What’s new in SketchBook Pro for iPad 2.6?

Autodesk recently released SketchBook Pro for iPad version 2.6.  This update is FREE for users of previous versions and includes several new features and a revamp of some user interface elements.  You will notice some icons and menus have a revised appearance when combined with previous versions, including what is shown in How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad.  This post covers what is new in SketchBook Pro for iPad 2.6.

Copic Color Library

If you sketch and draw using traditional media, odds are you are familiar with the colorful dual tip markers made by Copic.  You will find the color panel in the SketchBook Pro for iPad brush editor has been slightly revised. The icon that was previously used to swap between the color swatches and the color wheel has been changed and now resembles a color wheel with 4 grayscale swatches inside.  When tapped, this new icon reveals a pop-over menu allowing you to select from three options: color swatches, color wheel, or the new Copic color library.

The Copic color library presents you with three user interface elements from which to select colors: A spectrum column, color swatches, and a color preview area.  In the spectrum column you can tap to select a family of colors like reds, greens, or blues.  When you tap on one of these colors the selection of Copic color swatches in the panel changes to reflect your selection.  The number of swatches and variety varies depending upon your selection. Tap any Copic color swatch and the color you tap will be displayed in the color preview area indicating your selection as the active color.  Any brush strokes you make will use the active color.  To the right of the active color in the preview area you will see a small display indicating complimentary colors for the active swatch.  You can tap one of the complimentary colors and now the complimentary color will become the active color and variations of the new active color family fill the area displaying Copic swatches.

Most artist will find the addition of the Copic color library a welcome one.  Copic has supplied a nice variety of colors and if you want to do a bit of customizing you can always use a Copic color as a starting point then customize the color using the color wheel and save the as a custom color swatch in the swatches panel (not the Copic color library).

Revised Marker Brush

What fun would adding the Copic color library to SketchBook Pro for iPad be if the marker itself did not behave a bit more like a true Copic marker?  The marker brush gives you more of that wet edge feeling and while the colors don’t bleed like a true marker there is enough spread to the brush tip that you can achieve the look of overlapping and mixing of colors when adjusting the opacity and size of the brush.  The refinements should tempt you to utilize the marker brush more often.

Updated Preferences

Gone is the setting for High Resolution Canvas (more on that later) and in it’s place is a new preference labeled, 3rd Party Pen Connection.  When selected this preference currently offers support for 3 forthcoming input stylus products; Adonit Jot Touch, TenOne Pogo, and Hex3 JaJa.  Autodesk’s decision to include built in support for these products indicates their commitment to providing an experience tailored toward the user. Want to use your finger?  Go for it.  Use a traditional stylus? Rock on.  Have a desire to try a pro-level stylus with pressure sensitivity? Be our guest.  This is an impressive addition and one that opens the door for other third party developers working on a variety of input products.  The question of the moment is, how do these pressure sensitive style products work with SketchBook Pro for iPad?  Several of the stylus makers have pledged to provide Hi-Fi with test units.  We will be conducting a real world, in house test of these and will report back.  Look for a full review at HowToPaintComicBooks.com in October.

Revised New Sketch & Import Image menus

As mentioned the ability to set a default canvas size has been jettisoned from SketchBook Pro for iPad preferences.  Good news is you can now choose your canvas size anytime you create a new sketch (Image Editor or Gallery) or import an image into the Gallery.  When you tap the New Sketch icon or Import Image icon you are now presented with an attractive new menu presenting the current canvas sizes to you.  You may choose 1024 x 768 or 2048 x 1536 for your canvas. Also of note 1024 x 768 canvas size now supports these maximum layers depending upon which iPad model you are using: 6 layers on iPad 1, 12 layers on iPad 2, or 18 layers on 3rd Gen iPad.  The implementation of this new canvas size menu allows for additional canvas sizes to be added to SketchBook Pro for iPad as new iPad models are introduced and future software updates are made.

File Sharing enhancements

When you tap the Export Image icon you will immediately notice the redesigned menu featuring new export options like Flickr and Facebook.  The Facebook implementation allows you to add a caption and export the image to any existing Facebook album you have previously created. Twitter and email integration in iOS5 allow you to compose tweets and emails within SketchBook Pro for iPad.  No need to jump to Mail or Twitter apps.  Other image export features work as before.

SketchBook Pro for iPad 2.6 provides subtle enhancements throughout.  The Copic color library is the major new feature and one most users will start using immediately.  The underlying changes for canvas size, file sharing, and third party stylus support prove Autodesk are hard at work to ensure SketchBook Pro for iPad remains at the forefront of painting apps for iPad while laying a foundation for future enhancements.  Several menus have been revised since How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad was published.  Refer to this post anytime you need a refresher on the changes.


SketchBook Pro for iPad Available from the iTunes App store.

How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad Available from the iBookstore.

Stay tuned for a full review of pressure sensitive stylus products compatible with SketchBook Pro for iPad in the future.