Last week I wrote about my search for a new monitor. Specifically, a large, super-wide format, digital beast that could replace two aging monitors. I also wrote about my concerns about switching from dual to single such as having worked from the center of my main monitor since PCs were born.
I was concerned about hardcore work habits, basically sweating the details of the proposed switch to the point of overthinking the whole thing. As it often happens, the internet gave me a tremendous dose of informational overload that further tweaked my thinking.
This was not for gaming as I do that in virtual reality eliminating the need for a screen once you are “in-world” so refresh rate and things of that nature were not that critical. While I do a lot of real-time animating, that is at a much lower frame rate than games and Photoshop is generally not that taxing on a system for the work I do with it.
Finally, I made my decision and ordered a super-wide format, 49-inch, curved monitor at the best price I could find with the newer 5120x1440p instead of 5120x1080p. This distinction is critical as the previous models at 1080p are $300 to $400 US less than the 1440p. It also needs to be noted that my purchase is not HDMI 2.1 compliant if that is important to you. I rely on a display port cable so that removed another concern many others might have.
After Effects with All Windows Open and a Timeline that goes on for Days
My biggest worry was how much desktop space was I going to lose on my real-world computer desk. I wasn’t so much eliminating the footprint of both monitors as I was consolidating them, so I always knew a 49” monitor would have a large stand. It does take space from the keyboard and mouse area but with its legs spread as they are my keyboard fits in the gap with plenty of room for my mouse. The screen itself is huge but doesn’t block my view out the window in front of me like a high def 49-inch monitor would. While it dominates the work area, it does not overpower it with sheer size.
Also, the model I chose, a Samsung CG9, has the best stand I have ever seen in terms of fluidly moving the monitor up and down or swiveling side to side. It only takes a couple of fingers on the monitor to move it around. This was an unexpected bonus. The tilt is also fluid… which has not been a term I have used with other monitor stands.
Now let’s get to the best part… the screen itself. Forty-nine inches of super-wide format, bright, vivid goodness that will stretch a timeline so far you will feel totally inadequate the first time you see that many keyframes in one place!
Easily Work with Three Open Applications if Needed
Menus can be huge if the software allows it. In iClone I “re-discovered” content I had created but forgotten about just because I could enlarge the menu to the point I could see every item in a chosen folder! I found myself distracted with so many of these forgotten items I had to force myself to move on.
I initially opened three applications… Izotope RX, iClone and Character Creator, which was my original intention as I assumed (yes I know what assuming does) I would not like looking at the left or right side of the monitor to work. Then I opened Unreal Editor and had iClone with Live Link on the left half of the screen and the Unreal editor on the right side.
iClone Live Link and Unreal Engine
Working left to right, surprisingly, did not bother me except that left was initially not as comfortable as looking to and working from the right side. I have since acclimated to using two apps at a time with no noticeable discomfort left or right.
I am finding that long-standing work habits are changing, for the good. Having so much screen real estate in front of you dictates these changes. It is very easy to have applications running center and right while keeping notes or character references on the left with MORE room than was available with two monitors at the lower resolution. 5120x1440 cannot be understated and must be experienced to be believed if you’ve never seen anything like it before.
Ironically enough… I’m writing this with only Word open… spread out across 4,000 acres of barren screen real estate.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.