Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cintiq or Not Cintiq

There's an interesting discussion going on over at the Animation Guild blog about the use of Cintiq tablets in the various stages of animation production. With the Cintiq, you draw on the computer screen so it resembles paper in that your eyes focus on your drawing hand. It's a relatively new technology and the talk is about the potential for a paperless animation studio, though some artists have reservations about its use.


Jean Pilotte said...

I personally think the Cintiq is a wonderful tool. I learned early on to get accustomed with drawing on the regular Wacom tablets while looking up at the screen, but to have both combined is even better.
What I would really like to know more about are the Tablet PCs. They seem to be a great value for your buck when compared in price to a Cintiq. For digital storyboarding on location, it seems like a natural choice.

Anonymous said...

there are positives and negatives for both. if i were doing something for the movie theatre like the new Goofy short-considering its going to be blown up to a monumental size, i would use paper-better drawings and line work.

Skye said...

I had a Cintiq since early 2003. I like it for colouring, but not drawing. It died about 2 months before I left Sheridan. I will definitely be buying another one shortly -- but for colouring of final animation. It feels like drawing on glass.

Paul B said...

I'm a storyboard artist who has shifted from paper to Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and I find I'm not getting acceptable cleanups with a wacom tablet and I'm trying to decide between a cintiq and a tablet pc.

It's my understanding that cintiqs have more onboard hot keys and less pen/cursor lag than tablet pcs..is this true?

Toon Boom Storyboard Pro requires a tablet with 128M dedicated video and almost all the new ones out there have integrated x3100 graphics, so I'm just waiting to get feedback from anyone who can try one out with Toon Boom. Cintiq has a new 12" model coming out and it looks to be just what I want, but to be mobile, I'd have to buy a laptop to run it ($$$$).

Also, I work on storyboards for 8 hours a day, so I'd be curious to find out if the cintiq is ergonomically superior to a tablet.

Jim Caswell said...

I've been on a Cintiq since April and I find it both helpful and painful. The help is mostly through the way the software (Storyboard Pro) can output to pdf, quicktime,or EDL. This allows my client to translate the board quickly into their pipeline (i.e. produce a Lecia quickly.) On the first board I did this way, the Producer was excited that the board made it to Lecia in half a day from delivery. The software allows much better control of trace back and reuse of elements. It has a great way of dealing with location and prop design directly from the production into the board. It saves all that photocopying I used to do. As a result, the Lecia to be more “client-friendly” which allows them to see better what the board is saying.

And, I used to have to wrap a bandage on my wrist to help give me support. Since the Cintiq, I don't need it.

The pain is in the ergonomics. I used to be able to board for 8-10 hours a day if I was swamped. With the Cintiq, only about 5. The light makes my eyes tired quicker. I have learned to work with bright overheads on to mitigate the glare (glow?)

The quality of the cleanup line in this software is a bit of a problem. Because of the artifacts that occasionally occur when I draw too fast, I must "sketch" the line more, not sweep the arm like they told us in art school. This creates a "hairy" look to the clean-up that I'm hoping with practice will lessen. It makes for less pretty boards, but I not a fan of the pretty board. They should be working document with tape, morticed panels, glue stick scum and eraser smears.

Other knowledgeable board artist have recommended Sketchbook Pro for better line weight and I have had success with PS CS2 and Painter, but neither provides the data management of Storyboard Pro.

I agree with production companies that using Cintiqs will speed the flow through their pipeline, but the trade off-for now-will be pretty boards and I miss the scratch of the pencil on the paper.

Paul Bouchard said...

...just thought I'd update this thread incase anybody's trying to decide about the Cintiq....I got the 20wsx and I'm really happy with it so far. Cleanup is much less of a chore (compared to an Intuos) and thesize and aspect ratio are perfect for Storyboard Pro. The realllly huge bonus for me is the ability to use express keys instead of keyboard shortcuts -after trying to 20wsx, there's no way I'd consider a tablet pc. Also, I'd go for it over the 12" cintiq because Storyboard Pro really needs the higher resolution for all it's pallettes and you don't have to zoom the drawing space constantly.