Astropad 2.0

LIVE AND DI­RECT Run Pho­to­shop on your Mac and paint us­ing your iPad with the help of this clever re­mote-con­trol app

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Reviews - Price £23 Com­pany Astro HQ Web www.astropad.com

The ben­e­fits are mul­ti­plied by the de­vice’s larger screen area

There are quite a few iPad apps that en­able you to re­mote-con­trol your Win­dows or Mac OS com­puter from your tablet, but Astropad of­fers some clever cre­ative twists. By adding some artist-friendly fea­tures, Astropad helps to turn your iPad into the equiv­a­lent of a Wa­com Cin­tiq tablet, where you can draw di­rectly on to your screen.

Astropad re­lies on two pieces of soft­ware: an iOS app (which you pay for) and a com­pan­ion Mac OS pro­gram (which you down­load at no ex­tra charge). Get both of your de­vices on the same Wi-Fi net­work or con­nect them with a Light­ning ca­ble, then run both apps. With clear in­struc­tions on both screens, it’s easy for the apps to find each other, and the con­tents of your Mac screen ap­pear on your iPad.

Now you can use Astropad on your iPad to con­trol your Mac’s ac­tions. Un­like other re­mote-con­trol apps, though, Astropad is geared to­wards the con­trol of cre­ative Mac soft­ware. Chiefly Pho­to­shop, of course, but also any other paint­ing or draw­ing pro­gram you care to run. Astropad over­lays a cir­cu­lar but­ton on the iPad screen. Tap this to ac­cess one-tap short­cut con­trols for your Mac soft­ware, such as chang­ing the brush size. This up­date ex­pands the range of soft­ware for which ded­i­cated short­cuts are avail­able, to in­clude Au­todesk Sketch­Book, ArtRage and others.

But it’s in the act of draw­ing that Astropad shines. Even on an or­di­nary home Wi-Fi net­work, there’s no no­tice­able lag be­hind draw­ing on the iPad screen and the brush stroke ap­pear­ing on the Mac screen. This is no mean feat. The de­vel­op­ers, led by two for­mer Ap­ple en­gi­neers, cre­ated their own wire­less tech­nol­ogy to en­sure screen up­dates were as smooth as pos­si­ble. In this re­lease, they claim it’s three times faster than be­fore.

The repli­cated view of your Mac on your iPad looks nice and sharp, with colour re­pro­duced ac­cu­rately. You’ve got the op­tion of view­ing the whole Mac screen, which may mean black bor­ders ap­pear­ing on your iPad be­cause of the dif­fer­ing screen ra­tios, or zoom­ing in to view part of the Mac dis­play. The lat­ter op­tion is great for when you’re de­tail­ing.

If you own an iPad Pro, the ben­e­fits of Astropad are mul­ti­plied by the de­vice’s larger screen area and its sup­port for Ap­ple’s pres­sure-sen­si­tive Pen­cil sty­lus. Now it re­ally starts to feel like you have a Cin­tiq…

The draw­back is that a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, a Pen­cil sty­lus and Astropad col­lec­tively cost £780, while a 13-inch Wa­com Cin­tiq HD tablet costs un­der £600 on­line and – for now, at least – de­liv­ers a bet­ter draw­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. So while Astropad is a su­perbly im­ple­mented app, its ap­peal rests on whether you al­ready own an iPad Pro or want the ex­tra ben­e­fits of one.

Astropad 2.0 sup­ports Ap­ple’s Pen­cil sty­lus, en­abling you to use Pen­cil to paint in Pho­to­shop or Sketch­Book. Turn your iPad into a Cin­tiq-like graph­ics tablet for your Mac with the help of Astropad, a sim­ple app with pow­er­ful tech in­side.

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