Editing Photos on a 24-Inch Pen Display


There are two massive leaps you may make in your picture modifying workflow. The primary is shifting from a mouse-and-keyboard setup to a pen pill just like the Wacom Intuos Professional—nearly all people does that in some unspecified time in the future. However should you actually wish to kick your expertise as much as one other degree, there’s another step you possibly can take: you should buy your self a high-resolution pen show.

At this time I’m taking a look at a type of shows, the XP-Pen Artist Pro 24: a 2K pen show that out-performs the $1,200 Wacom Cintiq 22 in nearly each spec class, however prices solely $675 (sometimes $900, on sale as of this writing).

This gained’t be a extremely technical side-by-side comparability with alternate options from Wacom or Huion. As an alternative, I wish to share my hands-on expertise with this full-featured-but-affordable graphics show and inform you why I feel it’s price upgrading to this sort of setup for picture modifying.

Full disclosure: XP-Pen supplied the unit used on this assessment. Nonetheless, they’d no enter on the content material of the assessment and are seeing it for the primary time proper now, similar to everybody else.

What’s a “Pen Display”

First, it’s necessary that you simply perceive what I’m referring to once I say “graphics show” or “pen show.” In essentially the most primary phrases, a graphics show is a monitor you possibly can draw on. You plug a graphics show into your current laptop similar to you’ll some other monitor, however you get the additional advantage of utilizing the included pressure-sensitive pen as your mouse.

A big pen show just like the XP-Pen Artist Pro 24 (or the Wacom Cintiq 22, or the Huion Kamvas Pro 24) provides you all the advantages of a pen pill and a high-end color-accurate monitor in a single bundle. The core performance is not any completely different from a pen pill like those I wrote about here, besides that you would be able to edit straight on your {photograph}, making the complete expertise way more engrossing and permitting for a increased degree of precision.

And make no mistake: the primary good thing about utilizing a graphics show to edit your pictures the expertise, and the way simple it’s to get into an modifying “circulate.”

Construct and Ergonomics

Construct high quality is … plastic-y. Don’t get me improper, the Artist Professional doesn’t appear in any respect fragile. I lugged the factor between the lab and my residence a couple of instances and I didn’t maintain again when utilizing it. There’s simply no denying that it seems like a extra “inexpensive” product than one thing very stable and premium feeling just like the Wacom Cintiq Professional sequence.

The specific keys are very clicky, each of the scroll wheels felt stable and gave a good tactile response when utilizing them, and the touch-sensitive buttons on high of the show, that are used to entry issues just like the Menu and Energy, by no means gave me any bother. Total construct is nice, simply not “high-end.”

By way of ergonomics, there’s one massive professional and one massive con.

The professional is the absolutely adjustable stand that’s included with the show and means that you can set the angle of your Artist Professional from nearly absolutely flat to nearly absolutely vertical with out ever feeling unstable. You possibly can actually dial in your working angle for lengthy modifying classes, which finally ends up being essential due to the one massive con: ergonomics.

In most methods, utilizing a graphics show is way extra pleasurable than utilizing a pen pill: it’s sooner, extra intuitive, and there’s one thing actually satisfying about drawing straight onto your picture. Nonetheless, placing in lengthy classes on a graphics show is both going to be a ache within the again or a ache within the shoulder since you’re both bent over the show (again ache) otherwise you’re holding your arm up horizontally to take care of the most effective posture (shoulder ache).

This would possibly look like an odd factor to focus on, nevertheless it bears mentioning should you’re selecting between a pen pill and a pen show. One thing just like the Wacom Intuos Professional or XP-Pen Deco Professional means that you can hold good ergonomic posture whereas modifying for hours since you’re drawing on a flat floor on your desk whereas trying ahead at your monitor. In distinction, even when it’s dialed in excellent, there’s no method to hold excellent posture whereas utilizing a drafting table-style graphics show like this.


Proper out of the field, the Artist Professional 24’s QHD/2K show seemed nice on my ASUS StudioBook 17 and wanted solely a small Gamma adjustment on my 13-inch MacBook Professional. It’s not essentially the most color-accurate show on this planet—the way more costly Cintiq Professional sequence or a picture modifying monitor will out-perform it—however at 90% Adobe RGB protection, it’s no slouch both.

The principle characteristic of the show for drawing functions is that it’s “laminated,” which means that the show and the contact floor have been extra tightly bonded collectively to reduce the gap between the 2 and reduce parallax. That is essential if you’d like your pen enter to land precisely the place you anticipate it to, and is often reserved for dearer choices.

For instance, Wacom’s extra inexpensive Cintiq 22 does not characteristic a laminated show. On this measurement class, the characteristic is reserved for the $2,000 Cintiq Pro 24.

The one draw back to the show is the brightness, which maxes out at 250 nits. That is typical of graphics shows, and in an acceptable studio setting this shouldn’t be a massive deal, nevertheless it’s positively noticeable. Set it subsequent to a high-end HDR monitor just like the Dell I’m utilizing proper now or most premium laptop computer shows and will probably be noticeably dimmer.

Pen Efficiency

By way of pen really feel and efficiency Wacom is the gold customary, so the most effective praise I will pay the XP-Pen Artist Professional is to say that there’s no noticeable distinction between my expertise with XP-Pen and my expertise with Wacom’s Professional Pen 2.

The 2 are equivalent on the spec sheet, however that’s not what I’m referring to. In years previous, XP-Pen used battery-powered pens that suffered from issues like enter lag and glitchy strains with a noticeable “wave” to then, even when utilizing a ruler to attract completely straight. That is not a downside so far as I can inform.

Tens of hours of use later—together with 6 uninterrupted hours hand-painting an electron micrograph, and a side-by-side pen-tool take a look at with the Wacom Cintiq Professional 16—and I couldn’t discover an oz of distinction in efficiency.


For my part, the best-designed characteristic of the XP-Pen Artist Pro 24 is the customization.

Each side of the Artist Professional 24 embrace 10 customizable “specific keys” and a very satisfying mechanical click on wheel that may be toggled between 4 completely different capabilities.

My specific keys had been set to the commonest macros and Photoshop instruments that I discover myself utilizing, like Undo, Brush/Eraser toggle, Pen Instrument, New Layer, Hand Instrument, and a Click on Wheel toggle. The press wheel was set to Brush Measurement by default, however a fast press on the toggle key would swap the perform to Zoom, then Rotate, after which Layer choose.

Taken collectively and correctly custom-made to your specific workflow, this degree of tactile customization means that you can ditch your keyboard totally. And this is applicable whether or not you’re right- or left-handed since there are a click on wheel and 10 specific keys on each the left and proper of the show.

Extra Options Value Mentioning

There are two extra options price mentioning, though they’re fairly minor

Firstly, the show options a USB hub with two USB-A ports for hooking up a mouse or onerous drive or charging your telephone whilst you edit. It’s a nice-to-have, however I didn’t discover myself utilizing it very a lot. Nonetheless, these days the place your laptop computer would possibly solely have one or two (or zero… taking a look at you Apple) USB Sort-A ports, it turns out to be useful.

Secondly, the pen helps as much as 60 levels of tilt. That is helpful for portray and drawing (assume shading when sketching digitally) nevertheless it’s not significantly related for photographers/picture modifying except you come from an artwork background.

Lacking Options

Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out what I see as three apparent omissions: touch-sensitivity, sturdy USB charging, and an SD card slot.

Contact Sensitivity: One among my favourite components of utilizing Wacom’s Cintiq Professional sequence is the contact sensitivity of the display. You possibly can flip it off if it’s inflicting issues, however when it’s on you should use your fingers to zoom and rotate the picture similar to on a smartphone or pill.

Touchscreens are so ubiquitous in 2020 that I discovered myself repeatedly making an attempt (and failing) to zoom or rotate my picture utilizing my fingers whereas modifying on the Artist Professional, and leaving smudges on the display as a end result. Finally, I received used to this limitation and defaulted to the click-wheel, nevertheless it’s a noticeable omission.

Sturdy USB Charging: The Artist Professional 24’s USB hub does characteristic energy supply, nevertheless it’s actually solely sufficient to cost one thing like a smartphone. Although you should use a single USB cable to attach most (but not all) USB-C geared up laptops to the show with full performance, the paltry energy output of the hub wasn’t even sufficient to maintain my 13-inch MacBook Professional at baseline, a lot much less cost it.

This mainly eliminates the “one cable” profit, since I needed to plug my MacBook Professional into the wall to maintain it from dying whereas I labored.

SD Card Slot: One characteristic I did discover myself lacking from the Cintiq Professional line is the built-in SD card slot. The XP-Pen Artist Professional 24 doesn’t have one, and I missed it any time I used to be utilizing my MacBook since importing pictures required one more cable.

Now, the entire Home windows laptops I personal or am borrowing for assessment at the moment do have an SD card slot, so I don’t know if I ought to blame XP-Pen or Apple for my troubles, nevertheless it’s a straightforward characteristic so as to add and I hope the following era Artist Professional sequence doesn’t depart it out.

Total Editing Expertise

The entire above comes collectively to create an modifying expertise that’s virtually addicting. One of the best modifying instruments get out of your means and can help you join straight with the photographs you’re working on, and that is precisely what a massive graphics show just like the XP-Pen Artist Professional 24 means that you can do.

It’d sound like I’m gushing, nevertheless it’s made picture modifying way more pleasurable for me. By no means earlier than might I put in a 6-hour modifying session with out getting worn out, and I discovered myself taking on extra superior edits than I might sometimes attempt.

May sure issues be improved? Certain! See the “Lacking Options” part above or my gripes about ergonomics. However not one of the cons outweighed the professionals for me, and the most important professional (so far as I’m involved) was the power to get into a state of “circulate” whereas picture modifying.


After a number of months of utilizing the XP-Pen Artist Professional 24 persistently, I discover myself increasingly more inclined to advocate it to buddies who’re available in the market for a new graphics pill/show. At just $675 on sale, it’s actually onerous to advocate the rest.

If a secondary modifying monitor is in your future, it’s positively price contemplating a full-blown graphics show: particularly when firms like XP-Pen are undercutting Wacom so drastically on worth, with out skimping on core options.

In abstract:


  • Laminated 2K show
  • USB Hub
  • Totally-adjustable stand
  • Extremely customizable
  • Prime-tier pen efficiency
  • Reasonably priced worth


  • Plastic-y construct
  • No contact performance
  • Weak USB charging
  • 250 nits max brightness
  • Ergonomics (applies to all graphics shows)

Whether or not or not a massive graphics show is a good match for you has every part to do together with your workflow, your property studio setup, and the way a lot time/vitality you dedicate to picture modifying. But when it sounds just like the type of product that would take your modifying, your a minimum of your expertise, to the following degree, I hope I’ve included sufficient technical particulars to allay any fears you might need.

P.S. In case you have any extra questions, be happy to drop them within the feedback or attain out on Twitter.

In regards to the creator: DL Cade is an artwork, science and know-how author, and the previous Editor in Chief of PetaPixel. When he’s not writing op-eds or reviewing the newest tech for creatives, you’ll discover him working in Imaginative and prescient Sciences on the College of Washington, publishing the weekly Triple Point newsletter, or sharing private essays on Medium.

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