Jun 08/17
By John Laird

Astropad Studio

As a graphic designer who loves to draw, I’ve always wanted the ability to run Adobe Photoshop right on my digital tablet. I’ve always found the idea of sketching into a Photoshop document very fascinating and convenient. I guess the idea of ditching the mouse and not being entirely tied to my desk seemed somewhat favorable.

Technology moves fast and there has been a tremendous amount of innovation in drawing software and drawing devices available for digital artists. Astropad Studio is a program that mirrors your desktop applications right onto your iPad Pro—all through a wifi or USB connection. This allows an artist to replace the mouse with the Apple Pencil and use their fingers to navigate through the Photoshop interface. You can actually mirror any Mac application on your device using this software. What’s great about Astropad Studio is that it’s completely customizable and easy to use. With what they’re calling the new “Magic Gestures” you’re able to get around the Photoshop you know in a new and intuitive way—you can pan and zoom inside your document with your fingertips.

This is a great tool for any designer using Photoshop on a regular basis. The interface is unobtrusive and maximizes the screen space on the iPad so you have plenty of room for sketching, retouching, or doing whatever task you might be doing in Photoshop. You can also connect a keyboard via blue tooth to use hot keys for accessing specific tools quickly. This is a must-have when you’re working fast. Using the Apple Pencil with Photoshop feels natural and really shines when you’re able to ditch the mouse and actually draw using software brush tool presets. Furthermore, you can also adjust the pencil and stroke options to fine tune pressure settings to further enhance the drawing experience. This is great for developing quick digital sketches or to add texture and detail to more elaborate illustrations.

It seems that some companies are starting to really cater their services and offerings to the creative professional. Microsoft has created some really amazing devices such as their Surface Pro 4 and their newly released Surface Studio which allows you to draw right onto the screen with their Surface Pen. Wacom is another company that has been innovating drawing technologies for as long as I can remember with their digital pens and tablets. However, with all the different digital drawing options out there, Astropad Studio might be one of the top options for bringing touch gestures and stylus input to the Mac OS. If you’re interested in implementing a new tool into your workflow that could enhance your artistry and increase productivity, Astropad Studio is definitely worth checking out.

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