I purchased an iPad air in January. And since then, I've been experimenting with digital design; nothing serious but I am just curious about the digital paintings tools available for the iPad.
I downloaded a few design apps, some are free, others are not. I spend a while creating on every application, and then I decided to give reviews for those interested. Here we go!
1- Paper by fiftyThree (Free)
I started with paper not because it's my favourite, but because it's the most I use.
Paper offers quality art tools. There's the ink tool, great for detail work, and the stroke width changes according to the drawing speed - since the iPad doesn't include a touch pressure sensor. The second tool is the pencil, very realistic but cannot offer details strokes unless you use the zoom option. Then we have the outline tool, great for drawing charts. The Pen tool, great for handwriting. And finally the watercolour brush. The watercolour brush is probably the main reason why I love paper. it blends colours in an extremely beautiful in a realistic way.
Paper is free on the App Store but there's a catch; Each tool, except the ink and eraser, is paid. Every tool is priced $1.99 and the colour mixer costs $1.99. A little bit expensive but totally worth it. The full featured app would cost something around $6.99. The app doesn't offer any kind of online backup. But you can export your drawing books as a PDF. No way to import them to Paper app back, though.
FiftyThree, the developers of Paper also developed the Pencil, an iPad stylus designed specifically for Paper.
Paper by FiftyThree on the Appstore
This Pencil provides palm rejection, fast erasing using the back of the pencil, and a colour blending option using your finger. And it's beautifully crafted, comes in Walnut or graphite.
Pencil by FiftyThree
2- Procreate ($5.99)
Procreate is without a doubt, the most user friendly iPad drawing app on the Appstore.
Procreate offers 3 high quality art tools, first the brush, then eraser, and then there's the blend tool.
With these three tools you can do the impossible. Procreate offers a lot of fully customisable brushes. You can find brushes for almost everything, sketching painting and airbrushing. It also offers the ability to customise these brushes, create your own, or even import downloaded brushes from the web through dropbox or iTunes.
ProCreate saves your artworks as either a Procreate file, PSD (fully layered), JPG, or PNG. and artworks can be shared to Dropbox or iTunes.
Using ProCreate is awesome, the pinch to zoom is very responsive. The app interface is also extremely gorgeous and beautifully designed for iOS 7. The app also supports the Wacom Intuos stylus and many other stylus brands. It handles up to 40 layers. Supports layer blending and selection tool with scale/rotate/reflect options. includes opacity, blur effects, colour correction (contrast / brightness / hue and saturation) and so on.
The blend tool and the eraser can also use the same brushes as the brush tool. There's no limit for what you can do with these brushes.
I consider Procreate as the most professional application for digital artists. although I think it lacks some very important features like the layer styling (drop shadows, inner shadows, bevel and emboss, glow strokes) these would make it even more useful.
ProCreate on the AppStore
3- Sketchbook Pro ($4.99)
Sketchbook Pro is one of my least favourite drawing apps. Although I've used it a lot in the past but it remains my least. Mainly because it's ugly, and it's harder to use. Once you get used to it you'll be okay with it, but it's really confusing when you first start using it. Nothing feels familiar in it.
One of the best features that I love in this app is the integration with DeviantART. (I wish DeviantART would do the same with ProCreate). And the palm rejection area. This white circle is used to lay your palm on it while drawing. A very cool idea.
As ProCreate, Sketchbook pro provides brush editing, no import, just editing. And I must say that the ProCreate brushes are far better and cannot be compared to those available on Sketchbook Pro for iPad.Sketchbook pro by Autodesk on the AppStore
4- Adobe Ideas (Free)
Adobe Ideas is a beautiful vector-based drawing app. With vector drawing you can make extremely detailed drawings using the pencil, ink, brush and calligraphic pen tools. You obviously cannot use colour blending tools in vector drawing which makes Adobe Ideas kinda limited compared to the other drawing applications.
While drawing lines you will realise that Adobe Ideas automatically refines the strokes beautifully, you can choose to turn this off in the settings.
Exporting your artworks as a PDF offers you the ability to continue your artwork using Adobe Illustrator or any other vector software.
Artworks are automatically uploaded to your Adobe Creative Cloud account, signing up is free.
Adobe ideas is also very beautiful on the iPhone, but less practical of course. It is also packed with Adobe Kuler integration for colour palette syncing, and in-app photo web browsing. Adobe Ideas on the AppStore
5- ArtRage ($4.99)
ArtRage is the most "realistic" art application on the Appstore, it's pretty much like the desktop version.
The art tools are extremely realistic and traditional. It's packed with an oil brush, Watercolour brush, Airbrush, Palette Knife (probably the most cool thing) Paint Roller, paint tube and more.
As a (mainly) traditional artist I consider this app beautiful. But I personally would prefer grabbing a real brush and canvas. In case I wanted my artwork to have such result.
I've never done anything serious on ArtRage. I'm sorry for the silly sketch in the screenshot, it is just to give a small example of what the brushes can do.ArtRage on the AppStore
6- Adobe Photoshop Touch ($9.99)
If you ever want to spend a $10 on a completely useless thing. I suggest you purchase this app. Whether it's on the iPad or an Android tablet. This app is a complete disappointment.
Adobe Photoshop touch is packed with a few features, features that are available in several free applications on the Appstore. As a standalone app it's not so bad, but when compared to what Adobe offers in the desktop version of Adobe Photoshop, it is bad... You can use the selection tool, the brush tool, the stamp tool and a blurring tool. You can also use photo filters and a few other effects like drop shadows and motion blur.
For me, Adobe Photoshop Touch is definitely not a winner.
Thanks a lot for reading and I hope you found this useful.