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Alias Sketchbook Pro 1.1

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Alias SketchBook Pro

Alias SketchBook Pro's "one-flick" marking menu is designed for working with a stylus.

The Bottom Line

Alias SketchBook Pro is an innovative freehand drawing and painting program designed specifically for Tablet PC and graphics tablet users on Windows and Macintosh. Although it does not offer the same variety as other artistic software, it is extremely easy to learn and use. If you've been frustrated or overwhelmed by the complexity of other painting/drawing programs, SketchBook Pro is a great way to sketch out ideas, annotate images, and explore computer-based drawing.
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Pros

  • "One-flick" gesture-based menus reduce the need for users to put down the pen and use the keyboard.
  • Very simple and straightforward. Minimal learning curve. Minimal CPU and memory requirements.
  • Integrates screen capture and sending drawings by email.

Cons

  • No options for textured surfaces, thick paint, or creating basic shapes. No filters or effects.
  • Tools and customizations are fairly limited. (It's not Painter and doesn't try to be.)
  • Requires a newer operating system: Windows 2000 or XP, Windows XP Tablet Edition, or Mac OS X.

Description

  • SketchBook Pro is painting and drawing software designed specifically for working with a stylus.
  • Sketch and draw with pencils, pens, markers, airbrushes, paintbrushes, smear tools, and erasers.
  • Customize brushes by altering the size, transparency, spacing, roundness, and slant of strokes.
  • Unique, gesture-based "marking menus" for selecting tools and options with a flick of the pen.
  • Offers layers support, 30 undo/redo steps, email integration, image sizes up to 8000x8000 pixels.
  • Snapshot tool captures your screen on one click, placing it on a locked layer for mark up.
  • Auto-naming feature for quick document creation without the need for text input.
  • Imports and exports TIFF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP file formats. (TIFF format preserves layers.)
  • Designed for Tablet PC but also runs in Windows 2000 and XP, and Macintosh OS X.
  • Full-featured 15-day trial. After 15 days, the trial continues to run with limited features.

Guide Review - Alias Sketchbook Pro 1.1

Alias SketchBook Pro is a radical departure from most other painting software, using gesture-based "marking menus" rather than standard menus, toolbars, and palettes. The marking menu is a quarter-circle cluster of icons located in the lower left corner of the screen. Users select tools, colors, and commands by a simple flick of the stylus. The user interface is cleverly designed to virtually eliminate the need for text input--there is rarely a reason to go to the keyboard.

Learning this program is almost as simple as putting pencil to paper. SketchBook offers 28 predefined brush types, and users can create their own brushes by customizing the brush stroke qualities. Although you don't get the same variety and texture that Painter provides, the brushes are more responsive and feel very natural. Also, this is strictly a freehand drawing program; there are no shortcuts for drawing straight lines and basic shapes and no filters or special effects. However, users can import any image as a background template to use as a basis for a drawing. These backgrounds are placed on a locked layer so the original image is protected. SketchBook also offers email integration and a screen capture tool so users can grab a screen shot, mark it up, and email it without leaving the program.

If you've been frustrated or overwhelmed by the complexity of other artistic software, SketchBook Pro is a great way to sketch out ideas, annotate images, and explore computer-based drawing.

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