Sketch Sessions 4-17-2019 Sketchbook Pro 7 and Sketchbook Mobile on a SurfaceBook 2.


Current WIP. Created using Sketchbook Pro 7 and Sketchbook Pro Mobile on a SurfaceBook 2.

This is an idea I'm working on between projects, a little each day. Sketchbook Pro 7 and Sketchbook Pro Mobile are being used in its creation. Even with Rebelle 3, ArtRage5, Clip Studio Pro and other robust creative applications in the toolkit, Sketchbook Pro still has some of the best drawing tools I've used digitally. In creating this project, quick sketches were easily cleaned up with sharp lines due to the high quality of the drawing tools. As a result, getting ideas down quickly is really easy as there is no fighting against the tools. This may seem like a minor matter to some but it's a big deal if you try to create with applications that have broken drawing tools or applications that are of low quality in general.



Rough sketch of a character created using Sketchbook Pro 7/Sketchbook Mobile on a SurfaceBook 2.


Cleaned up version of the rough sketch.

I did run into a couple of interesting problems with Sketchbook Mobile that make Sketchbook Pro 7 better in some regardless even though it's a older application. The UI (user interface for the uninitiated) in Sketchbook Mobile was simplified to make it easier to use across any device be it desktop, laptop, mobile tablet or smartphone. But in doing this, in following the popular trend of "less is more" in UI design (it's so not) some basic options are now missing in the mobile version of Sketchbook Pro that are present in version 7. For instance, in Sketchbook Pro 7, the user has the option to change the canvas size and DPI (dots per inch) settings at any time. This is invaluable if your artwork is going to be printed as 300 DPI or higher is recommended as opposed to the 72 DPI that's standard for the web. Or even if you simply want to change the canvas size for whatever reason. This isn't possible in Sketchbook Mobile. From my experience, once the initial canvas size is set, there isn't a way to change it and there are no options for DPI settings at all in the mobile version of Sketchbook Pro.


The other issue I ran into is the removal of the Puck in Sketchbook Mobile which is a standard in Sketchbook Pro 7. The Puck allows for easier scaling, rotation and the movement of assets across a canvas. In Sketchbook Mobile, these options are focused on touch screen navigation which isn't quite as precise. Especially when it comes to scaling an image, I've found that touch navigation tends to "snap" making precise dimensions a chore to get right. The Puck in Sketchbook Pro 7 allows for accurate scaling, movement and rotation down to a percent because it's controlled by the Surface Pen (considering I'm using the application on Surface devices) as opposed to touch.



Another WIP with the Sketchbook Pro 7 "Puck" displayed. It's used to scale, rotate and move images and assets across a canvas. Very intuitive.

The biggest omission in Sketchbook Mobile is the removable of the 2D animation functions that are currently present in Sketchbook Pro 7. This is a huge blow. Flipbook, as the animation section is called is limited in some ways especially when compared to Clip Studio EX's animation functions but it's far easier to get setup and use. It's great for quickly pencil testing and experimenting with different animation techniques. Eventually I'd like to animate the characters presented here which means Sketchbook Mobile can't be used. It's sad that Flipbook was removed from the mobile version of the application but not totally surprising.


One key reason that I no longer support mobile creative applications is because of the limitations of mobile device specifications that make it almost impossible to support more robust features found is desktop applications. Yes, Procreate just updated adding animation features and text tools but due to the limited RAM in every version of the iPad ever built, there is only but so much that can be done with it because of the limited RAM. For example, I have 32GBs of RAM on the Surface Studio and 16GBs of RAM on the SurfaceBook 2 also running Intel processors and dedicated GPUs (graphics processing). The iPad has 4GBs? Maybe? Running on a mobile processor that's used in smartphones. Better hardware spec allows the user to do more, create more. Not even Apple or Google can change that reality and that's a key reason why certain applications like Rebelle can't currently run on an iPad. This may change in the future, but as of right now, it is what it is.


There are some key benefits to using Sketchbook Mobile though so it's not all gloom and doom. Sketchbook Mobile supports Pen mode whereas Sketchbook Pro 7 does not. Pen mode is a feature that causes the application to only make marks on the canvas if the Surface Pen is used (or the Apple Pencil if you're on an Apple device). This mode should be a standard across all creative applications because it prevents stray marks from appearing on the canvas when using touch navigation. ArtRage 5 desperately needs this.

Also, Sketchbook Mobile supports far more pencil, pen and brush types than I've found for Sketchbook Pro 7. The display algorithm is also better in the Mobile version of the application. Working at 300DPI in Sketchbook Pro 7 causes lines to become a bit distorted when scaling the canvas to fit on screen. This is not the case in Sketchbook Mobile as everything stays clean and distortion free. So what's the solution to the negatives found between the two applications? Use both. Sketchbook Mobile doesn't provide alternatives to missing features found in Sketchbook Pro 7 but Sketchbook Pro 7 doesn't support Pen mode and stumbles a bit at higher DPI settings. the alternative to Sketchbook Pro 7 as it's no longer for sale, is Clip Studio EX (EX is the best version). it's actually better than Sketchbook Pro 7 and Sketchbook Mobile offering far more features. But it's also not as easy to use the advanced features it offers.


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