Issues using iPad Pro / Pencil with Blender/Astropad

Hi all

I’m using Blender on an iPad Pro with a MacBook via Astropad with an Apple pencil and wireless keyboard. Since the recent Astropad update, it works brilliantly (the last version was too laggy and pixelly when moving around to really be usable).

A few issues though.

Alt + Right Click Edge Loop Select with a single click input device

Using an Apple Pencil, with no right click function, setting the “emulate 3 button mouse” option solves most problems working with a single click device brings up. Command Click for right clicking, Alt and click to navigate around the scene, with control and shift for zooming and panning respectively. No problems.

However if I want to Alt and Right Click an edge loop, using Alt + Command Click (Right Click) doesn’t work, presumably because the Alt+ is being used as a trigger for navigation…

If I change the setting to Select with Left Click, Alt+ Click loop selecting works but then navigating and loads of other stuff doesn’t.

There is the option to go to Select>Edge Loops and right click on that to create a new shortcut, but that doesn’t allow using mouse clicks and needs two vertices or an edge selected first.

Grabbing / scaling / any actions that requires movement across the screen without contact

the problem here is with an iPad there isn’t a cursor as such, with movement via touch. So for actions like scaling, grabbing, or say changing the brush size in Sculpt mode, normally the movement of the cursor would change the size / location … i.e tapping G and moving a cursor to freely move an object not an option on an iPad. with the iPad set up it won’t show the increase/decrease, but clicking away / or towards usually sets the change, though it’s quite erratic and anyway not ideal as you’re kind of guessing. Also right click dragging doesn’t seem to work. Then I thought using the manipulator should be a solution. however click dragging the centre of the manipulator doesn’t always work, sometimes, mostly placing the 3D cursor instead. and strangely I just tried that with my trackpad and the location maniuplator works erratically too. The rotate and scale manipulators free transforms work fine. strange.

Can anyone think of a workaround for any of these issues? I mean I could just reach over and do cursor stuff on my trackpad, but am trying to set this up as a completely working mobile set up, and I use loop selecting a lot, and it’s pretty much there apart from these things and it’s all about the workflow right?

Not sure which issue is for Blender, iPad or Astropad to solve, or if some things are just impossible by the limitations of an iPad. I’d previously been working on a Cintiq 12 for portable on screen work which works perfectly, but is SO heavy I was hoping the iPad Pro could totally replace it… :confused:

looking forward to thoughts / suggestions / solutions

thanks in advance as ever


after reading cekuhnen’s very detailed review of the iPad Pro I figured I’d give Duet a go. When I decided to go with Astropad, Duet didn’t have pressure sensitivity, so it wasn’t an option. Oh my, the latest version is great. It leaves my laptop screen free as a separate monitor and now does all the things Astropad does.

And there’s even a fn + click hover function dealing with many of the above issues, so I can now move the ‘cursor’ to move/scale/rotate objects, change brush sizes etc and see the transition. Brilliant.

Astropad retina resolution seems sharper, but more pixelly when not stationary whereas there isn’t a drop in resolution when moving around in Duet, so Duet definitely wins there. Astropad however utilises the iPad’s two finger zoom and rotate view options which automatically work perfectly in Blender whereas Duet doesn’t, beyond a relatively non intuitive two finger up/down zoom, but then it allows using finger input in conjunction with a Pencil in ways Astropad doesn’t allow simultaneously.

Another pro/con/vs is Duet is £10 and £20 per year for the Pro / pressure sensitivity functionality, but Astropad was as I recall a one off payment for full functionality. Finally I feel the pressure sensitivity for sculpting etc was a little more responsive in Astropad, but haven’t used it enough with Duet to comment. Part of me feels it might actually be more in tune with the iPads pressure sensitivity, so may actually be better. (in the same way it’s taking me a while to get used to the difference between using a Cintiq and Photoshop and an iPad pro with Procreate for drawing)

However, still no solution to the Alt+Right Click Edge Loop Select issue:confused:

(and unfortunately the function key on my non Apple wireless keyboard is assigned to its own functions, so doesn’t work for the hover mode (though the laptop one, and presumably an Apple magic/wireless keyboard will))

the rabbit hole of expenditure goes deeper still…

A simple solution to a lot of this would be for Apple to make a Pencil with a side button with right / middle click, but I highly doubt that will happen, so hopefully they’ll at least open up their tech for others to properly utilise the pressure sensitivity tech of the iPad on 3rd Party pens.

So, most functionality is there. Still, it’s not feeling like a totally satisfactory replacement to using a Cintiq - the lack of side buttons on the Pencil to navigate and access other functions and having to use additional function keys is just too contrary to my workflow…

eh. after an hour or so of use on Duet, it’s very glitchy. Sometimes things work, such as the fn+Pencil hover, sometimes they don’t.

now trying Astropad Studio. Wow this is the one. But very expensive at £8 per month!

made a video

running Blender 3D on an iPad Pro with Astropad Studio and Duet Pro

Hm. just went back to the standard Astropad. It doesn’t have any of the fancy add-ons of the Studio version, but actually it is totally workable for my purposes and as nice as they are I doubt I’d use any of the Studio functionality, wanting to work just with pencil on screen and other hand on keyboard. I won’t be renewing my £8 per month subscription. So it’s between Duet Pro and Astropad at the moment…