Top critical review
33 people found this helpful
Nice new variety, but downgraded quality in what was already there.
on 24 October 2012
I've used Sketchbook Pro 2011 for a long time, mostly only for the sketching stage of creating work. For that, Sketchbook Pro 2011 was amazing- the pencil tool alone made it worth buying and using. In this new version, they've added quite a lot of new stuff, but generally, if you're used to using Corel Painter 12 or Photoshop or even Paint Tool SAI for proper colouring, then you certainly won't be altering your general workflow to start, process, and complete work in Sketchbook Pro.
1. New paintbrushes with actual bristle engines that make for more realistic looking strokes. There's quite a variety, too. A HUGE improvement over the last version where the paintbrush was basically just a blob of smooth, opaque colour filling.
2. More ways of customising brushes.
3. A new set of tools that work quite well.
4. Even better interface (Sketchbook Pro has always had an exceptionally good one).
5. More options to finally create different effects (it's still a joke compared to Photoshop, but we're not comparing it to PS because it's designed for a different purpose- nevertheless, there are some creative new ways to make paintings). For one thing, they've got brush blenders, which is something I sorely missed in the previous version.
1. New Colour Wheel.... What IS this?! I absolutely hate the new colour ring that they've put. It's no longer a nice, easy to read colour ring with a value triangle inside it. It's just a circle with increased saturation on the outer perimeter, and white at the centre, and a seperate bar/ scale to adjust the darkness. It's horrible. The whole circle changes (goes a shade darker or brighter) depending on how you adjust the bar on the side, which really gets annoying when you want to just look at the full, bright spectrum of colours and then adjust brightness/ darkness/ saturation with the Value triangle. It's hard to explain, but basically it just feels like a downgrade more than anything. It's not even a minor flaw because colour is something you're likely to use all the time, and the palette will usually sit on your screen while painting/ sketching.
2. It seems to me that Autodesk has gone for quantity over quality in this one. While the new range of options, customisable brushes and variety of tools can be dazzling and fun at first, their quality is a bit questionable. The brushes are decent, and so are the pens, but it's Sketchbook Pro's signature tool that seems to have been neglected in this version: the pencil. Yes, you do get to customise it quite a bit, but after playing around with all the options, I felt that the multitude of options was just a cover up for the fact that the pencil tool has become worse since the last version. This might be a personal experience. Maybe I'm just too used to Corel Painter's fluidity with sketching, and maybe you won't feel that way. But I honestly feel like SBP 2011's pencil was way better than this one. This one seems less pressure sensitive, and don't be fooled by the 2B sketching pencils and such- they're NOTHING like their real life counterparts, in that they try and give that grainy effect by using pixels... which really doesn't work. You don't want a dotted line when you want to shade, especially when the unnatural, dot like composition of the lines can't even be masked over with shading, because like I said the pressure sensitivity has just become worse. I miss the old Sketchbook Pro just for this.
Ultimately, I think it's down to personal style. I personally don't like the new pencils at all, find the brushes and blenders quite nice, but since this was a software that I usually only used for sketching, I can't see myself doing a sketch in something way more advanced like Painter 12, and then importing to Sketchbook Pro just to make use of the brushes. With this version, Sketchbook Pro sort of puts itself out there more as a painting program than a sketching one. The problem is that there's just too much strong competition in that market. Corel Painter 12 beats it by a long mile, and I never would have thought of them as competitors if only Sketchbook Pro had stuck to what it did best: sketching. Still, I like it. Not enough to use it as much as I did (the pencil and the colour wheel are just two very important features to ignore), but once in a while, for its easy of use, speed, friendly interface, and overall quality, which is still strong.