Autodesk upgrades SketchBook Pro for iPad

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Autodesk has launched version 2 of SketchBook Pro for iPad, the company's mobile drawing and painting app.

This update is specifically designed to take advantage of the new features and greater processing capability of the recently released iPad 2, letting users create high-resolution digital canvases suitable for printing directly from the iPad. It also offers enhanced interoperability and portability between iOS devices so users can start creating artwork on an iPhone, continue working on that image on an iPad, and even finish it on a Mac. Version 2 of the mobile SketchBook Pro offers 90 new brushes and brush controls and new customizable palettes and gestures that let users access their favorite brushes and colors.

“Unparalleled sketching capabilities on iPad just got better,” said Samir Hanna, Autodesk's vice president of consumer products. “This is our biggest update since we first released SketchBook Pro for iPad, and we’re excited to see the limitless creativity and artistic expression that millions of people will produce with this fun drawing and painting app.”

A key new feature of the new version is the ability to import photos directly to the layer editor from the iPad 2's camera. It also lets users create high-resolution canvases of 2,048-by-1,536–pixels, with up to four layers, for an image output of 5-by-7 inches at 300 dpi or 8-by-10 inches at 200 dpi.

Standard 1,024-by-768 canvases can now have up to 12 layers. Plus, there are 20 undo/redo levels and support for mirroring on external displays.

Users can now export and import images through Dropbox within the app to transport their creations between iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and their Mac.

The customizable interface includes a number of new capabilities. Users can now assign a selection of commands to three-finger swipe gestures. There's a Radial menu for expert users to assign brush and color combinations. There's a new Brush Palette for quick access to favorite brushes and a Color Swatch Palette for quick access to favorite colors. Users can now adjust opacity and size independently.

Additional brush properties include brush rotation, brush aspect ratio, and randomization for brush spacing and rotation, the company says.

In addition, an in-app store is now available free to SketchBook Pro users. It offers five new brush sets with unique brush types, textures, and stamps.

Autodesk's SketchBook Pro for iPad app is available for $4.99 from the App Store, a price drop from the original version, which was $7.99. Existing users of the previous version get this upgrade for free.

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