I just want to give a quick overview / review of my work area. Nothing too in-depth, but hope it’s useful to get a gist of another digital artist’s set up.
Here’s my 2014 set up: Upgraded Lenovo Y500 Notebook PC running Photoshop CS6 + a Wacom Cintiq 22HD mounted onto Dual Ergotron LX Arms
The Cintiq 22HD
I’ve now used it to create three or four recent artworks over the last few months. It’s working out well. I use the adjustable Ergotron Arm to have it in a floating, elevated position for day to day use and bring it down to the desk at around a 45 degree angle for art projects (see above). I decided to program the Cintiq buttons from top to bottom (for Photoshop use) as:
- Step Forward
- Step Backward
- x (swap foreground and background colour)
- b (brush tool)
- Touch strip: mostly use for brush size
- Pan/ Hand tool
These would work great for me. The trouble is I often forget to use the the Cintiq’s buttons as I’m so used to keyboard keys. And while, in theory, simply having to shift my right thumb to press the buttons would potentially simplify and speed up work flow, most projects still require me to use several other useful short cut keys so often neglecting the buttons and instead sticking exclusively to the keyboard seems to make sense right now.
The screen size is good. I didn’t feel I needed the extra couple of inches from the 24″ version, and the lower weight from the 22 incher means the adjustable arm I use doesn’t have a problem keeping it suspended off the desk. It’s not cutting edge screen tech, but gives a good quality result far greater than my previous monitor set up and I have no complaints. Also glad I didn’t pay the extra for the touch version as I doubt I’d make use of those features.
At the moment the pen uses a standard nib, which I’ll probably change to a felt nib as I like the added friction and softer tip feel. I’m still wondering if I need to get a ‘Smudge-guard’ glove to reduce palm friction. So far I’ve not really found this to be a problem so I’ll stick without and see how I get on using it over the coming year.
The Set up
My keyboard [Microsoft Wireless 6000 v3.0] sits to my left (since I’m right handed) and it’s pretty comfortable to use while I rest my palm on the desk/palm rest and my elbow on my chair’s arm.
I’ve since extended the Ergotron laptop arm so the screens don’t butt up against each other or need to overlap and there’s enough space under the tech to clean and dust. All cabling is concealed within the arms themselves.
My printer [Epson 1500W Stylus Photo A3+] fits nicely at the back in the corner typically covered with a custom made cover to keep dust at bay.
My mouse [Microsoft Wireless Mobile 6000] sits on a gel filled mat, which saves me from RSI.
The Cintiq is connected to the laptop via a DVI to HDMI cable. This required opening up the back of the tablet to attach (twice, since I’ve since extended to cable length from 2m to 3m).
I also bought a Intuos Pen for when I take my laptop elsewhere and obviously the Cintiq has to stay at home. I’ve used it the Intuos once so far and liking it. I’d better start coming up with some new artworks so I can put this new tech to use.