New drawing tools: Astropad & Remarkable

reMarkable is an e-ink tablet that promises serious sketching chops:

The Marker is a super precise tool – down to the smallest details. It puts digital ink on the reMarkable with incredibly low lag. It’s designed to let you focus on the task at hand. No battery charging or Bluetooth set-up. The tip is carefully designed with just the right friction to deliver a paper-like experience.

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Meanwhile Astropad, which lets you use an iPad & Apple Pencil to draw in Mac apps, has been around for a couple of years, but the new Astropad Studio ups its game:

TechCrunch writes,

Astropad Studio connects to a client on your Mac (which you download separately) and lets you select a portion of your existing display or displays to define as the interaction surface for use on your iPad Pro. A small disc icon on the iPad screen allows you to tweak the shortcut settings and check for additional commands. The commands available are terrific…

Astropad Studio requires a $7.99 monthly or $64.99 yearly subscription, but with math you get settings sync, additional support and a promise from Astropad that it’ll be updated monthly with new features and improvements.

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[YouTube 1 and 2]

Adobe’s new 3D tool is ready for download

Somehow I missed this news back in December, but if you’re a Creative Cloud member, you can download Adobe’s new 2D/3D compositing tool, Project Felix.

If your specs measure up…

On Windows 10, you’ll need at least 8 GB of RAM and a Geforce GTX 770 or better graphics card. On macOS, the minimum is also 8 GB of RAM and either an Intel Iris Graphics 540 or GeForce GT 750M card, though here, too, Adobe recommends 16 GB of RAM or more.

…maybe you, too, can make a weird Velvet Underground homage (?).

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I’m really eager to see what my Adobe friends can devise, but boy is this a tough nut to crack (or giant banana to peel, if you prefer). I think there’s real hotness to be had by rethinking creation & compositing in a 3D context, but making people wrestle with & care about traditional 3D concepts isn’t what I have in mind. We’ll see.

[YouTube]

Photo zoom returns to Google+

I’m pleased to say that by very popular demand, you can now really enjoy the details of high-resolution images shared on Google+ by zooming in via your Web browser. This feature—previously available only via the classic Web experience—is now part of the new G+.

With large images (e.g. try these) you can start zooming in by:

  • Clicking the zoom button
  • Tapping the ‘Z’ key
  • Using your mouse wheel (or two-finger drag)
  • Double clicking on the photo
  • Pinching on the photo (via touchscreen/touchpad)

Once the image is zoomed in, you can:

  • Use ‘+’ key and ‘-‘ keys (plus without shift) to zoom in/out incrementally
  • Use arrow keys to pan around the zoomed image

Enjoy—and “Enhance!”

UX: BMW shows off their HoloActive Touch

Help me, Bavarian Motor Works, you’re my only hope…

TechCrunch writes,

HoloActive Touch appears to float in air, and also provides actual felt, tactile feedback in response to interactions.

As for the tech used to make the interface feel somewhat physical, even though you’re just poking around in mid-air, we’ve heard it might be sourced from Ultrahaptics, a company whose whole mission is to make it possible to feel things including “invisible buttons and dials” when you want them to be tangible, and then not when you don’t.

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[YouTube]

Voice-driven photo editing: Here we go again

Four years ago Adobe showed off a prototype of voice-driven photo editing:

Now they’re back, showing a slicker but shallower (?) version of the same idea:

Well, we’ll see. Hopefully there’s a lot more to the Adobe tech. Meanwhile, I’m reminded of various VR photo-related demos. After donning a mask & shuffling around a room waving wands in the air like a goof, you realize, “Oh… so I just did the equivalent of zooming in & showing the caption?!”

Who f’ing cares?

You know what would be actually worth a damn? Let me say, “Okay, take all my shots where Henry is making the ‘Henry Face,’ then make an animated face collage made up of those faces—and while you’re at it, P-shop him into a bunch of funny scenes.” Don’t give me a novel but cumbersome rehash, gimme some GD superpowers already.

But hey, they’re making a new Blade Runner, so maybe now Ryan Gosling will edit his pics by voice, and they’ll bring back talking cameras, and in the words of Stephen Colbert, “It’s funny because nothing matters.

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[YouTube]