AstroPad has done it again!
At the beginning of January, I wrote a review on AstroPad; an iPad / Mac app that turns your iPad into a drawing tablet. Developed by a small team of innovative minds, the app was a game changer for iPad users, as they could now use their favorite tablet along with their favorite illustration software. However there were a few hiccups, such as pixelation, lack of a hover feature (which is more so an issue with the iPad), and some latency problems.
Now we have AstroPad Studio. A variant of the app developed specifically for the iPad Pro, and for creative professionals. A lot of the issues in AstroPad standard were addressed with it’s release, and major improvements and features were implemented. AstroPad has been out for a few weeks now, but as usual, I wanted to play with and dissect it before dropping my verdict.
Exhibit A: Magic Gestures
This is probably the additional feature that really validated AstroPad in my mind as a truly viable iPad tool as far as creating work. As some of you may now, ProCreate, another art app for the iPad has features where tapping the screen with 1, 2, or 3 fingers send different commands to the app, such as undo and redo. This is now possible with AstroPad, outside of whatever software you’re using on your map, so these will work with anything you’re using. This will certainly add some speed to your work flow. We finally get Hover (simulation)~
Exhibit B: Pencil and Stroke
Astropad Standard has a stroke feature, but it doesn’t really go as in depth as Studio does. Instead of only customizing the length of the stroke or opacity, you can now edit color and hardness to your liking.
Exhibit C: Mini Menu Revamp
Standard has a few of these features, such as the quick kets, brush (+/-) functions, and undo/redo, but the keyboard and edit shortcut functions are new editions for studio. Having the customizable shortcuts is a godsend, because now if you want to keep this menu on screen, you don’t need to shift it around again and again to access the tools you need that the menu may be covering. Just sleep a hotkey onto them and you’re set.
Astropad Studio is available for $7.99 a month, or for $64.99 annually. Now some of you may be thinking…
“Hey, why would I subscribe to this when the standard edition is only $30 bucks?”
Well, Studio offers a lot of great features and has Liquid Extreme; and upgraded version of AstroPad’s liquid engine, which offers better connection speed with your Mac and better visuals.
“But those features, and improvements were promised for the standard edition! Why should I pay more for something that the standard should have had?”
Standard may indeed still get some of those improvement, but I doubt they’re going to ever be as good as Studio’s features. The AstroPad team has stated they’re not leaving Standard in the dust; there will be updates and improvements for it as well.
“I’m a professional artist and I just bought AstroPad standard! Now what do I do?”
Don’t fret – The AstroPad team offers 3 months of Studio free to people who bought Standard before the release of Studio (up to 90 days prior), so if your purchase falls within those parameters, you’re in luck. I contacted the AstroPad team via Facebook about this, and they responded to me swiftly, locked in my 3 free months and sent me on my way. Great customer service. If you don’t fall within the 90 day period, you can still try Studio for a week free of charge.
“It’s too expensive! I don’t want a subscription! Money grab Money grab Money grab…!!”
Ok so let’s analyze the situation. AstroPad in itself is an app that has changed the game for the iPad Pro, allowing it to be used as a drawing tablet that it initially was not designed to be. AstroPad is currently being worked on by a small team of developers, who are actively working to make the iPad Pro more relevant in the eyes of professional creators. Studio is geared toward creative professionals; people who make a living with their creations. Therefore, it’s expected that they’re probably making money doing so. So this is an investment for professionals who want an app that they can use with the tools they’ve got (in this case, and iPad Pro), and who want an active team backing what they’re using. If you’re not a creative professional, Standard may be best if you have an issue with the pricing. Standard is still great, Studio is just better, and if you’re a hobbyist when it comes to art, Standard is honestly all you need. Now, unless your iPad Pro was a gift, if you had the money to buy one, and if you’re complaining about the pricing of Studio, I personally think you’re just being downright ridiculous…
Nevertheless, both Standard and Studio are great, and I feel AstroPad Studio is a fantastic app that is definitely worth the monthly or yearly subscription. It’s still not a wacom, but I honestly believe at the rate the team is going, one day it will be, if not better.