Autodesk Sketch Book Pro

I love to sketch out my ideas out in 2d before going into 3d. Sketch Book Pro by autodesk is great and all, but my student license is due for expiration! Renewing it isn’t really an option, neither is dropping 100 bucks on it. Is there ant other simpile, minimal 2d sketching programs out there? I tried ArtRage, but it’s aimed at another crowd. Alchemy is fun and all, but with utter randomness and no undo, it’s not a suitable replacement either. GIMP/PhotoShop7 are both nice, but with too loaded for what I want. Is there anything out there ?..?

Try artweaver

what are your issues with artrage? it has a lot of “hidden” functionality that you may not have found…

My first question is: do you need bitmap or vector sketches? If you’d like to import the sketch directly into blender geometry, then go vector. You’ll want to get InkScape which imports (SVG) quite well into blender. There are other, more technical, vector (read CAD) apps out there for free - handy when you want to apply real dimensions and relative scale to your sketches. Examples include: Seimens PLM SolidEdge 2D and ProgeCAD Smart, though there are others also. If you want to go the 3rd dimension with your sketching, look at Sketchup, Wings3D or (for cheap) MoI. (<sotto voce> …of course blender’s own sculpting tools make 3D “sketching” fun! :D)

Thank you all for your responses:

Looks nice, trying it out now.

I don’t like artrage mainly because of the absence of a basic “round brush.” As far as I can tell, all the brushes have some subtle effect, and that just bothers me for some reason. And what hidden functionality do you speak of?

Already use inkscape and Xara vector packages in my workflow, looking more for raster. I rarely have to have real dimesnions, but if I do, I’ll use my student version of inventor. I don’t really need to sketch in 3d, in 2d it’s just to get those spontaneous ideas and put them somewhere before I forget them. (wings3d was my introductory application to subdivision modelling!)

I have to add a plug for pencil.
It’s a great app, and you can do good ol “go ahead and draw it” 2d animation with it as well.
It has some instability issues with undo, but all up it’s quite nice.
(free, too!)

If your sketches are only going to be used for reference (i.e. you’re not going to need to use them in your final work), then in the upcoming version of Blender (2.48 or current svn-trunk builds), you can try using the new Grease Pencil functionality. :smiley:


you can turn off the paint blending of the brush in the tool options on the lhs (something like “insta dry on”) and if you use thinners above 50% you get transparency… for the record I pretty much only use a round brush set at 80% when using other packages for sketching, but am now using artrage for more and more concept work.

If you don’t likr the “canvas” reactions you can set the paper grain to 0 in the layer "edit paper settings " dialog.

It supports all the “photoshop” style layer blend modes , these are “hidden” in "other blend modes in the layer context menu… you can also use “GROUPS” in the layers.

the " stencil" functionality seems like a gimic at first but is actually very powerful… you can convert the transparency on a layer to a stencil from the layer context
… this rapidly leads to use for selection masksand characterful “cloning”

and stencils can be moved, flipped rotated etc… with a little thought they become really powerful.

using any textured png as a stencil is better and easier (more natural looking) than using custom brushes if you want to add textures and “dirty down”

The “ruler” is pretty cool too …I came originally from an architectural" background back when cad stations were prohibitively expensive for students… you can use the ruler just like an old fashioned “paralell motion” set square that can be set to any angle.

All rulers and stencils can behave like rulers (snapping to one edge- masking where the ruler covers , stencils ( they just mask your free strokes) and guides (snapping - no masking)… check out the right click context menu.

I don’t think that any of what I’ve described is in the "demo " version though. Like blender this doesn’t “fit” the paradigm set out by other packages, but playing around with these features opens up a lot of possibilities…

Still not convinced? Artrage 3 is out early next year and looks like it’ll be a major up grade (watercolour should cover any “round brush” doubts you may still have…)

… a longer post than I intended, but I guess I see artrage as the 2d equivalent of wings3d… not for everyone but super capable and more powerful than it appears to a casual glance.