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Old Mar 31, 2010, 12:39 AM   #1
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I want to use the iPad as a Wacom Cintiq

I posted this on the CGTalk forums, and although there might be limited interest in this topic on THIS forum, I thought I'd post it anyway.

And I'm trying to figure out if it's possible. I'm already aware that the iPad comes with no stylus and no pressure sensitivity... bear with me, I'll explain.

Jaadu VNC is an iPhone application that allows you to remotely view and control your Mac or PC with your iPhone. Several members of Apple forums have been in contact with Jugaari, the creator of Jaadu VNC, who have said that an iPad version is in the works. If that's true, that means that your Mac/PC - including ALL its applications (Photoshop, Painter) will be accessible from practically anywhere via your iPad. Theoretically, you should be able to use Jaadu VNC to make your iPad into a Cintiq-like device, being able to draw directly on the screen of the iPad using programs such as Photoshop and Painter. I've seen this confirmed in other forums by Jaadu VNC users for iPhone. The small screen of the iPhone was limiting, and there was talk of some lag, but they were able to do it.

The problem with the Jaadu VNC solution is that the iPad still has no stylus, and still no pressure sensitivity. In walks Ten One Design. This company has created the Pogo Sketch, a slim tube with a soft tip that acts as a stylus for capacitative touchscreens like the ones on Macbook touchpads, the iPhone/iPod Touch, and the iPad. I own one, and I find that it's a very functional device for the most part. As for pressure sensitivity, Ten One Design has also created an application called Inklet, which uses the Pogo Sketch to turn your Macbook trackpad into a PRESSURE SENSITIVE tablet. Now, I can't really recommend Inklet as a replacement for an Intuos or even a Bamboo, because it doesn't have a "hover" function that allows you to take the Pogo off the trackpad. You basically lose the cursor if you lift your hand, and needless to say it's not easy for anyone to draw if you can't lift pen from paper. BUT, that problem would be resolved for the iPad, since you don't need to drag a mouse to get the cursor from place to place. And I can vouch for the claim that Inklet registers pressure sensitivity; I don't know how many levels, but it's certainly there.

Imagine if Jaadu VNC was able to work with Inklet to make the iPad into a pressure sensitive tablet on which you could use full versions of Photoshop, Painter, any program you like! In my opinion it would be a real Cintiq competitor, especially for those new to digital art (yes, like me, I've been a traditional media artist and have long wanted to make a switch to digital, but found the hardware prices too steep). Now, I'm not harboring illusions that this would make the iPad into a Cintiq EQUAL... after all, there are no express keys, no pen switches, no pen eraser, and I can only imagine that the soft, nubby Pogo Sketch would be less accurate than a Wacom pen, with fewer levels of pressure sensitivity. Also, you would only be able to mirror your Mac/PC screen, you would not be able to use dual screen. BUT, on the pro side: 1) It would be truly portable, unlike the Cintiq 12wx with all its cables. 2) You would not need to have a PC right beside you, unlike ANY Wacom tablet for which the desktop/laptop computer would need to be present also. 3) It would be cheaper. The iPad starts at $500. Inklet costs $25, the Pogo Sketch costs $15. Jaadu VNC for iPhone costs $25, the iPad version will probably cost more. Compare that to the cheapest Cintiq model for $1k.

Of course I should mention that this solution would only work if you also happen to have a Macbook with a capacitative trackpad. Still, this is interesting, no? Tell me what you think!
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 12:42 AM   #2
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I also wanted to say that I emailed Jugaari asking if they thought all this would be possible. Here's my email quoted, I'll make sure to update when they reply!


Word is going around that Jugaari is planning on releasing an iPad-specific version of Jaadu VNC. I hope this is true, as I'm very intrigued by the iPhone app! I'll ask my questions with the assumption that there will be an iPad app released; if not, obviously the questions are non-applicable. I hope to use Jaadu VNC to access painting programs on my Macbook via the iPad, and have a portable sketchbook. I'd like to know if this is a reasonable expectation.

1) How is the lag time, for example, when using the Vine-Jaadu server? From what I understand, it allows for the fastest refresh rate. Will the refresh be fast enough to allow for the remote use of graphic programs such as Photoshop and Painter? Or will the lag be such that I would not see a line that I drew until a few seconds after I drew it?

2) When using Touchscreen Mode, does click and drag work the same way as it would on an iPhone? As in, could I click and drag within an application on my Macbook by placing my finger on the iPad and moving it across the screen? This ability would be necessary to be able to use Jaadu VNC for graphic applications.

3) This last question is a stretch, which you may or may not be able to answer. The company Ten One Design has an application called Inklet that uses the Pogo Sketch to register pressure sensitivity on the capacitative trackpad of the Macbook Pro. Now, I'm not sure exactly how input works with Jaadu VNC - is it only able to recognize certain gestures that you have programmed it to recognize? Or can it essentially transfer all trackpad capability to the remote screen of the iPad? In short, I'm asking if Jaadu VNC on an iPad (or iPhone!) would work with Inklet, allowing me to remotely use my digital art programs WITH pressure sensitivity. Here is the link to a free demo for Inklet:


If you have any spare time to test the Inklet demo with Jaadu VNC for iPhone just to see if it works, it would be GREATLY appreciated.

Pardon me for coming up with this elaborate scheme, but should iPad + Jaadu VNC + Inklet + Pogo Sketch + Photoshop/Painter/Other = a useable mobile sketchbook with pressure sensitivity, then to be frank, we would have in our hands a true contender for the formidable Wacom tablet. Wacom's monopoly on the graphic tablet industry has made them lazy. They create trusted quality products, but they also do not listen to their customers' feedback and desires, and they overprice their devices simply because they can. Wacom's Cintiq will still have the upper hand in functionality to the iPad and the collection of apps I outlined above. Still, there will be MANY digital artists who will feel that paying less for a iPad sketchbook that is TRULY mobile (unlike the heavy, wired contraptions Wacom makes) is going to be the best choice for them. Of course, we'll have to see first if Jaadu VNC can make it work! I'll stop rambling now, and I look forward to your answer.


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Old Mar 31, 2010, 09:34 AM   #3
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iPad for 3D Modeling

I've also thought of using the Pogo Sketch, VNC software, and something like PhotoShop on the iPad to make it into a highly portable and cheap tablet. I don't expect at all the features of a full-on tablet, since the software and hardware (iPad itself excluded) is less than 100 bucks. But if you could get it to work fairly well and perform better than some of the cheapo tablets out there, I'd be all for it!

But another idea I've had is for 3D modeling. You could use the touchscreen to manipulate your view, for example pinching to dolly in and out, orbiting with your finger, swiping with two fingers to pan, etc. It's not a very useful idea since I can do the exact same thing, probably even faster with just my mouse and a few keyboard keys, but it's just a thought.

If the Blender community created a full on control app for the iPad, it'd be amazing to use your iPad to access hot keys, position objects, orbit, pan, whatever. If possible, it's another testament to the potential of the app store for the iPad. I can easily imagine myself modeling with the iPad alongside me propped up in its case, tapping away, just like in some science fiction flick!
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 09:41 AM   #4
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A better solution would be to use one of the numerous slates with Win7 or get the Modbook from Axiotron.

Even a Intuos 4 would be a better art tool than an iPad.
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