Robert Hranitzky | Design Portfolio

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Wacom Inkling hands-on

Monday, September 5, 2011 AT 8:45AM

Last week Wacom released their latest product called “Inkling” and it really is magical. If you haven’t heard or read about it: It is a pen that allows you to scribble and draw on real paper (remember paper?) like on the popular Moleskine Notebooks.
But the awesomeness starts when you take the little receiver (that has to be clipped to the top or side of your page before you start drawing) and connect it to your computer: It records all your strokes as digital vector art, ready to be edited in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk SketchBook Pro or any other app that can handle vector or pixel based graphics.
I even had the privilege to help with the development of this great new device by testing and using it for quite a while now. Thanks to Inkling I started to draw a lot more, actually I probably didn’t draw as much ever since finishing university.
But apart from testing it, I also had the privilege to be working on a massive amount of promo material for this beauty. Within a year we created many scribbles, the 3D packshot renderings for the product box, an animated teaser and of course a trailer. And last but not least we created almost ten minutes of fully animated tutorials that get you started with this amazing new tool. And within the first five days the trailer, which is posted on YouTube and Vimeo, became one of the most watched YouTube clips in the week of it’s release. To this day, it has more than 1,3 million views and still counting. Absolutely amazing and the reactions are really overwhelming to both the product and the trailer we did. We even created a “Making Of” of the trailer to show how we have created it. But as there are a lot of questions out there about how it works and how drawings look, I have decided to collect a few infos, impressions and artwork that should make things a bit clearer.

So here are also a few scribbles I did in the past few months and days. Again, it is important to understand that Inkling is absolutely great for conceptual work, drawings, drafts, rough sketches, etc. Personally I have been using it so far for quick scribbles to show different angles, shot setups and also quick character sketches that I send to a real illustrator as a starting point. Also I’ve been using Inkling a lot for storyboarding purposes and will continue to do so now that I can carry it around in public.

But it is NOT meant to replace any other tablet, like the Intuos or the Cintiq. People have been wondering on how accurate Inkling is when drawing. Well, I think it is accurate enough for what it is meant to do – and don’t forget: it is all vector art with layers (if you decide to create them with a single push of the button). So you can go back and “erase” remove lines or anchor points once you have imported the artwork into e.g. Adobe Illustrator. Actually if you have some knowledge of Illustrator you can even cleverly use this rougher artwork to further “clean up” with the “simplify” function (it will reduce the anchor points, which will result in smoother looking strokes).

I have quickly sketched a rough one-minute drawing of a character to show you how this can look.

The original scribble as it is on paper

However when I drew this character I already knew how I wanted it look, so I used different pressure on different parts of the face, like the ears and the nose to have those nice thick-thin-thick strokes. Of course on paper you can barely make out the different pressure variation, however once imported you can clearly see the variation of the line strength.

Unaltered drawing imported to Illustrator

Changed line strength to 1px in Illustrator

Further cleaned paths using the "simplify" function in Illustrator

From left to right: scanned artwork - finished drawing

Keep in mind, that if you create a rough scribble (as we have learned it in art school) like my two rough sketches with the car or with the lamps, they will have a few hundred or thousand strokes. It wouldn’t make much sense to clean those up – but they are not meant to be cleaned up! It is a rough sketch, concept art that is supposed to look like this – and Inkling does a good job in recording this for easier and more convenient handling. Again, a good way would be to start with a few rougher strokes on the first layer, and then, when you go over it, you can use a second (third, fourth, etc) layer to organize your drawing.

After exporting it to Illustrator with layers

Using the simplify function to reduce anchor points and smooth out the drawing

To make it easier for you to see the drawings I have also uploaded the original AI files for you to check out!
- car illustration
- comic illustrations

And if you do not have Adobe Illustrator you can check out these two PDF files of the car and the comic character above.

If you want to find out more about how inkling works, check out the Wacom website, visit the dedicated Inkling website, look at the FAQ (which should answer all your questions) and finally check out our animated tutorials!

Hopefully this will help the community to see and understand how powerful this new tool can be. Inkling kept us busy for a very long time and we put a lot of heart, soul, sweat and hopefully beautiful pixels into creating the (motion) graphics that will accompany this new tool. Hopefully it will bring just as much joy and productivity to all the designers out there as it brought to us. Thank you Wacom for being such a great and innovative company that gives us the opportunity to do what we love.