First Art of 2016: Sketchbook Pro Review

Greetings all,

I thought I would take this time to write a little review of Sketchbook Pro since I recently bought a perpetual license for it (which was 50% off) and to also write about my newest addition to my DeviantArt gallery. Autodesk will be no longer be selling Sketchbook Pro as a single-use license but into monthly/yearly membership licensing on Jan. 31st, 2016; I thought it was a perfect time to upgrade my Sketchbook Pro 6.2. Granted it isn’t the most up-to-date of the program but I plan on updating to the newest version when it is necessary via membership. Before I go into detail about my experience with Sketchbook Pro 7, let me first show you the first piece of artwork for 2016.Runic Centaur - Trove600

Ta-dah! It is a centaur mount inspired by arcane runes and crystals. This was a forum contest entry for Trove which the rules stated the entries must have Trove features. Original contest link here. The centaur is completely covered in steel armor enchanted with blue arcane runes. There are crystals on his gloves, shoulders, and chest piece. His helmet is also decorated with blue crystals with a blue-tinted visor. The centaur’s tail is mainly blue but the glow is suppose to imply his tail is enchanted with arcane magic. I highly doubt I will win but it has been a while since I drew something so I had loads of fun drawing this piece. I originally thought of making the runes purple but decided to go with a cool blue color palette.

Flipbook in Sketchbook Pro

Autodesk has added a “Flipbook” feature which allows you to animate your drawings/sketches! this feature is available to Sketchbook Pro 7 users as well as Sketchbook Pro membership users. As neat as this feature is, I don’t think Flipbook would not completely replace your current animation program. There are a few limitations which to me is fine as Flipbook  is suppose to only do simple animations. You are only limited to 2 layers (excluding the background).  You can export your animation as .WMV video format, a .PNG image sequence, a .PSD sequence, a .MP4 video file format, and as a animated .GIF format. Without getting into too much detail, My main issue with the Flipbook feature is the exporting files specifically the .WMV and .GIF file format. Not sure if it is bugged or if the issue is my system.

I cannot figure out why because I receive no error message when it comes to exporting the files. I have tried updating my video drivers and codecs. The .WMV video file is recognized and can be processed when uploaded to YouTube yet no matter what video player I use whether it is Windows Media Player or VLC, the video screen shows a black screen. As for the animated .GIF issue, the animation plays very smoothly inside the program. The exported animated .GIF file ends up stuttering after a few frames before going back to a smooth animation. I have tried different sizes thinking maybe it is my system but no luck. I have found my own workaround to .WMV video file issue by using .MP4 video file format instead. The animated .GIF is a longer process but still a good workaround. I have to export the animation as .PNG image sequence, then import into GIMP, then export as an animation from within GIMP. This workaround is a bit annoying but it will do. I have submitted a ticket with Autodesk’s support team in hopes of a solution but my hopes are not high.

New Version Review

In the old version, I had an issue with the eraser side of my Wacom Bamboo Create stylus. The eraser would lag or stutter sometimes and the new version appears to have fixed it. They also have added additional features to Sketchbook’s toolkit such as the Perspective tool, the ability to invert your selection, do Gradients, have text layers as well as group layers. My most favorite addition of all is the Magic Wand Selection! Words cannot not explain how ecstatic about this particular addition. I mainly use a max about 5 different brushes s0 I can’t confirm if there are more brushes that were added in the program because but it does appear so. Because of all the new additions, I don’t really have to use GIMP to finish my art pieces because Sketchbook Pro has all the tools I currently need. What really impresses me is even with all the new extras and features, the interface/UI of Sketchbook Pro still remains really simple and user-friendly. This is one of the main factors that brought my attention to Sketchbook Pro. I really did not care for the complicated and busy interface of Photoshop. Overall even with the issues I have been having with it, I absolutely LOVE this new Sketchbook Pro version compared to my old version. I am excited to see what AutoDesk has planned in the future for this program!

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