For basic uses such as browsing, web surfing, notes and email, media viewing and listening, and mobility, the iPad is a wonderful device. For professional level apps, not so much. Still, a little of Adobe’s Illustrator can be had for pennies on the dollar in the iPad.
A Little Bit Of Illustrator
One of the things you’ll notice about Apple Maps in iOS six is how quickly the map tiles load, and how quickly they scale when you zoom in or zoom out from locations.
That’s because of vector technology. iDraw is an inexpensive app that brings vector drawing and illustration– Adobe Illustrator style– to the iPad.
iDraw features typical vector shape libraries, dimension lines, scale, rulers, multiple units, and all the basic ingredients vector graphic app users know and love.
There’s a pen tool, Boolean path combinations, shape tools, brush and pencil tools, a color picker wheel, a gradient editor, shadows for shapes and text, and options to export files as vector-based PDFs or SVG files.
Of course, iDraw also has granular controls in the Pen Tool, an eraser tool, a required magnifier loupe, and everything is layer based (about as many layers as you want).
iDraw is precise and detailed enough to create drawings, floor layouts and plans, and simple enough for charts and graphs, as well as vector-based sketching.
The artist in you will appreciate time honored vector graphic app controls, including Group and Ungroup, Lock and Unlock objects, and Merge Down for layers.
Shapes and designs can be copied and pasted into other apps on the iPad. There’s even a built-in calligraphy brush editor.
Rulers and units are detailed in inches, milimeters, and centimeters (but not pixels?). If you love how you can zoom in and out of images on the iPad in iOS, you’ll love iDraw’s ability to zoom from 10-percent to 6,400-percent.
iDraw also comes with Canvas styles, alpha transparency for images, and snap to grid. Using the app, though takes some work if you’ve ever used a bit map or vector graphic app on the Mac.
Your finger is a wonderful pointer, but it’s not quite as precise for positioning graphic elements as the mouse (think of iDraw on the iPad as big, transparent trackpad which overlays the screen).
Sharing is simple, though– send files via email, copy and paste to other apps, and save designs in Photos library. The learning curve isn’t much if you’ve used vector-based apps before. The only ‘getting used to it’ issue is the finger vs. the mouse.