Category Archives: Reviews

best cheap drawing tablets

Best cheap drawing tablets: 10 for [2017-2018]

best cheap drawing tablets

Best cheap drawing tablets: our favorites for 2017-2018

Starving artist? Look no farther.

Since “what are the best cheap drawing tablets?” seems to be a question on the minds of many,, it seems to be a good time to do this post. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to test quite a few. I’ve made a list of 3 each of the 3 different types: cheap graphics tablets without screens, budget tablet monitors, and affordable Android or cheap 2-in-1 tablet PCs that are standalones. All come with the pen.

An affordable tablet for drawing does most of the same thing as the expensive ones. A cheap graphics tablet without a screen is the least costly way to go.

Some might say you shouldn’t penny pinch, but the price difference is huge between cheap and expensive drawing tablets. However, the functions and features are similar. Below I go over the differences and want to look for.

Here are top picks and links to our reviews.

CHEAP GRAPHICS PADS FOR PC OR MAC
  
Huion 610 Pro
Read Huion 610 Pro review
International customers
Wacom Intuos Draw
wacom-intuos-draw
target="_blank">Read Intuos Draw reviewInternational customers
Wacom Intuos Art Pen & Touch
Read Intuos Pen & Touch review
International customers
BUDGET PEN DISPLAYS
XP-Pen Artist 22E

Read XP-Pen Artist 22E review
International customers
PNBOO PN2150
Read PNBOO PN2150 reviewUK customers
(only in US and UK right now)
Ugee 1910B
Read Ugee 1910B review
International customers
Artisul D13
Artisul D13 reviewInternational customers
STANDALONE MOBILE AND 2-in-1s
Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen
Read Galaxy Tab A with S Pen review
International customers
Lenovo Yoga Book
Read Yoga Book review

International customers
Lenovo Miix 320
Read about Miix 320International customers

Ultra cheap pen display and graphics pad:

I’ve tested and reviewed this PNBoo PN10 as a small ultra-cheap tablet monitor. It has Express Keys. I think this is a good choice if you’re willing to download a different driver (please read review).

A cheaper graphics tablet is the Turcom TS 6610, which is similar (with small hardware and driver differences) to the Huion 610Pro. If you use the Huion driver, you’re better off.

 

bestcheapdrawingtablets (1)

Dog knows.

Cheap graphics tablets and tablet monitors vs. Wacom

Build

Cheap drawing tablets, and their pens, are made mostly of plastic and thus are lighter. Parts are metal, including the stand. Expensive drawing tablets have more metal alloy and tend to weigh more.

Features and hardware

Lower-cost tablets, with screen and without usually have no tilt sensitivity, no multitouch (ability to finger paint), or pressure sensitivity in Adobe Illustrator (best option is to use Clip Studio Paint for vector, though those files stay in their native file type and can’t be exported to eps or ai).

Cheap graphics tablets don’t have a wireless kit the way the Intuos non-Pro models do (note, that costs extra).

Most budget tablet monitors lack external, customizable Express Keys. Some do, though.

Cheap tablet monitors come with a stand, but the stand doesn’t swivel the way Wacoms do.

As you can see, two Wacom Intuoses are named as a best cheap graphics tablet. That may seem strange, but the small non-Pro Intuoses really aren’t that expensive. They don’t have all the features of the Pro line, but that’s OK for most people. However, I think Medium is the best size for drawing. Small Intuoses are also on the list of best Wacom tablets.

Drivers

Drivers for budget tablet brands do not offer as much customization as more expensive ones. They can also be harder to install or have occasional hiccups. Wacoms are not immune from hiccups, but the installation process takes you by the hand more. Usually I find the budget ones to install quickly but now and then there’s a hitch.

Low-cost tablets usually do not come with bundled art software. Wacom’s do, so that adds value.

Other differences are simply in the packaging. Some budget pen displays come in plain boxes without printing on them. The manuals may not be written in perfect English or may say “works with Windows 8” when the world is on Windows 10. Don’t worry about that. Companies keep the drivers updated even if they don’t always keep the printed matter up to date. Download the drivers from their sites.

The screen tends to be smooth; there’s no texture as there is on some Cintiqs.

Many of the budget graphics pads and pen displays come with a generous assortment of accessories such as a drawing glove, bag, screen protector, and extra pen.

Tip:

A lot of the low-cost tablet brands have interchangeable drivers, meaning those from one company can work on another’s. That’s a positive. If you have trouble with a driver, you can sometimes download a driver from a different site. In some of my reviews, I’ve noted where I had difficulties with drivers and tried alternative ones that worked better.

Support

As far as support, most of the companies have ways of reaching them online, including forums, phone, and Skype chats. Some have offices in the U.S. and other countries and some don’t. Not all have Facebook pages and Twitter, as some are in countries where those are blocked. So you may need to use email or Skype.

Buying on Amazon is probably your best bet since you will have their return policy and guarantees.

What to look for (and look out for) in an affordable art tablet:

Drivers should install without a struggle. Be sure you have deleted all previously installed tablet drivers first. (If you’re on a tablet PC, you can leave the tablet PC software. Only delete drivers that you or someone else installed onto the computer.)

If you do have a struggle, contact support of that particular company. You can also try deleting and reinstalling. It seems to me that installation is getting easier.

Drivers should work well across programs and for Windows and Mac.

Ports should not be loose. Loose ports are even a problem in some Wacom tablets. Cables should fit snugly into ports.

Don’t be alarmed if the screen squeaks at first when you use the pen; rub the screen with your hands a few times to quiet it down.

Cheap Android and 2-in-1s

I’ve included standalone, direct drawing tablets on my list too, including the Lenovo Yoga Book and Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen, an excellent choice for a relatively cheap 10″ tablet.. There are some relatively inexpensive tablet PCs and Android tablets.

A lot of people want a 2-in-1. None are super powerful, though. If you want a lot of processing power at the lowest price, you may be better off using a PC with an attached graphics pad.

Many people have been using these less costly tablets and are happy with them. I’ve been glad to have the opportunity to try some.

Read more drawing tablet reviews.

end of Best Cheap Drawing Tablets

 

 

 

PNBOO PN10 review

PNBOO PN10 review: pen display under $250. Testing and video

PNBOO PN10 review

Image courtesy PNBOO

PNBOO PN10 review: Amazingly affordable

The PNBoo PN10 is a small, lightweight tablet monitor with screen that costs under $250 as of this writing (Dec. 2017).  It’s just 10″ diagonal, with an active area of 8.5 x 5.3″ (217 x 136 mm). It’s amazingly affordable.  PNBoo sent me the PN10 to review.

pnboo pn10 review

Click image if you’re already ready to see it on Amazon

Type of tablet

Pen display/Cintiq alternative

You have to attach it to a computer.

PNBoo also makes the 21″ PN2150 (review here).

Features

Active area: 8.5 x 5.3″
Pen: batteryless, lightweight
Display: HD (1280×800)
Pen pressure: 2048 levels
Resolution/Report Rate: 5080 LPI, 220 pps
ms 5

What’s in the box?

The PNBOO comes in an attractive white box with graphics. (Unlike some budget ones that come in plain cardboard). You can see the box at the bottom of this page where it says unboxing video (you don’t have to watch the video to see it).

10intabletaccessories

PNBoo PN10 with pen, pen holder, glove, CD

Pen display monitor
1 Pen
Pen holder
8 extra nibs
1 pen page
USB cable
HDMI cable
Plug
2 in 1 cable

Like other budget graphics monitors, it has no multitouch (can’t finger paint on it), no tilt sensitivity, and no pressure sensitivity in Illustrator. Palm rejection is not an issue since it doesn’t have multitouch.

I recently reviewed the PNBOO PN2150, a 21″ tablet monitor. The PN10 is around a couple hundred bucks at this writing.

pnboo 10 small tablet

Tablet

The build quality is nice. The PNBOO is really lightweight, lighter than an iPad Pro. It’s made of plastic and pretty solid, with two rubber grips along the back so you can grab it easily. There’s a raised bezel around the screen. Unlike most budget drawing monitors, there are six Express Keys that are programmable in the driver. The driver has presets to some popular drawing programs.

You can use any art software with it, including Photoshop, Sketchbook, Gimp, Blender, Illustrator and more. It gets pressure sensitivity (not in Illustrator or Inkscape though–for pressure in vector, use Manga Studio). You can’t finger paint on it, though, you have to use a stylus.

On a Mac, you will need a MiniDisplayPort to HDMI adapter.

There’s no need to plug the PNBOO PN10 tablet into a wall, which gives it a lot more mobility. I was easily able to sit on the couch and draw, and at the desk, it doesn’t take up much space.

The best thing about it (besides the price) is how light it is. The pen is very light, too. It’s thin, more like a ballpoint pen. It’s similar (perhaps the same) as the pen that comes with the ArtisulD13. The driver says Artisul, so there’s some connection there.

Pen

The pen has a more premium quality than the thick pens that come with most budget tablets. It has a chrome band at the place you can unscrew and open the two sides (though there’s no good reason to open it). The pen doesn’t need a battery or charging.

The pen is accurate, without much parallax. I did recalibrate it, but it was fine out of the box. The plastic on the screen is pretty thin so there’s not a lot of distance between the surface and the digitizer layer, thus, not much parallax. It’s not possible to have zero.

Driver

Driver installation was simple. I used the site to get the driver, rather than the included CD, since my computers lack a CD drive. It’s always better to use downloaded ones anyway, because they are kept updated.

The driver says Artisul, and as mentioned, it has shortcuts for the express keys and pen buttons. More on the driver later.

pnboopn10driver

Screen

The drawing surface is plastic. It’s not too slippery. It’s a lot less slippery than the iPad Pro. In fact, when home, I find myself using this instead of the iPad Pro, which surprised me. I like that I can use desktop programs, that it’s not too slippery, and that it feels like a dedicated drawing surface rather than something that invariably distracts me with all the online temptations (even though I can on those on the tablet screen, the icons are so small on it that it’s less tempting.

Colors on the IPS LED screen are rich and bright, with deep blacks.

Changing the brightness on the computer screen does not affect the brightness or color on the PnBoo.

The pen is thinner than most budget pens. It’s like the Artisul D13’s pen.

Drawing on the PNBOO PN10

pnboo pn10 drawing

lines done in Clip Studio Paint

The pen is pretty accurate. But I found I had to press down quite hard to make a mark or select buttons, even with the pressure curve on the lowest setting. In Sketchbook Pro on a Mac, I sometimes got little blobs on the ends of lines because of having to press down.

It worked a bit better in Clip Studio Paint, but at times it would stop working and I’d have to make a line using the trackpad, then go back to the pen and it would work. So, the driver is buggy.

The pressure sensitivity works fine in the programs it should work in. (So, not in Illustrator; for vector, use Clip Studio Paint’s vector layer for pressure). I found the bugginess unsettling. I was starting to write off the tablet as more of a toy.

But… I found a solution!

Since the driver that came with this says Artisul and thus has some connection, I decided to try the Artisul D13 driver from the Artisul site. Sure enough, it recognized the PN10, and this driver works MUCH better. No more issues with pressing down hard. No more little blobs. The initial activation is about similar to a Surface Pro. A great free solution.

Hopefully PNBOO will fix the native driver. The previous PNBOO driver, on the 2150, was an improvement over what it seemed to be based on (the usual very basic ones). This one seems to need some tweaks.

PNBoo PN10 review: the verdict

In short: I do like the tablet except for the driver issues. If you have problems with the driver it comes with (I can’t be sure everyone’s computer will have the same issues) I suggest you download the Artisul D13 driver on Artisul.com, as described above. I haven’t tried every single program, but I’m satisfied with it now that I switched to the other driver.

I’d recommend the PNBOO PN10 for people who want something small, light, and cheap, who want to use desktop programs as opposed to apps. The PNBOO could be a good travel pick if you are working on a larger Cintiq type of tablet but can’t bring it with you. It also could be good for a starter tablet for a student. The size makes it more like a sketchbook.

Here’s a quick pen test from the outside of the tablet:

Here’s my unboxing video.

See it on Amazon: click for US

See on Amazon: click for UK

hpsprout

HP Sprout Pro G2 hands-on with inventor Brad Short

HP Sprout Pro G2: overview and video demo

hpsprout

The first HP Sprout was launched two years ago (with Windows 8) after a development period of about 4 years. This article shows the HP Sprout Pro G2 in action. The non-Pro Sprout is quite affordable, at about the cost of a laptop.

hp sprout review

HP Sprout Pro G2 3D image capture in action

HP Sprout is a dual-screen PC that runs Windows 10 Pro. It’s meant to allow an immersive computing experience that breaks the boundaries between physical objects and the digital world.

It’s got an i7 processor, a camera/projector, an amazingly thin, flexible 20-point touch screen with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity (HP Active Pen included), and a scanner that scans both 2D and 3D objects.

Brad Short,  HP Distinguished Technologist and the inventor and creator of the HP Sprout, showed off the HP Sprout Pro G2 at CES Unveiled NY 2017. I was on hand to watch and try out the drawing touchpad.

Here’s the creator himself doing a demo of the Sprout Pro G2.

Drawing demo on the HP Sprout touchpad. The included pen gets 2,048 levels of pressure.

What can artists do with the HP Sprout?

What can we not do? Artists can draw on the touchpad, scan objects and immediately place them into a 2D or 3D image, create 2D and 3D art, edit music and video, and send files to a 3D printer such as a Dremel. We can incorporate blended reality, VR (virtual reality), and AR (augmented reality).

It’s not just for artists. Short says blended reality will soon be a common way of communicating. Instead of a photograph, people will take a 3D scan and post it on social media. The HP Sprout isn’t meant for super-heavy-duty 3D scans but to create something that looks nice and is manageable in many apps. Here, Brad Short demos creative uses for 3D scans, such as putting the images into a video or into PowerPoint 3D. (Microsoft Office now supports 3D).

The Sprout runs Windows 10 Pro, has an i7 processor and 21.3″ HD display.

Basic specs:
Windows 10 Pro
i7, Intel HD graphics 630
21.3″ screen, HD 1920×1020
wide viewing angle
full keyboard
Ports: SD media card slot, 4 usb 3.0, HDMI 2.0, RJ-45, audio, controller


Bottom monitor:
Intel HD Graphics 6305
discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
wireless mouse, active pen that uses Wacom
camera: HP High def 14MP
Top screen is touchscreen

The Sprout has real-time tracking of the object. You can move it around and it will capture.

hp sprout pro 3d capture

HP Sprout Pro G2 captures objects and creates 3D scans.

The camera somehow ignores your hands and fingers, if you are holding up the object. If you’re holding it and you put down the object or otherwise let it lose tracking, it easily regains it.

At the end of the scan, you can see a mesh version with superimposed high-res photos of the surface. The files are .obj files you can open in surface mesh editing software, or AR and VR programs. The files are not very large at all.

You can also open the files in Photoshop and 3D Builder in Windows Creator. Short talks about how “fun” is an important part of Sprout ,and the idea of bringing 3D to everyone. “Sprout is a creative product for creativity,” he says.

hpsproutproG2

The HP Sprout Pro G2 captures an elephant

Accuracy: The 2d aspect is more accurate than the 3D in the camera used here; here, the 3D has 1mm accuracy. But if you use the the other 3D scanner that comes with the HP Sprout Pro G2, which is a higher-end, professional one, you get a high 10 to 15 micron accuracy.

You can then print it on a 3D printer such as a Dremel. You can also use it to create textures for your own 3D creations. You can quickly drag it to the touch mat and draw on it using the Active Pen or your finger on the touch mat.

Using it with Microsoft Creator Studio, you can integrate it into their videos or add your own 3D objects to libraries. You can edit music and video.

The HP Sprout is a tool, but also can be a fun a toy; a kid can use it.

The HP Sprout Pro G2 is a remarkable machine with a ton of potential. I find the flexible touchpad to be amazing.

The HP Sprout’s main use has been in the educational and manufacturing areas, but as it evolves, and consumers are more used to using 3D, AR, and VR, we could see more of these machines in homes. For artists who create game art, 3D models, or use AR and VR, it’s already extremely useful. Paired with Microsoft’s 3D tools, the Sprout may become a household word.

See the Amazon listing for more about the HP Sprout and HP Sprout Pro G2.

pnboo 2150 review

PNBoo PN2150 review: affordable graphics monitor

pnboo pn2150 review

PNboo PN2150 review: budget tablet monitor

Here’s a full PNboo PN2150 review and art program tests.

Pnboo graphics monitors are made by China’s Shenzhen Pnboo technology company. Their products are sold in over 100 countries.

This 21.5″ tablet monitor is a new offering, in the vein of Huion and Ugee tablet monitors known as Wacom Cintiq alternatives. These attach to a computer and provide a second monitor with a touchscreen and pressure sensitivity. PNBoo also sells a 15.6″ version they call the PNBoo 1560.

Here’s a video showing the pressure sensitivity in Photoshop. A pen test showing the tablet from the outside is below.

Type of tablet

Tablet monitor
Needs to be attached to computer

Type of digitizer

EMR (Electromagnetic Resonance)

Features

21.5″ diagonal screen
HD display
2048 levels of pressure sensitivity
batteryless pen (charges with cord)

Comes with: 2 pens, 2 pen power cables, screen protector, drawing glove, extra pen nibs. Cables: HDMI, VGA, USB, power cord, English user manual, CD drive. Drivers also available for download on the PNBoo site.

Drivers available for Mac and Windows.

Packaging

The Pnboo graphics monitor arrived safely nested in styrofoam blocks inside two inner boxes, one of which has a plastic handle, and one outer Amazon box. As with some other budget tablet monitors, the box containing the tablet was plain cardboard without any printing.

The PNboo comes with lots of accessories such as a glove, two pens, and screen protector. It also has numerous cables: USB, HDMI, VGA, and two pen charging cables.

It does not come with a Mac adapter, so you’ll need to have a mini display port or USB-C to VGA or HDMI adapter for your Mac.

Display

The HD screen is nice, clean and shiny, with no dead pixels. The black border is reflective. It’s about an inch wide on the top and bottom and a little thinner on the sides. The plastic screen isn’t too glossy. It doesn’t have a texture the way Cintiqs do.

The screen has a black border with no bezel, so you can run your pen right off of it, making it easier to draw right out to the edge.

pnboo pn2150 review

Build quality

The body has a pleasing design with a curved back. The back has a textured plastic that’s grippable. The plastic is not that thick, but the thing seems sturdy. I would not want to drop it. The back has a rounded design

There are air vents in the back, as well as speaker holes, which a lot of these types of tablets seem to have.

pnboo 2150 tablet monitor back

Adjustable stand

The metal stand is solid and adjusts easily. You pull up a lever and pull on the stand to lower it.

The ports for the cables are under a panel in the stand, which to me isn’t optimal. It’s harder to access them that way, and it makes it easier for them to get jiggled loose. The ports seem fine, not loose.

With the stand extended. the footprint of the stand and tablet from front to back is about a foot. The stand goes all the way back to about a 25-30 degree angle.

The stand has a rubber cover on each side of the bottom bars to keep it from slipping around or scratching your table.

 

PNboo stylus pen

The pen requires charging from a USB port. The cord is long enough that you can charge it and draw at the same time. The pen is lightweight, since it has no battery. It’s pretty thick but comfortable to draw with.  It’s the standard pen used with Huion, Ugee, and most other Chinese tablets. The pen has a blue LED indicator light that stays on while it’s charging. I charged it overnight, as there’s not a clear way to show if it’s fully charged.

Drawing on the PNBOO 2150

Here’s a quick pen test. This is using a thin pen.

 

First off, there was that familiar squeak when I used the pen. I’ve begun the process of rubbing my hands on the screen to impart some oils from my hands to quiet it down.

Though it comes with a screen protector; I don’t use one unless a screen is too slippery, and I don’t find this one to be. I like the way the plastic pen tip feels on the bare screen. So for now, I’m living with the squeak. It’s that new tablet-monitor sound.

Software

Installing the driver was quick and easy. Even though I’d forgotten to remove a Wacom driver, the PNBOO 2150 driver installed and worked anyway. (I do recommend not forgetting to remove other tablet drivers you’ve added!)

As with most affordable graphics monitors, the driver functions are very limited compared to Wacom drivers. You can test and adjust the pressure curve from heavy to light. You can program the pen button to click toggle to eraser.

You can calibrate the screen and draw lines in different colors to test the pressure. But that’s all. You can’t program your favorite shortcuts into Photoshop and other programs.

Drawing on the PNBOO 2150

pnboostyluspen

The PN2150 comes with two of these stylus pens.

The screen came calibrated, but it could have been better. I recalibrated and it was more accurate afterward. On Mac, there was a 5-point calibration. The accuracy now is fine. Because of the glass, there’s a little parallax, but now there’s no offset.

I first tried Photoshop. The pressure curve is smooth and controllable. Some of the low-cost tablets have almost too springy a line but this one is very natural-feeling.

You have to apply a bit of pressure to draw. It’s not quite as sensitive as Wacom, where the inital activation force is really low, and even lightly dragging the pen without all the pen’s weight can leave a mark. On the PNboo, dragging the pen across it using the pen’s weight resulted in a very light line.

I have the settings on the lowest, requiring the least amount of pressure. I don’t like to press down much; it’s an individual preference. The Pnboo feels comfortable to draw on for me.

Art programs tested

So far I have only tested on a Mac. I plan to add Windows testing soon.

Besides Photoshop, the pen pressure and drawing works great in Gimp, Sketchbook Pro, Clip Studio Paint/Manga Studio, Inkscape, and Illustrator. Some of the cheap tablet monitors I’ve tried have had drivers that haven’t played well with Photoshop and Gimp right away, but this one seems perfectly attuned to the pressure settings in those programs. (I am working with clean installs of the programs, and hadn’t tweaked anything.)

This not being a Wacom driver, there’s no pressure sensitivity in Illustrator (Illustrator limits the pressure sensitivity to a couple of types of brushes). If you want to get pressure in vector, you can use Clip Studio Paint’s vector layers, but you can’t export the file type into other vector programs.

I experienced no lag or latency with any programs. The driver really works well.

You can draw with the pen plugged in, but let it charge for a while first.

Color

The display color is a bit warm out of the box. I fiddled with the menu on the display, which lets you adjust color temperature, brightness, contrast, and red/green/blue. This took a while, but I got it to a nice neutral white.

Pros

Nice design
Driver easy to install (in my experience)
Smooth, consistent drawing across programs
Comes with extra pen and other accessories

Cons

Features are basic: no programmable buttons
Cables on bottom of panel
Doesn’t come with adapter for Mac
Needed to fiddle with calibration and color settings

User reactions

So far this PNboo 2150 review seems to be one of only a few out there, but I’m sure that will change.

PNBoo 2150 vs. Wacom Cintiq

The PNboo 2150 has the same screen size as the Wacom Cintiq 21. It has the same HD (1920×1080) resolution and the same amount of pressure sensitivity as traditional Cintiqs (2048 levels. Newer Wacoms such as the Cintiq Pro and Wacom Studio Pro have more). 2048 is more than enough in real-world use.

The tablet has no programmable shortcut keys. It does not get tilt/angle sensitivity.
With the current stand, you can’t swivel it like you can with a Cintiq stand.

But, this costs a heck of a lot less.

PNboo PN2150 review: The Verdict

Though it required some adjusting of the settings, I found it took less adjusting in the art software I tried. I’m using fresh installs of these particular programs, so it’s not because I saved settings from before. Everyone’s system is going to have different things on it that could affect things but in this case it went well.

The tablet overall is pretty similar to the XP Pen, Ugee, and Huion ones that have no programmable keys.

So far the driver stands out for working well across programs, while the rest of the package is basic. It can do most of what a Cintiq can do. This tablet is a great starter tablet monitor, or one to keep.

The conclusion of this PNBoo PN2150 review is that it’s a solid addition to the budget graphics monitor lineup. It doesn’t have bells and whistles, but if you want to draw on the screen it works well. Recommended for students and artists on a budget or just those who don’t need the advanced features of a Cintiq.

See the PNboo PN2150 on Amazon

See/Buy on Amazon UK

Pnboo site: pnbootech.com

See more budget tablet monitors

Read intro post about top drawing tablets

End of PNBOO PN2150 review

 

 

 

google tilt brush

Google Tilt Brush app review: paint in virtual reality

Google Tilt Brush: sculpting in thin air

Google’s tilt brush app is a fun, free app you can use with Vive and Oculus Rift headsets. I gave it a whirl to try to compare it to the experience of drawing on a tablet.

tiltbrushappart

“Art” in the cosmos. (credit: Tablets for Artists)

The first thing is that the software is simple, comparable to a mobile app. It takes 15 minutes or so to learn your way around the app. The biggest challenge is sensory overload. It feels absolutely real. I suggest not doing things too quickly. I didn’t make much attempt to make a finished work of art, and am still a beginner. I can see that it has a lot of potential, and would take a lot of practice to get better control over it.

Drawing is a bit challenging because your sight line and angle easily changes. For instance, this virtual snowman’s carrot nose looked a lot better in the headset. And the 3D effects aren’t coming through with this brush. Even approaching the snowman was tricky; I learned I had to walk right up to it rather than trying to reach it.

Another issue is that in a hot room, the headset can end up sliding down your face due to moisture, which can make it harder to see the controls, and affect visibility of the whole thing. It works best in a cool, dry room.

tiltbrushsnowman

Alas, there’s no “corncob pipe” brush. (credit: Tablets for Artists)

Tilt Brush app lets you paint in virtual reality that you’re right in the middle of. The room is your canvas. Just put on your virtual reality glasses and fire it up. Anyone can use it immediately; it’s intuitive.

You hold a controller in each hand; I found myself switching brushes a lot with one and taking a lot of snapshots, videos, and gifs with the others. The virtual controller has brushes with strokes of fire, snowflakes, and stars. There’s a full color wheel and picker. You can have a lot of fun with the effects. One of the coolest ones is smoke, which produces a foggy atmosphere (reminded me more of fog than smoke).

Inside Tilt Brush, you’re in charge of the sky and the backdrop of your world. You can pick different environments, moving from skies to mountains. For gaming veterans, the interiors of Tilt Brush may feel like a step backward, as there’s nothing that fancy, no characters or elaborate worlds. But you’re the creator here.

You can import 3D objects and draw on them. This was a bit tricky due to the angles. There are even audio-reactive brushes that bounce along to tunes. You can paint along with others as a group. VR parlors provide equipment for kids to Tilt Brush at parties.

Google has enlisted artists-in-residence at the Google Cultural Institute in Paris to share their creations. They work in a range of media, from animation to murals to computer art, and bring these sensibilities to their Tilt Brush work. They created pieces including disembodied organic, geometric tangles; humorous game-inspired animation; a “junk robot” aesthetic; and, from a hip-hop artist, dancing light beams.

One of the importable objects is dress form. Why a dress form? One possible use of the app for clothing designers to quickly make 3D mockups using realistic fabrics and textures.

Tilt Brush brings the potential of digital art to a new level–that of sculpture. It can also be just fun way to doodle or play with friends. The app has recently gotten an update.

It’s definitely worth a try if you’ve got access to a headset or VR parlor near you.

 

See user-uploaded Tilt Brush sketches.

The Tilt Brush app itself costs about $20.00. it’s bundled with the HTC Vive. Share your Vive art in the Steam Community. You can also use it on Oculus Rift. Follow #tiltbrush on Twitter.

 

See article on the Mobile Digital Creativity Summi