Recommendations for Cintiq alternatives ?

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D.T. Nethery
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Recommendations for Cintiq alternatives ?

Post by D.T. Nethery » 17 Mar 2021, 18:29

It's that time again! Wondering if anyone has recommendations for current Wacom Cintiq alternatives that are known to work well with TVPaint? There have been discussions about Cintiq alternatives in the past , but technology is constantly changing (hopefully for the better) so some of those older discussions may not be relevant to the present day as non-Wacom tablet manufacturers improve their wares. (keep in mind that this post is as of March 17, 2021 , so a year from now this could also be out-of-date)

I realize that Wacom Cintiq is preferred , but I am interested in exploring lower-cost alternatives. I currently use an aging Wacom Cintiq 21UX that I purchased at a bargain price from a game studio that was going out of business. It is still working ok ,but I'm constantly worried about if it dies or if it gets to the point where there are no Wacom Drivers that are compatible with it. In fact, I found out recently when trying to update my driver that the current Wacom Driver version 6.3.42-1 for Mac is not compatible with my old Cintiq 21UX , so I have to use older Wacom driver 6.3.39-1 . It works fine for now, but I am guessing that is the end of the line for my Cintiq 21UX as far as driver updates.

Does anyone here have direct experience working on a non-Wacom screen tablet that works well with TVPaint which you would recommend ?

There are many articles on 'Cintiq Alternatives', such as this one: https://artignition.com/cintiq-alternative/ but most of these articles mention using the tablets with apps like Photoshop or Illustrator, not specifically with TVPaint. IF I can afford it (?) I'm going to stick with Wacom , but am interested in good alternatives if there are any that are confirmed to work well with TVPaint.


I'm guessing that a tablet like this one , XP-PEN Artist Display 24 Pro , which seems to work with most other graphics programs , should work with TVPaint, right ? (would be nice to see TVPaint listed there, too) If anyone has used one of these XP-Pen tablets (or a similar type of tablet from Huion) with TVPaint on macOS , I would be interested in reading about your experience with it .

UPDATE : I just heard back from a customer representative at XP-PEN , who writes:

"Yes, we are compatible with TVPaint Animation Pro, we've tested it on our end and we also have had a few users who also use this software with their Artist tablets.
The Artist 24 Pro also works with macOS Mojave so you should not run into any compatibility issues with this version."


(I had mentioned in my email that I'm on macOS Mojave and that the current Wacom driver is not compatible with Mojave , so I was wondering about their XP-Pen driver's compatibility.)

XP-PEN_ARTIST_PRO_Tablet.jpg


.

Animator, TVPaint Beta-Tester, Animation Educator and Consultant.
MAC OS 10.14.6 , Macbook Pro Retina 15-inch, Late 2013,
2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB Memory , TVPaint PRO 11.5.1 - 64bit ,
Wacom Cintiq 21 UX ,Wacom Intuos Pro 5 , Wacom driver version 6.3.39-1

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D.T. Nethery
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Re: Recommendations for Cintiq alternatives ?

Post by D.T. Nethery » 05 Apr 2021, 16:38

In researching it and reading reviews one problem I've read about with the XP-Pen tablet is that the surface tends to scratch more easily than a Wacom Cintiq with it's hard etched glass surface. I've read that the top-of-the-line Huion tablets have etched glass surface that resists scratches. (like Wacom Cintiq).

I'm also curious in reading about anyone's experience with the newest Surface Pro tablet PC's or similar types of tablet PC's , working with TVPaint.

Animator, TVPaint Beta-Tester, Animation Educator and Consultant.
MAC OS 10.14.6 , Macbook Pro Retina 15-inch, Late 2013,
2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB Memory , TVPaint PRO 11.5.1 - 64bit ,
Wacom Cintiq 21 UX ,Wacom Intuos Pro 5 , Wacom driver version 6.3.39-1

Jet
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Re: Recommendations for Cintiq alternatives ?

Post by Jet » 12 Apr 2021, 20:23

I had a XP-Pen (Artist 15.6 Pro) and I was in the same boat as you, I thought I'd at least try a cheaper alternative since the fans in my Cintiq got on my last nerve, so I sold it and got the XP-Pen, but unfortunately the pen is just not as accurate, it was a bummer because I had really high hopes after researching it. If you can I strongly suggest trying them out.

The issues I had is if you tilt the pen different than how it was positioned when you calibrated it then the cursor can be offset as much as .5cm from the tip, I had to look at the cursor instead of the tip a lot. It also had the same offset in every corner and screen edge. Also the pen actuation force was a problem (which is how hard you need to press to start activating the lightest pressure) you have to press down slightly, the weight of the pen was not enough (if that makes sense) that it felt like using a dry ball-point pen sometimes. I don't think everyone will be bothered by it, but I'm extremely light-handed, I use 6B grade pencils minimum, and it made my hand cramp up in only a short time. I contacted XP-Pen, they acknowledged the problems but told me it can't be fixed in a driver update, only a "future hardware design change", I can't vouch for their newer models.

If I may, I would recommend looking at a a screenless tablet setup as another alternative. These days, I just use an Intuos Pro Large. Since making the switch I noticed I have better posture in my chair and I seem to have more energy, people around me even said I seemed in a better mood as well! I would recommend any color accurate QHD display, Intuos Pro Large and if you can find one an XP-Pen AC19 Shortcut Remote, the wheel on it is tactile, very nice for rolling drawings.

After I made the switch, I did have a couple issues with my final line quality (I'm getting better though), a few wobbles and some mashing CTRL+Z, but I changed my workflow a bit, using line smoothing, switched to the hard felt nib (these are amazing, they have a tiny amount of resistance, like if you used a dip pen on paper, helps to keep my fingers a little more stable, I got another pen which has the standard plastic nib since they're better for quick drawings, so I just swap the pen), curve tool etc. and I got myself an iPad Air 4 for the purpose of doing the critical high detail stuff and for portable work, so I export out of TVP and into Clip Studio Paint (iPad), otherwise the bulk of everything I do is with the Intuos, all roughs, tiedowns, 3D, storyboard, etc.

And when it comes to screenless tablets, the non-Wacom brands sell large ones for really cheap, but I'd still be weary of pen accuracy and test them still, I've never used one before, but they're like $50, they basically cost nothing. :lol:

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D.T. Nethery
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Re: Recommendations for Cintiq alternatives ?

Post by D.T. Nethery » 13 Apr 2021, 02:21

Thank you for the detailed response, Jet. This kind of professional shop talk is exactly what I was hoping for in starting this topic.
If I may, I would recommend looking at a screenless tablet setup as another alternative.
I do have an Intuos Pro (Medium) that I have occasionally used for digital painting or for drawing rough with broad strokes (storyboards), but I have tried and failed to use it for serious clean-up work that requires precision line control. Over the years other artists I respect have told me that they much prefer the Intuos over the Cintiq. I have tried using it with line smoothing assistance (both the internal Line Smoothing in TVPaint ,as well as a lovely plug-in called Hej Stylus, but I haven't been able to achieve acceptable results for clean up line quality. But thanks for the suggestion. I'm sure the problem is with me, not the tool. Frankly, I would very much like to be free from the expense of purchasing another Cintiq when my current one finally fails or no longer has a driver that is compatible with my operating system. I suspect that my problem may be that I'm always conscious that I have the safety net of switching back the Cintiq if I get frustrated with working on the Intuos , so I don't stick with using the Intuos long enough to get really good at it. I had to use it once for a month and a half when I was away from home and only had the Intuos and my Macbook. I noticed that I did start to get better with it when I was forced to use it , but I noticed it took me longer to get good results if I had to do any sort of precision line work. It may be that if I would take the plunge and just put the Cintiq away on a shelf in the closet , forcing myself to use the Intous exclusively I might get better with it . If it was my only choice to draw with, I would have to adapt my work flow. It's definitely worth considering again.

I got myself an iPad Air 4 for the purpose of doing the critical high detail stuff and for portable work, so I export out of TVP and into Clip Studio Paint (iPad)
Are you able to export/import to Clip Studio Paint keeping the layer order and exposures intact ? Does CSP import from a CSV or JSON file ?

Animator, TVPaint Beta-Tester, Animation Educator and Consultant.
MAC OS 10.14.6 , Macbook Pro Retina 15-inch, Late 2013,
2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB Memory , TVPaint PRO 11.5.1 - 64bit ,
Wacom Cintiq 21 UX ,Wacom Intuos Pro 5 , Wacom driver version 6.3.39-1

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neonnoodle
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Re: Recommendations for Cintiq alternatives ?

Post by neonnoodle » 14 Apr 2021, 15:34

I'm watching this thread with interest, since I also have a 10-year-old Cintiq 21UX and in all likelihood my next computer will be a Mac. I have largely moved into doing my rough work and tiedowns on the iPad in RoughAnimator (and more recently Callipeg), and exporting to TVP or Blender for ink/paint/compositing where necessary. Callipeg allows export to JSON, and is under active development.

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D.T. Nethery
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Re: Recommendations for Cintiq alternatives ?

Post by D.T. Nethery » 14 Apr 2021, 16:39

neonnoodle wrote:
14 Apr 2021, 15:34
I'm watching this thread with interest, since I also have a 10-year-old Cintiq 21UX and in all likelihood my next computer will be a Mac. I have largely moved into doing my rough work and tiedowns on the iPad in RoughAnimator (and more recently Callipeg), and exporting to TVP or Blender for ink/paint/compositing where necessary. Callipeg allows export to JSON, and is under active development.
Callipeg looks very interesting. I have tried RoughAnimator (on my Mac , not on iPad) and I like it

How do you feel about working on the smaller iPad sceen compared to working on the larger Cintiq 21UX screen ? I tried and tried to get used to working with TVPaint on my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet (10.1 inch screen) but could never get over the feeling of the interface being too cramped on the smaller Samsung Galaxy screen. The current iPad Pro is 12.9 inches , so a bit larger , but still considerably smaller than a Cintiq 21", 22", or 24" screen. The Samsung tablet I had was only 1280 x 800 screen resolution , compared to iPad Pro resolution of 2732 × 2048 , so I expect that makes a substantial difference, but I'm just not sure I would want to downscale that much in terms of screen size.

Animator, TVPaint Beta-Tester, Animation Educator and Consultant.
MAC OS 10.14.6 , Macbook Pro Retina 15-inch, Late 2013,
2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB Memory , TVPaint PRO 11.5.1 - 64bit ,
Wacom Cintiq 21 UX ,Wacom Intuos Pro 5 , Wacom driver version 6.3.39-1

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Xavier
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Re: Recommendations for Cintiq alternatives ?

Post by Xavier » 14 Apr 2021, 17:42

Just passing by ... have you read this ?
|- https://essentialpicks.com/wacom-cintiq-alternatives/
|- https://artignition.com/huion-vs-wacom/

Not sure if it's relevant, but at least informing ;)
Short but strong

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neonnoodle
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Re: Recommendations for Cintiq alternatives ?

Post by neonnoodle » 15 Apr 2021, 22:27

D.T. Nethery wrote:
14 Apr 2021, 16:39
neonnoodle wrote:
14 Apr 2021, 15:34
I'm watching this thread with interest, since I also have a 10-year-old Cintiq 21UX and in all likelihood my next computer will be a Mac. I have largely moved into doing my rough work and tiedowns on the iPad in RoughAnimator (and more recently Callipeg), and exporting to TVP or Blender for ink/paint/compositing where necessary. Callipeg allows export to JSON, and is under active development.
Callipeg looks very interesting. I have tried RoughAnimator (on my Mac , not on iPad) and I like it

How do you feel about working on the smaller iPad sceen compared to working on the larger Cintiq 21UX screen ? I tried and tried to get used to working with TVPaint on my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet (10.1 inch screen) but could never get over the feeling of the interface being too cramped on the smaller Samsung Galaxy screen. The current iPad Pro is 12.9 inches , so a bit larger , but still considerably smaller than a Cintiq 21", 22", or 24" screen. The Samsung tablet I had was only 1280 x 800 screen resolution , compared to iPad Pro resolution of 2732 × 2048 , so I expect that makes a substantial difference, but I'm just not sure I would want to downscale that much in terms of screen size.
I know what you mean--I had an Asus Vivotab with an 8" screen! I used TVPaint on it and that was a struggle.

I have the first-generation iPad Pro 12.9". I find the drawing experience on it to be superior by far to any other digital drawing device I've used (and I've tried 'em all!). Even though the 21UX is big, the lack of both finger and stylus sensitivity means I'm stuck with one hand on the keyboard much of the time. I never quite solved the ergonomics of the Cintiq, by comparison I can get physically very close to the iPad and have more control over linework. Also, the matte finish screen protector is a must. The shape of the Apple Pencil lends itself to tilt control much better than the thin-nib Wacom stylus.

When I'm working in Procreate, RoughAnimator, or Callipeg, the combination of the minimal interface and the hand gestures for rotation, zoom, undo, and the eyedropper let me get into a good flow even with a smaller live area. The high resolution of the display makes it practical to do full-size work and then export it. When I'm doing roughs, all I need is 1-2 colors, and the ability able to flip drawings easily (Callipeg is excellent for this). Not much different than working on a 12F disc, in some ways.

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Re: Recommendations for Cintiq alternatives ?

Post by Jet » 16 Apr 2021, 13:53

D.T. Nethery wrote:
14 Apr 2021, 16:39
How do you feel about working on the smaller iPad sceen compared to working on the larger Cintiq 21UX screen ? I tried and tried to get used to working with TVPaint on my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet (10.1 inch screen) but could never get over the feeling of the interface being too cramped on the smaller Samsung Galaxy screen. The current iPad Pro is 12.9 inches , so a bit larger , but still considerably smaller than a Cintiq 21", 22", or 24" screen. The Samsung tablet I had was only 1280 x 800 screen resolution , compared to iPad Pro resolution of 2732 × 2048 , so I expect that makes a substantial difference, but I'm just not sure I would want to downscale that much in terms of screen size.
I have iPad Air 4th which is 10.9" and it's fine, it's the same height when in portrait as the cheap Cintiq 13.3" (I think they call it Wacom One or something stupid like that, which is a good alternative actually, just poor value since you might as well get iPad Air...) and like Neon says the shape and feel of the pencil is like a real pencil, so if you have the iPad propped up on a drawing board you can sit back and hold the pencil correctly like an artist and make broad arm movements. :mrgreen:

Image

I got out my old Samsung 10.1" and put it next to the iPad for comparison, sorry for the bad photo. I have Clip Studio Paint open, to view the timeline I use a shortcut key on a keyboard (F10) but you can also click on the icon (it's at the top of the screen), I rarely need it open though, only when timing.

Image

I would recommend the 12.9" Pro though if you can afford it which I've used (I think there's a new model coming soon, might want to wait, I haven't kept up with news), it's more comfortable and the screen refresh rate is 120Hz, so if you have no line smoothing enabled there's no delay at all, the marks look like they're coming directly from the pen tip. I'm personally trying to transition over to iPad which is why I started small, it's my first time, one big problem I have is I usually rest my palm on the surface when doing precise lines, iPad has no bezel and is 1.3CM combined with its case thick, so I made a cutout from balsa craft wood (you can cut it with some sharp scissors or a craft knife) and stacked it that it slots into which makes it flush, it worked wonders, but I'm looking at purchasing something more refined like this: https://sketchboardpro.com/

Image

PS: I don't have a Mac, but I think you can use iPad as a Cintiq (so you could use TVPaint on it), if anyone has experience with that would be good to hear from.

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D.T. Nethery
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Re: Recommendations for Cintiq alternatives ?

Post by D.T. Nethery » 16 Apr 2021, 14:48

Jet wrote:
16 Apr 2021, 13:53
PS: I don't have a Mac, but I think you can use iPad as a Cintiq (so you could use TVPaint on it), if anyone has experience with that would be good to hear from.
Thanks , Jet and Neonnoodle, for your sharing your experience with the iPad and Apple Pencil.

You're right , there is the Astropad app, which allows the iPad to mirror the Mac display , so you can have TVPaint or Photoshop open on the Mac and draw using the iPad .
https://astropad.com/product/studio/ .

When you work in Clip Studio Paint on the iPad are you able to export the animation to TVPaint keeping the layers and exposures intact ? How do you get it from Clip Studio Paint to TVPaint ?

Animator, TVPaint Beta-Tester, Animation Educator and Consultant.
MAC OS 10.14.6 , Macbook Pro Retina 15-inch, Late 2013,
2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB Memory , TVPaint PRO 11.5.1 - 64bit ,
Wacom Cintiq 21 UX ,Wacom Intuos Pro 5 , Wacom driver version 6.3.39-1

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