Yiynova MSP19U+ review: Why you’ll love it and why you don’t need it
In this Yiynova MSP19U+ review I will share my opinion on the successor of the MSP19u, a popular and cheaper alternative to the Wacom Cintiq, help you through the Yiynova driver installation and list pros and cons for the use in concept art and matte painting. You will find out why you’ll love it and why you don’t need it.
So why would you even think about spending some hundred bucks on a device like the Yiynova MSP19U+? The main reason for you to consider buying a screen digitizer like this or from the Wacom Cintiq series will be the more natural feeling you get when painting on the screen, instead of using a standard graphics tablet like the Wacom Intuous or Bamboo series. So I did, and I love it. But: I don’t need it. How is that?
TL;DR? Click here to jump to the conclusion with pros and cons if you don’t want to read more on the Yiynova MSP19U+ installation and specs.
Although it didn’t take too long for me to get used to painting on the desk while looking at the screen (and not on the pen in your hands) I missed the intuitive approach when blocking a scene or drawing fine lines on my sketches. If you are totally fine with your eye-hand coordination when using a standard tablet, the way bigger and heavier Yiynova MSP19U+ may not be the right choice for you – especially because it won’t make your skills any better and isn’t really portable at all. There are several up- and downsides to it. I will tell you why I am in love with my Yiynova nonetheless shortly.
Yiynova MSP19U+ specs
The Yiynova MSP19U+ features the same pressure sensitivity as the business flagship, the Wacom Cintiq, a 19 inch screen with a resolution of 1440 x 900 (make sure to run it at 60 hz to work properly) and a tablet resolution of 4000 LPI. The tablet recognizes pen tilt up to approx. 45 degrees and a tracking speed of at least 130 samples per second. You will need a free VGA port and a free USB slot on your computer in order to use the tablet. It gets powered by a 110 to 240V adapter and cannot be run from USB-power.
Yiynova MSP19U and MSP19U+ differences
The Yiynova MSP19U+ is the latest version of the tablet/display. After changing the display manufacturer of the digitizer panel when evolving from MSP19 to MSP19u to avoid jitter and improving the pen pressure sensitivity from 1024 to 2048, there are three new / changed features on the MSP19U+:
- programmable express keys: the + version features eight of them, on the displays left hand backside
- Mac / OSX compability (10.4x and above)
- pen design
Yiynova MSP19U+ Installation
I am using a Windows 7 machine, so I can’t help with Mac installation unfortunately. Besides Windows 7, the Yiynova drivers are compatible with XP, Vista, 7 and 8 on both 32 bit and 64 bit systems.
Two tipps upfront: Install the drivers (visit Yiynovas website for the latest ones, don’t use the CD since with every driver CD it will possibily be outdated) before you plug in the tablet! If you don’t, Windows may install its generic tablet and pen drivers which won’t work well with your Yiynova MSP19U+, to say the least. If you still run into problems after that, uninstall the Yiynova drivers as well as any Wacom drivers and try again. Click here to jump to „How to uninstall Wacom drivers completely“.
After installing the latest drivers, plug in your Yiynova MSP19U+ and decide wether you want to use it as your main screen, clone your main screen or use it as a second (or third, …) one. Change the settings of your graphics card accordingly and make sure to run it on 60 HZ. If you want to use your Yiynova MSP19U+ with HDMI make sure you can switch your HDMI-out to analog. If you can’t, it won’t work, since HDMI provides a digital signal while the screens VGA-input needs an analog signal.
Put a AAA battery into your pen (it is not included) and click on the tiny green tablet-button in your taskbar (for Windows users) and calibrate your tablet screen using the 9-point-calibration. Finally calibrate the screen using the built-in OSD. Colors, brightness and contrast were way off on mine, compared to what I’m used to. The first painting I made using the Yiynova turned out to be really dark, because the screen was way too bright.
Yiynova MSP19U+ color calibration
The settings that worked best for me are:
- Brightness: 36
- Contrast: 79
- Red: 37
- Green: 16
- Blue: 3
Remember that those settings highly depend on the configuration of your graphics card. There is no setting that will work for everyone.
Once calibrated the Yiynova MSP19U+ works like a charm. There is no lag that would that would keep you from working fluently – unless you’re using big detailed brushes your computer can’t handle at realtime, but that’s not caused by the screen. The adjustable VESA stand can easily be operated one-handed and allows you to switch between a „second screen“ position and the graphics tablet position of your Yiynova MSP19U+ in no time.
The resolution is high enough to enable you to work on bigger projects and still be able to paint all those details you want your piece to have. On the other side, it is not that big that you wouldn’t be able to read the text on the screen. for example in the options of your painting program. In the first two or three minutes it felt a bit strange to draw on a glass surface, but I didn’t noticed this any more after working with it for some time. There is a little gap between the glass and the actual screen, and therefore there is a gap between the tip of your pen and the cursor. Depending on your sitting position this ain’t a big problem unless you’re looking on your screen in a lateral angle.
Being in your own way
Drawing fine lines in fluent motions is one of the biggest advantages of the Yiynova compared to a smaller non-screen tablet like a Wacom Intuos. Despite the name of the Wacom product, it will feel much more intuitive when you work with the MSP19U+. But: You have to get used to two major or minor problems, depending on your workflow.
1. Your hand an arm will be covering a part of your work when drawing and, this is what needed me to get used to the most, when applying something like curves in Adobe Photoshop. You’ll find yourself moving tools like curves, levels and so on to the right position on the screen to see what happens when you’re changing the values – just because your hand and arm would be in your line of sight otherwise.
2. The precision and intuitive feeling you get using the big surface of the Yiynova MSP19U+ comes at the cost of having to make way bigger movements with your hand and arm compared to the smaller standard graphic tablets. Combined with not seeing where you go when you’re drawing (see reason no. 1) this can be irritating in some moments.
The Yiynova MSP19U+ OSD looks like the ones you’ll know from your TFT or LCD screens. The settings are organized well and do what they are supposed to do, but I found the buttons to control the OSD to be a little bit fiddly. But you’ll get a feel for it.
The pen that comes with the tablet is battery operated (other than the Wacom pens), but in my opinion it adds some nice weight to it. The dimensions don’t differ much from what you’ll know from other tablets. There is no eraser on the back of the pen – that may be a downer for some of you, but I never used the ones on the Wacom pens I got, so its no big deal for me. The pen gets shipped with two spare tips, but so far I don’t think I’ll ever need both of them, since they’re really rigid (other than the newer Wacom Intuos pens!).
The express keys or: Why you should use a gaming keypad
There are eight express keys on the left backside of the Yiynova – great! The MSP19 didn’t have those. But: Which program can be controlled with only eight keys or macros? And remember: The Yiynova is so big it will probably make it difficult for you to access your keyboard to use all the shortcuts and keys you’re used to.
This is why I highly recommend to get a gaming keypad like the Razer Nostromo or a similar device. I got one years ago to use it for video editing and it is very handy combined with the Yiynova MSP19U+. The scroll wheel will zoom for me for example, d-pad up and down are redo and undo, right and left are select all and discard selection, and so on. Only after setting up this device with Photoshop-related shortcuts and macros my working speed really increased by multiple times with the Yiynova.
Yiynova MSP19U+ pros and cons
– Its cheaper than even the smallest Wacom, the Cintiq 13HD, not to mention the 22HD or 24HD.
– Finally, Yiynova provides programmable hotkeys. Even though it is a bit confusion that they put them on the back side, I count this a pro since you can use your most important shortcuts and makros right from the screen (as long as you are right-handed)
– Painting directly on the screen: That is why you are thinking about buying one and that is what you get. There is no notable lag or jitter and once you got used to the little gap between the glass surface and the cursor mentioned earlier, it works flawless. Consider this worth of several pros since this really is why you want this tablet.
– Screen size: The 13 inch Cintiq would not provide enough space for me to feel comfortable with when using Photoshop, with all the tools and stuff on the screen.
– Resolution: With 1440 x 900 pixels its high enough to keep an eye on your work from a „distant view“ while not making menus and tools so small that you can barely hit them on the first try.
– The pen tips don’t scratch the surface and last really long – other than the Intuous 5 pen tips for example, which will wear out pretty quickly.
– The MSP19U+ is not portable at all. With all the cables, the need for a power socket, its weight (8,8 lbs / 4 kg) and the size it won’t fit right into your notebook bag. Speaking about the size, you will need to have enough space on your desk.
– As with traditional paper, your hand and arm will cover a part of your work when painting. To some users of tablets like the Bamboo or the Intuous this might be a downside more or less, depending on your needs. It didn’t bother me when actually painting but I had to get used to it when using tools like the curves or changing the brush in Photoshop.
– Even though its smaller than the resolution of the Wacom models, the resolution is high enough to get some anti-alising, leaving you with crisp, stepped edges of your lines when looking closely. But: No, they are not visible in your final painting after all.
– The pen is battery driven and you’ll never know when it will stop to work – so better keep some extra batteries in reach
I am sure most of you will love the Yiynova MSP19U+ once you get your hands on it. It is a whole different feeling to work on your work without the gap between your hands and eyes like you have on a normal tablet. This is why I love the Yiynova at least. But do you need it for your work, especially considering you are a aspiring matte painting artist? No. The speed you gain in your workflow by working on the screen almost like you would when drawing on paper gets sucked up (a bit at least) when you’re clicking through the menus because your keyboard is out of reach to use shortcuts. This is why I use an additional keypad (see above).
If you’re drawing very much, this screen/tablet is for you. I really enjoy developing my color sketches on it, which I will later turn into a photo-realistic matte painting. But if you are into matte painting like a „photo monkey“ (as Dylan Cole desribed it in the first of the d’artiste matte painting books) and are manipulating pictures and sticking photos together most of the time, this will slow you down. In this case you’re better of using a standard tablet that doesn’t have the downsides like covering part of your work with your own limbs.
You really have to check what you need. I am sure you will want to have a screen digitizer like the Yiynova MSP19U+ or, if you can afford it, even a Wacom Cintiq. It really is a nice intuitive feeling to draw on the screen directly. But be honest to yourself and ask yourself if its that what you need to make the next step. I am happy I bought mine, but this doesn’t mean this applies to you.
Where to buy
How to uninstall Wacom drivers completely
Makre sure you unplugged your Wacom device before proceeding. In the Windows Control Panel, choose „Programs and Features“ and uninstall the Wacom drivers. After uninstalling the drivers, reboot your system. Use the search function to find and delete the files tablet.dat and pen_tablet.dat from your harddrive. Look for wintab*.* files in your SYSTEM32 folder (for 32 bit systems) or SYSWOW64 folder (for 64 bit systems) and remove them. After rebooting again you should have successfully uninstalled your Wacom drivers.