iPad Stylus

Sensū the iPad Paintbrush.

About a month ago I got a new stylus to use with my iPad and applications like ArtRage. To test out my new Sensū stylus is unique in the fact that active tip, is an actual paint brush. Unlike the Wacom Bamboo stylus that I still use on a regular basis, using the Sensū is a very different experience. To me it feels more like a real painting or drawing implement. My only wish is that it was pressure sensitive like an actual Wacom tablet.

To test the Sensū out I decided to add another image to the ArtRage motor sports group I did last year. I wanted to create something that I already had a process in place for, and could be compared to what I had done with the Bamboo. Overall I’m pretty happy with the results. Like all styluses, the Sensū isn’t perfect, but with a little practice, I feel like it gave me the best results so far.

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In ArtRage, and Procreate there is a little bit more lag time as I draw than I get with the Bamboo. What discovered is, the more often I saved while using ArtRage, the more the lag was reduced. I also began to appreciate that the lag slowed me down, and got me to pay better attention to what I was doing.

Another aspect of using the Sensū that I really like is the fluidity of the bristle tip. The way the stylus moves across the screen got me to loosen up, and really “paint” on screen like I was using a real brush. The bristle tip allowed me to be more gestural with brush strokes, and use my hand in a more natural way.

From an ergonomic standpoint the Sensū feels great in your hand. The weight is slightly heavier than most styluses which I actually like. It’s slightly longer allowing you to grip the stylus in a different way. The length also allows the stylus to rest across your hand between your thumb and forefinger giving you more subtle control it, and reducing fatigue, while painting or drawing for a longer period of time.

The Sensū stylus shines when it comes to things like drawing and painting. Where I still use the Bamboo stylus if for hand writing. The Sensū is capable of it, but the flexible bristle tip seems to make it hard for handwriting recognition apps to get what your actually writing out. Now with that said the the Sensū does have a rubber tip like the Bamboo, so you can use it the same way. The problem is to use the rubber tip you have to break the Sensū down, removing the cap/handle and placing it over the bristle end. This shortens the stylus length by half. I simple found it uncomfortable to use, so I switch to the Bamboo if I’m using an app like Paper or Taposé.

Overall the Sensū is a big winner in my book, and as apps like ArtRage and Procreate improve, using this stylus will only get better.

Adonit’s Jot Touch Stylus Might Be a Dream Come True.

I am on a constant search for a better iPad stylus. I want something for the iPad that feels like using a stylus on a Wacom Cintiq. Since buying my first iPad I have tried at least 4 different kinds of styluses, settling in on the Wacom Bamboo, but now having seent he video for the Jot Touch, I think it might be time to switch.

At $99.00 the Jot Touch isn’t cheap, but the feature set looks like it will justify the cost. This is the first iPad stylus to offer real pressure sensitivity, and the construction of the tip allows for more precise drawing and painting. At the end of the stylus is a transparent disc centered on a small metal ball that is attached to the handle. This allows the stylus to function like your fingertip, with the precision of a pen or pencil. This is a huge benefit for anyone whose drawing or painting style needs to be a little tighter than a quick sketch. In addition to the refined tip, Jot Touch also features a number of  shortcut buttons, Bluetooth connectivity and USB recharging.

Right now the stylus pressure sensitivity and buttons are supported by a number of applications including a couple of my faves, ArtRage, Sketchbook Pro, Notes Plus, Animation Desk, and ProCreate.

Wacom Bamboo iPad Stylus Update.

I’ve been using the new Wacom Bamboo Stylus for the iPad for about two weeks now. My primary use has been sketching and painting in a variety of programs like Brushes, Art Rage, and Sketchbook Pro. I am going to say hands down that this is the best stylus I have used to date. It kicks the pants of the Dagi stylus which was my primary drawing tool, and it beats every other one that I have tried so far.

The Bamboo is similar to most of the other rubber tipped styluses out there, but the way it feels in your hand makes all the difference in the world. It has weight to it, and the shorter length lets it rest more naturally in your hand as you draw. That shorter length comes in handy, or at least in my case it does because it helps me keep my hand off the iPad surface as I draw and paint. I know this sounds odd, but there is something about the way I hold the stylus that makes it easier to keep my hand from coming in contact with the glass screen. It probably has something to do with the perfectly weighted balance of the stylus as it rests in your hand. The sturdy metal construction simply feels better than any other stylus for the iPad that I have used.

Drawing and painting with the Bamboo is simply wonderful. The smaller 6mm rubber tip makes it easy to see what you are working on. The stylus moves easily over the surface of the iPad. Depending on what application you are using and how many layers your drawing or painting has there is little to no lag time behind the stylus tip, and the digital painting surface. Applications like Art Rage, tend to lag a bit when using oil paints with heavy textures applied, but it’s not that bad really. The bottom line here is, Wacom did their homework and have hit this one out of the park.

At 30 dollars the price of the Bamboo might put some people off, but I think it is totally worth the money. If you are an artist, designer, or anyone that uses your iPad to write notes on this stylus is for you.

Wacom Bamboo Stylus for the iPad

Yesterday after a four week delay, my new iPad stylus arrived from Amazon. The Bamboo Stylus from Wacom. I am smitten. The digital painting below was made with 3 iPad applications and the Bamboo Stylus. I could have done this with any of the other styluses that I own for the iPad, but none of them would have done it with the ease and accuracy of this one from Wacom.

The stylus tip is accurate, and the taper helps with positioning it in the right location. The stylus moves easily and freely over the iPad surface making the drawing feel natural and relaxed. ( well as relaxed as digital painting can feel. This isn’t like painting on canvas or paper )

This painting took about 4 hours to complete. The process was pretty straight forward. The plane was sketched out on paper, and photographed with my iPhone. I sent the image to my gmail account, and downloaded it to the iPad. Once the image was in my library, I opened it with Photogene, adjusted the contrast of the red pencil sketch, straightened it, and saved it. I then opened the the sketch in Brushes, set it as a reference layer, and blocked the color and shading in on a layer above it. Once I w satisfied with the color blocking, I saved the file to my library, opened Art Rage, and imported the color blocked initial painting. From here I used Art Rage to finish the painting, working with oil paints, flat and round brushes, and tweaking the drying settings to allow for color blending and texture build up.

The results aren’t going to win me any awards, but I’m off to a good start. I’m thinking with some practice, I should be able to get proficient enough to use these tools to paint and draw from life, rather than starting with a base sketch that I essentially scanned in. Only time will tell.

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Wacom Introduces an iPad Stylus.

Since the iPad hit the market a year ago, I have been clamoring for Wacom to get in the game and make a stylus for said device. Well it looks like my wish is about to come true.

Wacom, the largest and most popular manufacturer of graphics tablets for the desktop computer has decided to produce a stylus for the iPad. This is a big deal, because most of the current styluses suck. I know I have given positive reviews to both the Touchtec, and Dagi styluses, but at the end of the day they really are lacking when it comes to responsiveness and accuracy. With Wacom entering the market, it looks like we will be getting a stylus designed and built by the leader on the desktop side.

Unlike most of the bulky, thick tipped styluses on the market, the Wacom stylus is lighter, has a more natural feeling in the hand, and the tip is 25% smaller which translates to better accuracy, and a natural feeling when writing, drawing or painting. Wacom’s many years of graphics tablet and digital pen making experience will hopefully lead to a much nicer stylus. That 25% smaller tip (6mm vs, 8mm) is a huge plus for me.

Wacom describes the stylus as having “satin-textured metal body and balanced weighting” which sounds like it will be as comfortable to hold the digital pen you are used to with Wacom’s line of desktop graphics tablets.

If you are wondering why you would want to have a stylus instead of using your finger, there are a number of reasons, especially if you use any of the drawing and painting applications available for the iPad. A stylus gives you better control and a more natural form of input when you draw on the iPad. I know that sounds counter intuitive, but your finger tip is fat, and it blocks what you are seeing unless you are zoomed way in on the screen. And when it comes to note taking, I can write with a stylus faster than I can type on the virtual keyboard.

For me, I am looking forward to trying this out with apps like Brushes, Art Rage, and Sketch though. I have been using the Daggi stylus for a while, and it works. The thing is though, you have to conform to holding the stylus in a specific way which makes using it challenging at times. I can’t wait until this is in a store where I can check it out in person. I have a feeling that like all Wacom products it is going to raise the bar quite a bit for other stylus manufacturers.

The Bamboo Stylus will be priced at $29.99 and become available mid-May on the Wacom site, at Amazon, and in most electronics retail outlets.

More/Real iPad/iPhone Stylus Cap

I use my iPad everyday, and I am always in search of a better stylus for it. I have a couple, and while they do the job, they aren’t nearly as good as my Wacom tablet when it comes to drawing and sketching. When I saw this today over on Kick Starter, I got really excited.

Here we have a stylus, designed by, and for designers and artist. Please watch the video embedded below, and then click the link to the kick starter site for more information. And if you feel so inclined, make a pledge to help this guy get his project started.

An iPad Paintbrush?

One of the things that I have been searching for is the perfect creative stylus for my iPad. I have tried most of them and currently use the Dagi stylus, mainly because I seem to have more control that I did with the Pogo, or Touchtec ones. What I really want is for Wacom to make one but I’m pretty sure that will never happen. Anyway, this has been circulating around a few sites on the internet that last few days. It is a video and very brief description of the Nomad artist brush for the iPad.

Nomad Brush is a unique artist paintbrush, Made with a long handle and soft bristles, it is the first paintbrush stylus for the iPad. Available February 2011.” According to the marketing material on the product site.

I’m reserving judgement on this until I can see more of it in action. The idea looks pretty cool, but since you barely see it in action in the video it leaves me with more questions that answers. One thing I would like to know is if there will be multiple brush tips. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could select a brush tip that actually looked like the brush you want to paint with, and if it reacted like that too?