If you’re a graphics professional, you know Wacom. The company consistently puts out the best in digital art tablets, and over the past year has announced and released a variety of improvements to its top-end Cintiq gear. The Wacom Cintiq 13HD is the most portable of the line, which features displays built-in to a highly accurate pressure-sensitive tablet, and I’ve been using one to doodle, edit photos and paint digitally for the past few weeks.
The Cintiq 13HD replaces the 12WX and improves on it in every way. Design-wise, there are big changes here that dramatically increase the tablet’s portability and overall usability. The 12WX was the closest Wacom came to making a Cintiq you could carry with you, but the 13HD weighs only 2.65 lbs, or 2.78 lbs with the stand. That’s 66 percent lighter, and it’s also smaller in terms of width, depth and height.
Even with all that space and weight savings, the display is larger at 13.3-inches diagonal vs. 12.1 on the 12WX. With the smaller bezel, you sacrifice some ExpressKeys, and the stand isn’t built-in on the 13HD like it was on the 12WX. But those are extremely minor trade-offs compared to all the portability you gain with the 13HD, which can be easily used in the lap like a large paper sketchpad, as well as packed in a laptop bag for travel.
The Cintiq 13HD has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is double that of the 12WX. It’s a difference you notice instantly in terms of how well the tablet responds to touch. The screen also has 1920 by 1080 full HD resolution, which is a lot better than the 1280 x 800 on the 12WX. It’s enough that interface elements sometimes feel small on the 13HD, but there’s no question that it succeeds in giving you a more workable drawing surface. It also seems to render colors better than the 12WX, and has better viewing angles all around.
Maybe the biggest improvement, however, is in how the 13HD connects to your computer. This time Wacom has folded HDMI, USB 2.0, and the power adapter into an all-in-one cable that terminates in a single, dock connector-like input on the tablet end. It simplifies things immensely, especially now that most MacBooks sport a built-in HDMI port. Once again, this has tremendous advantages for travel, which is where the 13HD really excels overall.
The pen that ships with the 13HD is slightly different from what you’d get with a 22HD or 24HD, but it has mostly the same ergonomics — that is, it’s comfortable to use and to hold. Again in keeping with the whole portability theme, you get a carrying case that holds your nibs in the box, and that’s a very useful accessory if, like me, you’re always forgetting where you stowed those things.
I was a huge fan of the 22HD, and if you’re working at home consistently with a lot of desk space, that still provides the better drawing experience. But the 13HD doesn’t require many sacrifices in exchange for the big benefits in terms of space savings and portability it brings, and the laptop use scenario is much more feasible with this unit.
The screen has a definite texturized feel reminiscent of paper, and the stand has three drawing positions and can also fold flat into the back of the tablet itself. the single cable means it’s easier to avoid unplugging something or knocking something over when you’re grabbing it from your desk to use on your lap or knees, and the pen is extremely responsive – lag is imperceptible.
If there’s a flaw, it’s the lack of touch-sensitive control strips found on other Cintiq devices. These make it much easier to zoom, pan and scroll when working with large-scale graphics and drawings. And while there are workaround possible using the Cintiq 13HD’s ExpressKeys and rocker ring, they aren’t quite as elegant a solution.
If you’re an existing Cintiq user, the 13HD is a no-brainer. It’s got everything you’ve come to know and love, and it either complements a larger device extremely well as a more-or-less mobile solution, or replaces older hardware with big improvements over the last generation. Likewise, if you’re new to Cintiq, this is a great starting place, since it’s the cheapest option (at $999), and yet more drawing tablet than most will ever need. The 12WX was a well-respected work horse for years, but it can rest easy passing the torch to the 13HD.
Wacom’s Cintiq line of drawing tablets is the cream of the crop when it comes to digital graphics editing and creation, and the 12WX long reigned as an impressive entry-level option for those with limited budgets and/or available work space. But the 12WX is over five years old, and both display and drawing tablet tech has advanced, which is why it’s excellent news that Wacom is introducing the all-new Cintiq 13HD today.
The 13HD has more in common with the recently-launched and larger 22HD and 24HD tablets than the outgoing 12WX; it features 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity on its 1920
It’s TechFest at Microsoft this week, with the company showing off internally and out its latest and greatest. Themes: big data, big ass touch screens, Kinect, and cloud computing. And Windows.
TNW was on campus earlier this week and got hands on time with several of the below demos. Microsoft was smart enough to shoot video of several of its new inventions. As it’s Friday, we’re bringing them to you. Next time we head to Redmond, you can come as well.
First up, our favorite: A demo on the virality of content.
SketchInsight is a new way to present data, fusing drawing and PowerPoint:
Tracking errors in chip manufacturing:
Doodling using pen and your hand at the same time:
We’ll have more on Microsoft Research and why it matters over the next few weeks, but keep this in mind: Microsoft’s basic research team has more than 800 staffers beavering away at what is next. Combine that braintrust with touch input and both voice and motion capture, and we can’t wait to see what is next.
Top Image Credit: Jason Hickey
Sometimes it’s easy to start thinking that we’ve seen everything that iPad apps have to offer. It begins to look like permutations of the same interfaces and features remixed in a different way.
Then something like the super clever Foldify comes along and blows you away. An app that combines Papercraft, the art of folding patterns of paper to form 3D objects, the iPad’s screen and Apple’s AirPrint into a super clever package that surprised and delighted me.
The app is developed by the small Polish app house Pixle, and it feels like exactly the sort of thing that the iPad was made for. No, not for folding paper, but for doing things that would feel awkward or less intuitive on the iPhone or another small device. The small team of coder Krzysztof Zabłocki and designers Mariusz and his wife Renata Ostrowski have created something simple, unique and clever, all while working in their ‘spare’ time.
I spoke with Zabłocki about the app, who says that he’s been coding since he was 8 years old. He recently moved to London to work as a Senior iOS engineer at The App Business, who is fine with him working on his side projects.
“We were thinking about different ideas for our next project,” Zabłocki says when I ask him how Foldify came about. “We started by thinking about [doing a] game app with cutting shapes etc. but I didn’t really want to create app for kids, but for everyone.
Zabłocki says that they wanted to find something more technically challenging, and that’s how they settled on Papercraft. Papercraft is the art of designing a three-dimensional figure as a flat pattern on paper. The figure comes to live when you cut and fold it into shape, bearing your designs.
What Foldify does is make that experience less stressful, with no worries about mistakes being made in the drawing or stamping process, and a full three-dimensional model of your design updating live. This allows you to see exactly how it will turn out when you’ve printed it out and folded it up.
The process begins by choosing a simple 3D construct, there are a few now but more will be added in packs later on. Once you’ve picked a construct, you can begin painting with a brush and a color palette. If you’re doing something more complex like a car or figure, there are a bunch of stamps to choose from with things like eyes and glasses or car windows and wheels.
The process feels very touch native, with pinching and twisting motions controlling where your pattern lays on your ‘work’ surface. this is where the ‘iPad-ness’ of the app really kicks in. Instead of using a slider or a picker to choose your brush size, there is only one. Instead, you use pinching and zooming, changing your brush size relative to the canvas. It’s super clever.
“You can’t really change your finger size or make it transparent so that you actually see what are you drawing,” says Zabłocki. “It’s easy to draw with [an] external pen tool for artists, but I wanted to be able to draw with my finger, even a small detail. So, instead of making brush really small and making it extremely hard to draw details, [I thought] let’s just zoom in. The Brush is your finger size, but you are now drawing a detailed image.”
And that’s not the only bit of cleverness in Foldify. It was tested on the iPad 1, which has significantly poorer graphics capabilities than the newer iPads — though it didn’t support it for stability reasons in the end. The ‘creation layer’ of the app gave Zabłocki a lot of trouble getting it just right.
“I’ve had to come up with my own algorithm for line drawing to make sure we can draw smooth and anti-aliased lines,” Zabłocki says, “which for some reason no one [has] ever published.”
Since Zabłocki is a fan of open-source software, he decided to then contribute his reverse engineered method for drawing smoothly, without aliasing. He’s detailed his process in a blog post here, where he describes working backwards from the way lines are drawn in the app Paper by Fifty three.
Once you’ve gotten a design down that you like, printing it is as simple as tapping the print button and choosing an AirPrint printer. I can honestly say that this is the first time I’ve ever used AirPrint on an iPad, and I don’t even have a compatible printer. Instead, I used the HandyPrint preference pane to make mine compatible. If you’ve already got an AirPrint compatible printer, then you’re all set. Otherwise you can export to PDF and print it.
While my figure was a simple one, there are dozens of fantastic creations already up in the online gallery that you can access via Foldify’s main menu. This is where you can upload your designs for others to ‘like’ or print themselves. You can’t download from here, to avoid design theft, but you’re more than welcome to view and print.
In the future, Pixle plans on expanding the stamp packs, 3D models and other options, offering some free to existing users of the app and others for pay to support continued development.
Foldify is one of those apps that you really have to see in action to get, so I encourage you to grab it for the introductory $1.99 price, or at the very least watch the video above. It’s one of those rare surprises that make the App Store great.
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In today’s edition of Facebook scams comes the story of Nolan Daniels and his $1 million lottery ticket picture. “Looks like I won’t be going to work EVER!!!! Share this photo and I will give a random person 1 million dollars!”, says the Facebook pic. Of course this is legit. It’s on Facebook. Never mind that the numbers on the ticket are out of order.
It doesn’t take Gawker to figure out that this is just a well-timed scam. But that hasn’t stopped 638,006 people (and counting!) from hedging their credibility for a chance at a chunk of this guy’s winnings.
The fake picture was uploaded Thursday night, the day after a $550 million Powerball lottery drawing went to two winning tickets. When the pic was uploaded, only one of the winners had come forward. The second winner has yet to claim his riches.
But alas, the picture is fake. While the ticket has all the right numbers, they’re not in the proper order. Per the Powerball FAQ: “The tickets print the white ball numbers (the first five numbers) in numerical order.”
Sorry, folks. The only way to make a quick buck is to play the lottery.
I didn’t reach out to Nolan because this is a harmless scam.