Ink & Slide
Have you tried to draw with your finger on an iPad? It‘s like using a crayon instead of a fine-tipped pen, and even delicate digits can obscure the line as you draw. While there are loads of styluses for drawing in iPad apps, most can’t come close to the accuracy or expressiveness of pen on paper.
Ink, a new product from Adobe, not only has that fine tip, but it also comes with pressure sensitivity, an intelligence that recognizes you and your files, and a companion piece of hardware called Slide.
A digital pen and ruler
Think of Ink and Slide as digital versions of a pen and a ruler. Ink lets you draw or write on the surface of an iPad, while Slide makes it easy to draw straight lines, among other things.
But even if the basic functionality of Ink resembles that of a pen, the comparison falls short. Ink and Slide come together in a single package, and several other things set them apart:
They have software to match
A new app called Adobe Line takes full advantage of the hardware tools. Line has all the zooms, pans, brushes, and quick undos you’d expect from a tablet app. It also links to Creative Cloud, giving you fast access to Kuler, shape libraries, and previous artwork you’ve created. Dowd, for example, keeps his signature as a file and quickly drops it in when he’s finished with a drawing.
Line also knows everything about Slide. That allows you to do some interesting things, like create vanishing points for perspective drawing. You can also bring in and scale complex drawings and models.
The new Adobe Sketch, a drawing app that emphasizes concept sketching and collaboration, works well with Ink. It too is connected to your Creative Cloud account. Additional Ink and Slide savvy apps will follow from Adobe and other vendors. Yes, other vendors — Adobe is sharing the code behind the hardware with companies that want to take advantage of it.
Test drive without the car
Although there’s nothing like having Ink and Slide in your hands, you can download Line and Sketch now as free apps. Once you download Line, you can play with it using a feature called Touch Slide. If you tap the screen with two fingers, it mimics the action of Slide. That way you can draw straight lines and shapes with your fingers and get a feel for how the tools work. You won’t have the precision of Ink, but you’ll be able to take a test-drive.
If you love pen and paper, Adobe would never fault you for that. But you might find that the new technology brings your iPad much closer to a natural drawing experience than you’d expect.
Where to go from here
Interested in learning more? These tutorial videos cover the hardware and software basics:
If you’re ready to buy the devices (US$199 for the pair), head to the product page.