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Old 12-03-2013, 02:37 PM   #31
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You can use this thing called "Artdock" which shows common toggle keys (Alt, Ctrl, Shift, Space) as a floating UI. I discovered it yesterday after having the same question.
The UI hides if the pen hovers over it, so its not obstructive (does not hide from touch input).
I can safely use operations like ctrl-alt-spacebar for zooming out in photoshop etc without a keyboard.
Its not perfect, because it gets confused when your palm rests on the screen and your pen must not be tracking on screen either.

Another thing I've discovered: Grab the Wacom Bamboo Carbon Pen ($80)... it works with the surface and is a good replacement for the crappy stylus provided.

Other than that, battery life is great, photoshop is performing pretty well (A4 300dpi canvas and regular brushes does not have noticable latency).

Still yet to try zbrush :P
 
Old 12-04-2013, 02:06 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syndicate
Still yet to try zbrush :P

I only tried ZBrush on it (not on mine), and it was a pleasure to work with.
I agree the pen isn't very satisfying to hold, but if my Intuous pen works on it, that's a non issue. Did you mention the Bamboo pen because it's cheaper, or you tried the intuous pen and it didn't work?

Thanks for the mini review, it read sensible and unbiased, so it was interesting.

Given it's still early days for windows touch on tablets, and it sounds like things aren't off on a bad start to begin with, I have hopes it'll get even better.

Tempted to grab one to bring with me to sculpt on my holidays in a few weeks, but if not I reckon I'll buy one some time in January.
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Old 12-04-2013, 05:00 AM   #33
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Got a 128 gb 4gb ram version of Surface 2 last week while I wait for the 8gb version to be in stock. Here is my review:

For starters the surface pro 2 runs way cooler than SP1. SP1 used to get warm quite often, SP2 is cool to the touch even after a five hour zbrush session with a lot of best preview renders.

The battery life is absolutely incredible. 7-8 hours easy doing non stop sketching/sculpting/animating.

Out of the applications I installed and tried:

Zbrush: Runs flawless. I was sculpting 8-10 million poly models with zero slowdown or lag. Download the art dock keyboard shortcut overlay and you are good to go.

Photoshop: Runs faster than on cintiq companion as far as brush lag goes. Perfectly usable but I much prefer sketchbook pro for sketching and painting.

Maya: Runs amazingly well. Honestly surprised how well it runs. I get 26 fps moving the everyman rig around the viewport and tuna here tested on his desktop and got 34 fps. Hook up the keyboard cover and a mouse and you can model/animate anywhere you want.

I pretty much have no complaints whatsoever. Can't recommend it enough.
 
Old 12-04-2013, 07:38 AM   #34
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Nice one sheep...

I was concerned the 4gig version wouldn't be sufficient but I guess with SSD's you kinda get optimum speed virtual memory (my guess).

ThE_JacO - The Bamboo (Carbon) pen is the only one that works... My intuos5 pen is not working... something to do with capacitive pen nibs and slightly different chips (although they are wacom) on the surface pro's.
The Bamboo carbon pen is sold as a premium pen, so I dont think its a cheap pen in any sense.

In other crazy news, I saw the hackintosh community has successfully setup a dual boot osx mavericks and win8 setup on the surface! Means all my lovely mac productivity apps should run nicely.

If you guys pick one up.. here are the links to the art dock hotkeys and some drivers you will need to get everything working:

Artdock and instructions:
Artdock

Wacom Feel Driver:
Feeldriver - Latest versions

I'll post up some concept art or something... would love to see what you guys have been creating with it. The only thing I really miss is a hardware shift key as drawing in straight lines sucks on a glass surface.... MAYBE... just maybe a screen protector might do?
 
Old 12-04-2013, 04:57 PM   #35
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I actually like the surface pen, it is pretty much the same size pen I sketch with on paper so I had no issues.

The bamboo pen has only one button like the surface pen and doesn't seem to be that much larger. I would love to try it out if I can find someone with a bamboo though. Modbook also makes a pen that works with surface pro and it has two buttons like intuos pens but it is stupid overpriced at $85.

Also the carbon is NOT the only one that works. The regular bamboo feel pens work as well, carbon just doubles the price for looking fancier. Just get the regular black or white bamboo feel pen.

Last edited by SheepFactory : 12-04-2013 at 05:21 PM.
 
Old 12-05-2013, 12:32 AM   #36
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I came across this the other day.. a "paint brush" stylus which seems to support the Surface.

Curious if anyone has tried it out?

http://www.sensubrush.com/
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:15 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tswalk
I came across this the other day.. a "paint brush" stylus which seems to support the Surface.

Curious if anyone has tried it out?

http://www.sensubrush.com/

The Sensu and the Nomad (http://www.nomadbrush.com/) are capacitive brushes that work with any capacitive touch-screen display. However, both brushes are not pressure-sensitive, so if you require pressure sensitivity for your work, you're better off sticking with a Wacom Feel-compatible stylus. I think the brushes are best suited for classically trained artists (you know, the artists who use traditional paint media) because they''re taught from the start how to hold the brush properly. Non-traditional and self-taught artists tend to rest their palms while holding brushes -- and that doesn't work too well with touch-screen surfaces unless you have palm rejection built into the hardware or software (or wear a glove as a low-tech hack).

I've read a few customer reviews saying that the brushes lose capacitance over time and stop working after while, but these were early adopters, so the technology must have improved if both companies are still around and offering different brush models.
 
Old 12-05-2013, 01:28 PM   #38
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Hey guys I've had my surface pro for quite a long time and I'm about to upgrade to SP2.

I've been using it with photoshop. zbrush and 3ds max. If you have any questions I might try to help!

Just some quick thoughts: For me the only drawback is the screen size. If it was 12"+ it would be the perfect machine. Sometimes you will feel a little cramped.

Artdock is a must. It's an all-in-one package and has overlaying shortcuts for maya, 3ds max, zbrush, photoshop, etc.

Get a PL-900 wacom pen or a Axiotron modbook pen. They have a 2nd button, just like an intuos pen.
 
Old 12-05-2013, 03:28 PM   #39
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technokill, thanks so much for the info... the PL-900 is just what i was looking for. I picked up the bamboo carbon pen, and while it feels great and all... it only has one button

Also got the blue backlit keyboard.... and its not bad. Thought the way you have to detatch/flip the cover to use screen can be a bit annoying.

I am returning my S2P tomorrow to swap because I've found the accuracy of the pen is off by a fair bit. At first I calibrated it to compensate, but I tested a different one today and the corners were accurate. Mine "drifts" when it goes close to the corners. Not a major issue but annoying when I try to close windows or use file menu etc.

So... if you pick one up and its not accurate, its probably faulty.
At the same time I'm going to see if I can get a good deal on the 256/8gig version and get that.
After downloading and installing my Adobe CC apps storage on the 128 is getting a bit small. I COULD put a microSD inside and get extra 64 gigs etc, but I'm saving that for photo trips.

One questions I have: anyone found a screen protector that feels a bit like the cintiq paper-esque finish when using a pen? I remember a friend showing me a screen protector for iphone that made it smudge-free and it had the same properties as a cintiq finish.
 
Old 12-05-2013, 04:12 PM   #40
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Regarding to the accuracy issue, it's been present with both sp1 and 2. However, things got better with windows 8.1, which gave users the ability to calibrate using more points than with win 8. My surface had the same problem. I updated to win 8.1, recalibrated and it got much better (although it will never be perfect near corners).

The thing is when you install the wacom drivers so you can get pressure in photoshop, for example, it overrides the default pen calibration and leaves with that crappy 4 point calibration. That s* can only calibrate well for the center, but the corners suffer from lack of points.

What I mean is maybe even if you try other units, as soon as wacom drivers kick in, you will lose some precision near the edges.

So far that's the conclusion for most people when you hunt down threads discussing accuracy problems.


About the screen protector, do not get the incipio one. Bad. Any other brand you might find in amazon is alright. Make sure you get an antiglare one. As always, you will miss that bright vivid colors BUT you get antiglare and a paper-like feel. Remember to use the felt nib!
 
Old 12-06-2013, 05:15 PM   #41
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Got the wacom bamboo feel pen yesterday for the surface. It feels way better than the surface pen and tracks much better as well. The only downside is the pen button is absolutely terrible and hard to press. Wish they made it stick out a bit instead of completely blending into the pen.
 
Old 12-08-2013, 06:06 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SheepFactory
Got the wacom bamboo feel pen yesterday for the surface. It feels way better than the surface pen and tracks much better as well. The only downside is the pen button is absolutely terrible and hard to press. Wish they made it stick out a bit instead of completely blending into the pen.


Hey sheep you still getting the 256/8gb one? Isnt the 128/4gb enough?

I was hoping to upgrade my sp1 128/4gb but apparently the sp2 2568gb is out of stock! I have some friends going to new york for christmas but it seems there's no way MS will refill their stock in time!

Ive been using photoshop and zbrush alright with the 1st gen, but 8gb would be awesome!

What do you think?

ps: feels kind of lame upgrading just for haswell, but it seems it's the only option!
 
Old 12-08-2013, 06:41 PM   #43
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The 4gb runs everything perfectly fine. I am mainly upgrading for the increased ssd space.
 
Old 12-09-2013, 02:35 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technokill
Hey sheep you still getting the 256/8gb one? Isnt the 128/4gb enough?

I was hoping to upgrade my sp1 128/4gb but apparently the sp2 2568gb is out of stock! I have some friends going to new york for christmas but it seems there's no way MS will refill their stock in time!

Ive been using photoshop and zbrush alright with the 1st gen, but 8gb would be awesome!

What do you think?

ps: feels kind of lame upgrading just for haswell, but it seems it's the only option!

8.1 got leaned down, but it's still a bit of a hog space wise, so IMO 256 will really make a difference in the long run. On top of that even hacked 64 bit apps capped at 4GB (ZBrush) will use that on top of what the system and other running tasks take up.

There's a good reason if the 256/8 is the only one out of stock. IMO it's totally worth waiting for. I know I am (waiting for it to come back in stock) since it's out of stock across the whole bleeding planet apparently.
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Old 12-09-2013, 03:50 AM   #45
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Quote:
The thing is when you install the wacom drivers so you can get pressure in photoshop, for example, it overrides the default pen calibration and leaves with that crappy 4 point calibration. That s* can only calibrate well for the center, but the corners suffer from lack of points.

What I mean is maybe even if you try other units, as soon as wacom drivers kick in, you will lose some precision near the edges.


Yep, so I found that uninstalling the wacom drivers results in accurate corners and center. So basically we are waiting for a driver update from Wacom :S
It really sucks that they can't work on this together straight from day one considering they are sharing chipsets.

Continuing my unbiased review... I actually returned my S2P 128 hoping to get a 256/8gig but none were in stock... I explained the corner accuracy problem and got an exchange very easily.

I ended up exchanging to an iPad Air as I needed a dev kit for an upcoming project. Since having it I discovered "Procreate" and started using it together with the Wacom creative stylus (has a bigger rubbery tip rather than a nice classic wacom nib).

The good things about the iPad:
- Battery life (3 days of use and still havent charged it)
- Procreate app (exclusive to iPad)
- Speed
- Lower cost than surface 2 pro
- On-screen keyboard is perfect
- Productivity apps are fantastic
- Cameras are far superior to the god awful surface 2 pro front/back cameras
- featherweight
- made for touch (surface2pro feels like you are screwed without a keyboard/mouse in several instances)
- Retina Resolution (very crisp thin lines when drawing)
- Quiet and no heat generation
- Comes with Pages/Numbers/Keynote... stuff you have to pay for on the surface (office etc)
- Completely possible to create good artwork... just a different approach and possibly more strain until palm rejection works properly.
- Cheap apps compared to windows equivalents (no open source stuff though)


The bad things about the iPad:
- Palm rejection feels 50% working
- Stylus tech is still pretty crappy... Requiring bigger nibs and no feedback when you lift off the screen
- None of my Adobe CC stuff works on it
- Photography trips require lots of space... the surface has USB3. iPad has Lightning connector and no easy way for me to pair it with cameras etc
- Lightning connector. Pretty much have to carry cable everywhere as its not widely adopted yet
- No Zbrush :( I would be happy if pixologic just released a zsphere and zsketch functionality app.


I'll see how they go with fixing the drivers, I just wanted the opportunity to try both worlds and find what suits me best as each artist is different.
There are rumors of an iPad Pro, Although I'd happily even settle for a wacom companion if the price dropped to 1.2k

Anyway I want to be clear that I loved the surface 2 pro, it was incredible to finally have a cintiq experience but there's a lot of work to be done on the OS. There were too many frustrating menu-button-window-closing-where-is-my-cursor-why-is-it-not-working moments.
 
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