Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wacom Cintiq 21UX and Motion Computing LE1600

Well...It has been a long time since I have posted anything. I have been a busy man, you know wife, kids, dogs, work, church, and serving God can keep one rather busy. I have been working on some things but they just are not ready to show yet. Any who.... I wanted to let everyone know about some new hardware that I have recently purchased.

First is the Wacom Cintiq 21UX. I love this thing, best thing I have seen for making art digitally. I really love it with Photoshop, Painter and yes ZBrush. I have had some issues with using it with Maya when the monitor is in the vertical position.

I mainly bought the Cintiq because I have been getting into this digital comic book creation kick. I have found to get the monitor into the vertical orientation (Like in the photo) I have to have the Cintiq enabled as the primary monitor and then using the NVIDIA Control Panel I have to use the "90 Degrees to the right (Inverted portrait)" setting. (Other wise the pen motion is inverted in the X and Y axis for some weird reason. It took me awhile to figure this one out but it is all good now that I understand how to get it working.)

I know that the Cintiq is a lot of money, but if you get the chance to use one for about a week, I think you will fully understand how it is totally worth every penny.

Well after getting nice and spoiled with the Cintiq, I started dreaming about having the same digital drawing set up but only having it on the road. Well then the IPad information started rolling out. I thought that this might be the answer to my prayers. Unfortunately Steve Jobs didn't hear my prayers. (God did and hoooooked me up)So in Steve Jobs eyes, if a device like the IPad needs a stylus then the device has some how failed in his eyes. Well in my eyes, along with a lot of other artist, a stylus is exactly what I am looking for with this type of device. (Oh yeah, it needs to be a pressure sensitive stylus as well.)

So after my disappointment with the IPad I found this thread on

LE1700 - portable cintiq - IT WORKS! - now with video!

I ended up buying a Motion Computing LE1600 off of EBay. I was able to pick mine up for under $300.00. I was able to install and use Photoshop CS5. It took me some time to learn how to work with no keyboard but after some custom set up using Wacom's pop up menu I was able to make it work.

Now I have a portable digital sketchbook, and to be honest I don't use the Cintiq all that much now that I have this. Defiantly different experiences but the portability really wins out for me. Now I can draw on the couch while watching a movie, draw in the car on little and long trips and drawing in bed at night. It really is great, don't get me wrong I love the Cintiq but after this it feels like you are tied to a ball and chain after having a portable digital sketch pad.

If you end up buying a Motion Computing LE1600, you can upgrade the ram to 2 gigs (even though it says 1.5 is the max) I would also get the "View Anywhere" screen. If I had to do it all over I would get the LE1700. Better processor. But I view this machine as a temporary solution until a real Windows 7 Tablet PC Comes out that is the right fit for what I am looking for.

Asus Releases The Eee Pad 121 Tablet PC


m3ng said...

I only require PS CS3, which would do fine with 2 gb memory as a digital paint sketchbook.

Do you have Win7 on this?

Santis said...

I totally agree, the Cintiq is worth every peny, ben using mine for 2 years now :)

Does this portable skecthpad mean we will see alot more from you in the near future? :)

NickZ. said...

Matt, I have not tried Win 7. I want to but I'm a little worried about the memory consumption.

Santis, Well more 2D for sure. 3D is rather slow for me these days. I only have time for one or the other and 2D has been winning out for me these days. I know that I am better at 3D but 2D is too much fun for me at the moment. I really want to finish my first comic book! It is one of my life goals! :) (Sad eh? :) )

Santis said...

No, that's so cool!
I really want to do that one day as well (already have a rough story tought out, just need to sharpen my drawing skills).

I'll buy that book for sure when it hits the shelves, I love your style :)

Anonymous said...

Just a few questions NickZ... I couldn't find your email address anywhere on the site, so i best just post my question here,

for the motion computing LE1600, does it have wifi built in as well? Also, can you use it as an external monitor to extend your desktop display, but still use it at the same time as a pen tablet to paint and sculpt with your stylus retaining its pressure sensitivity, just like a cintiq?

NickZ. said...


The MC LE1600 does have WIFI. And yes you can hook it up to a second monitor as well. The graphics card is rather limited though. When using ZBrush I have to hook up a usb keyboard. Too many shortcuts that I need for sculpting. I believe that you can use a bluetooth keyboard if you do not want a cord.

Anonymous said...

i see thanks. but when it acts as a second monitor, you are actually running zbrush from the main cpu right, and just using the MC LE1600 as a display. If you then paint with a stylus directly on the screen of the MC LE1600, will it retain the pressure sensitivity levels/productivity and can sculpt and still interact on it, or do you have to use your wacom pen tablet and do the sculpting there?

I really don't want to run zbrush with the technical limitations of the MC LE1600 cause the processor is just not high enough and you are only limited to 2gb ram. I'm thinking of this as an option vs. a wacom cintiq.

Joel Brinkerhoff said...

Wow, This maybe an answer to my prayer as well. I've been looking for a tablet pc that will support Toon Boom Animate and be fast enough to keep up with my quick rough sketching and do good clean-ups. I've been using a Wacom tablet but can't quite justify the expense of a Cintiq. I also like the idea of another computer.

Harry McLaughlin said...

Hey Nick,
Awesome to see what you're doing with your tablet! Great stuff!

I have an LE 1600 also that I got off eBay. It took some doing, but I'm running Windows 7 on mine. Just wanted to report that it runs perfectly- just as fast as Windows XP with 1.5 or 2GB RAM. Personally, I think Win7 is actually more RAM efficient than WinXP.

I definitely had to figure out a few things to get Win7 on it: mainly, install and update it right away to the latest. This finds a lot of the drivers, like the Intel chipset/graphic drivers. Then you need to use the Win 7 Motion Dashboard for the LE1700- it works for the LE1600 and it installs bluetooth. For Wifi- I used the atheros ar5xxx driver for Win 7.

Finally, latest Wacom drivers (ISD Dual Touch) and additionally TabTip-Tamer from the cartoon monkey site. (Corrects issues between the MS and Wacom digitizers).

The only unrecognized device in the system is the IR- there may be a driver for it but I just disable it in BIOS since I don't use it.

I've been enjoying my LE1600 since Nov with Win7 working great- running SBP 2011, ArtRage Studio 3, OneNote, ZBrush4, and Corel DrawX5. For the price, it's pretty hard to beat as a digital drawing tool.

NickZ. said...

@Konginchains, I'm not sure if the 1600 will have the horse power that you are looking for. Another thing, the video card seems to only kick out a 1024 X 768 resolution for the secondary monitor. I can't speak as to what the 1700 can do but I am thinking it would be rather similar.

@ Harry McLaughlin, Thank you so much for this write up. Great information. Do you have links to the drivers and what not? I am really thinking about upgrading the OS. I'm a little nervous about doing so, I have never done anything like this before!

Thanks all!

Peace, NickZ. :)

Anonymous said...

thanks nick for the reply. 1024 by 768 is just fine for a secondary monitor, and i'm glad you can use it as a 2nd monitor to extend your displays. But i still want to know if you can still use the stylus pen on it when it acts as a secondary monitor mode, with pressure sensitivity intact, as if it were running on its own...

Anonymous said...

Hi! I came across this blog and was inspired to buy an le1600. I have XP running on it right now (came with the slate) and I installed CS5. I'm having an issue I saw that you had in another forum, but I didn't determine how (or if) you actually corrected it: I can't seem to get PS to give me pressure sensitivity. In the Shape Dynamics window, there is a little ! in a triangle (this does not display on PS on my desktop with a Wacom tablet); when I hover over the !, it says that pressure senitivity can only be use with a pressure sensitive tablet. There is another app that came with the slate (Alias SketchSomethingOrOther) in which the pressure sensitivity works just fine. Do you have any suggestions on how to correct this? Thanks, Elliot

NickZ. said...


Here is a ZIP file that I made that has everything you need*jC6yeE9NvZbQty25cQ you will need an adobeacrobat account to download. It has all the drivers, Photoshop actions and wacom popup menu that I created so you can use PSCS5 no problem. Install the bamboo driver first, then the additional wacom driver that I provided, then using the wacom file utility manager you can load the wacom backup file that I made. This will give you the pop up menu that I made. (It took a long time to make this thing.) Make sure that all the photoshop files that I provided are loaded. This will make the key shortcuts from the pop up menu work correctly. Lastly, disable the wacom virtual hid driver (Just do a search for this on google to learn how to disable.) This will stop the odd temp loss of pressure sensitivity in PS. The bad part is this also disables the tablet auto keyboard pop up functionality. It's a pain, but I bought the device for PS so I am more concerned with that working correctly. Hope this helps! Happy Easter! :) He is Risen! :)

Anonymous said...

Nick, you are a life saver! Spectacular! The most I thought I had any right to expect was a link or two to some forum somewhere (which would have been appreciated!), but you're care package worked beautifully! Thank you so much! And yes, He is :)

Krillatron said...

I'm getting a Cintiq in a few weeks and looking forward to it!

Also, any chance of you adding me to your art blog links? :)

Anonymous said...


After searching for years for a lesser, more inexpensive version of a Cintiq, I found much more with the LE1600, thanks to your blog! I purchased it, was able to barely install PS7 (not a lot of disk space!), but searched for hours for some way to remedy not having pressure sensitivity! :(

Which is precisely the time I came back here and found your awesome, AWESOME .zip file!!! I cannot thank you enough, and I really want you to know that all of your hard work has helped me, and probably countless others, out so much!

So, thank you very much for all of your help with this post, I am now able to have the portable, digital sketchbook that I've always dreamed of! :)

Celestial Sunberry said...

I bought one of these little things for myself because of this post and some other reviews.

I don't know why, but it's somewhat sluggish, and unfortunately won't run Photoshop. The brush lags too much, and while I tried a wide variety of things, it was no dice. (I was using Photoshop Elements 6.0; I thought, "Maybe if I find my 2.0 version, I can get it to work."

I have CS4 on my desktop, and my desktop is a very nice comp with 8GB RAM, so it runs fast and good. Anyway, I've heard about hooking up the display but I'm not really sure of all the cords that I need. So, my question is, since Photoshop doesn't work on the little LE600, is it possible to switch the display so that it works like a Cintiq? Or does it simply act like a bigger monitor?

If you could answer my question...I would be so indebted. I am totally dying without my Photoshop!

NickZ. said...

Celestial Sunberry - There are time that PS is sluggish as you reported, but that is usually after I come out of hibernation mode. A good reboot of the system clears that up. I'm running PS CS5 no problem. I keep my file sizes down, 5,397 X 4200 is the largest that I have ever gone (and it worked for me, this is a double page spread for a comic book.) I usually go half res for my pages at 1374 X 2100 and then blow them up to 2748 X 4200. If I want to produce final line work I will work at 2748 X 4200 with a flattened version, keeping layers to a minimum helps with the speed. I also upgraded my ram to a 2 gig stick, I believe this helps as well. If you are having major problems then perhaps you should reinstall the OS and start over, just make sure you visit the MC website and download all the drivers for the tablet. If none of those things work for you then you might want to look into Sketchbook pro. Not a bad program, keeps getting better and better and the price is low. It works really well with a tablet.

Now, about the second monitor, you can't just use the device as a wacom tablet, it has to be your computer and your monitor that you hook up is a secondary monitor.

If I were you I would work on getting Photoshop....not elements, working on your tablet. This will give you the "wacom cintiq" experience that you are looking for. If not for this there really isn't much use for the tablet, it's just an under powered pc, the power lies in the fact that you can draw on the screen.

Hope this helps!! Merry Christmas!!

NickZ. :)

Celestial Sunberry said...

Dear Nick,

It's actually sluggish all the time with Photoshop. I did try CS2, and it was also pretty sluggish. I do have Sketchbook Pro and Painter, SAI, and Open Canvas, all of which run without problems.

I have actually tried to download all of the drivers possible, though who knows---I could be missing a few.

Generally speaking, on my good computer, I work around 4,000-5,000 but even just 1,000 by 1,000 at 300dpi lags with the first stroke, no matter how long the computer has been sitting there.

Unfortunately, I have to keep CS4 on my other computer for many good reasons, mainly because of school.

I have 1.5 RAM, but it might work at 2. See, I have a smaller laptop, an older one, and Photoshop worked just fine on that, so I don't see why it shouldn't work on the MC. @_@ Especially since other people seem to be able to get it to work.

What kind of cord do I need to hook it up to my monitor?

Also, even without Photoshop, it's still amazing, and I've noticed an instant jump in my ability to draw digitally. In fact, I'm pretty satisfied, except for my longing for Photoshop because...let's face it...I'm still a Photoshop Girl.

Celestial Sunberry said...

Also, Merry Christmas to you, too!

One other thing I was going to ask is that do you have some weird color change from computer to computer? I've tried adjusting the MC without much success. Granted, my other comp is HD, so, that could simply be it. The colors always turn out way lighter than they actually are, so I have to darken it accordingly.

NickZ. said...

Humm... The slowdown in photoshop doesn't seem right. This shouldn't be happening. The color changes shouldn't happen either. Is it possible that your tablet needs to be calibrated? If you look at two web pages , one on your Pc and one on your MCLE1600 is there a big difference? If so then it a calibration issue. If the images look similar then there is something else going on.

RatFink said...

I just stumbles upon this great post & had a couple of questions.

My main interest in the Motion Computing tablet is vector work.
Most of my work is vector art creation and fine detail node editing in Adobe Illustrator and also Corel Draw.

I am not really concerned with pressure sensitivity, but I was wondering how the LE1600 would compare to the Wacom Intuos 4 in terms of precise node editing?

I have used the Intuos 4 for this exact purpose & it works great, but I would like something to use at home to free up some time at my office.

So do you think the pen tracking is as precise as the intuos 4 models or is there jumping or a lag?

Thank you very much!

Aman said...

I want to buy Motion Computing C5v tablet.
But I heard that low resolution windows tablets cannot have adobe Photoshop and CorelDraw apps installed in it.
Is C5V compatable with Illustrator and photoshop.
Adobe PS needs "OpenGL 2.0–capable Tablet system" to be able to installed.Does MC C5v comes as a OpenGL 2.0 system?
Otherwise,I would need to shoot up my budget to buy Motion Computing J3500.

Kadoogan said...

Just wanted to thank you for putting up this info and the driver links (that work like a charm on my own LE1600, btw).

I just wanted to say that I am also running Win 7 on mine and it works great. I have 1.5 Gig of RAM.

I have been running smoothly using Open Canvas, Artrage 5, Xara Designer Pro and mostly okay with PS.

The problems I noticed with PS stem from using certain brushes. I can't tell you which of the many brushes work better than others because there are too many, but anyone can experiment with that.

I wanted to mention this because of the previous comments by others having speed issues with PS. Not sure about lower version numbers, but that is what I have found with PS CS6. Also I further noticed no issues with PS CS6 and the problems you were having (I only installed the Wacom drivers, loaded your Wacom settings and left it at that).

Thanks again for the install kit and instructions. I was close to getting something else more pricey but am VERY happy with the LE1600 now that it is properly working with pressure sensitivity, thanks to you! :)

P.S. Love your art as well!

NickZ. said...

Thanks so much for the kind comments! I'm glad if I was able to help in anyway! :) Peace! :)

ajay dhankar said...


Nice information here!
I have a LE 1600 too. Bought it from a friend.

It's very sluggish at the moment, so I uninstalled everything but PS CS2 and sketchbook pro 2012.

Still cant bring up the speed.
Can anyone please share any information on how to connect it to a laptop or desktop and use the screen of LLLLE1600 like a cintiq, while it draws it power from the Laptop and works without a lag?



David Martin said...

Hi Nick -

Following your (what I call) Alien Torso tutorials on your site and doing great on my LE1600 until I try to do subtract mesh - then I hit a memory power wall.

Any way around this??

(Here's what I've got so far: ( )

Thanks for all the incredible tutorials, by the way! :)

- Dave

NickZ. said...

@ David! Cool! So I too was hitting a memory limit with dynamesh and the LE 1600...I would have to say that I really gave up on this device for ZBrush because of this. I really like to use dynamesh now so this is a show stopper for me and the LE1600. It still works great for Photoshop and that is all I really care about these days for this machine. I am waiting to see what Wacom delivers in terms of a tablet PC. Take a look here

David Martin said...

Ah - so it's not just me. :)

That would be awesome if Wacom did it! Meanwhile, I'll go back to Zbrushing on my desktop and leave the LE1600 for illustration.
Thanks, Nick.

Jerry Gene said...

Very informative and worthy post. Thanks for the sharing such a precious updates with us.

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Anonymous said...


Thank ypu so much for this post. IT brought the le1700 to my attention, and in the 6 months that I've been using it, it has become an indispensible tool. I cannot imagine going back to drawing on an intuos! Ever! Thank you is the least i can say:)