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Sketchbook Pro 6

Journal Entry: Fri Aug 31, 2012, 12:04 AM

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. 


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. =)

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  • Mood: Hungry
  • Listening to: Mighty Switch Force OST
  • Playing: Final Fantasy VII (PSX)
  • Eating: Nothing, Fridge's Empty LOL
  • Drinking: Lipton Half & Half
Add a Comment:
RavynAbyss Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2015  Student General Artist
I personally own both SAI and sketchbook pro 6. I don't favor one or the other but I do use SAI more. I like the lineart layer for SAI and the water tool that SAI has, I have issues figuring out lineart and the coloring system in sketchbook pro though I do like to play with the copic markers every so often. I haven't really gotten around to fully learning sketchbook as of yet either though. I am the type that has to transfer sketches to the pc since I have problems drawing on the tablet from sketch unless it's a bust image from the shoulders up. I am still pretty new to digital art and my tablet is pretty picky, hoping RMCAD's tablet through the animation program will be better then the one I have. The review you did here though I liked how you made it pretty easy to follow.
Ashry42 Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2015  Student General Artist
I'm using Sketchbook Pro 6 too but I can't seem to find the blur tool anywhere! 
It is an indispensable tool, which is why I find it surprising that I can't find it anywhere!
Is there a blur tool, in which case I keep looking? Or there isn't one, in which case I stop looking?
Robaato Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
It's in your list of brushes~
Ashry42 Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2015  Student General Artist
Maybe you're talking about the smudge tool? Because I found that one, not the blur one...
Robaato Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
No, the Blur tool looks like a water drop~
Ashry42 Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2015  Student General Artist
I don't have that water drop... it's are you sure it's in the 6 version? 
Robaato Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 11.25.22 PM by Robaato  
Ashry42 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2015  Student General Artist
Oooooh, Ok! Thank you sooooo much! :D
Sorry about that... I guess I'm not very good at looking, haha. XD
Koricthegreat Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2014
Oh man! I see your on Mac! I use sketchbook pro on PC! I can't see a way to save brush presets at all! It suuucks! It would be so convenient to do that almost makes me....wanna buy a new laptop!...just to save brush sets! I've seen people doin it on YouTube...that is totally not on the PC version! Whyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!
   Super awsome to hear that you use sketchbook pro by the way. So much photoshop in the world!!!!
Robaato Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
You could have a trial or basic version of Sketchbook Pro that doesn't allow you to save brush presets; which version do you have?
I have sketchbook pro 6! I don't know if that means it's basic or not. D:  but I wanna clarify what I mean by saving brush presets.
   I hope this isn't too much but.
im talking about using the window the way the guy in this video is doing.…

and because I was talking to someone else about this...I took these screenshots! To show what I mean.…
Robaato Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
That's because that Window at the top is from an older version of Sketchbook Pro. They got rid of that before SBP6. The new brush list is the one at the bottom of your screenshot.
Koricthegreat Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2014
Awww that's too bad. I thought that feature looked cool. I have some brush sets. But I can't switch between them like that.
  I like lagoons better though!...keeps my screen clean. They need to let me save a bunch of those! (And put custom colors in them!)
   Anyway, thanks for the responses!!
FeralDrive Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I can't find that Morrigan drawing in your gallery! It's awesome!
RawrzImmaMonsta Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Ahhhh! Thank you! I've been searching forever for a tutorial, or quick run through. I got this over Christmas and I've been wondering how I can work it La la la la 
SydNight Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm a die-hard Corel Painter and Photoshop fan/user,but I've switched over to Sketchbook Pro 6.It doesn't hurt to be open-minded.This program is AMAZING!
Deckboy Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
This was so helpful, thank you laying out the new features.  I Didn't know they had finally added a smudge tool or the new paint stuff.  Exactly what I wanted thanks so much.
Noiu Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Student General Artist
I have sketchbook pro 6 but i'm not entirely sure how to use it. I know that in paint tool sai(i had it on limited trail and expired) that i am ably to change hue and saturation of an already placed color but how do i do that on sketchbook? Also, my smug brush (when drawn under linert) makes a small messy rainbow-ish residue that drags it over... is their simply a water color brush i can use instead? One more question, how do i make brushes- like a lace design or somthing? Sorry for asking so many questions, your art just looks so pro. ^_^
lisajtmo Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013
Why is this software $59 on the Autodesk site but Amazon and TigerDirect both sell Sketchbook Pro 6 for $19.99. Is it a different version of the software? They all just say Sketchbook Pro 6 - there doesn't seem to be a 6.1 version or anything like that.
WolfKiwi Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
how do you get to look so High Res?
saikyoDRAGON Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Just heard about autodesk now and might get it soon. Thanks for the lil review, knowing it has a stabilizer has really given it buying points
Jinxxed0 Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Student General Artist
I keep hearing students can get autodesk programs for free, but I ahve no idea how.
Robaato Featured By Owner May 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Me neither, but I know it's a thing.
Chris-Me Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It is free for college students or art students who are studying drawing/illustration. All you have to do is offer information (ex. your student email and the name of your college) and you will have it for free. Here is the website of where you can get it (if you are a college student!). [link]
Robaato Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
You should relay that to the original commenter! :)
bellmityshu Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Why do my drawings in Sketchbook Pro 6 will not leave my drawings with sharp image?
Navarrex Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
Robaato, how can I change the opacity level on each layer???
Robaato Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
It's a blue bar on your layer that you click and drag.
spensarts Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Student Digital Artist
First of all, love your work and thank you for this. It was very informative.

I just have a few questions:

1. How far do you take your pieces in Sketchbook Pro before switching over to Photoshop?
2. Has the new version enabled you to do the majority of the work (both line and color) before having to do the details in Photoshop?
3. In your opinion, has it reached the point where it can take an image from beginning all the way to professional print quality with both character and landscape pieces? Or do you suggest still jumping into Photoshop for most of the color work?

Thanks in advance :)
Bohvey Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
I'm currently torn between getting Sketchbook Pro 6 or Manga Studio 5. Two questions about Sketchbook:
1. Can you customize the keyboard hotkeys now?
2. Does it have vector layers similar to MS5 or Sai?

Thanks for your time.
kandlin Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013
I've been trying to work with SketchBook Pro (6.0.1) one for a while now, but have to admit I'm not happy with it. The biggest gripe is how the 'Steady Stroke' just doesn't work, regardless of settings on either the tablet or the program itself (also taking the stylist responsive setting into account-which I have a separate gripe about). This makes it impossible to do any smooth flowing lines without use of the rules or ellipse tools.
I'll keep trying it out for a bit; wasted money otherwise, but I don't think this will replace Sai or Manga Studio anytime soon for me.
Robaato Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I don't have any issues with my steady stroke, works as promised for me (have you tried double clicking the Steady Stroke icon to change the sensitivity of it?)~

Perhaps it's an issue somewhere with your file? Might want to check into it with Autodesk.
Montiessor Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have the program, but...Can you teach me how did you draw those robots?
BCullis Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2012
I ran out and bought the upgrade after reading your writeup (very thorough by the way, great review) and fell back in love with Sketchbook. I'm an Intuos user, and the steady stroke on long lines is a godsend! I've been playing with the synthetic paint and blender brushes, along with the texture palettes, and it's been sheer joy. Thanks for giving us all the heads-up, this is a great piece of software!
BobFrankly Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I found out about the new version when Wired featured it [link] . The tidbit that makes a huge difference for me is the inclusion of copic swatches. As a coloring retard that found light with copics coloring system, this is absolutely key. Now I just need up upgrade my old intuos 3 and sketchbook will really be rolling!
Great writeup!
Prince-Pyro Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2012
I never really got the hang of Sketchbook Pro. I want to download this one but I just kinda blow at it. Perhaps its the fact I am used to the windows used in Photoshop. When I try Pro I can't get a good sense of where the edges of the canvas are. I dunno, I'm probably just dumb. :confused:
hotpopcorn Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012   Filmographer
Dude you got me use sketch book pro now and i'm hooked. the old version i got for free. but i'm buy this one when i get the time..
baroquemoon Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sketchbook Pro, eh? I've been using Painter this entire time, but maybe I should check this out. It looks all high-tech and streamlined like!
oneintheinfinite Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
mother of all heck it's awesome, I got the trial version right now I can technically afford to pay for it now but I'll waut till I got a bit more cash laying around but cool french curves.
Diagn0s3dInd1g0 Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2012
Dear lord, I've never seen something so great. They did a LOT in this update! Thanks for telling about it, I'm excited to get it myself!
mandelak Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2012  Student Filmographer
Thinking of definitely getting this now. looks dope. being a student I get autodesk software free. full working so thats incentive enough to get it.
bolsterstone Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2012   General Artist
Geez, it's starting to look more like the higher-end sketchbook designer. (I wonder how the two compare now.)
Seeso2D Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012
amazing review, thanks for sharing
KyoFishie Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012  Student Filmographer
I bought it because of this and love it so far.
brokensummer Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2012
Just purchased it, now just gotta learn it.
GreggAllenArt Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2012  Student General Artist
Sold! I've tried it and have decided to purchase. The program is lightweight, user friendly and feels very natural. I feel like I'm in total control when working with it. For me, it feels like the best of Corel Painter, MyPaint and ArtRage(which are all great) wrapped into one neat program.
Blackgam3r Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2012
I've still got my student license. I can get any of the Autodesk programs completely free. :D

And yes I've got sketchbook.
13th-Letter Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2012   General Artist
nice feature on this man! i'ma definitely check it out now.
kachima Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hi rob i just bought these program for a while and it very new on me for used it. So i had question ,if you fine please answer or shared your notion
I would like to know how size of canvas when you work on it ? My base is A4 paper with 300 dpi ..when i try it . It doesn't smooth as i thought when compare with photoshop also i had a problem with it when drag a photo in to program for reference ,but photoshop not., cause they create a new window for it when i drag in .

My base program is photoshop ,but i tried to change with something that new ,but got struck on these problem .

P.s. i'm mac book pro 13" user // and so sorry for my english i'm still learned

Robaato Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
My default canvas is 150 DPI, 11x17 inches. That's enough for line drawing. If I need print resolution on my lines, I will enlarge to 300 DPI in Photoshop for the color work and sharpen it. The best thing about drawing in digital because enlarging and sharpening will cause no digital artifacts to pop up.
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August 31, 2012


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