Friday, April 18, 2014

Noob Review: Yiynova DP10U+ USB Digitizer Tablet

April's Entry to SVS's 3rd Thursday Contest
Last week I had a fun time with Cyphacon two weekends ago and then Dye Day(which will be my next post in a few days) with the spinning and weaving guild I am in roughly a week ago...However, something I was waiting for came in the mail the day just before Dye Day. With my refund check and some money I had saved up, I had ordered several things off of Amazon: a 32 ounce bottle of Bristle Magic(amazing none of the art stores here had this), Manga Studio 5, and, what the bulk of my money went to, a Yiynova DP10U+ USB Digitizer Tablet. 
Yiynova DP10U+
 Right when I was finishing my illustration for March's 3RD Thursday contest for School of Visual Storytelling, my Vistablet I had for a while was finally beginning to fail me. So, once I had my refund check, I ordered those three items above. However, I also decided to do a review of the Yiynova DP10U+ since there was not many reviews for this new version of the Yiynova DP10U. Excuse my photos, I was quite excited getting this and used my Iphone, but pictures are sometimes better than words. Especially the new package bubbles I never seen before. They are cool and effectively protected my new display!
Materials and Extras with Yiynova
 Now, with unboxing the cheap looking box, I found myself happy with what I got. I got the tablet, the pen for it with a nib remover and two replace news, the manual, a mini-manual for setting it up(my favorite part), the warranty, and a nice velvet bag to keep it in. The tablet's hardware, I will admit, is cheap. I have been born and raised by the Baby Boomer Generation of garage sale hunters and technically a Generation X(or Y with how they keep changing the age range on me) garage sale hunter. I know cheap plastic when I see it, but they did not, at least, go for the super-cheap stuff. It's sturdy enough to travel with. My Yiynova DP10U+ has survived a trip in my computer bag for a day trip to town to prove it.
Testing tablet with my laptop, as did test on my desktop.
 However, after installing the drivers and messing with the Yiynova DP10U+ settings to figure out how to work it, I found that instead of lining their pockets with the profits from using cheap materials... They put all that money right into the software. Oh, before I get into software, I discovered something you who might want to buy this should know. I learned this through my laptop(and thinking at first it was a glitching), but the Yiynova DP10U+ can be used both as a normal graphic tablet with the main monitor selected or as a true pen display when it is selected for the main use screen. So, if you find your pen display not working right off the bat, check to see if the mouse is moving on the main monitor and check the pen display settings if it is to change pen drive to focus on the pen display.
Test in Sketchbook Pro
Now, back to software. Boy, was I a happy camper with this. I knew from the reviews I looked at for the original Yiynova DP10U and DP10U+ that software was pretty dang good for the price. Well, I will state it is an understatement. Even with the small screen, the tablet is very sensitive and the strokes are smooth. It worked great in Photoshop and Manga Studio 5, though I did have to figure out some small issues for Sketchbook Pro 6 and it got working fine after the issues were solved. However, just as some of the reviewers said, this tablet is so sensitive, you can do very light, delicate cross hatching with it which was something I could not do even with a Wacom Intuos tablet I played with before or my old graphic tablet. It is not just sensitive for light touches, it also is very good at register the whole pressure range which you can adjust to how light or hard you often work with a graphic tablet.

Photoshop test, with some crosshatching
Now, the pen, though also of cheap plastic, is also MUCH more comfortable for me to use compared to other pens. It's light like a nib holder and fits in my hand just like large one. In fact, it is so much like a nib holder... I began to do my little habit with nib holders and traditional pens I use. I will rotate them in my hand while working, either to change direction or just thinking. This had me cussing for a bit till I figured out what was going on while playing in Manga Studio 5. I did not realize the buttons on Yiynova DP10U+ pen were already connected to shortcuts(though I would have set them myself). Each time I hit the top of the two buttons on the pen, the eyedropper came up in Manga Studio 5 and changed my color to wherever the pen was hovering over. Still, once I figured out that issue, I found myself having a better flow with Yiynova DP10U+ due to not just seeing my work right where I was working, but because the pen felt a lot more natural to me compared to other graphic tablet pens.
A simple, but comfortable digital pen...And just realized a random sock there.
However, just as there are good things, there are some bad things. Though, these are minor. This pen display takes up two USB ports to use. This is fine with my laptop since it has a built in keyboard and mouse and lots of USB ports on my desktop... However, if you are a heavy user of your USB ports, then this tablet might not be for you. Another issue is the screen. I am not talking about resolution or even the size. Those are great. The issue of comes with its viewing angles and colors. The viewing angles have improved from the original, but if you get two far back from "up and down" then you get a funny glare. The same with going "side to side," hence the best angles are when you are either right above it or have it up roughly at the angle a book stand would have it. Hence when I begin this year's garage sale expeditions, I will be looking for a sturdy little book stand to have it up at a better angle for my wrist. Now, colors on the screen are also off, though I heard this is also a problem with the Wacom Cintiq. Since the Yiynova DP10U+ is used as technically an extra screen... Instead of turning off your main display when you work with the Yiynova DP10U+, the best way to work with this color issue is to take advantage of the two screens. My main displays(both for my laptop and desktop) are pretty close to proper colors, so when I am working in Photoshop or Mang Studio 5, I make an extra window of my work and out it in the computer's main display to check for the proper colors and such. This is a good habit to get into as since you won't mess with the extra window with zoom in and such, it allows you to see the whole image instead of just the small part you a working with on the pen display. Haven't figure out how to do it in Sketchbook Pro so if anyone knows, let me know. Also, as you get to the every edge of the screen with the pen, the mouse icon and pen are begin to move apart and not right next to each other. Though, you get used to the change in distance after some practice.
Test in my brand new Manga Studio 5. Also playing with the tools I got with it.
Now, I bet everyone who is reading this wants to know the price and if it is worth the price. As of the moment I post this review, it is still the price I got at: $319 with free shipping off of from Panda City. This is roughly a little cheaper than the Wacom's Intuos Pro Medium graphic tablet which is $349. However, even with the minor problems I had with Yiynova DP10U+, I say for sure that the Yiynova DP10U+ blows the Intuos Pro out of the water as well as many other graphic tablets. The reason being is it is not awkward to use the Yiynova DP10U+ like normal graphic tablets. 
With graphic tablets, you are always looking at the screen, but your drawing on the tablet while not looking at it. When you look down at the tablet to see your work, it's not there because it's on the screen. This may sound like it should not be a problem, but for people who are used to working in tradition or used the mouse to work with, it's actually quite odd. This is why Wacom dominated the market for a while as they were the only ones with the Cintiq which put the graphic tablet and computer display together. However, makers of Yiynova and other graphic tablets are realizing the need for smaller, cheaper versions of graphic pen displays and are trying to deliver such that. There is still some work to be done to reach the level of the Wacom Cintiq, but with smaller graphic pen displays like the Yiynova DP10U+ that are affordable to even entry level digital artists and CAD program users... Wacom now has some serious competition as these pen displays make current graphic tablets like the Intuos series almost obsolete once these companies do get the right formula for their models in my opinion.
For my first impression review, I give this a thumbs up as it great for both beginners and professional. Yiynova also have larger models which many believe the MVP22U, their 21.5" model, is up there with the Cintiq and has high reviews on Amazon along with the 19" model. I will probably upgrade to the larger models once I saved up enough money as now focus on some fiscal goals like hitting my goal of having my emergency fund set up by the end of the year and saving up so I can take online classes from Chris Oatley's Magic Box and courses from the School of Visual Storytelling. Also, if you are wondering, the first image on this post is the first illustration I made with using the Yiynova DP10U+. I am still improving, but I will say that my new little tool has just made working in digital illustration all that better. However, I will be starting back in traditional work soon now that I can do oil painting again and wanting to build up an inventory for possibly doing some galleries and festivals.
Band gloves: so universal.
Oh, extra thing before finishing this post off. For those with already graphic pen displays, here's a little life hack for those snazzy smudge guard gloves I seen. If you live in an area that is big on football games and have marching bands within either high school or college level... See if you can find a music shop that sells band gloves(or if your friends or your children are in marching band, see if you can steal away some stained ones for free). They are inexpensive and they are made of cloth that does not smuge since many insturment players have to keep their horns clean of smudges. In my case, I stole a pair of my sister's gloves since I was a clarinet player and she was a trombone player. My gloves already had holes so I could play my instrument(great for inking and drawing though!), so I took an old stained pair of hers. All I did was snip off the portion with fingers I did not need so I could still grip my pen and wallah! Instant smudge guard that works pretty good!

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