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Wacom announces Cintiq 22HD pen display, we go hands-on (video)

Oh, to sit in a darkened room all day and get paid to do art. No phone calls, no stress, and no technology except for a PC and a brand new $1,999 Wacom Cintiq 22HD tablet display (and maybe also a pair of equally well-engineered Beyerdynamics). Alas, only our Distro magazine crew get to live like that -- the rest of the Engadget team must make do with spec sheets and quick hands-on impressions, which are precisely what you'll find after the break. %Gallery-159971% %Gallery-160012%

The Cintiq 22HD is available from today and is a direct replacement for the 21UX that came out a couple of years ago. Its main promise is an improved LED-backlit panel: not necessarily in terms of resolution, as the pixels have simply been rejigged into a widescreen 1920 x 1080 form factor (instead of 1600 x 1200), but rather in greater brightness (230 nits vs 200) and contrast (1,000:1 instead of 550:1).

Wacom announces Cintiq 22HD pen display, we go handson video

Interestingly, the 22HD keeps the same rotation stand, rather than adopting the heavy "ergo" stand that comes with the pricier 24HD and the new 24HD touch. Those who like the physicality of spinning their tablets around will appreciate Wacom's decision in this respect, but those who wanted the vertical flexibility of the ergo will just have to splash out on a bigger model.

Wacom announces Cintiq 22HD pen display, we go handson video

That's not to say there aren't bodily updates to the 22HD -- in fact, there are a few of them, including subtle tweaks to the buttons, making them larger and "more comfortable," plus the use of standard, user-replaceable cables, which means there's no need to panic if you twist and break them during a particularly passionate flurry of rotations. Hopefully the video above will help you decide whether these revisions are worth the upgrade.

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New Wacom Cintiqs Paint a Pretty Picture

The Cintiq 24HD touch and Cintiq 22HD provide an immersive and natural pen-on-screen experience for professional creators of digital content

Tailored around the increasing demands of creative professionals, Wacom® announces two new members to the Cintiq® family of interactive pen displays, the Cintiq 24HD touch and Cintiq 22HD. As with the Cintiq 24HD, Wacom's latest Cintiqs feature best-in-class widescreen HD displays, ultra-wide viewing angles and premium colour performance. To give professional artists and designers enhanced focus on their work and creativity, Wacom introduces the powerful combination of a precision pen and natural multi-touch. With the addition of these models to the Cintiq lineup, anyone from freelance industrial designers sketching in a small studio, to Hollywood animators creating the next blockbuster movie, can find a Cintiq that best fits their workflow.

The Cintiq 24HD touch: Hot Colour, Cool Touch

To offer users an immersive experience and a more intuitive and natural way to work, the new Cintiq 24HD touch combines multi-touch with Wacom's renowned pen technology. The Cintiq 24HD touch closely replicates the experience of working with two hands when using traditional materials such as paints, markers and clay while giving the artist powerful capabilities that only exist in today's creative software applications. "Increasingly, as creative software incorporates multi-touch interaction and gesture support, the Cintiq 24HD touch provides a natural input experience for all related activities including concept sketching, illustration and especially 3D activities such as sculpting, modeling and animation," says Guido Möller, product manager professional brands. "The ability to manipulate a 3D model or pan, zoom and rotate an image with one hand while simultaneously sculpting or sketching with the other delivers a completely natural experience, enabling artists to stay completely in their creative zone."

Support for Wacom's advanced multi-touch is available in Corel®'s latest Painter™ 12.2 update and provides a harmonious digital painting experience to artists. "With the introduction of multi-touch, Wacom has created a highly evolved environment for Corel Painter users to work with the power of digital tools but in a completely natural and intuitive way. Multi-touch allows users to directly manipulate their work by spinning, pinching and moving it around, instead of searching for buttons or quick keys to perform the same actions," said Nick Davies, executive vice president of graphics and productivity at Corel.

Professionals with colour critical workflows, such as photographers, graphic designers, video and film editors as well as animators and game developers will benefit from the Cintiq 24HD's life-like colour quality which displays 1.07 billion colours and 97 percent of Adobe's colour gamut. "For many creative workflows, the calibration of colour for the entire project is a necessity," continues Guido Möller. "Given the colour gamut of the Cintiq 24HD touch, artists can be certain that the colours they see while working on the Cintiq can be calibrated to match the printing or other output phases of a project."

As with the Cintiq 24HD, the Cintiq 24HD touch offers best-in-class ergonomics. Professionals working long hours will appreciate the counter-weighted stand that adjusts to their favorite positions for maximum comfort. For example, one can bring the display surface over the edge of the desk so that it rests comfortably just above the lap. The display can also be adjusted to more vertical, easel-like positions.

In addition, frequently used shortcut commands are available at the user's fingertips through the application-specific, customisable ExpressKeys and Touch Rings of the Cintiq 24HD touch. Employing these shortcuts can save valuable time by minimising keyboard dependency.

The Cintiq 22HD: Express Yourself

With Wacom's new Cintiq 22HD widescreen interactive pen display, illustrators, designers and artists can interact with their artwork on a more personal level. By offering a pen-on-screen experience that delivers the same natural feel, response and results derived from working with traditional brushes, pencils and pens, the Cintiq 22HD workflow allows users to unleash their creativity and express themselves just like they would with real paint on canvas or real ink on paper. Additionally, the Cintiq 22HD's unique stand is ideal for artists who prefer to rotate their entire display as part of their workflow.

"Creative professionals want their technology to be invisible," says Guido Möller. "That is, they need their tools of the trade to be natural, seamless and comfortable. The Cintiq 22HD meets these requirements with ergonomic features to help increase comfort and productivity."

To improve workflow and creative output, the Cintiq 22HD offers eight customisable, application-specific ExpressKeys located on each side of the display's bezel. Additionally, user-defined Touch Strips, conveniently placed on the back of each side of the display, can be used for such functions as zoom, scroll, brush size and canvas rotation. Artists and designers will appreciate the comfort and freedom that the Cintiq provides, especially during long sessions of drawing or sketching.

Sophisticated Cintiq Pen

Pen performance remains the key ingredient to the whole interactive pen display experience. Delivering virtually the same feel and feedback as traditional brushes and pens, both Cintiqs feature Wacom's professional-level pen performance to produce dazzling artistic effects within creative software applications from Adobe®, Corel®, Autodesk® and many more. Both the Cintiq 24HD touch and Cintiq 22HD support the optional available Art Pen and Airbrush to deliver natural brush effects within Adobe® Photoshop® and Illustrator® (CS3 and above) as well as Corel® Painter™ (10 and above).

Choosing a Cintiq

With four Cintiqs now in the family (Cintiq 12WX, Cintiq 22HD, Cintiq 24HD and Cintiq 24HD touch), Wacom offers a line of interactive pen displays that each have their own set of unique features and characteristics. Choosing the best model ultimately boils down to matching personal workflows with the right Cintiq.

Availability and Pricing

The Cintiq 22HD (£1599.99) will be available after July 10, 2012 and the Cintiq 24HD touch (£2999.99 ) is expected to ship in August. All prices are including VAT.