Wacom Cintiq alternatives - A closer look

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by whazzup, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. whazzup

    whazzup Scribbler - Standard Member

    Messages:
    531
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    41
    There's been endless discussions about alternatives for Wacom's Cintiq / Pen Display products. But no one seems to offer anything substantial as to why Wacom's Better.

    With that, I was able to get hold of a tablet monitor made using Waltop's digitizer (also in Yiynova, Adesso, P-Active, and more). So I did a closer inspection of the pen tracking, and compared it to HP's 2730p, a Tabletpc with a Wacom digitizer. Calibration has been done for both devices.

    Verdict: For activities like painting and sketching, the Waltop monitors do suffice. But If you need to do fine line inking/tracing, with typical stroke sizes of 1-5 pixels, Wacom is still undisputed. For a price, of course.

    An aside: Hanvon does have a 12inch tablet monitor (the Sentip) using the same magnetic field tech as Wacom. The tracking is similar in quality to Wacom's product. But drivers are a problem. And since they priced it very close to Wacom's 12inch Cintiq, I'm not sure why anyone will get the Sentip over Wacom's.


    There're 3 videos for Waltop, and 1 for the 2730p as comparison:

    Pen Accuracy Comparison Series - Waltop 1/3 Closeup - YouTube

    Pen Accuracy Comparison Series- Waltop 2/3 Closeup - YouTube

    Pen Accuracy Comparison Series - Waltop 3/3 Ruler - YouTube

    Pen Accuracy Comparison Series - Wacom (HP 2730p) Closeup + Ruler - YouTube



    The search goes on....
     
  2. Shogmaster

    Shogmaster Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,641
    Likes Received:
    956
    Trophy Points:
    181
    Pen accuracy between various EMR digitizers is not really an easy parameter to compare since things like shielding can affect the pen cursor position easily, and is not really indicative of the actual digitizer accuracy. Also, most EMR boards have such high level of density that even the ancient UD digitizer is way good enough for accuracy.

    For me, Accuracy is also a non issue in that there is always a way to show cursor on the screen to let you know of the true "contact" point. Those who obsess over cursor position beyond what is provided is barking up the wrong tree IMO. Unless it's bad as the Lenovo X220T before the firmware, it's good enough for your hand, eyes and brain to quickly adapt and overcome.

    The real reason why Wacom is better than the rest is the pen tip response. The tip sensor for Wacom pens give you much better pressure response than competitors' pens with much less tip travel distance, and have much better pressure curve. This is something that you can't map on a grid, but have to feel by drawing. And frankly, most none artists don't have enough hand dexterity to feel the difference. But those of us who are accomplished enough will feel the difference IMMEDIATELY.
     
  3. whazzup

    whazzup Scribbler - Standard Member

    Messages:
    531
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    41



    For cursor position, if you looked at the 1st video, drawing a straight / smooth line is harder with the Waltop monitors because the cursor jitters midway through the stroke, causing little bumps. Now the effect is different in different software, for example by bumping up the filtering level in SAI, you can do away with the effect shown in the 1st video. Plastic Animation Paper, however, doesn't have this feature, so strokes turn out 'jaggier'.

    Similarly in the 1st few seconds of the 1st video, you can see how when the pen is moved, the movement of the cursor is staggered and not smooth. You can almost see the motion mapped to the digitizer's grid. All these do not happen on the 2730p.

    Finally for the ruler tests, it's a good example showing how even if I train my arm to draw smooth straight lines (or smooth curved lines), the actual drawn strokes deviate from where the tip of the pen is. And this deviation is not a fixed value offset; different areas have different deviations, so how does one compensate for that? (Not to say Wacom's products are perfect, the deviations are just much less.)

    Obviously, these are things taken for granted for people using Wacom products, hence I'm approaching this question from the other direction. I want to see how these OTHER products really perform, rather than just taking people's word for it. And also, most reviewers who have the alternative tablet monitors just sketch/paint something and call it a day. Drawing a thick stroke obviously requires less precision (of the hardware) than a thin stroke.

    So, I hope these videos help people make informed decisions. One might not need to splurge on a Wacom if they don't need it.



    BTW, I'm still using the Waltop monitor daily at work. It has a much better screen in terms of color, contrast and resolution compared to the 16 inch Cintiq Interactive Display (used at work as well). Even the horizontal viewing angles are decent. Wacom really scrapped the barrel for those TN panels on their 16 inches.
     
  4. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,564
    Likes Received:
    1,612
    Trophy Points:
    181
    Cool!

    Thanks for these videos. The Waltop's action is rather rough, isn't it?

    I'd be annoyed if I'd ordered one and found myself trying to draw with that kind of cursor response.

    Wacom still rules the roost.

    I'd be interested to see some similar video of the Havnon system, and N-Trig.
     
  5. whazzup

    whazzup Scribbler - Standard Member

    Messages:
    531
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Hanvon actually has the same tech as wacom. Based on earlier news, they either acquired wacom's expired patent or they licensed it from them, I'm not too sure.

    We have tested their 12 inch Sentip, and it's almost a copy of the Cintiq 12WX. It's actually quite good in terms of accuracy and pressure, but it's too similar in price to consider it over the 12WX.

    As for N-Trig, if you are using Sketchbook Pro, Artrage, Manga Studio, or any other software that used Microsoft Ink, then you do get pressure sensitivity, and accuracy is sufficient. If you use other Wintab based software, you're out of luck.

    At this point in time, Wacom is still monopolizing the hell out of tablet displays for artists. For Waltop based products, it's not about pressure levels or that battery in the pen; it's the pen jitter that kills it.
     
  6. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,564
    Likes Received:
    1,612
    Trophy Points:
    181
    Thanks for the info re: Hanvon. Didn't realize they used Wacom tech.
     
  7. Formasalala

    Formasalala Pen Pal - Newbie

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    5
  8. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,564
    Likes Received:
    1,612
    Trophy Points:
    181
    Oooh.

    Now this looks like a potential game-changer.

    I remember blue-skying a while back along the same lines as this idea, wondering if anybody would get around to making something like it happen. Think of it! Turn *any* monitor into a Cintiq.

    They mount two light sensors at the top edges of the screen and use the IR light emitted by the pen tip to triangulate position. They've achieved perfect edge accuracy. --I don't know how pressure information is relayed, but they claim 1024 levels of it.

    I'd prefer it to be hard-wired through USB rather than mess around with WiFi, but what can you do in this day and age? Otherwise, this looks like a really excellent project.

    Their first product, the iPen was very beta, with poor reviews. This is the next step, with refinements, after having learned some of the ropes. It looks promising.

    If they achieve their Kickstarter goal on this project, they say the retail on one of these systems will be $169.00 (It's cheaper if you jump in now.) They've already raised over a quarter million dollars and just need another $72,000.

    While this is designed big-time with Mac users in mind, they have wisely devoted energies to making Windows drivers and claim function within a couple of well-known Windows art programs. Photoshop isn't one of them, but I would imagine that if they get this project rolling, Adobe would be quick to jump aboard.

    Speaking of jumping aboard, if I wasn't scratching change from the sofa pillows for my own project, I think I might be into this one.

    4 Days left on the campaign. If you have a spare hundred bucks, you might consider helping these guys out.

    Pressure sensitive stylus for your iMac and iPad! by Cregle Inc. Kickstarter

    Either way, I'll be looking forward to the reviews of this device. If they get it right this time, it could mean Cintiqs for anybody with a couple hundred bucks and a flat screen.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  9. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,564
    Likes Received:
    1,612
    Trophy Points:
    181
    Cool! This is a real horse race to watch!

    Cregle has raised another $20,000 in the last day and a half. 56 hours to go. They need another $50,000 and this thing is real.

    Pressure sensitive stylus for your iMac and iPad! by Cregle Inc. Kickstarter

    Check out the video. It's quite impressive.

    I'd really like to see this device become available! I'd love to hook up my old 21" monitor, put a sheet of glass over it and then be cooking with gas!

    They've apparently got driver support for most Adobe products. Photoshop is, they claim, just a few more phone calls away from being added to the list.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  10. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,564
    Likes Received:
    1,612
    Trophy Points:
    181
    Well, it looks like Cregle is going to get its wish. They're only $800 away from meeting their Kickstarter goal of $360,000 with more than two days left in their campaign.

    I just received a message back from one of their developers in response to some inquiries I had.

    The sensors are not suitable, he said, for any monitors other than the Apple iMac's, and there are no plans with this model, (the iPen2) to allow the sensors to be wired directly into the computer. They work exclusively through WiFi, which means, among other things, that you need to remove the sensor pucks from your screen every 8 hours or so in order to recharge them.

    So. . , not perfect by any means, but a big step closer.

    I sent a follow up message to let them know that if they did ever make a product which could truly allow for the conversion of any flat screen into a Cintiq-like tablet for a dedicated studio environment that it could become very popular among PC-powered artists.

    They expect the iPen2 to ship in this Summer. I'll be looking forward to the reviews!
     
Loading...

Share This Page