Testing new technology

Wacom product demo gives student voice in equipment choices

Diana Baker // The Torch
Mac Bohlman, a media arts student, tries out a Mobile Studio Pro device during a Wacom product demo event on January 26 in the LCC Media Arts Lab.

The Media Arts Department at Lane hosted a Wacom product demo on Jan. 26 to help determine future equipment choices. A variety of drawing tablets and devices were provided for students to try out, including some already offered for use in media arts equipment checkout. Jan Halvorsen, a media arts faculty member, led a team of student workers in organizing the event. Halvorsen wanted to get feedback about what tools students would likely use so that the department could look into future purchases for the media arts equipment checkout.

Around thirty students visited over the course of the event to try out digital drawing, sculpting and tracing equipment. Halvorsen and student workers were on hand to show event participants how the tools work.

Misty Holmes, a graphic design major, explained that digital tablets have an expansive range of production uses. The smooth workflow the digital interface provides has practical application for those working in graphic design, animation, 3-D modeling, audio production and video editing.

Diana Baker // The Torch
Jan Halvorsen, left, a media arts faculty member, shows students Bryan Emanuel, center, and DJ Martinez, right, how to use the Cintiq 22HD. The pen display was designed to meet the needs of creative professionals.

The media arts checkout currently has Wacom Intuos tablets for student use. The pen and the tablet serve as a way for the user to communicate with the software more ergonomically than the standard mouse and keyboard. It functions like a large laptop mousepad, and the pressure-sensitive pens allow the user to make thicker or thinner lines depending on how hard they press on the pen. During the product demo, some students used the tablets for drawing while others used it for 3-D modeling. New products on display included the Intuos Pro Paper, the Mobile Studio Pro, and the Cintiq Pro 16.

The Intuos Pro Paper is like the tablets already available but uses a physical pen. A piece of paper is attached to the screen, the physical pen draws on the paper, which is then transferred digitally to the software. Emmet Crass, Multimedia Design and Graphic Design student, found its use a bit limited. He considered it good for transferring sketches from drawing to digital, but the lack of pressure sensitivity limited it as an art tool.

Diana Baker // The Torch
Emmet Crass, a media arts student, tries out the Intuos Pro Paper while Damian McDonald, a media arts faculty, tries out the Cintiq 16. Crass found the Pro Paper useful for transferring line art sketches to a computer, but saw the lack of erasing option to be a big drawback.

The Mobile Studio Pro was a drawing tablet that also displayed the screen on its surface and was compatible with the pressure-sensitive pen. Mac Bohlman, a student worker aiming for a career in animation, found the Mobile Studio Pro to be her favorite.

“It makes it quicker to draw. You can feel what you’re drawing, and it makes animating more natural,” Bohlman said.

The Cintiq Pro 16 is a self-contained device, so the user doesn’t need to plug it into a computer to work. The Media Arts Lab has its larger counterpart, the Cintiq 22HD, for students to use, mounted on its own stand for ergonomic drawing. It’s a touch-screen computer device paired with a pressure-sensitive pen. The Cintiq Pro 16’s smaller size makes it a mobile tool that can fit into a backpack, like a digital sketchbook with its own software system.

Bryan Emanuel, game development student, and DJ Martinez, a media arts student, tried out the media lab’s Cintiq 22HD. Emanuel, who returned to Lane to learn Maya, Unity, and other