Stylus-enabled art/graphics platforms - Surface, iPad Pro, etc.

Discussion in 'PC Hardware, Software and Displays' started by Cyan, Oct 26, 2016.

  1. hughJ

    Regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    734
    Likes Received:
    263
    I guess the professional market will have to bear this out, because I really can't wrap my head around the idea that a professional uses a mobile device as anything other than a last resort (due to travel, etc), or as a handy sketch pad for conceptual work. Or maybe the professional artist market is mostly comprised of web cartoonists that really don't need much from their hardware? My level of cynicism and snark probably isn't warranted given my ignorance of the "professional artist" umbrella, but it's hard to suppress. :p Everything I do with my SP4 has to be built around the idea of preserving battery or managing heat, so the last thing I'd ever want to do is work on a large psd file, never mind fighting with zbrush, mudbox, maya, etc. As I see it, the main saving grace for any of these mobile devices is that the Mobile Studio Pro can at least be hooked up to a proper desktop workstation and used like a Cintiq.
     
    BRiT likes this.
  2. Snyder

    Regular

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2002
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    It's quite astonishing that Microsoft doesn't seem to consider this a useful scenario.
    This is to the best of my knowledge something that's not possible - hacky workarounds like Splashtop & RDP shenanigans aside - with Windows 10.
    Yet almost anyone I know using a Surface (or similar) professionally would love that feature.
     
  3. hughJ

    Regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    734
    Likes Received:
    263
    I have to assume that Microsoft isn't genuinely interested in supplanting Wacom in the professional market, but rather appealing to the much wider Apple trendy/upscale/luxury market. The SP4 would be far more practical if it were 2mm thicker with twice the battery capacity, the Surface Studio likewise if it had an external tether such that you could use the display with a desktop.
     
  4. Silent_Buddha

    Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    16,141
    Likes Received:
    5,078
    They aren't. Wacom is a hardware partner for Microsoft and MS aren't keen to push any of their partners out of the market. What they are trying to do is offer premium devices to the market that address needs that aren't being met by their OEM partners.

    In many ways it's more about a way to alter and enhance the image of the company than a flat out play for marketshare and revenue. For example,

    http://www.fool.com/investing/2017/01/04/microsoft-corporations-surface-studio-is-exceeding.aspx

    MS knew it was deliberately targeting a small professional market with the Surface Studio and if that is to be believed they originally only ordered ~15k units for 4Q 2016. It evidently proved far more popular than their estimates. However, they still only increased their manufacturing orders to 30k units.

    In the same way that the Surface Studio wasn't meant to push out any of their OEM partners but was introduced to the market because none of their OEM partners was addressing a relatively small but wealthy niche of Windows users.

    In this case, drawing/art is a pretty small niche of personal computing. And the Surface Studio addresses a niche within that niche that wasn't adequately being addressed by anyone. The purpose wasn't to directly generate gobs and gobs of revenue (Surface Studio is projected to bring in less than half a percent of additional revenue for the first year). The purpose was to show the world that PC's aren't just boring business machines but something that can be adapted for use for just about anything with the right design. And that you can do so without going into a race to the bottom, IE - to offer a premium quality device.

    By doing that they widen the appeal of the overall PC market (or at least its visibility to non-PC users) which may indirectly lead to greater revenue than that generated by directly by Surface or Surface Studio. Which is why they are more than happy if their OEM partners flat out copy their design (some of the Surface Pro competitors from their OEM partners are almost identical copies except using different materials) and actually encourage their OEMs to copy it as much as they want.

    In fact, recently Microsoft had this to say when speculation that Dell was copying the Surface Studio with their Canvas product and that Microsoft were angry and ready to sue.

    From http://www.zdnet.com/article/dell-just-released-a-microsoft-surface-studio-style-display/

    He goes on to mention that its OEM hardware partners (which would include Wacom) are far more capable of offering a diverse array of hardware options than Microsoft can.

    While they do offer devices to compete against Apple devices to some degree, they aren't interested in becoming a hardware company like Apple.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    #44 Silent_Buddha, Jan 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2017
    Malo likes this.
  5. ProspectorPete

    Regular Newcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2017
    Messages:
    414
    Likes Received:
    137
    As a drawing device for professionals, responsiveness, pressure sensitivity, the ability to register at an angle , drawing friction , and so are rather important. Objectively it could not compete with a Cintiq at the actual drawing features..

    The innovation factor is really low as well. It's essentially a recycled Sony concept almost 20 years old:
     
  6. Silent_Buddha

    Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    16,141
    Likes Received:
    5,078
    Talk to most professional artists, or better yet, test them with a blind test. Unless they know ahead of time the pressure sensitivity of a given pen, they'll have no idea whether they are using a pen with 1024 levels of sensitivity or 2048 levels of sensitivity. Many can't even tell the difference between a well calibrated 256 level sensitivity pen and a well calibrated 2048 level sensitivity pen.

    The more important thing when considering a pen for professional use is how well the sensitivity curve is calibrated. Even better if you can manually calibrate sensitivity curve yourself. A prime example of this is when the Surface 3 came out with the Trig pen. Almost everyone hated working with the pen up until Microsoft included the capability of user adjustments to the sensitivity curve. Now, there's quite a few professionals that use it as their daily driver for work related functions.

    I know a few digital artists that have both a Surface Pro 3/4 and an iPad Pro. They love the iPad pro for the tilt function of the pen, and use it for casual relaxed drawing, but they use the Surface Pro for anything work related as the workflow on the iPad pro is horrible in comparison and the battery life on the pen is quite bad. Having to recharge the pen in the middle of drawing something is an annoyance, no matter how quickly the pen recharges.

    There's also quite a few that prefer using the various Wacom solutions. However, I've seen a few that prefer the Wacom hardware switching over to using a Surface device because they've gotten fed up with Wacom's support. The Surface devices and Ntrig pen are good enough that once they get used to the differences their workflow doesn't suffer in the slightest.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  7. ProspectorPete

    Regular Newcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2017
    Messages:
    414
    Likes Received:
    137
    Pressure sensitivity in this case means actual registration of drawing when only applying light pressure. Every professional artist, not most, every professional artist will complain about N-Trig, which are notoriously bad. Also drawing straight lines (not with a ruler) will produce wobbly results.

    The Apple Pencil lasts 12 hours fully charged btw. Drawing on an iPad Pro means: more accurate, faster, better friction, ability to draw at an angle, ability to draw accurate with light pressure, ability to draw accurate while drawing really slow. The single and only designer advantage Surface has is that it runs the full photoshop.
     
  8. Silent_Buddha

    Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    16,141
    Likes Received:
    5,078
    Well at this point I already know to ignore what you post here since I actually know some professional artists. And while some of them can tell the difference at the low end, not all of them can due how they draw. So you're already wrong with stating "every professional artist." Now I'll agree that most of them can tell about the difference in light pressure. It's also irrelevant for some of them, again due to how they draw their art.

    I have no clue on how long the battery lasts in the Apple pen in real world usage, versus the claimed battery life. I'm just relaying what people I know that do art for a living complain about.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  9. Sigfried1977

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    4,924
    Likes Received:
    1,746
    Wacom has finally released the hybrid pen. It's called Bamboo Ink. It's not out in Europe yet, but luckily my gf brought me back one from her LA trip during E3. I think it's a tremendous improvement over the Surface pen. The initial activation force required to draw is much lower, and the longer tip means you can draw at steeper angles much more comfortably. It's also way more comfortable to hold thanks to its round shape and rubberized surface. It's non-magnetic unfortunately , so it's not gonna stick to the Surface like the MS pen does. You also cannot flip it over and use the pen's rear end as an eraser. Those are fairly minor gripes, though. I always thought the eraser-shaped back of these pens was a nice gimmick at best.

    Conclusion: The drawing experience on the Surface is still not quite there with something like a Wacom Cintiq, but it's much, much closer now. Supposedly MS' next surface pen will have lower activation force as well and even support tilt, but 12g of pressure still sounds a little too high. (it's 1 g on my Cintiq)
     
    Silent_Buddha likes this.
  10. Silent_Buddha

    Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    16,141
    Likes Received:
    5,078
    Here's a related artists blog with their impressions of it.

    http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/20...smart-stylus-puts-the-pressure-on-surface-pen

    He estimates the activation force at around 5g. MS claims 9g for the Surface Pen. Pretty close but still better for the Bamboo.

    Along with tilt, greater pressure sensitivity, and lowered IAF, MS are also claiming lower lag for the pen comparable to the Apple Pen (20 ms Apple claims) for the new Surface Pen (21 ms Microsoft claims).

    http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2017/6/19/new-surface-pro-and-surface-pen-are-killer-combo

    Same guy has his impressions of the new Surface Pen.

    Also, while not eliminated, MS appears to have reduced the jitter from very slow strokes. But this is mostly when paired with the new Surface Pro.

    http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2017/6/17/new-surface-pen-worth-the-100-upgrade

    He compares it to the previous pens on the Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4. It represents a smaller upgrade in those cases. So some of the new improvements to the new Surface Pen require the improved digitizer in the new Surface Pro.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    #50 Silent_Buddha, Jun 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
    tinokun and BRiT like this.
  11. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
    Moderator Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    40,706
    Likes Received:
    11,160
    Location:
    Under my bridge
    The new pen supports tilt? So it's better, except they reduced functionality by removing the eraser? I love the eraser! Love it on the Galaxy Note 10.1 and the SP4. It's so intuitive and less faff than changing app pen back and forth.
     
  12. Silent_Buddha

    Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    16,141
    Likes Received:
    5,078
    BRiT likes this.
  13. Silent_Buddha

    Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    16,141
    Likes Received:
    5,078
    The Wacom Bamboo Ink doesn't support tilt and doesn't have an eraser.

    The new Surface Pen supports tilt (requires the new Surface Pro I believe) and still keeps the eraser.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    BRiT likes this.
  14. Silent_Buddha

    Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    16,141
    Likes Received:
    5,078
    Brad goes into the new Surface Pen in some detail.



    Evidently tilt support will come to the Surface Pro 3 and 4 at a later date via a software update. So I'm assuming that if the Surface Studio doesn't support it now, it'll support it in the future.

    Unlikely that they'll get the improved pen jitter support, however.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    BRiT likes this.
  15. Silent_Buddha

    Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    16,141
    Likes Received:
    5,078
    Update. Looks like Surface Studio has the best lack of jitter of all Surface devices when using the new pen.



    A common complaint I'm seeing as well is that the tilt functionality needs to be refined more.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    BRiT likes this.
  16. hughJ

    Regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    734
    Likes Received:
    263
    Disappointing that a 120+Hz drawing display is only now finding its way to market (albeit still hampered by being on iOS) - it's something that seemed an obvious way forward a decade ago. Also disappointing that even after three revisions and 4 years that MS+Ntrig still seems to be fighting battles that Wacom's EMR implementation handled better a decade ago. I guess Wacom's lack of competition has left them in a bubble and allowed them to coast in a lot of ways, and their old school approach to undisciplined software polish and hands-off support will end up costing them their market if/when Apple or MS attempt to move into that space.
     
  17. eloyc

    Veteran Regular

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2009
    Messages:
    2,000
    Likes Received:
    1,179
    @Shifty Geezer , can we rename this thread as a general drawing tablets/devices thread? I would like to make some questions regarding which device is best for what I want. Should I create a separate thread, instead?

    Thank you!
     
  18. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
    Moderator Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    40,706
    Likes Received:
    11,160
    Location:
    Under my bridge
    Feels a bit weird including iPad Pro in the PC section, but for comparisons sake while talking about Windows devices, it's warranted.
     
  19. eloyc

    Veteran Regular

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2009
    Messages:
    2,000
    Likes Received:
    1,179
    @Shifty Geezer , thank you! You're my hero, haha! :p

    Well, I have a Wacom Bamboo. I'm thinking about "upgrading" to a more sophisticated device, but there are so many options, that I don't know what to do.

    The basic features I would like are a standalone device/PC/tablet where I can draw on screen, instead of using a separated pad/screen. I've thought of Surface, Lenovo notebooks (such as Yoga or Miix), etc. Wacom Studio is out of my radar.

    I would also like to use the device to read books (I guess I would have to use a standard Windows PDF reader, maybe?).

    Any ideas? What about precision? Even though my graphics tablet is from a prehistoric era, I wonder how it compares to newer products with regard to accuracy.
     
  20. eloyc

    Veteran Regular

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2009
    Messages:
    2,000
    Likes Received:
    1,179
    Anyone? Opinions? Personal experiences?
     
Loading...

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Beyond3D has been around for over a decade and prides itself on being the best place on the web for in-depth, technically-driven discussion and analysis of 3D graphics hardware. If you love pixels and transistors, you've come to the right place!

    Beyond3D is proudly published by GPU Tools Ltd.
Loading...