Home > Features > Product Review: SketchBook Pro 2

Screen Capture and Annotation

One of the more interesting features of SketchBook Pro 2 is its ability to do screen captures (that is, take a picture of the computer screen). By clicking on an icon in the dock SketchBook Pro 2 takes a picture of the entire desktop and loads it as a background image. A second layer is used to mark that screen capture up. (see image 10).

10 - Screen-capture and Mark-up

This could be useful for making quick notes or better yet, for client feedback. We’d love to see Autodesk provide a way for this image to then be saved as a PDF with possible integration with Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional. If clients or team members are going to use this feature for actual "mark-up" then getting more integration with an industry standard tool like Acrobat PDF would be smart.

Other New Features

SketchBook Pro 2 has several other new features worth mentioning. In addition to the new interactive brush resizing capabilities, you can customize up to 28 brushes and store them for future use. The program employs layered TIF images natively but also reads and writes BMP, GIF, JPEG and PNG files. A new feature is the ability to export sketching layers to Adobe Photoshop. You can also now import images into a previously created SketchBook Pro file and move, rotate and scale them.

New in this version is the ability resize the image canvas and the resolution, independently. This includes extending or cropping the canvas in any direction.

Further Resources

Lastly, users can go to the Autodesk website to obtain useful background materials such as perspective grids, chart and graph templates, and calendars and timelines, to use to work over. Users will first have to register as a bronze level member to do this however.

Recommendations and Final Comments

When artists are working on projects, new ideas can come up quickly. SketchBook Pro 2 doesn't handle this as good as it could. While the program prides itself on quick navigation and control with its innovative interface, it lacks a fast and convenient way to generate derivative or optional works. We'd like to see Autodesk add a tabbed option that enables users to quickly click on a new tab to get a fresh sheet of digital paper. An option built into such a tab-like interface would enable these new sheets to be copied over to other tabs (sheets) or to place the information into a new layer.

Regardless of this one shortcoming -- something Autodesk can easily add to the next version -- the program is a joy to use once you get used to drawing on a Wacom tablet. We think an Apple Mac tablet computer would be the ideal machine to actually use because you can keep your eye on just one place (not tablet and screen) while you draw. If you've been interested in trying a tablet-based drawing program, Autodesk's SketchBook Pro 2 should definitely be on your short list. Besides its innovative gesture "pen-flick" interface, the program has superb brush functionality in general, making digital art work fun and consistent. --- Anthony Frausto-Robledo, Editor in Chief. Published, 5 June 2006.


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Home > Features > Product Review: SketchBook Pro 2




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