Has anyone tried blender on the surface pro?

I know it can’t do gpu rendering. I’m thinking of getting one and just curious how well it runs or if there are any specific problems on the surface pro or with the pen.

I bought one for my GF who is also an industry artist. She takes it to work and uses it at home when we dont need to use the desktop PCs. The reason for this is that the energy consumption of an 800w home build workstation and the surface pro are drastic, which means using the surface pro more = smaller electricity bill. Where I live (los angeles) the electricity bill was on average between $400-500 a month (house). Using the surface pro more as the primary computer + installing LED lighting + switching plasma tv to led lit lcd saved us quite a chunk of money. So it pays for itself in that regard.

But that doesnt really answer your question does it? haha sorry I couldnt help go off on that tangent because as far as I am concerned, its all relevant. I’ll get to the blender part in a sec…

Setting up the surface pro, the first thing I did was install classic shell, which makes it more like windows 7 (start menu and all). The next thing was to turn the mini display port into both an hdmi and a or dvi depending on the secondary monitor we will hook it up to. In this case, the gf stole my cintiq and is using with the surface pro.

So why would we use the cintiq over the surface pro’s screen? For one…its tiny. It is very hard to work on the pro screen, but not impossible.

The other big issue is…no pressure sensitivity. The pro can have 1024 levels of pressure (which is mostly BS since its all normalized anyway), but microsoft wants people to use their specialized pen drivers and technology…problem is that no one really accepts it other than a few apps such as art rage and autodesk sketchbook. This means if you try to use photoshop, zbrush or even blender, it doesnt have the pressure sensitivity needed. They say they are working on fixing that, but so far nothing has actually been done for the consumer.

Around the edges of the screen, the pen also acts a bit funky (sometimes, not always), which means selecting some tools bordering the edges can be slightly problematic.

So anyways, using the cintiq with installed wacom drivers makes it a low cost computer which can be packed up and taken everywhere, but away from the cintiq the art capability suffers.

I did install blender on it however, and for basic 3d work… It is GREAT. It looks very very very nice on the screen and is easily workable, if you can get around how small everything looks. There are these programs which over lay common key shortcuts for artist on the screen so you wont have to use the keyboard as much, but…because blender is hotkey based more so than many other 3d apps…having a good keyboard makes it necessary in the long run. The gf got the pink touchcover keyboard… it sucks! Do not use one of these for art. Spend a little more and get the type cover OR any other 3rd party blutooth or usb keyboard.

So would I recommend the Surface Pro? Yes if and only if you want to have a low energy computer with high portability. If you want it as a cintiq replacement for 3d, I wouldnt bite. IN fact, a used asus eee slate might be a better, abit temporary, alternative if that were the case. Hold off if possible till better versions come out.

Alternatively, getting the Razer Edge + new wacom cintiq 13hd, would create perhaps the most powerful portable workstation one could find for 3d art. Then again that route would cost a bit more than $2000.

Thanks for the info it’s all usefull. I live in San Diego and have a home office in a neighborhood where nobody is at home during the day so our power bill sucks as well.

I’m not really thinking of it as a cintiq replacement. I’ll either get a wireless keyboard/mouse or the typecover and a wireless mouse.

Right on, I am from San Diego originally, nice place.

If you dont need it as a mini cintiq, and you dont mind a bit larger form factor…check this out instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834312431

For about $400 less you get a better GPU and more RAM, not as good screen. That $400 saved can go then towards a cintiq 13hd or other peripherals.

The surface pro is good but the 10 inch screen makes it a tough primary monitor, thus hooking it up to an external display is often a smarter idea.

Add: if you order from New Egg, you get it fairly fast as they have a warehouse/shipping point between SD and LA.

Moved from “General Forums > Blender and CG Discussions” to “Support > Technical Support”

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Right on, sorry about the late response. There’s something different with the Wacom components in the Surface Pro. The wacom drivers will not recognize the wacom components at all…so it wont even let you install. ON the tabletpcreview forums, they explain that microsoft did something different which makes you require their own drivers and not wacoms stock ones.

There is still no ETA on when we will get those drivers, they just said “soon”, which for many translates to BS.

Hello there, I heard there were new drivers for the surface pro ( http://pocketnow.com/2013/05/13/surface-pro-digital-artists-dream)

Could you keep us updated on how awesome sculpting with Blender would be on it? :slight_smile:

I believe Manga Studio (or Clip Studio–>japanese version) works like a charm with pressure sensitivity on a surface pro. Better than Photoshop for drawing. Better than a Cintiq for drawing as well.

At least according to this personal review from a professional comic artist:

Btw, I installed Manga Studio, and I can attest to its value as a drawing tool. The wacom settings in the preferences are excellent, and allow me to draw extremely controlled - something much harder to do in Photoshop.

I have a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 4GB i5-4300U. Pressure sensitivity works great with Blender. It isn’t very powerful, and the screen is small, but for $130 it works quite well as a cintiq, and is cheaper even then an xp pen or Hiuon, and works without my main computer. I haven’t figured out how to set it up as an extra display for main computer, but I just got it, and should figure it out soon.

Hello @me_squiggle,
Same idea here. I think of buying a second hand Surface 2 because of the Wacom technology inside and stylus.
Could you please tell me if Blender 2.83 is running smoothly for modeling on your Surface Pro 2?
Thank you!