This week we released a new version of SketchBook for Windows 10. This version is updated to take advantage of the Surface Studio and Surface Dial. The Surface Studio is Microsoft’s new, giant, gorgeous computer that feels tailor-made for professional artists and designers, and it’s getting rave reviews from just about everyone who comes into contact with its stunningly large and intense PixelSense display. We took this giant monitor for a test run in our Toronto office:
We needed to to come in contact with the Surface Studio early because we wanted to add support for their very unique Surface Dial device to SketchBook Pro. The Surface Dial is a standalone, circular device that you can use as you might a second mouse off-screen. Or, if you use the giant Surface Studio, you can place it directly on the screen to interact with software. So, what can you do with this thing when using SketchBook Pro?
What Does the Surface Dial Do?
Although it seems simple and straightforward, perhaps the most useful options in SketchBook when using the Surface Dial are zooming in and out and rotating your canvas with ease. That’s something nearly everyone does constantly in SketchBook (just as they might with a hand-held, physical sketchbook). Another must-have for artists is undo and redo, which you can do with a twist of the Surface Dial. You can also change your brush size, opacity, and color values on the fly. The way many of these options work on the Surface Studio display is by on-screen “rings” that appear around the dial when you place it on the screen. With those rings, you can easily change things like hue, saturation, and luminance. One thing to note is the Surface Dial’s whiz-bang light-up on the screen options only work in conjunction with the Surface Studio. You can use the Surface Dial ($99) with the Surface Pro and Surface Book, but for those devices you use the Surface Dial in its off-screen mode.
Who Is the Surface Studio for?
We use a lot of different devices from Macs to PCs to Android tablets in our day-to-day drawing (and while developing software), and to us the Surface Studio is a very impressive device. If you’re someone who attacks drawing two-handed and likes to use a mouse or hotkeys to make your process of calling up product features more efficient, you’ll probably love the Surface Studio in combination with the Surface Dial. This kind of carefully considered product, of course, has a price tag that’s also tailor-made for professionals, starting at $2,999. If you can afford it and work as a professional artist but you are one of those people who have always been more comfortable on a PC than a Mac, the Surface Studio is right up your alley.