Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sketchbook Ink on the iPad

There's a new sketching program for the iPad. Yes, I realise it isn't that new anymore, but it's new for me. The program is Sketchbook Ink from Autodesk, the same company that gave us AutoCad and more important in this case, Sketchbook Pro. It is available for both the iPad and Android.The main difference is that Sketchbook Ink is vector based, which means that you can zoom in as much as you want without loosing resolution or getting a pixelated image.

The tools are quite limited, just a small selection of brushes and erasers. But you can vary the line-weight easily with a slider at the bottom. It is very easy to ink a drawing and the brushes behave well and predictably. Here is one of my old judo drawings which has been inked really quickly. Further, the program handles layers in an admirable way.
The program has some drawbacks, in my book the main missing features are:
  • Vector selection.
  • Filling, ideally including gradients.
  • Export to a vector-based format.
So, what Autodesk has done is create a very nice and simple vector drawing program, and then they have handicapped it by not including access to the very vectors it is based on. That could have been an reasonable choice in order to make the program as simple as possible, if only they had allowed us to export the vectors so that we could work with them in another program. As it stands, Sketchbook Ink is just a toy, and not really worth your time and money.