Cintiq 24HD Pen Display
Cintiq 24HD Pen Display
The Cintiq 24HD has a lot of improvements compared to its previous designs in Wacom’s Cintiq line with a larger drawing surface, greater resolution and sensitivity and so on. Most importantly, it is much more flexible and human centered. The spring-loaded dual-hinged frame allows for quick manipulation into dozens of different orientations and gives users a dramatic experience in using it.
It looks very convenient to use; very flexible; very professional and neat.
It is more than a drawing tablet, it also supports other uses. A sturdy base and a custom clutch lock make it possible to fit different needs and postures of users.
Cintiq 24HD Pen Display
The Cintiq 24HD is the industry standard in digitizing tablets for graphics professionals. Like previous entries in Wacom’s Cintiq line it allows drawing directly on the screen, but improves on them dramatically with a larger drawing surface, greater resolution and sensitivity, and a customizable in-bezel interface that can be navigated entirely by touch. The heavy display floats on a spring-loaded dual-hinged frame, allowing for quick manipulation into dozens of different orientations. This makes the 24HD not just powerful, but incredibly flexible and ergonomic, allowing it to comfortably serve multiple functions through the marathon work sessions of professional users.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
The project’s context was defined, more than anything, by Wacom’s established reputation and the expectations of its users. Hundreds of thousands of people trust their livelihood and creative output depends to their Cintiqs, and expect each new release to improve markedly on the preceding one. The 24HD, however, crossed a sort of threshold, taking it to a level of technical sophistication and sheer mass that demanded a fundamental re-thinking of the product form. This brought a series of specific and daunting challenges:
*Size: The largest digitizing screen ever produced commercially — 35 pounds, 2 inches thick, producing 3x the heat of previous Cintiqs.
*Ergonomics: Cintiq owners expect to be up and running on their tablets in 10 seconds, and to use them for up to 18 hours straight. A comfortable, relaxed posture was an occupational health necessity.
*Modes: Besides drawing, the 24HD had to serve as a computer monitor, presentation display and collaborative work surface.
*Nimbleness: Multiple modes only matter when they’re effortless. The tablet had to allow easy adjustment despite its weight.
*Stability: Drawing on a screen means leaning on it, so the mounting frame had to lock rigidly in place.
*Leading Edge: Many users draw with their elbow on the table, so the leading edge of the tablet had to be as low as possible.
*Blind Operation: Searching for buttons takes time and concentration. Controls had to be flexible enough to take the place of a keyboard while drawing, but tactile enough for blind operation.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
The team brought an unusual point of view to the 24HD project in that we were among the product’s target users. So not only did we want to make a great product for our client, we wanted to make a great one for us.
In practice, this meant pushing ourselves a little harder than we had to, especially when it came to sweating out visual and tactile details, and keeping the entire assembly as clean and elegant as possible. It also meant a research process that we really enjoyed–watching some of the world’s most talented visual designers ply their trade was an unqualified joy, and it was intensely satisfying to learn what they needed, and use this to perfect the final design.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
The process began with an intensive series of in-person workshops and observations, with a dozen graphics professionals who currently rely on Cintiq displays, and form the core of the 24HD’s target market. These are people who use their digital tools for up to 16 hours at a stretch, and expect complete control over their function and configuration. The design team mocked up dozens of potential tablet configurations for them, using existing Cintiqs augmented by blocks of styrofoam, keyboards, milled-out pieces of REN–anything to simulate the next generation display and see how it would work in the real world. Shooting extensive video and modifying control layouts on the fly, they were able to quickly test, prototype and re-test dozens of configurations, and prioritize the key features (listed out in section 2, above).
The other starting point was a series of hard realizations about engineering constraints. Noting early on that this new display would be too unwieldy to manipulate unaided, the designers realized they’d have to support it physically in a way that wasn’t required in previous versions. This became especially clear in an early planning meeting, when an engineer brought in a full-scale mockup of the screen, accurately weighted at 35 pounds, and dropped it on the table. Dumping a handful of pens out and laying the mockup on top of it, one of the team’s creative directors demonstrated a useful approach: when a heavy object needs to move, don’t pick it up, slide it around.
These combined understandings led to a unique design approach, centered around a spring-assisted U-frame that uses a pair of locking clutches to support the display in dozens of different orientations. The frame’s two axles lock independently, and rest on a heavy base that glides smoothly across any flat surface. Together, these features let the user rapidly transform the display from a high, table-like work surface, to an upright monitor display, to a variety of drafting positions–even resting in the user’s lap below the edge of the desk. The entire assembly weighs just over 60 pounds, yet it can be manipulated as easily as a desk lamp. The close proximity of the clutch paddles to the bezel controls let users adjust the configuration without ever taking eyes of the work at hand.
The design team and Wacom’s engineers worked together through physical prototypes and CAD models, to resolve dozens of practical details. Repositioning the internal electronics shrank the leading edge down to just ¾” thick, and allowed the tablet’s significant heat output to be abated by just two fans and an array of heat pipes. All wires were routed internally through the U-frame into a rear access bay, which uses standard connectors to reduce replacement costs, and future-proof the device. Aesthetically, the entire unit is subtly but impeccably detailed, with nods to automotive and aircraft design, such as the winglike shape of the clutch paddles and the streamlined curves of the support frame.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
At its most fundamental, the 24HD makes professional designers, artists and photographers better at their job. Because of its size, resolution and physical interface characteristics, it’s the absolute closest thing to getting the computer out of the way, and working directly with the image at hand. This has direct benefits for anyone who creates and manipulates images for a living, allowing them to be more productive and intuitive, for longer stretches without fatigue.
The 24HD’s design also makes it an effective replacement for a range of other gadgets, including cinema displays, peripheral digitizing tablets and secondary screens — the size makes a second display superfluous for most users, reducing overall power usage and the need for future product purchases.
The result is a triumph of effortless, advanced technology. Within four days of release, the initial run had sold out entirely, earned Gizmodo’s “Best Graphics Tablet of 2011” designation, and sparked dozens of glowing reviews from the tech and design press.