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Autodesk SketchBook Pro Review

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SketchBook Pro drawing software, developed by Autodesk, is one of the most user-friendly drawing programs available for PCs. This software clearly shows the available drawing tools and doesn't require a steep learning curve to familiarize yourself with its process. It goes one step further with customization. When you hover your mouse or pen over a brush, eraser or gradient tool, an additional option wheel will pop up, from which you can choose specific tools to match your project.

For an experience that better emulates the feeling of natural drawing, we recommend using a pen tablet or iPad. With the use of a graphic tablet and digital pen, you can have the accuracy and pressure sensitivity that you cannot get with a mouse. Autodesk SketchBook Pro excels with its interface that seems to be specifically designed for pen tablet use.

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The brush palette has brushes for all kinds of looks and designs. The primary set includes pencil, airbrush, marker, chisel-tip pen, ballpoint pen, paintbrush, smear, blur, sharpen, eraser and fill. It's a nice set, and it continues with more than 50 preset variations of those brushes. If you cannot find exactly what you need, you can always customize your own brush to your specifications. Each brush has its own set of properties that you can manipulate to match the look of virtually any brush or pencil that you would use on an actual canvas.

Another section of the toolbar gives you options to use tools such as a straightedge ruler and ellipse ruler, and to create layers, mirror your drawing on the x or y-axis, and more. These allow you to maintain symmetry and perfection in your art and can be used for creating a range of objects, like drawing faces and building archways. Next to those, you have a few selection tools that allow you to add, select and edit text, crop your images and select a portion of a drawing to edit via lasso or rectangular select.

The features in this drawing software break down into only a few categories. You have a toolbar, color palettes, color editor and brushes. We know that doesn't sound like much, but each has a lot of depth and is aimed toward making your drawing experience as realistic as possible. For instance, the toolbar includes a section for drawing options such as free form, lines, rectangles and ovals. Each draws a dotted outline of what you are about to do so that you can place lines accurately where you want them. Polyline allows you to make multiple connecting straight lines in any design you like. Once you have the desired outline, you double click and the software draws along those lines.

SketchBook Pro includes two color palettes. One is simply a standard set of colors that you can mix to acquire the exact shade you want. The other palette is a Copic, a Japanese style marker with a set of color presets you can use. With correctly designed custom brushes, you can essentially add effects to the colors themselves for bold and light brush strokes.

Autodesk's SketchBook Pro drawing software supports a handful of image formats, none of which are vector formats. That leaves raster formats, and this application supports JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF, TIFF and PSD. That compatibility applies to exporting images as well as importing.

Autodesk offers a range of online documentation that you can access, including FAQs and a feature brochure. The user manual does not come with the product itself once you buy it. If you have any additional questions or concerns about this drawing software, you can contact the company's technical support team via email.

With its simple, user-friendly interface and virtually unlimited brush options and effects, SketchBook Pro offers more than it appears to on its surface. The software cannot do everything that many similar drawing applications can, but what it can do is extensive. Add its functionality to the natural look and feel of the application, which is unrivaled at its price point, and you have an excellent tool to move from traditional art to digital art.

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