When is a book not a book?
When it is one of the new Multi-Touch books available exclusively for iPad from the Apple iBookstore. If that leaves you scratching your head, you’re not alone. Turns out many people have not heard of Multi-Touch books yet. The name itself isn’t exactly descriptive. While Multi-Touch may conjure up images of Vishnu the multi-armed Hindu deity, in Apple speak Multi-Touch means a book where gestures allow you to access rich multi-media features. Lets take a look at some of the Multi-Touch features included in How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad.
From the home page for each chapter simply tap the name of any section to jump directly to that tutorial or swipe to scroll through thumbnails of pages for the chapter and tap the page you want to go to. When reading the book you can pinch any page to reduce it back into the thumbnail view and swipe to the next section or chapter you want to visit.
One of the biggest challenges when learning new software, like SketchBook Pro for iPad, is discovering where all the tools are hiding and how to access the features you want to use. With interactive images you can see the user interface for SketchBook Pro and tap to learn more about specific tools and features. Each workspace is labeled using the same naming conventions used though ought the book. As you work through the projects and tutorials in How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad you can refer back to the SketchBook Pro for iPad overview at any time as a refresher.
When Kristy and I authored Hi-Fi Color for Comics and Master Digital Color the most shocking moments were seeing what content was cut from the books by editorial and production. Limited by page count paper books may only allow 2-3 images to illustrate a specific skill or technique when 5-6 may have worked better. Using Multi-Touch technology we have embedded many images in the space of one. Use your finger to swipe through images illustrating step-by-step how to complete each painting. You can even tap to zoom the images up to full-screen size so you can see every detail.
If you attend major comic book conventions like Comic-Con International (aka San Diego Comic-Con) you will find Kristy and I in the panel rooms demonstrating digital color and paint techniques. What we have found is some people can teach themselves using only a book but some people have an, “A-ha!” moment when they see a skill or technique live on screen. How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad contains video tutorials for techniques that are easier to understand visually than in print. The book also includes video for the majority of the painting projects so you can see how the tutorial art was painted and learn how to best approach a given illustration before painting your own. You can use two fingers to zoom any video and play it at full-screen size.
Kristy touched on this in a recent post and it bears repeating. If you are a student or even the studious type these chapter reviews will help you remember the skills and techniques from each chapter of the book. Match the tool icon with its name. Answer questions based on images from the book. Drag labels onto the correct areas of an image. When you are done you can check your answers and move to the next chapter or try again. Chapter reviews are a fun and interactive way to reinforce everything you are learning so it becomes second nature.
If you read Kristy’s recent post you already know you can highlight text and even add notes to sections of the book as you work though the tutorials but you may have missed the action that unlocks even more hidden features, Notes view. You access Notes view by turning your iPad from landscape to portrait orientation with How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad open. All the images and videos shrink down to thumbnails along the left of the page allowing you to focus on the text. As you read each section simply tap any image or video to see it full-size. Notes view also allows you to access all of your highlighted sections and notes in one central location. You can even make flash cards from your highlights and notes.