The New Features Coming to Procreate 4

Posted on: July 25, 2017 - by Brad Colbow

The developers have been teasing the new features of Procreate over on Instagram for a couple weeks now. Recently one of the developers showed his screen listing out the 100 new features they have been working on. I took some screen caps (see below) and this is the list I came up with. Let me know if I misread anything or if you have any idea what some of them might be.

  1. Stability improvements
  2. Speed improvements
  3. Reduced memory usage
  4. All new smudge
  5. Greater pencil precision
  6. Brush blend modes
  7. New behind blend mode for brushes
  8. Redesigned layer opacity menu
  9. Redesigned brushes interface
  10. Redesigned Cut/copy/paste menu
  11. Combine down for layer groups
  12. QS (quick shape?)
  13. Circle recognition
  14. Oval recognition
  15. _____ recognition
  16. Lossless rotation of QS items
  17. Lossless scaling of QS items
  18. QS transform mode
  19. Improved performance on large canvases
  20. Drag and drop artwork into gallery
  21. Renamed video support
  22. Updated default artwork
  23. Improvements to PSD export
  24. Tiff export
  25. Tiff import
  26. Wet paint effects
  27. Airplay canvas
  28. P3 wide colour
  29. P3 import image
  30. P3 layered PSD import
  31. Updated canvas metadata interface
  32. Reduced memory usage
  33. Improved photos interaction
  34. Pass through for layer groups in PSD export
  35. New third  party stylus interface
  36. Improvements to quickline transform
  37. New default pallet
  38. Alpha lock in layer options menu
  39. Improved layer selection
  40. Merge down for layer groups
  41. Improved device rotation in ______
  42. Updated transitions
  43. Improved export interactions
  44. Improved layer group collapses
  45. Improved classic color ____ with live broadcast
  46. Improved ____ photo import
  47. Improved ___ stamping
  48. Drag and drop brush ___ into procreate
  49. Drag and drop brushes into other sources
  50. Fixed ____ blur issues
  51. Improved QuickMenu ____
  52. Renamed layer ____
  53. Renamed copy canvas
  54. Improved alpha lock with empty layers
  55. Improved Quickmenu integration with Undo
  56. Revised Advanced Settings Menu
  57. Moved Fit canvas option
  58. Moved Orientation memory option
  59. Added Pull _____ brush settings
  60. Brush ____ can be dragged ___ pages with Apple Pencil
  61. Migrated to Swift 4
  62. Updated fonts
  63. iOS 11 unified styling
  64. Updated ____ scheme
  65. ______ updated
  66. Modal header ____ updated
  67. _____ all menus and models ____ correctly
  68. Improved layer menu stability
  69. Serious improvements to _____ painting
  70. Wacom stylus improvements
  71. Streamline works for brush preview painting
  72. General streamline optimizations
  73. Improvement to predictive stroke handling
  74. _______
  75. Calligraphic brush set
  76. New ___ brush
  77. New gallery design
  78. Updated gallery stacks
  79. Improved interaction with gallery groups
  80. Hi Allen (I might be wrong about this one)
  81. New About Procreate information in gallery
  82. New gallery move button
  83. Updated gallery selection method
  84. Drag artworks out of Procreate
  85. Multiple simultaneous artwork duplication
  86. Duplicate multiple artworks and stacks simultaneously
  87. Hide artworks through stack ordering
  88. Drag and drop multiple artworks
  89. Removed devices menu
  90. Added third-party stylus connection to prefs menu
  91. Drag and drop swatch pallets into Procreate
  92. Drag swatch pallets out of procreate
  93. New Cut + Paste feature
  94. New Copy + paste features
  95. More accessible copy all function
  96. Canvas ___ in canvas metadata
  97. Rename canvas from canvas metadata
  98. Canvas creation date
  99. Canvas modified date
  100. Max layer information in canvas metadata
  101. Currently used layer information
  102. Color space information
  103. Video length information
  104. Stroke made information
  105. Connection information for apple pencil
  106. Removed incompatible styluses
  107. Unsupported stylus information
  108. Applicable stylus list
  109. Improved stylus button selection
  110. Improved performance for stylus connections

Android’s Best Drawing App – Infinite Painter Online Course

Posted on: June 7, 2017 - by Brad Colbow

Infinite Painter Coarse

I just finished my second Udemy course. This time I focused on Android. There are a lot of great drawing apps for Android (Here is a video I made of 10 of them) but infinite Painter really stood out to me. It’s simple and elegant but there are a ton of features tucked in there.

The course is $20 on Udemy, but you can grab it for 50% off, readers/video watchers.

Follow this link, it contains the coupon code.

Finding a stand for the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro

Posted on: April 20, 2017 - by Brad Colbow

It’s been a couple months since Wacom released the Mobile Studio Pro and it’s still surprisingly hard to find the stands Wacom makes for them. A couple folks have asked me what stand I was using in my MSP review. I propped mine up on an old Artisul stand ($50 over on Amazon). Tt works pretty well. The rubbery foot collects more dust than I like but the stand is functional and doesn’t slide around much.

Will there be a Surface Pro 5 this spring?

Posted on: March 27, 2017 - by Brad Colbow

There are a lot of conflicting rumors flying around about when we will see new Surface Pros and Surface Books. For months it was expected that we would see new devices released this spring (2017), so any week now. However now Cnet is reporting that the Surface Book’s just aren’t ready yet.

Recently, however, I’ve heard from a couple of contacts that Surface Book 2 is not going to be announced here, as I mentioned during a recent episode of the Windows Weekly podcast. I’m not sure whether Surface Pro 5 will debut at the still-unannounced Spring hardware launch either.

Cnet – Microsoft’s Spring fling: Is another new Surface device category coming?

Not sure what that leaves for a Spring event if we don’t get a Surface Pro 5 either. A Surface phone? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

New iPad, but no new iPad Pros

Posted on: March 21, 2017 - by Brad Colbow

For weeks people have been expecting a big new product iPad product reveal from Apple. Today we got it. A new 9.7 inch iPad with a better processor and screen and a price drop down to $329. Here is the official Apple press release.

There were conflicting rumors leading up to this news. Some were reporting a major redesign to the iPad reducing the bezels along the side and a slightly larder screen (10.5 inches). A larger screen on a standard iPad body makes sense, I think we’ll see it revealed this fall and probably in the Pro line. Updating the standard iPad now ahead of that announcement means they don’t have to update them in the fall leaving the cool stuff for any Pro updates.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab S3

Posted on: March 18, 2017 - by Brad Colbow

Android tablets have felt like a dying breed lately, but Samsung isn’t ready to give up the fight, as it’s just announced the high-end Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.

This follow-up to the acclaimed Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 has a lot to live up to, but with significantly updated specs, an HDR screen, S Pen support and more it’s clear that Samsung’s not just phoning (or tableting) it in.

In fact, in many ways the Tab S3 looks positioned as a rival to the beastly iPad Pro. We’ve got all the key specs and features, plus the all-important release date, ready for your perusal below.

Tech Radar – Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: everything you need to know

I’m so glad Samsung isn’t giving up on their high end Android tablets. When I started doing research last fall into buying an Android tablet to review I was really disappointed by what is out there. I ended up reviewing the Galaxy Tab A 9.7 which is a budget tablet and inferior to the iPad Pro in pretty much every way. I don’t say that to insult it, it just felt like an iPad with all the specs cut down.

There are two things I want in an Android tablet, a high res screen and a good pen. The S3 appears to have both. The screen is 1536px x 2048px and the tablet uses Samsung’s surprisingly good s-pen technology. Looking at the images in this article Samsung has gone with a normal pen size, in fact the pen looks almost identical to the Surface Pro’s pen. Samsung has always borrowed liberally from their competitor’s industrial design and it looks like that’s the case here as well. At least they copied a good pen. I’m looking forward to testing one of these out when it launches at the end of this month.

Microsoft Ditching the Tablet Form Factor in the New Surface Books?

Posted on: March 17, 2017 - by Brad Colbow

The new Surface Book is expected to adopt a clamshell design instead of its traditional 2-in-1 and will feature a starting price lower than that of its predecessors.

The new Surface Book continues to feature a 13.5-inch display and chassis made of magnesium-aluminum-alloy. The product is expected to be priced at around US$1,000, much lower than the starting prices of Microsoft’s existing Surface Books, which range from US$1,499-3,199.

-Source: Digitimes – Microsoft new Surface Book enters mass production

The drop in price isn’t that surprising, the $1499 starting price always seemed pretty high to me. What is surprising is that the screen isn’t detachable. I’m sure that will save money but that always seemed like the differentiating factor to me.

Testing Astropad Pro

Posted on: March 16, 2017 - by Brad Colbow

I’ve really been searching for ways to show that this isn’t quite as good as a dedicated drawing tablet… but I just can’t.

This is Astropad Studio. There are 2 parts to it. One is an app that runs on your Mac, and right now this is Mac only, and an iPad app. The iPad mirrors your Mac’s screen and lets your use your iPad as a drawing tablet.

So there are two Astropad apps in the app store now. Standard Astropad which is a one time purchase and Astropad studio which is the Pro version of the app and costs $60 a year. Full disclosure, the folks at Astropad sent me a code so I didn’t pay for the app I’m talking about today.

What do you get for that $60 a year. A lot of bells and whistles but I want to start with just the feel of drawing.

The second I set it up and set my pencil down on the iPad I just thought. Whoa! Like that feels great. I’ve always had a hard time explaining feel, but if something is off with your drawing tools you just kinda feel it. And Astropad was just always a little off, I could never put my finger on it, it was good and I couldn’t find much wrong with it but there was that something.

It might be that the pixelation from previous versions is now totally gone. Just that slight improvement makes everything feel snappier and more realtime. You can now even watch a video on Astropad.

You can use Astropad over wifi and it’s pretty impressive but I still recommend plugging it in via USB when you’re using it for the best results.

So lets run this through a battery of tests shall we.

First I found a nice photoshop brush with no lag when I use it on my Mac. Some of the brushes I’ve used in reviews in the past have to render and that can cause some lag.

This is me drawing in Photoshop with an Intuos tablet. Works well, pressure kicks in when I expect it and if I draw an a normal speed there isn’t any lag, if I draw really fast I can make it lag but realistically I never draw that fast, except when doing hatch lines and I can get pretty uniform hatch lines easily.

Here is standard Astropad. I think they rolled out the same improvements here that they are using in AstroPad studio. Same kinds of brush strokes and it feels as good as the Intuos,

Here is Astropad Studio, from a brush perspective felt exactly the same as Astropad. Uniform strokes good, help pressure well checks all the boxes for me.

For Fun I also set up Duet Display under as close of conditions as I could get. Duet has mirroring but I was having trouble getting it to work right. So I turned off one of my monitors and used this as a second monitor. Other than that I have the same settings here. Overall it’s performing way better than it did in the fall when I last tested it. The slower strokes are holding pressure consistently now. The hatch lines mostly came out the way I wanted them to, every so often it would drop pressure on one but performance has improved dramatically.

What does Studio add: Lots and lots of customizability.

When I change apps Astropad know what app is open and brings up customized shortcuts for that app. And all of this is customizable. I really like this.

If I’m using a drawing tablet with buttons on it for example, when I switch between photoshop and illustrator I will go into my drawing tablet’s settings and change some of the shortcuts. Then if I’m back in Photoshop I’m changing settings again.

I love that Astropad remembers all those settings for you, it takes away the hassle of constantly fiddling with all that. This is something I didn’t know I needed until it was given to me. You might be able to do that on some other drawing tablets, I’ve never thought to look for it but now I will.

In Astropad it’s right there, easy to access you don’t have to dig around and once it’s set up you never have to think about it again.

They also took some cues from other great iPad apps like Procreate. I’ve gotten so used to being able to use two fingers to undo or 3 fingers on the screen to redo and it pulls some of those hand gestures. And like everything else in this app those are customizable as well.

There is even a quick gesture for using an eraser. One finger on the screen and use the pencil and you will be erasing.

You probably noticed in the screens I’m showing there is a trailing line showing where you pencil was, this was introduced to Astropad when it first came out to make up for the lag. Now that the lag is virtually gone you don’t need that tale so you can turn that off, or just change the color.

They have also added a pressure curve to the apple pencil and also pressure smoothing.

The onscreen keyboard is also a nice touch and comes in handy when renaming layers.

So what are the cons? I really looked high and low for things I don’t like about this, and I’m having a harder and harder time with each new release.

One would be the price. For me personally I don’t use Astropad enough to warrant the annual subscription price. If I only had an iPad to draw with I might spring for it. For some professional illustrators the convenience of the shortcuts and the touch screen shortcuts this will pay for itself in a couple weeks. For others maybe not.

I actually wrote a whole bunch on the price and my thought on it. It would have taken up half this video and seemed out of place so I cut that out and will be putting it in another video later this week.

The other thing that I ran into was that I have customized my photoshop so heavily over the years that a lot of the default actions that are baked into Astopad Studio don’t work properly for me without a lot of fiddling. The first time I tried to pinch and zoom I had trouble. I also changed my shortcut for control z from undo to go back. So I broke Astropad’s default undo stuff.

And all of these things are customizable and can be fixed but just know that if you are like me and heavily customized your software you’re going to have to invest some time in customizing Astropad Studio as well.

Who is this for?

It’s not for everyone, but if I’m going to spend hours a day drawing having the ability to have the software

If you use it here and there You’ll be fine with the standard edition. This is really going to appeal to the power users, the folks who found that it using this with their iPad can completly replace their drawing tablet.

The really nice feature here is that you can completly customize your workspace on a program by program basis, I’ve talked in other videos about how the Mac OS isn’t optimized for touch or pen input the way Windows is, and I think the features they have added here in Astropad Studio make the Mac much more usable with a touch screen.

Maybe Wait for the Surface Studio 2

Posted on: March 16, 2017 - by Brad Colbow

Back in the fall I drooled over the Microsoft Surface Studio and in my video I went to the Microsoft store and tested it out and talked about my first impressions with the Surface pen and drawing on it. And that screen really is gorgeous.

And I had every intention of reviewing it. But it’s mid February and like I mentioned in another video why I’ve had problems getting my hands on one, but I’ve been digesting a lot of reviews and my initial excitement has turned into maybe I’ll wait until next year. I’m a Cleveland Browns fan so waiting until next year is just hard wired in me.

I have been compiling some of the better, more drawing oriented reviews and those are listed out on my website, there is a link down below if you want to check those out.

I’ve covered the good stuff before. I really really like the idea of the Surface studio, and that screen and that hinge are great. So why have I cooled on it. The hardware.

The hardware.

I saw one review where the guy said quote: “The graphics card can barely run the screen”. Now, I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration. And As a person who records video I know I don’t choose my words as carefully when I’m talking as I do when I’m writing so I don’t think he meant it literally, but his point is this: more pixels means you need more processing power to use the display.

That makes sense and usually the lowest configured laptop or tablet someone makes is just good enough to run the hardware well, it’s not really a power machine which is why I usually step up a notch or two. That next step up on the Studio is $500 more.

The Surface studio is really a laptop with a giant monitor attached. There are some other little touches like a larger hard drive (more on that later) and when they did a teardown of it they found an arm chip they think helps run the screen, i don’t know.

The one thing that really gives me pause is the hard drive. It’s a hybrid drive. Actually it’s 2 hard drives. I don’t know if that qualifies technically as a hybrid.

An an old school platter drive that’s pretty big, 1TB. And a smaller speedy solid state hard drive with 64gb of space. The idea is that the stuff you are using frequently offloads to the solid state portion while the rest offloads to the older hard drive. And so most of the time you’re using your computer is seems speedy and modern. But if you never have to access something stored on that older drive, you get on a bus back to 2005 to retrieve it.

I’ve never used one of these 2 drive set ups but I’m kind of skeptical. An old platter drive is slooooooow. A few years back I upgraded my old Macbook pro. I had a tiny but fast ssd drive so I replaced it with a bigger one then removed the DVD drive and popped in a second hard drive, this was like a 500 gb drive I had sitting around from another laptop. That second hard drive was an older slower hard drive.

Bad move. I pulled that second hard drive out after a week. It slowed down my computer so much. Photoshop would use it for who knows what, you can set it up not to if you fiddle with the settings, but I also found that when I used finder it would often spin up that old slow hard drive. Overall I hated going back to that hard drive, even though it was a secondary hard drive I only planned to use for storage. I yanked it out and put in the old tiny SSD drive.

If your computer is slow all the time I can get used to that, but if your computer is fast fast fast sloooooow. That slowness seems even worse.

In something like the Surface Studio I would rather have less storage but hard drive that’s 100% ssd and go for the speed. That seems like a huge step backwards for me. And as a primary machine which is what the studio would be for me, and just about anyone spending $3000 on a computer I want the speed.

Also, for $3000… that is one of the most expensive computers you can buy, anywhere and that’s the starting price. Asking for a full SSD drive is not too much.

I did watch a video where they replaced the hard drive. No way. I’m not opening up my new $3000 computer to do that.

There are some things that I just don’t know about this device that really require you to use it to learn about.

Thoughts

  • One thing I’m really curious about is the form factor: One of the ways that the Surface Pro changed the way I worked was that I might be working on a layout or something that didn’t involve drawing and then I had to crop an image I would just grab the pen and make a mask. There are a lot of little productivity things like that which popped up once I started using the Surface Pro more and more.
  • When I used my Cintiq I had to unplug my monitor, plug in the Cintiq, rearranging all my windows to fit and then crop that image. I never did that, when the Cintiq was plugged in I was drawing, when it wasn’t I wasn’t drawing. SO I found myself setting time aside to draw because it takes a minute or two to set up.
  • That’s why the Surface Studio really stood out to me when I first used it. One is that the screen really is the most beautiful screen I’ve ever seen on any device anywhere, but I like my monitor to be away from me and my drawing tablet to be close to me and they screen doesn’t just fold down, but it really folds down to the perfect place, and that hinge makes it weightless.
  • So that idea of working on something and then just pulling the screen down to make a mask or sketching in something quick or make a note is really appealing. It’s not something I would have looked for in a computer until I started using the Surface Pro, now I’m spoiled.

So yeah, everything I loved about the product when I first saw it are still there and i still love, but I think they can do better. I also think Microsoft has started to establish a track record of making some big hardware improvements over time. Just look at the evolution of the original Surface to the Surface Pro 3. The steps forward with each iteration were huge.

As tempting at that screen is. I’m probably going to hold off on the Studio for this generation. Although I have been begging the folks at Microsoft to send me a review unit, yeah, they stopped returning my email.

Also there are rumors of Microsoft Wacom partnership. Actually they are beyond rumors. It’s a thing. I’m really curios to see what comes of that, I would love to see that blossom and see the n-trig tech replaced across the Surface line. The Surface pen isn’t bad, but I prefer drawing with Wacom’s tech.

Some folks think we might see Wacom tech in the new Surface Pro 5 and Surface books that are expected this spring. I think the Wacom announcement was made last winter or spring and product development cycles can be longer than you think so it’s possible that we will see Wacom tech in the new Surface Pros but I wouldn’t put bet the farm on that.

So yeah, that’s my advice. I think a $3000 computer is an investment that should last you 4 years, at least. I’m not sure this one will.

Turning on Alphalock in Procreate

Posted on: March 14, 2017 - by Brad Colbow

Procreate is a great art tool for the iPad. With the release of version 3.2 earlier this month they made some changes to the layers. Most of them were really good, like the ability to select multiple layers at once. One change that has caused some confusion is how Alpha lock works.

Now you have to use two fingers and swipe your layer to the right instead of one finger.

Also instead of white brackets around the layer you nows see a checkerboard pattern behind your layer to show that alphalock is on.

I made a video showing the other changes Procreate has made in their most recent release.

Hello world!

Posted on: March 14, 2017 - by Brad Colbow

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