Friday, April 30, 2010

Wacom 6D Art Pen Impressions

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I'm not sure how popular the Wacom 6D Art Pen is. A hefty investment in an Intuos or Cintiq is pricy enough. Anything more seems plain indulgent. And considering how many times I've misplaced my normal pen around the room, you wonder if it's worth getting another pen... to lose somewhere under your desk again.

On face value, the only difference between the 6D and the standard grip pen is rotation. The 6D also does NOT have mouse triggers nor an eraser. Is it REALLY worth the AU$140 I paid for this? I've had this pen for about a year now but after some perseverance it has become a joy to use.

You'd probably only be remotely interested in this device if you have a certain style of art or the software you use. Zbrush for example; Utterly useless when you don't have a right mouse button. Or if your style is more vector, again I see no real point of the 6D over the grip pen. If you are abit more painterly though and require alot of 'feel' in each stroke you may want to give it a go.

Say for example you are sketching away digitally and want to get a soft taper from a broad stroke. You'd either have to have a really cultured hand or (if you're like me) you draw a line and 'chip' away back into it. Not only is this time-consuming and contrived, it begins too hurt your hand. You are literally forced to rub on the screen all day until that beautiful stroke is achieved. If at all.

Now I'm not saying you can't get a beautiful line without a 6D. In fact there seems to be alot of great digital artists out there that cope without it just fine. But I don't think it's as enjoyable. Why? Because the combination of the extra gestures the 6D is picking up together with the felt tip nib feels alot more organic. You feel free-er. Much like a filbert brush getting extra finesse instead of a 'stamped' looking brush here and there.

Just a note though, the 6D Art pen seems at home in Painter than in Photoshop. I found Photoshop (CS3) doesn't sense rotation very well and the cursor doesn't rotate nor tilt with your hand so your always second guessing yourself as to what is going to happen.

Here's a YouTube video of me inking away with a 6D Art Pen on a Cintiq 12WX just to give you guys an idea of how it can be used. Let me know if you have any questions!