So most of you know that I'm a Sketchbook Pro user.
A few days back, Autodesk released Sketchbook Pro 6
, and I think this is the version that's going to make a lot of people who have YET to experience Sketchbook Pro in full, or haven't really given the past versions a chance, switch over to making it their digital drawing software of choice; heck, even their PAINTING software of choice.
We still have the cleverly-designed user interface, that makes it easy on the eyes and mind when we're brainstorming and sketching. With the handful of new tools introduced, we still have a clutter-free drawing environment, and man, there's some awesome tools this time around. I'll go down the list:The Brush Library
The main brush toolbar itself has a click-and-drag function, allowing you to store all your often-used brushes in each of the "lanes". You then can click the button on the upper-right and then a full cabinet of all your brushes, the ones that came with and the ones you create yourself, and you can pick between them. You can even make customize your own brush sets and name them however you like based on the project you're working on, style of drawing/painting, etc. And they're all accessible through that one "cabinet". GANGSTA.The French Curve
My fellow Sketchbook Pro users, we all love the ruler and ellipse tools that made it easy for us to plot down perspective and draw circles and curves with ease. Autodesk took it a step forward and brought in the French Curve, which will allow you to plot down those tough curves and strokes and draw them with ease. Pretty self-explanatory.Color Randomizer, Size Opacity Randomizer, Rotation/Spacing Randomizer
Now this one is pretty interesting. I always loved Sketchbook Pro's brush creation capabilities (I used it to create zipper brushes, chain brushes, etc. within seconds). There's now randomizers you can preset on each of your brushes. This helps big time with painting and strokes and can make your rendering sessions pretty interesting. You can now randomize Hue, Saturation, Brightness, as well as Size, Opacity, Rotation, and Spacing. All those strokes above were done with the same brush.Steady Stroke
This one is the pinnacle feature for users who don't own Cintiqs and only have Intuos and regular graphic tablets. I know SAI had this for a while, as well as Manga Studio. It's a stroke stabilizer that you can control accordingly based on your strokes. It definitely makes drawing line art a cinch. Since Sketchbook Pro already has smooth and natural drawing algorithms built in, this feature makes it even better for those who are looking for smoother strokes. I won't say I find myself using this often since I use a Cintiq to draw and pretty much have good control over my strokes, but for those long curves and lines zoomed out super far, I may find myself using it. Again, it's a big help for regular tablet users.Synthetic Paint
Now Sketchbook Pro has brushes where it emulates traditional media. Your "paint" can now fade as you stroke and blend between colors already plotted down. Combined with the ability of Sketchbook Pro's robust brush creation system, you can do some gnarly stuff now without switching between programs.Smudge (Blender)
Now there's a smudge tool, but it isn't your standard smudge tool that just gives off ugly rendering, now it's own brush where you can blend between colors, so it's actually a Blender, a tool that I've been long wishing for on Sketchbook Pro. I'm definitely going to be digital painting a lot in Sketchbook Pro even moreso now. Performance
Sketchbook Pro is even more snappy than the previous iterations. It's still a lightweight program, not taking much RAM consumption at all. Little things like controlling layer opacity switches & zooming and resizing are all much more fluid in response. Even switching between layers is like switching layers on Photoshop. The UI design is even more sharper and classier. It's much faster. It also can handle larger files much easier now, whether before it would start chugging on 300 DPI, 11x17 images the more you put into it. Wonderful.
You also have the updated Layer Box
and the new Color Puck
! The Layer Box now makes it easy to change Layer Blending modes and adding new layers, though I'm still used to doing the click-and-flick motions for adding layers and changing modes. For those familiar with Sketchbook Pro, the Brush Puck
allows you to change the brush size or opacity on the fly, without opening cluttered menus and interfaces. Now you can do this with color, when you click and drag, you can range it between brightness. And when you click it, a small color picker pops up. GENIUS.
End Verdict: If you guys have hesitated to try it out in the past, I suggest giving it a whirl on this version. I believe there is something for every artist in the way they use it. It's now only 60 BUCKS
so there should be no reason for peeps not to try it, ($30 for upgrades and if you own a Mac, you can currently get it starting for $30 as a deal). Personally speaking, Autodesk just re-solidified my choice in using Sketchbook Pro as my number one digital drawing tool of choice. I always loved the organic quality to using it, and this update keeps feeding that love.