It is rare that I come across something, which fundamentally changes the way I do my work. But, for the past two (2) months, I must say that I have, not only found a software that simplifies my workload, but it's an actual tool that can produce work for a fine art project, graphic art project, engineering and architectural projects. This is a complete art workshop wrapped up in an inexpensive software.
As a fine artist for well over 30 years and a graphic artist for the past 10, working with and owning the Adobe Creative Suite I can comfortably say that AutoDesk--the producer of AutoCAD, Maya, Alias, 3ds- has created in the essential fine and graphic artists' software: Sketchbook Pro.
This software is monumentally important. And, that's not an exaggeration by any means. When one can pick up a pen-tablet and sketch almost as comfortably as a pencil on paper or tracing paper on a drafting table without any difficulty and choose between 14 different virtual mediums: that is incredible. What took me literally months and months of arduous trial and error and forbearing that high learning curve that Photoshop demands, Sketchbook Pro is nothing short of a godsend.
It took me no less than a few hours of playing around with it to get completely comfortable with this engineering marvel.
Sketchbook Pro has a clean, minimalist interface. There's a tool bar that has such editing capacities as Back/ Forward buttons, crop, lasso, zoom, ruler (slide ruler), ellipse, symmetry, line, rectangle, layers, brush palette and color editor. The color editor, by the way, is very similar in look and features as Photoshop's.
The brush palette has 14-different brush selection. This includes a pencil, airbrush, marker, chisel-tip pen, ballpoint pen, paintbrush, felt tip, smear, blur, sharpen, hard & soft eraser, flood fill.
SBP also allows you to save in Photoshop and Illustrator-friendly formats such as tif, jpeg, png, bmp and Adobe Photoshop native PSD.
If there were one unique distinction between Photoshop and Sketchbook Pro, besides the $600 price difference, I'd have to say it is the addition of a "slide ruler." This is one of the singular tools that make this software worth the purchase price alone. Two handles shorten/ elongate the line. The middle bar moves the line up/down, left/right or diagonally. As you make adjustments, to draw a line or even to erase, a running scale determines the angle based on the XY-axis.
For around $75, this is one of the biggest secrets and best deals in computing today.
This software comes with my highest recommendation of any I own and/or have reviewed.