I came across this application whilst checking in with a favourite photographer of mine, Frank Doorhof. He mentioned in one of his video posts about Astropad for the iPad Pro.

If you have read my previous post on the Adonit Jot Touch, you will know already that my timing was out with the Apple product cycle and rumours. I had purchased the iPad Air 2 months before the launch of the iPad Pro. For the record, I am not saying that I am not happy with my purchase. I quite like the portability of the iPad Air 2. It is a good compromise between the Mini and Pro. Besides, I am using a great case with my iPad called the Clam Case Pro which is not currently available for the iPad Pro…..yet.

Back to the point. I saw how Frank used the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil as a retouching tablet.

Personally, I use a Wacom Inutos 4 tablet. It is a great product and is serving me well to this day and hopefully for many more years. I was however fascinated with the use of the iPad and Astropad. All sorts of ideas started going through my head. Would you be worried if you were Wacom?

I first though about whether the number of devices I have to keep could be reduced. For instance, my iPad goes with me everywhere, but my Wacom Tablet (Medium) does not. I was thinking that I could still work on retouching images, using a tablet without carrying any additional equipment.

In order to use Astropad, you need a couple of things. They are:

  • A Mac with OS X 10 and later or a PC.
  • The Astropad server software (free from the Astropad website here:)
  • An iPad Air 2, iPad Pro or even iPhone.
  • The Astropad App from the AppStore.
  • Lighting USB connection from the laptop to the iPad (You can use Wireless, if you have a good, congestion free, network)
  • Stylus. (I use the Adonit Jot Touch. See my previous post here.)

Once you are set with the above items, configuring Astropad is relatively straight forward. You start by starting Astropad on your computer. In my case, MacBook Pro.

Astropad application started on the Mac.
Astropad application started on the Mac.

The border displayed above shows what will be displayed on the iPad.

Once the application is started on the host computer, open the application on your mobile device. In this instance, I am using the iPad Air 2.

Astropad Connection on the iPad
Astropad application started on the iPad.

As you can see from the above screenshot, Astropad can use either a wireless connection or a USB connection. In my experiences using wireless, I do encounter some lag, but this may not be the case in your situation. Give it a go. Normally I use the USB connection and if it were connected when I started the app, I would not see the above screenshot. Connectivity is good and quick.

For me, the USB connection is the most reliable and practically no lag.

Once the connection has been established, start the application of choice on the host computer. In my sample screenshots below, I am using Affinity Photo for the Mac.

Astropad Menu Options

 

Astropad Interface

Astropad_Interface_Explained

 

Once Astropad is configured, editing your images is just like working on a Wacom tablet. From my time with this application and the iPad Air 2, some additional screen real estate would be beneficial, especially when it is necessary to have a number of panels and tools open to work. Astropad with an iPad Pro in this instance would be a more superior experience.

Either way, this is an excellent application.

Astropad is available from the Apple iTunes AppStore or visit their website http://astropad.com.