Adobe was a bit busy on Wednesday, releasing new versions of its Creative Cloud suite, new hardware, and three new iOS apps — two of them sketching and drawing-related. Adobe Sketch and Line may have been conceived as vehicles for the company's Ink and Slide stylus and ruler, but the apps easily stand on their own as fantastic applications for drawing and drafting enthusiasts. Both apps are compatible with the fourth-generation iPad or later and first-generation iPad mini or later.
Adobe Sketch: Paper's spiritual cousin
The first of the two apps, Adobe Sketch, is a beautifully-constructed app that often-times looks like Paper's minimalistic, unskeuomorphic cousin. There are five tools available at your disposal: pencil, pen, ink, marker, and an eraser. Next to those tools is a color picker, where you can choose a color theme, pick from the color wheel, check your color history, or pull a color theme from an uploaded image.
The digital tools are all very well thought-out renderings, though they still don't quite surpass the bar that Paper set last year. But they're all very close, and the app's Creative Cloud integration gives it an extra boost for Adobe loyalists. Adobe's Behance portfolio network is built into the app so that you can share drafts and final products with your followers; in addition, you can send and pull drawings from your Creative Cloud storage any time you're connected to a network. (You get 2GB with your Adobe ID; you can add an additional 20GB of storage space for $2/month.)
Sketch and Line both offer great Multi-Touch gestures for undo, redo, scrubbing, and panning; they're not quite what you may have used in previous drawing programs, but Adobe offers quick video tutorials in the app to get you comfortable. You can swipe two fingers to the left or right to undo or redo; use three fingers along the bottom of the screen to scrub through your history; and a use two finger tap and hold to pan and zoom around your canvas. One word of warning: If you're using the Ink stylus and enable palm rejection, these gestures become rather difficult to perform.
Of course, Sketch's big draw (no pun intended) is its pairing with Adobe's new Ink and Slide stylus tools. And the pairing is seamless — much like Paper, all you have to do is tap the stylus nib to the Connection Center screen to connect your device. Once you do that, you can customize your stylus's colored top and see its battery life, right from the app. Adobe's Slide ruler doesn't have an official pairing ritual, but instead seems to magically pair and unpair with the device whenever it's touching or removed from the iPad screen.
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