have in front of me...one of the starkest interfaces
I have ever seen. My first thought is: if this tool
is as powerful as they say it is, there must be some secret
power locked away in the inner depths of its interface. As it turns out, Autodesk's
SketchBook Pro 2.0 (acquired
as part of the Alias buy) is indeed,
a unique and powerful application. And designers on the
Macintosh of all variety may find that
jumping from paper
or trace to a digital sketching tool is finally the right
thing to do. But that will depend on several factors (which
we'll discuss in some detail in this review).
An Ergonomic Interface
Imagine a top view of a car's interior and
dashboard layout. Now imagine a driver's right hand extended
toward the dash straight over the steering wheel, arm straight.
Now imagine rotating that right arm/hand clockwise, from
the shoulder joint, while keeping the driver's shoulders
straight to about the 1:30pm
position. Repeat the process with the left/hand arm going
counter-clockwise. You just made an arc. And you just did
the same thing SAAB engineers
did to determine the curvature of their 9-5 sedan's interior
dashboard design (see image 07 on page
The reasoning behind this ergonomic design
is that a driver should not have to lift their shoulders
or back from their seat in order to reach all controls inside
their cars. Hence, SAAB's famous cockpit-inspired interiors
give the Swedish automaker a unique feature in the market.
Somebody at Alias must
have had a similar idea when they came up with the unique
ergonomic interface behind
SketchBook Pro 2. The
interface is based on the way a human "arcs their arm" and
hand from the elbow up to the right when
drawing -- starting from the left lower edge across the canvas.
(see image 01 and 02) This
reflects what they refer to as a bio-mechanical movement.
For lefties you can
push the tool palette to the lower right also. The
application also allows the manipulation of the interface
using a Pen Table using a gesture like the flick of a pen.
- Biomechanical movement
- Ergonomic Tool Palette
SketchBook Pro's interface is indeed sparse,
and it takes some time moving down the computer screen
for tools (especially for Mac users who work from
the top down in the OS). However, there are the traditional
modal palettes and inspectors for modifying tool settings,
and these you can position where you like on the screen.
Next page: Painting - The Heart of the Application
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