2018 zbook will stay around a while longer.

    But I would want something that showed a real move forward for portable sketching / portable digital art. Miani makes some very positive comments in the video about the keyboard and other areas in this device but the side-by-side performance comparison against an M1 MacBook (or even the Air) shows that a creative might be better off with the £300 cheaper M1 and a portable graphic display.

    So, basically - I was hoping this new pencil would make up for Microsoft's sins of the past and even let me look past my Mac Mini M1 desktop with 16 inch 4K monitor to let me go out doing some portable sketching and painting.
     
  5. Azzart

    Azzart Late night illustrator Senior Member

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    I'm not sure, why aren't you already with an iPad Pro if what you're looking for is portable painting and sketching?
    You can hardly find anything better than that.
     
  6. doobiedoobiedum

    doobiedoobiedum Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Two pretty big reasons at the moment, first I tend to buy shared devices. I tried (borrowed) an iPad Pro with screen protector and the others in my family hated the protector and second - I sometimes need to do other stuff and that means regular access to files, transfer photos and connect to projectors. I still use SD cards, I still need to transfer - combine and work on large files and the iPad OS just doesn't cut it.
    Oh I've been told on this forum that photographers don't need SD cards anymore and I should embrace dongles but I'm not about to throw away all my other kit just yet. As for drawing - yes, with a screen protector the iPad is almost untouchable but without one...... it's just horrible.
     
  7. Azzart

    Azzart Late night illustrator Senior Member

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    Allow me to gently disagree.
    I've been out of this forum for quite some time but I've been using exclusively an iPad Pro as my work device for the past two years and a half: everything you mention seems perfectly doable to me.
    I work on large files in Clip Studio, files that my previous Surface Book 2 didn't handle so well. I used external drives and now ipad OS finally support the ntfs file system. I manage projects with folders with tens of files without particular problem and actually when it comes to touch and file managing I tend to prefer something like Documents over how Windows handles things. Projectors or external displays aren't a problem provided all you want to do is mirroring your screen.
    And to be honest, just like i prefer the hard nib on the surface pen, I do prefer to draw and paint without a screen protector on the ipad: it's just a matter of getting used to it. Visual clarity, that's what I want.

    The reason I'm getting back into windows world is because I want to be back working on three monitors simultaneously and because I'm more interested in 3D than 2D nowadays.
    For all the rest the iPad is just so much easier to work with.
     
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  8. doobiedoobiedum

    doobiedoobiedum Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Nice to have a discussion where we can disagree politely. Some corners of the forum can be a bit patronising. Never had that problem on the Artist's section though.

    Can you elaborate a bit please?
    I have a nightmare with iPadOS because I also manage the Instagram for my student's work - getting photos into somewhere Instagram can find is a huge task each time. We firstly have to get pics off the camera SD card onto the iMac (University iMac 2015) then email / airdrop to iPad (University 2018 model) which we have to transfer to iPad Photos section. If I need a quick edit / resize then I use Google Snapseed which does some simple things like quick resize canvas better than any other App but that then saves back to files - transfer that back to Photos so that Instagram can see it....

    Any images that need more complex editing - I had to return the (University 2013) MacBook and I now have a Windows HP laptop which is no replacement at all but it runs Photoshop CC - there, I email images from the older iMac, I can open and edit from email if I'm lazy on either a Windows / MacOS laptop and then I have to email back to the iPad. This time, I end up going into downloads, open two windows (carefully) and drag pics across to Photos for Instagram to see.

    Hopefully, you see why I really dislike iPadOS file handling - we could stop using Instagram but it's good for the students to promote their artwork (and our course) or Instagram could change so you can post from a full desktop OS (which I don't think they ever will) or Apple could make file handling so much easier between Files and Photos apps.

    Don't get me wrong - I love the accuracy of the iPad pen but I like a soft felt nib on my zbook so swapping to a slippery hard plastic nib on glass is quite a difficult transition for me.
    I started doing dip-pen illustrations again during lockdown so I really appreciate a nib that gives me "feel."

    Now, coming back to the Microsoft pen - I watched a review where they mentioned that Microsoft had used some form of haptics in the slim-pen2 which gave a more pencil on paper type of feel - the reviewer was really complimentary about it.

    It kind of opens up for me the idea of what I don't get in any stylus - even one with a felt nib - that the digital stylus could mechanically "feel" like different drawing instruments if you could program different haptics into the stylus.
     
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  9. yodamiked

    yodamiked Do or do not. There is no try.

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    I’m sure you’ve probably explored other work arounds, but just in case, have you tried a lightning to USB adapter? The below picture is my old iPP with a USB adapter and SIM card reader plugged into it. Files App has no issues reading the SIM card and the various files saved on it (though I would say the transfer speeds aren’t overly fast). From there, you can save to the iPad directly OR you can select the image and click share to Instagram directly from the Files App. Admittedly not the most elegant looking solution, but might save you a few steps if you haven’t tried it yet. I haven’t looked but there may also be lightning to SIM card reader adapters to avoid the double adapter setup I have. The Files app was my biggest complaint about iPadOS but it’s gotten quite better over the last year or two (and fingers crossed…hopefully continues to get better).

    FCFF8632-69D7-4BEA-81FC-FEE23CC1459B.jpeg
     
  10. Azzart

    Azzart Late night illustrator Senior Member

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    Facebook is even worse in this regard and lets be honest: I’m fed up of fiercely arguing online with people I don’t even know, I’m getting old and it wastes just too much energy I could spend better. :D



    I tried to film a rough video for this but obviously the phone went out of memory and stopped recording halfway through. At least you can see the ipad can read an sd card provided it’s in the right file system (fat32 in this case, but recently an update I don’t have should have made the system compatible to ntfs too)


    Intstagram though is sadly a completely different problem: there’s no instagram app on the ipad. There’s the iphone app but that only access the ipad camera roll, it doesn’t access to the File app and all the consequent file management so you can only select images from the camera roll. Even on the browser it tells you to download and open the app. Terrible.
    In Documents (my file management app) I can select a single file and share it to instagram along with a caption but that’s as far as I can go.
    There should be other alternative insta-apps for the iPad but I never really tried one since I don’t use it.
    I hate Instagram because the developer (facebook) doesn’t bother at all to make it usable outside of phones. It’s a mess even on android.

    Why even bother using a computer to edit the photos when that is one of the very few tasks you can completely do on the ipad with no hassle at all? Either use Photoshop for iPad or even better use Affinity Photo with all the professional tools it comes with. I personally use the latter although my main usage for it is for colour management before sending files to clients.
    When I need to resize I usually prefer to use clip studio because it’s my main software and I can import several images at once.



    That said, I don’t pretend to make you change your mind about the iPad we all have different needs, consider though things are constantly evolving and what was true a year ago might be completely different now.
    I do find the iPad Pro is plenty capable in file handling, where it terribly lacks is in the multitasking side of life and the main reason I’m trying hard to return to a tablet pc as my main device: even if had its problems my Surface Book 2 was a dreamy machine to work on attached to two external touch display and I miss it!


    By the way, we’ll see how the new slim pen will perform. I don’t have particularly high expectstions and I suspect that haptic trick will just be too app dependant with developers of professioal softwares not bothering to implement it into their own software (I’m talking to you, Celsys!).
    Anyway I was fine the Surface Pen on the Book 2 so anything better will be most welcome. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
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