Astropad Stu­dio

STEL­LAR SKETCH­ING This soft­ware turns your iPad Pro into a graph­ics tablet, but watch out for the sub­scrip­tion pric­ing…

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

This soft­ware turns your iPad Pro into a graph­ics tablet, but does the sub­scrip­tion pric­ing model work for you?

Link de­vices and the con­nec­tion siz­zles: it feels in­stan­ta­neous

Price £52 per year or £6 per month Com­pany Astropad Web

Led by for­mer Ap­ple en­gi­neers, Astropad is a small com­pany de­voted to build­ing cre­ative tools for Ap­ple prod­ucts. Its epony­mous Astropad app (now rebranded Astropad Stan­dard) is a high-qual­ity, af­ford­able way to link an iPad and Mac so you can draw with the for­mer onto the lat­ter, turn­ing your iPad into a graph­ics tablet.

Now Astropad Stu­dio joins Astropad Stan­dard in the line-up, but whereas Stan­dard is com­pat­i­ble with many iPad mod­els and sty­lus brands, Stu­dio works only with iPad Pro and Ap­ple’s Pen­cil sty­lus. In turn, Astropad has been able to fo­cus on cre­at­ing the best pos­si­ble draw­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Stu­dio’s pric­ing model is also dif­fer­ent. Now, in­stead of a small, one-off fee, you have to subscribe to an Astropad Stu­dio ac­count.

Set­ting ev­ery­thing up is a bit of a fid­dle, sim­ply be­cause of the num­ber of com­po­nents you’re work­ing with. First, cre­ate your Astropad Stu­dio ac­count and set up your sub­scrip­tion. Next, down­load and in­stall the Astropad app on your Mac and the Astropad Stu­dio app on your iPad Pro. Now run both apps: as long as your Mac and tablet are on the same net­work, they’ll recog­nise each other and your Mac screen will be re­pro­duced on your iPad Pro.

On a reg­u­lar home net­work with a mod­ern wire­less router, we ex­pe­ri­enced a de­gree of lag be­tween the Mac screen chang­ing and the iPad Pro up­dat­ing: no­tice­able, but not jar­ring. The wire­less net­work is al­ways go­ing to be the lim­it­ing fac­tor. Link your two de­vices through your iPad Pro’s charg­ing ca­ble, on the other hand, and the con­nec­tion siz­zles: syn­chro­ni­sa­tion be­tween the two screens feels in­stan­ta­neous.

Astropad has also cut loose with ex­tra fea­tures. For ex­am­ple, Stu­dio’s Magic Ges­tures fea­ture en­ables you to com­bine finger taps and Pen­cil ges­tures to trig­ger re­sponses in­clud­ing sim­u­lat­ing a right-click or switch­ing be­tween tools.

Astropad Stu­dio is state of the art when it comes to us­ing your iPad Pro as a graph­ics tablet: it’s su­perbly re­spon­sive. But the type of artist who’ll re­gard £52 a year as a price worth pay­ing is equally likely to be able to af­ford, say, a Wa­com In­tuos Pro.

The gap in qual­ity be­tween draw­ing with your iPad and with a ded­i­cated tablet has nar­rowed con­sid­er­ably. But the phys­i­cal­ity of the lat­ter (through at­tributes such as sur­face bite) mean it’s still a su­pe­rior op­tion.

Astropad Stu­dio en­ables you to use your iPad Pro and Ap­ple Pen­cil as a graph­ics tablet to paint on a Mac screen. Stu­dio is com­pat­i­ble with Pho­to­shop, Sketch­Book Pro and other ma­jor Mac art apps, so you can start mak­ing pres­sure-sen­si­tive lines in min­utes.

Stu­dio’s Magic Ges­tures fea­ture means you can eas­ily com­bine finger touches and Pen­cil ges­tures to trig­ger short­cuts or sim­u­late mod­i­fier keys.

The ex­clu­sive use of Ap­ple hard­ware means Astropad has been able to in­clude ex­tra fea­tures.

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