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  • Writer's pictureRavi Swami

iPad Pro V Wacom Cintiq 22

I recently purchased a Cintiq 22 "Pen Tablet" for use on the current storyboarding assignment since it required the use of Storyboard Pro 22 software in order to fit into the job pipeline whereas I have been using a 12.9 inch iPad Pro pretty much exclusively for storyboarding since around 2010. Prior to this I had considered buying an early iteration of the Cintiq in 2006, but at the time it was beyond my budget.

At that time my financial situation didn't allow for the high cost of the Cintiq and later I was able to acquire a 12.9 inch iPad Pro on my phone business account and have been using that for pretty much all my storyboarding work since then and I really enjoy using it.

Since the job pipeline depended upon using Storyboard Pro 22 and drawing directly into the program, the iPad became a little redundant even though in theory I could use the tablet as a "second screen" in a similar way to that of the Cintiq, by using an app like Astropad. I tried this approach but soon gave up since the Storyboard Pro interface has tiny Windows style icons and drop-down menus that become even smaller on a 12.9 inch screen, with or without a Retina display, with the added issues surrounding WiFi connectivity and screen refresh rates that can result in the app timing out without warning.

For various reasons I didn't purchase the Cintiq until quite late in the job and after checking out the various device options and my budget, the Cintiq 22 seemed like a good choice since it has a large working area which is roughly 2.5 times the size of the iPad Pro - that for me was the main draw of the Cintiq in the first place.

The Cintiq 22 doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the more pricey top of the range Cintiq's, being essentially a second screen mirroring that of your Mac/PC that you can draw on with a supplied stylus - no buttons or remote to bypass the tedious use of an attached keyboard to select menu items, for example, though the Wacom Stylus has buttons that perform the same function.

However, I soon found the pen buttons to be a nuisance since menu's would be opened unexpectedly as I held the pen, and as I tend to draw very quickly this only made things worse, so I disabled them in the pen settings and opted to use my mac keyboard, with the pen buttons standing in for mouse clicks - not ideal, but at £800.00 for the Cintiq 22 compared to the top of the range Cintiq's running into £1,000's, you pays your money and takes your choice, as they say.

Having used it for a relatively short period of time I have to say that I'm unimpressed - things may have been different had I not set eyes on an iPad and its' buttonless Pencil in combination with drawing apps like Procreate. Firstly, the screen of the Cintiq 22 feels very smooth though not quite as smooth as the glass screen of the iPad - it's more like hard plastic with no sense of the friction that you'd get from drawing with a pencil on paper.

I have a "paper like" screen on my iPad which provides a nice rough texture but only for as long as the screen protector lasts, since they wear down through use.

I believe that the top of the range Cintiq's have ground glass screens which would offer a better drawing experience but I have no way of verifying this and tend to be wary of manufacturers' claims on their websites without trying the devices for myself.

The Procreate app offers a vast range of brushes that suit any drawing style and that can be tweaked to create custom brushes. Not to say you can't do this in Storyboard Pro 22 but then it is a program for storyboarding and not drawing per se, so it's also perhaps inevitable that storyboards created in it have a generic feel in terms of drawing style.

Pen feedback is about the same for both devices, ie zero lag, but for me, so far the Wacom lags behind the iPad Pro in terms of drawing "feel".

No technology offers the ideal solution, it seems, and they all have their peculiarities that require getting used to. As I pointed out, storyboarding isn't actually about drawing at all and though a personal style may impress on the level of being nice drawings, clarity in the narrative is the primary goal, especially in the type of long-form work that I'm involved in at the moment.

For the time being, when using Storyboard Pro 22, the Cintiq or similar pen tablet is the best option to avoid the time consuming exporting of project files from the iPad to Google Drive and then importing them into storyboard Pro to assemble in its' timeline - I just wish the drawing experience was closer to that of the iPad.

R.S - 08/11/21

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1 Comment

Tang Yan
Tang Yan
Oct 30, 2023

iPad Pro is great for on-the-go sketching, but for heavier work, a Wacom and Computer combo is probably going to get artist further. Both are amazing and have their strengths, so its up to personal preference and career.

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