Monday, October 12, 2009

Axiotron Studio Pen

I've been waiting for this product since I got my Modbook in 2008. Now my wait is over.

The stock stylus that comes with the Modbook certainly does the job. But anyone who's drawn using any of the Wacom Cintiq styluses knows how much more ergonomic and comfortable they are. Unfortunately the aforementioned styluses don't work on the Modbook due to a system incompatibility.

Thankfully the good people of Axiotron have followed through on their promise of offering more precise and better performing tools to support the Modbook.

Today I got my STUDIO PEN in the mail and tonight I got the chance to finally try it out. From the get go it is marvelous tool. If fits perfectly on your hand and feels exactly like the Wacom Cintiq stylus. The kit comes with extra pen nibs ( including those sought after graphite nibs), extra clicker and rubber grip. So one can really feel good about putting the pen through some constant, real world use.

Compared to the stock stylus, the Studio Pen is more sensitive and gives really subtle feedback. The graphite nib responds smoothly to the digitizer and sleek, ergonomic grip feels natural and intuitive. The only drawback is that the pen won't fit the cleverly designed pen garage on the bottom of the Modbook. But this is a small price to pay. The upgrade in quality is worth the price and I tend to carry accessories in my gig bag anyway.

So if you are an owner of a Modbook, it would behoove you to give the Studio Pen a try.

Friday, May 1, 2009

PREVIEW: Autodesk Sketchbook Pro 2010

You've read my gripes about the lack of a considerable upgrade to SKETCHBOOK PRO, despite the 2009 version.   

Well apparently Autodesk has made some considerable upgrades to SBP and from what i've seen, it's something probably worth getting excited about.

Chris Cheung, the SBP product manager for Autodesk has released a full-fledged preview of SKETCHBOOK PRO 2010 HERE.  Some of the new tools i'm looking forward to are the elliptical tool which enables you to do precise line work using shapes, and the new texture feature in the do-it-yourself brush tool which now has the ability for the user to create custom brushes.  There's also the elliptical ruler which enables you to do draw straight edged lines.

They've also added blur and sharpen tools which will come in very handy.  The site has preview videos for each of the new features although, the lack of audio commentary is kind of a let down.  (the tools do speak for themselves though...)

As soon as I get my hands on a copy and put it through it's paces, i'll post my review right here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Birthday

It's been a year since I received my Modbook in the mail and I don't think I have to elaborate on how this little machine has affected my work and my life.

So I just want to simply commemorate things by saying happy birthday.  You're one year older and sadly, a few steps towards obsolescence.  

Thank you to everyone who's emailed me inquiring about the Modbook and those who have frequented this blog, which also is celebrating it's one year anniversary.  

The Modbook journey continues....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Modbook Mania at Macworld 2009

I just got back this evening from San Francisco and Macworld 2009 where I spent the entire day geeking out on everything Modbook at the AXIOTRON pavillion.

In between doing on-site demos of storyboards and sketches I was able to also attend the official unveiling of Axiotron's new crown jewel, the MODBOOK PRO which is now available for pre-order at the their website. (The first units ship this coming June)

The Modbook Pro is one stunning machine. This time the mod involves taking the basic guts of a Macbook Pro and encasing it into a multi-bodied aluminum shell exclusively designed and built by Axiotron. Of course it's Wacom Pen-abled and features a new button-less digitizer and frame which has optional matte or glossy surfacing, depending on the user preference. It's an exotic design really. It makes my Modbook look pedestrian in comparison. But be prepared to shell out a few bucks. A modestly equipped Modbook Pro will cost you around $5,000. For the portability, I think it's worth the money. Personally I don't think i'll be getting near a sniff of one for a long time....

To complement the added power of the Modbook Pro, Axiotron also announced it's new breakthrough touch technology called SYNERGY which finally brings touch sensitivity to the Modbook and will enable users to pull up a set of programmable keys that will be used in conjuction with the Pen. In other words, one can now use the Modbook without a keyboard to work in Photoshop, Illustrator and other design software. Keys like the Command, Alt and Control keys are included in the basic set up.

According to Axiotron founder and lead engineer Andreas Haas. The key was to design Synergy independent of the Wacom Pen, thereby eliminating any chance of both technologies from conflicting with each other. Synergy will be available in April as a free download to existing Modbook users and will be available to non-Modbook users for a fee.

Apple co-founder and Axiotron consultant Steve Wozniak was on-hand to at the unveiling and also performed a demo of the new QuickScript handwriting recognition software which he is helping develop in conjunction with Axiotron. QuickScript is designed not only to recognize a specific user's handwriting but it's advanced AI enables it to learn unique and subtle quirks in ones handwriting, thereby customizing itself for that user. It's also programmed to recognize different languages so one can write in Chinese, French, Japanese as well as basic English. (It's so smart, we're told it can distinguish between native French from Canadian French)

As for the convention itself? It's a virtual candy store if your a Mac fanatic. (or an iPhone fiend to be even more specific) Every third-party product from cases, peripherals, software and services is on hand. I didn't really need one but I scored a new iPhone case just for the heck of it. One of my favorites was the Google booth which showcased their iPhone GPS mapping and Google Earth apps, as well as a nice iPhone charging island where the power challenged could tank up on free juice.

All in all I had a swell time at the Mac geek ball. My sincere thanks to everyone at Axiotron for making me a part of their Macworld presentation. Check out the pictures below.

The Axiotron Pavillion

Here's the Modbook Pro encased in protective glass, away from my envious hands...

..and it's keeps it's really slim profile...

That's Steven "Woz" Wozniak and Axiotron president and engineer Andreas Haas at the unveiling of the Modbook Pro

Andreas talks up the Modbook Pro. According to him the three most common user requests after the release of the original Modbook are: More buttons. More Power and a longer battery. Mission accomplished on the Modbook Pro

A view of Moscone Center South and Mac geek ville.....

... and where would we all be without the almighty Apple?....

The demo line up today included yours truly as well as the super talented comic book artist Kody Chamberlain who conducted a concerto on his Photoshop demos...

Macworld wouldn't be complete without Googly - Google....

One final snapshot of yours truly at the end of one of my demos

.... ciao from San Francisco. Maybe I get to go again next year?