Welcome to the latest in our regular series of interviews with artists and designers from some of the UK's leading VFX, animation, advertising and branding companies – who've been using the Wacom Cintiq 27QHD Touch tablet display on a long-term trial.
All the participants are using the Cintiq devices on their professional projects – and telling us about their experiences.
Our participant this week is the talented concept artist and digital matte painter, Gerard Dunleavy.
Gerard Dunleavy is an artist with a broad skill set and experience in the film and advertising industries.
While studying multimedia and design in Ireland, Gerard was switched on to considering visual effects as a career option by a visiting tutor.
After he won first prize in a CG Student awards competition, he received many offers of employment, but chose a job at The Mill in London.
After a successful stint in commercials work there he moved on to films, working at Double Negative on Thor: The Dark World and Godzilla.
Thereafter he worked freelance before joining the commercials arm of MPC over a year ago.
Gerard has quite extensive experience of the Wacom models, having used the very first Wacom Cintiq model, as well as owning the smaller 13-inch model.
As a result he can really spot the difference in his workflow with the new Wacom Cintiq 27QHD Touch.
He especially notes the increased colour and resolution of the new device. However with its resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 and display capable of 1.07 billion colours, it's hardly surprising that an artist of Gerard's calibre finds these qualities attractive.
"The screen size definitely helps too," Gerard says. "Especially now working in HD now and 4K in the future, I think working at this size is great."
Dunleavy also finds the ExpressKey Remote to be a definite improvement over previous interactive control features.
This innovative devices sports shortcut keys and a unique touch ring. It can be positioned anywhere on the screen or desk for increased flexibility and control over how, when and where customised keyboard shortcuts and modifiers are set.
The 3-mode Touch Ring offers Auto zoom/scroll, Brush Size, or Rotate, while each ExpressKey can be set to a particular function using dropdown menus in the ExpressKey Remote tabs of the Wacom Control Pane
Gerard also loves the ability to draw directly on screen. "It's just natural," he says. "Everyone can do it, you can just pick up the pen, touch it and draw."
The Cintiq 27QHD Touch Pro Pen features Wacom’s proprietary Tip Sensor technology, which offers users near-zero starting pressure and as Gerard recognises, it offers virtually the same natural experience as working with traditional brushes or pens.
The pen also features a pressure-sensitive eraser and two side switches that can be customised for common commands, such as double-click and right-click.
Gerard spends most of his time in Photoshop, but has recently started working more in Nuke. He also uses Maya for building environments. "The new Maya 2016 version has been developed for high res screens so [the Cintiq] is great," he adds
The artists we've been following in this series all remark upon the increase in their physical movement when using the Cintiq 27QHD Touch and Gerard is no different.
"I make use of my entire arm instead of just my wrist," he says. "It reduces fatigue, and means you can stay longer and draw better."
The Cintiq Ergo stand is another winner in Gerard's workflow. The ergonomically designed, counterweighted stand allows users to quickly and effortlessly adjust the incline and height of the display to your favorite working position.
"I particularly like the height I can get from the stand," he says. "I can stand up and use it as well. It's very refreshing."