Astute Graphics brought Illustrator users VectorScribe, which made life much easier for them. It now introduces DrawScribe, a plug-in with two tools: InkScribe and Dynamic Sketch. DrawScribe brings drawing the way drawing was meant to be to Illustrator. It’s a plug-in that gives you back the pleasure of drawing shapes with a pencil and paper, only digital.
DrawScribe is a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator CS3 to CS5.5. InkScribe is a pen and trace tool, an efficient replacement or addition to Adobe’s Pen tool. Dynamic Sketch is a pencil but it acts more like what you’d expect from Illustrator’s Blob brush, without the problems. With Dynamic Sketch and InkScribe you make dynamic shapes, which can be edited and worked upon with VectorScribe as well.
Tracing an image with InkScribe: shave off 30% of your editing time
InkScribe creates curves with an interactive “Annotations” dock attached to your cursor that moves out of the way as you forge ahead. The dock has icons that let you instantly change corner points to smooth ones, remove path points, etc. You can easily customize what shows up in the dock — there are two rows available to hold all possible options that you’d otherwise access from a palette.
The Annotations dock system if not done right would easily block your view and get in your way, so it’s a tribute to Astute Graphics’ developers’ skills they succeeded at having the dock behave exactly as you would like it to. If you nevertheless find it’s too close to your drawing, you can move it further away from the cursor if you want to. The Settings dialogue even allows you to set and save a distance that you like.
Creating curves and lines with InkScribe is pretty much the same as with the Adobe Pen tool, with one exception: the curves you create with InkScribe can be molded into form much faster than with Illustrator’s built-in tools. The reason is that when you drag curves with InkScribe, you won’t move the curve handles so that the movement is more predictable and less erratic than when you move a curve using the Direct Selection tool.
The result is a more accurate drawing with less effort taking up less time. Tracing an image, for example, takes less time because you need fewer adjustments and the adjustments that you have to make are more intuitive and effective.
Whereas InkScribe still more or less resembles Adobe’s Pen tool, Dynamic Sketch is a whole different beast. It’s a pencil that brings back drawing like you’re used to from doodling with pencil and paper. Of course, there is more to it.
For starters, when you draw with Dynamic Sketch you can set smoothness and accuracy. If you set both of them to full, a circle that you draw as if on paper — circling around until the shape more or less looks like one — will automagically appear as a perfect circle.
Furthermore, Dynamic Sketch allows you to create closed forms (joined paths) in a natural way. Let’s say you want to draw a rectangle with a bit of dynamism. You can draw it the Adobe way and then tamper with the lines and corner points, or you can sweep the lines across the artboard ensuring they touch or overlap, using the Dynamic Sketch Intelligent Path joining feature.
Joining paths is one of Dynamic Sketch’s most powerful features. Normally you’ll use a palette for that. With Dynamic Sketch, you can just draw one shape on top of the other and then “scratch” out the lines you want to remove. The paths will be joined where they meet.
Intelligent joining also works when you activate the continuous path editing function. This one ensures that you can draw in chunks and parts. For example, when you’re drawing a complex shape that should be closed when you’re finished, you can just draw each step of the shape — as long as you start the next stage at the previous one within the pixel distance you have preset, the path will continue.
Finally, you can fine-tune paths by repeatedly drawing the shape or path until it looks exactly as you want it to look. For example, you’re drawing a waveform. Instead of having to get it right from the first time, you can sweep across the path (starting within the pixel distance of the first point) several times and Dynamic Sketch will average out the differences.
DrawScribe: should you buy it?
Here you can view a YouTube screencast with a short overview of DrawScribe.
If you’re a graphic designer or if you have made a serious hobby out of digital drawing, I won’t hesitate a moment and advise you to at the very least try out the plug-in.
I am convinced this will be enough for you to take out your wallet and pay the €58.00 Astute Graphics charges for this gem.
The main attractions of DrawScribe are time savings and enjoyment. Graphic designers will like the fact they can save a lot of time, while drawing enthusiasts will find back the joy of drawing as if on paper.