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Wacom’s new Fine tipped Stylus’

The holiday season is quickly approaching which means it’s time for our favorite product manufacturers to start releasing updates to their products just in time for the holiday shopping season. Last year Wacom released the Intuos Creative Stylus and it was their first pressure-sensitive iPad stylus. I personally found this first stylus to not be the best solution. It didn’t really mimic the real feeling of drawing on paper or drawing on my other Wacom products. Last year’s model from Wacom, the Intous Creative Stylus, had a large rubber nib on the end which made it hard for me to do precise drawings. I never understood why stylists were designed this way. I am assuming it was to mimic using a finger when writing on a tablet, but I thought a stylus should be more precise than using any of your five digits.

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Well, this fall Wacom will be offering two new products to try to fix this issue. The first is the new Bamboo Stylus Fineline. It’s a smart stylus with a new thinner tip. This new tip is made of a 1.9mm solid plastic tip and can register 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity. The Fineline is available in an assortment of colors including silver, blue, grey, orange and pink.

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The iPad screen doesn’t support pressure sensitivity so Wacom makes up for this by having the pen register the pressure you are applying and sending it to the tablet using Bluetooth technology. For this to work the application you are running needs to also register the pressure you’re applying so the software and the Stylus need to be able to communicate. The Fineline has some great 1st and 3rd party app support including Wacom’s own Bamboo Paper app, Noteshelf, Notes Plus, INKredible and GoodReader. But the best feature of all is that the Fineline lasts up to 26 hours on a single battery charge.

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If the Bamboo Stylus Finetip is not your style and you would like to step up Wacom has also updated there Intous Creative Stylus. This new offering simply called the Intous Creative Stylus 2 has 2,048 pressure levels of sensitivity, that’s the same level as their professional desktop offerings with their’s Cintiq. I’m not saying the two are comparable but the specs are the same.

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It has a 2.9mm solid plastic tip and works with a wide range of apps including Bamboo Paper, SketchBook Pro for iPad, ArtRage and ProCreate. It can also connect to Wacom’s own Cloud services. Both of these new stylists are compatible with iPad 3, iPad Mini, iPad Air or greater. If you’re interested in these new stylists you can pick one up for $79.95 for the Creative Stylus 2 or the Bamboo Stylus fineline for $59.95 from the Wacom online store or from one of their registered retailers like BestBuy or Amazon.

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud 2014 Update Part 1 – Mobile

In 2013 Adobe released their Creative Cloud service switching from a traditional software sales model to a subscription based service. This switch did away with the much beloved Creative Suite software bundle which included Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, and many more applications.  At first consumers were unsure of this change to their favorite creative products but Adobe has stuck to their guns and on June 18th 2014 released a large update to their software-as-a-service offerings as well as a few surprises. On Wednesday (July 16, 2014) we will be going over the desktop software revisions but today we have a quick rundown of all the Mobile software updates Adobe has released.

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First off and most interestingly Adobe has released hardware. The company that’s most known for their software has just released a new line of products to help your creative endeavors. Adobe Ink is a new digital pen that connects to Creative Cloud. Adobe’s fine-tipped, pressure sensitive pen is a three-sided hydro-formed aluminum stylus for iPad version 4+ or better running iOS 7. They described it as “lightweight and balanced for a comfortable grip.” The second piece of hardware is a digital ruler that works in tandem with Ink. Adobe Slide was created to enable precision sketches and lines. Again to use Slide you’ll need an iPad version 4+ that’s running the latest version of Apples mobile software, iOS7. Slide works by setting the digital ruler down on the iPad then the ruler marks will appear on screen. As you draw with Ink your digital lines will snap to guides giving you a perfect line. Ink and Slide come as a pair for $199.99. It’s seems like a steep price for something that is not integral to the creative process at this point but Michael Gough, Adobe’s experience design lead, disagrees saying “Sooner or later, the mouse and keyboard aren’t going to be enough,” and ”We’re trying to prepare ourselves.” It seems like with these new products Adobe is making a future play for when artists no longer use laptops and desktop computers and only do their work on tablets. Only time will tell. What makes this pair better then other styluses? It pairs with Creative Cloud so all your settings will be saved allowing you to start working on one iPad and switch to another and continue seamlessly between the two. The nice part is you don’t need to pay for a creative cloud subscription to use the pairing options. As of now Adobe Ink and slide only work with two Adobe iPad apps (Adobe Sketch and Adobe Line) but I’m sure more support is coming. If you’d like to read someone’s thoughts that have had hands on with these products check out this article from The Verge.

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Speaking of software that these products work with, lets switch gears to the five new mobile applications. On a blog post on Adobe site they say “These are incredibly powerful apps that start to bring the functionality you get from desktop apps, to mobile.” How is Adobe going to accomplish this? Well, these new apps will have the ability to upload some of the more processor intensive functions to Adobe servers and do the hard work there. Let’s take a look at these five new free apps from Adobe (these descriptions all come directly from Apple’s app store.)

Adobe Sketch – Adobe Sketch brings inspiration, drawing, and your creative community together in one place. Capture your ideas as sketches and share them on Behance for instant feedback. Sketch gives you the freedom to find inspiration, explore ideas, and get feedback from trusted peers—wherever you are.
Grab Adobe Sketch from the app store here

Adobe Line – A modern approach to drawing and drafting, Line lets you draw straight lines, geometric shapes, perspective views, and more. Adobe Line reimagines traditional drawing tools like rulers, T-squares and shape templates for the mobile world.
Grab Adobe Line from the app store here

Adobe Photoshop Mix – Combine the power of Adobe Photoshop software with the convenience of mobile for a creative, easy-to-use photo editing experience on your iPad (see recommended devices below). Non-destructive photo enhancements, selections, the ability to cut out and mix images, and more; plus a Creative Cloud connected workflow for even more creative possibilities.
Grab Adobe Photoshop Mix from the app store here

Adobe Creative Cloud – Adobe Creative Cloud for iPhone and iPad: Your work, your inspiration, your creativity, with you wherever you go. Part of your free membership, this app connects your mobile devices to the Creative Cloud and unlocks new tools in your favorite apps. It also allows you to browse and preview your PSD, AI and other design files stored in the cloud.
Grab Adobe Creative Cloud from the app store here

Adobe Kuler – Adobe Kuler is a fun and simple way to capture inspiring color combinations wherever you see them. Simply point the iPhone camera at something colorful and Kuler will instantly extract a series of colors.You can share your themes with friends through Facebook, Twitter or email. You can also share the image that inspired the theme. And Adobe Creative Cloud members will find their Kuler themes instantly available in the Kuler panel in Adobe Illustrator CC or Adobe Ideas. You can also sync your color themes to the Kuler website where you can download the swatches for use in other Adobe products.
Grab Adobe Kuler from the app store here

There you have it, the rundown of Adobes 2014 products and mobile offerings. Check back for part 2 on Wednesday (July 16, 2014) where we look at the updates to their desktop software.

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

Drawing Contest from Autodesk

If you’re age 13 to 24 and have a iOS, a android device, Mac or PC then you’re halfway to winning some fabulous prizes from Autodesk. Download the free Autodesk SketchBook Express app for your device of choice, then the only thing left to do is tell “My Story” using the SketchBook Express app. If this sounds like a good idea to you then join the “Live it. Sketch it. Share it.” design competition. Your story could be pretty much anything. A character you created. A moment in your life or something that symbolizes your culture. It sounds pretty wide-open to me.

If your image is selected by the judges Autodesk is offering some nice prizes. The prizes range from a Wacom drawing tablet, $2000 worth of art classes from Schoolism or have your work critiqued by Bobby Chiu. So who can enter? You must be 13 to 24 years of age and be a resident of one of the countries where the competition is available. For the rest of the official rules visit the contests page. The contest ends July 31. So you have around a hundred days left to get your Image submitted. Best of luck to you youngsters.

Amazon Acquires Digital Comics Platform ComiXology

Last week Amazon announced that it was acquiring the digital comic book distributor ComiXology. If you don’t know what is, it’s been called “the iTunes of comic books” by the New York Times. ComiXology is a cloud-based digital comics platform that offers a selection of more than 40,000 comic books and graphic novels across Android, iOS, Kindle, Windows 8, and their Internet web store. ComiXology was launched in July 2007 and now has deals with 75 different comic book publishers giving these companies a digital storefront to sell their content. Their ComiXology app has gone on to become Apple’s top-grossing non-game iPad app from 2011 to 2013.

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They have had well over 200 million comics downloaded through their app as of September 2013. There have been several reasons for ComiXology’s rise to digital comics prominence, but none more prominent than their patented Guided View technology. Guided View has made reading digital comics a much better experience on digital devices. “ComiXology’s patent-pending Guided View technology allows readers to view a comic on a panel-by-panel basis suitable for mobile devices in a way that mimics the natural motion of the user’s eye through the comic” says the ComiXology website. Continue reading

Wacom’s First Pressure-Sensitive iPad Stylus

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Yesterday Wacom unveiled their new portable drawing solutions with two new tablets, but not to be lost in the buzz they are also releasing their first pressure sensitive stylus for iPad. The Intuos Creative Stylus is the latest addition to Wacom’s Bamboo Stylus line and it’s first pressure-sensitive iPad stylus. As you probably know by now the iPad screen is not pressure sensitive so to get this effect Wacom has built this pressure sensitivity into the stylus. Using Bluetooth 4.0 the stylus will talk to compatible iPad art apps, which currently include SketchBook, ArtRage, ProCreate, ArtStudio, Inkist, Flipink and Wacom’s Bamboo Paper app. Wacom claims to offer 2048 levels of pressure-sensitivity and says that one AAA battery will power it for over 150 hours. The Intuos Creative Stylus will be on sale at $99 on October 7.

New Jot Touch 4 Stylus for iPad Art

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If anyone’s been reading Once Upon a Sketch for a while you’ll know that I’ve been looking for a way to turn my iPad into a drawing tablet. I’ve tried a bunch of different App solutions and styluses but nothing has seemed to make Apple’s tablet a good drawing device for me. Not to mention when you try to draw on the iPad you have to hold your hand at an awkward angle so that your hand doesn’t touch the screen while you’re drawing. Well the new Jot Touch 4’s palm rejection technology means no more hand hovering to avoid touching the screen and make creating art on your iPad as natural as drawing with a pen and paper. Or so says Kris Perpich, CXO at Adonit “Art is about expressive freedom, and artists shouldn’t feel restricted by their tools. The new Jot Touch stylus gives artists that freedom.” The Jot Touch 4 has 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and has over a dozen drawing apps that are compatible. Apps like ArtStudio, Inkist, Inspire Pro, SketchBook Ink, Sketchbook Pro and many more are adding support soon. As I was looking through their of compatible apps I noticed that not all the apps are using Adonit’s palm rejection technology at this point. I’m sure the app developers just need to implement this new tech into their software but if you watch the sketchbook Pro video on their website the demonstrator never touches his hand to the iPad screen. Maybe this is just a feature that is in the works but only two of the apps that are specifically for drawing use their new technologies. The video below shows you what it takes to pair your Jot touch with SketchBook Pro.

When I first heard about this product I got super excited, but after doing a little research my hopes have come down a bit. The Jot Touch 4 has a lot of great things going for it. Pressure sensitivity with a stylus on the iPad is a dream I’ve had for a while now and it looks like its come true but at an $89.99 it comes at a price. Please don’t take this as a review. I’ve never use this product before. It’s just what I can glean from their site and a little research. I’ll have to continue checking back and hoping for a few more apps to add support for the Palm Rejection technology then I think I’ll be in. iPad artists were almost there. The Jot Touch is available today for purchase.

Source: http://adonit.net/jot/touch/

Robot Media is Trying to Make Creating Digital Children’s Books Easy

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As we all know, the last couple of years the publishing industry has started to move more to the digital side of publishing. Leaving us illustrators that don’t have any or very little coding skills trying to find ways to get are content out there. But what if anyone could create interactive children’s books for tablets and mobile? Well thats the question Barcelona’s Robot Media is trying to answer.

Right now on Robot Media‘s website you can sign up for an invite to get the beta of their application, Storybuilder. Storybuilder is an award-winning (Publishing Innovation Awards) desktop application made to produce stand alone children’s and comic book apps for mobile devices. With 3 million downloads and content from publishers like Random House and HarperCollins Robot Media could be on its way to becoming the industry’s leading interactive picture book platform. The “Storybuilder” tool provides “everything an author needs to build a rich, interactive, animated book as easy as creating a Powerpoint presentation” says the companies founder Hermes Pique.

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So what’s in it for Robot Media? Their model sees them take 30% of what is left after Apple’s or Google’s 30% app store commission.

I’ve downloaded the Storybuilder application and I’m playing around with it now. Not a lot to report yet, but I will give it a full review when the app gets out of beta. As of now the software beta is only for Mac. No word of it coming to other operating systems. If you are interested about the software, you can sign up for the beta at littlerobot.com to try it for yourself.