Tablet justified

It was a conscience decision to invest in a tablet computer for use with training. I have never felt more compelled to justify such spending, even when it hasn’t been prompted. My shiny new toy guilt has subsided since I’ve started to use it.

My initial reason for purchasing what seemed to be little more than another gadget, was to expand my knowledge of publishing to an array of mobile devices from InDesign CS5.5. It also offered the chance of creative input with Adobe Ideas and Adobe Color Lava, Eazel and Nav for Photoshop CS5.

While the iPad screen is relatively small compared with a laptop, its size means it’s easier to hold, rotate and share. I will want to do all three things as its great design is palpable. Accessibility and convenience mean it is too easy to download apps and publications. I looked for publications that are created from InDesign. Wired is a great one from many designed in InDesign. It is a different experience to reading the paper product. The design has been well thought through and the interactivity is immersive, though barely more effort than turning a page. It is as easy to pass around a group; can’t be rolled up, coffee stained or borrowed without return.I think it has the ability to pull you into its brand. Apart from passive use reading and viewing material, the apps promise productivity.

There are many drawing, painting and image manipulation applications for tablet devices, as an Adobe certified instructor and illustrator, I’d like to initially discuss what Adobe have on offer. Adobe Ideas still seems a little basic in both appearance and functionality. And while the software is inexpensive, ‘Layers’ can be purchased as an add in. I started out using just my digit free flowing over the surface of the iPad. This lacks precision but does give a sense of primeval mark making, and just good basic fun for newcomers to it. I then used a Griffin Stylus; which straight away felt intuitive. This got over my initial fear of only being able to create primitive marks on the page.

I can see a use for this to simply and quickly illustrate a point when I’m training in the classroom. I can easily switch to this, to project it, and now save sketches and diagrams where a conventional whiteboard couldn’t. Equally, anyone wishing to capture a rough idea, quickly, will find this helpful, as the results can be saved and accessed as PDF’s or simply opened in Adobe Illustrator for further work. Apart from drawing from scratch, you can use photos on separate layers to draw over. 
For these illustrations, I capitulated and bought layers to aid the drawing.

Tablet computing hasn’t killed drawing on paper or reading books and magazines, but they now have a truly viable alternative platform. Both paper and digital realms have their own merits. I look forward to the progression of the tablet, while not completely sidelining my moleskine.

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