A couple of ex-Apple engineers released an app that turned the iPad into a drawing tablet and the reviews, especially from artists, were positive. One even said “life-changing” while others saw only a couple of limitations that could easily be worked around.
The creators of Astropad were concerned that there was even one limitation. On Wednesday, it launched what it hopes is a tool with no limits, Astropad Studio, a subscription-based version of the app for professional creatives who use the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil as their go-to tools.
Astropad Studio was built for the professional and the two Apple devices in mind. It is faster, provides greater customization controls, gesture technology for switching tools and color corrected output and retina resolution so that what you see on the iPad will match what is on your Mac screen.
Also coming soon, the studio app will let artists set personal pressure inputs to accommodate drawing styles.
While $64.99 a year sounds steep for an app, Astropad Studio will come with unlimited upgrades and priority customer support. A free seven-day trial for Astropad Studio is available on the company website.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro and Apple Pencil launched in 2015 and was quickly followed by a 9.7-inch model. While critics initially snickered at the pencil, mostly because late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs detested styluses, many working artists immediately took to the new iPad.
Some saw the iPad Pro/Apple Pencil as a 1-2 punch that could knock out Wacom tablets.
Earlier this year, Cult of Mac featured a video showing New Yorker artist Jorge Colombo creating an illustration using the two Apple tools for the Jan. 9 cover.
Matt Ronge and Giovanni Donelli, Mac developers who met at Apple in 2006, saw iPad’s potential as an artist’s tool when it created Astropad, which turns any iPad and iPhone with a stylus (or finger) into a drawing pad or painting canvas with all the tools.
Artist Frank Doorhof wrote in 2015 that the Astropad app made the cost of iPad Pro and Apple Pencil “worth every single cent.”
Another 2015 review on creativepro.com gave Astropad an 8 out of 10, seeing it as viable drawing and painting alternative to a Wacom tablet, but lacking response to a tilting or rotating stylus.
“Since we launched Astropad Standard almost two years ago, we’ve learned a ton about what professional creatives are looking for in a graphics tablet,” marketing director Savannah Reising told Cult of Mac.”So we took that feedback and built Astropad Studio to handle the most demanding creative work.
“The subscription model for Astropad Studio will let us develop more of the features people are requesting. (It’s) our promise to our pro artist customers that we will continually innovate for them.”
Astropad Studio has several features not found on Astropad Standard (still a mighty art app available for a one-time price of $29.99), including keyboard support, pressure smoothing, hover simulation, unlimited shortcut sets, undo/redo gestures and a maximum speed of 40 MB/s. The Standard app is 5 MB/s.
The website also features testimonials from working artists who were provided a beta version Astropad Studio to use before Wednesday’s release.
“I’m blown away,” said Brian Rood, a Star Wars illustrator at Lucasfilms. “I’ve been using it every single day and am loving all the new stuff, especially being able to customize all my shortcuts.”