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Old Jun 17, 2014, 10:43 AM   #1
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iOS 8's Variable Touch Sizing Bringing 'Surface Pressure' to FiftyThree's 'Pencil' Stylus




FiftyThree announced today (via TechCrunch) that its "Pencil" iPad stylus will be updated with a new Surface Pressure feature when iOS 8 debuts later this year. This feature allows users to change the thickness of the lines they create by controlling how much of the pencil tip comes in contact with the iPad screen.

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Pencil's tapered tip was inspired by the expressive richness of real pencil points, which allow creators to change the character of the line with the angle of the tip. With Surface Pressure you'll be able to control the lines you create based on how much of Pencil's tip or eraser is in contact with your iPad. Use the point for fine details or the angled edge for broad strokes. Surface Pressure unlocks new capabilities for each of Paper's tools--fill faster as you draw, shade as you sketch, or carve away in varying widths as you erase.
This Surface Pressure option is made possible by iOS 8's variable touch sizing, which lets developers interpret touch along a range of point sizes that vary from a single point to a broad circle. The ability to adjust line thickness on the fly will provide a significant advantage to Pencil users, who now must control thickness via an in-app setting that is changed manually.

FiftyThree released the Bluetooth Pencil stylus last November as a companion to its popular Paper drawing app. It is available in either Graphite (US$60) or Walnut ($75) for consumers who live in the US or Canada. Surface Pressure will be included in a free Pencil software update, which will be released this fall following iOS 8.

Article Link: iOS 8's Variable Touch Sizing Bringing 'Surface Pressure' to FiftyThree's 'Pencil' Stylus
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 10:45 AM   #2
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I use the paper app all the time and I can't wait to try this out.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 10:49 AM   #3
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Wow I can't wait for other Apps to implement this! That's always been the biggest issue for with using the iPad for art -- can't wait!
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 10:49 AM   #4
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FiftyThree has just one app in the App Store (correct me if I'm wrong) but they sure as hell know how to do it right!
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 10:49 AM   #5
furi0usbee
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I used this app a lot. I have the Pogo Connect stylus and it worked great with this app. I don't have an iPad any longer but some day when I pick up another one, I'll be using Paper again. There are more complicated apps out there that due more, but I like to do quick illustrations/drawings, and Paper made them look fantastic.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 10:50 AM   #6
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I think I finally understand the paper app now, This would be great for quick mock ups of designs before I head into photoshop
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 10:51 AM   #7
TallManNY
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Will this dramatically change the way we interact with iOS? Right now things are either touch or not touched. But will buttons now react to touch with tip of finger or whole finger smushed down? I wonder if animations can be made to feel more physical by taking advantage of this. A small fingertip touch would be considered light, but a larger fingertip will be interpreted as a hard push and it would be created by the user smushing down more of the fingertip onto the glass.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 10:51 AM   #8
iSee
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File "Pencil" under "nifty idea, but falls short in the real world"... like a lot of stylus technologies. I don't know why I keep falling for this stuff.

I will dust off my Pencil and give this a try when it comes out.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 10:52 AM   #9
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I'll be more interested when they release the damn thing in the UK.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 10:56 AM   #10
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I'm so excited for this! I love using Procreate, but this was a serious limitation. I just hope the others besides 53 optimize and create good stylus.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 10:58 AM   #11
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Not that I'm any good at drawing but I just can't get used to these stylus pens. To me they just don't feel right, I think it has something to do with the nibs being so large and squidgy!

I would really like to be able to take notes on my iPad with a thin nibbled stylus just like a pen and paper....although I guess that will never happen.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 10:58 AM   #12
rowspaxe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iSee View Post
File "Pencil" under "nifty idea, but falls short in the real world"... like a lot of stylus technologies. I don't know why I keep falling for this stuff.
Love paper as an app, but the paper "pencil" is of the soft foam type and I spent exactly 10 minutes with my $60 purchase before resolving never to get sucked into ipad pen hell again. For the price of about 6-8 ios pens i bought a surface pro 1 on sale and i have never looked back. "It just works".
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 11:05 AM   #13
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While I admire what they're doing with their app and styli, I do wish that Apple would put OS level pen support into iOS and the iPad. This is one major advantage of Windows tablets and even the Samsung Note line, both of which have vastly superior handwriting capabilities.

There are some applications where there simply is no replacement for handwriting, and I wish I could use an iPad in those situations.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 11:08 AM   #14
lewisd25
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It still baffles me why Apple hasn't included a proper digitizer with the iPads, and marketed their own thin tipped stylus. The "eco-friendly" Apple could shout from the rooftops that their products allow you to save trees.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 11:09 AM   #15
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This is great news. Sort of. I actually just got the Intuos stylus which is fantastic, but I might pick up this one also later this year. Maybe this will make the Wacom more effective too. Or might jack it up...
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 11:09 AM   #16
mono1980
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Wow. I didn't even know about this new feature. iOS8 is looking more amazing every day!
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 11:17 AM   #17
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While touch pressure sensitivity is nice. What I really want is super low latency of the screen so when you write there is absolutely no lag at all.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 11:17 AM   #18
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That is pretty interesting...I am hoping them "opening up" the input library a bit more means the next iPad could incorporate some kind of pen input, really it is the one thing I want on an iPad. Just for simple quick mockups and note taking. Being stuck with your finger or a keyboard is just not ideal when trying to flesh out an idea so I always end up grabbing pen and paper before my iPad which shouldn't be the case.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 11:18 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rowspaxe View Post
Love paper as an app, but the paper "pencil" is of the soft foam type and I spent exactly 10 minutes with my $60 purchase before resolving never to get sucked into ipad pen hell again. For the price of about 6-8 ios pens i bought a surface pro 1 on sale and i have never looked back. "It just works".
The soft foam styluses are fine with me. It's "Pencil" itself... tip apparently wears out after about 30 min of use... when connected the eraser cause the smudge effect most of the time.. even the tip does too (it's supposed to smudge when you use your finger, so it can't tell the difference between the "Pencil" and your finger. All around, it's pretty worthless. I just use these cheapo styluses now (< $1) and they work fine. No fancy feature that don't work anyway.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 11:30 AM   #20
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The hand model is wearing an iWatch.

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Old Jun 17, 2014, 11:32 AM   #21
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Doesn't Pencil already have pressure sensing? How will surface pressure make a difference then?
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 12:08 PM   #22
MLMcMillion
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I ordered a Pencil the first day they were available. It's crap.

It started off flaky, the tips ear out entirely too easy, and now it just won't even connect on a regular basis. Much easier to just use actual paper and pencil.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 12:18 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baryon View Post
Doesn't Pencil already have pressure sensing? How will surface pressure make a difference then?
from what it looks like, neither have actual pressure sensitivity, just 'surface area detection' to mimic it. the first pencil had nothing of the sort (draws one thickness of line until you change the setting manually) and this pencil lets you tilt the angled tip to draw in different thicknesses on the fly. an improvement, but not sounding like it approaches wacom caliber tech at all. simply pressing down harder is far superior to tilting your stylus, especially if the tilting action is not complimentary to what you're attempting to do with your wrist. i'll have to try it out to form a real opinion, but this faux-pressure stuff is making it harder for this artist/designer to ignore the MS Surface Pro right about now.

really, a stylus with true pressure sensitivity should run a pretty penny, not be found sold next to hello-kitty iphone cases on street corners. i don't know if there really are any great styluses for touch-screen out there yet.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 12:18 PM   #24
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Too bad this doesn't look like it will work like true pressure sensitivity.

You won't be able to press the stylus harder to create a thicker stroke, it looks like you will have to have more of the stylus come in contact with the glass by pressing it at an angle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by teslo View Post
from what it looks like, neither have actual pressure sensitivity, just 'surface area detection' to mimic it. the first pencil had nothing of the sort (draws one thickness of line until you change the setting manually) and this pencil lets you tilt the angled tip to draw in different thicknesses on the fly. an improvement, but not sounding like it approaches wacom caliber tech at all. simply pressing down harder is far superior to tilting your stylus, especially if the tilting action is not complimentary to what you're attempting to do with your wrist. i'll have to try it out to form a real opinion, but this faux-pressure stuff is making it harder for this artist/designer to ignore the MS Surface Pro right about now.

really, a stylus with real pressure sensitivity should run a pretty penny, not found sold next to hello-kitty iphone cases on street corners. i don't know if there really are any great styluses for touch-screen out there yet.
I use a SP 1 for all of my sketching and it works great. I recently got Autodesk Sketchbook on my Note 2 and there is true pressure sensitivity there as well. From what I understand, Samsung uses Wacom on their Note phones and tablets. Although I would not recommend their tablets, but I don't like iOS or Android tablets to begin with.

My office just ordered me a Surface Pro 3 and I want to test that out because I hear they switched from Wacom to Ntrig and there are less points of sensitivity.
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Last edited by TheHateMachine; Jun 17, 2014 at 12:26 PM.
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Old Jun 17, 2014, 12:21 PM   #25
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Will this work for a Mac too? Any recommended alternatives ?
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