Astropad: Turn your iPad into a Cintiq?

Astropad app gives your iPad Cintiq-like powers

This week saw the Astropad app launch. Its pitch is that it can “turn your iPad into a professional graphics tablet.” Now your iPad becomes an input device.
It works over wifi or a USB. It can handle up to 60 frames per second, fast enough for animation and video (though not for sophisticated gaming, but you wouldn’t create or play those on the iPad).

To use Astropad, you need a Mac that runs 10.9 (Mavericks) or later and any iPad running iOS 8. Watch a video here.

It’s using your iPad as a graphics tablet/input device–so what’s on your Mac will be mirrored on your iPad.

Pressure sensitivity is dependent on your having the iPad styluses that are best for art, as well as the apps that give you the sensitivity.

Besides regular iPads, it works with the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil.

If you use an iPad Pro, you’re getting a lot of the functionality of a Cintiq, though it doesn’t do all the same things.

It would be nice if Apple itself made more iPad and Mac compatibility, but it took the Astropad developers, who run an independent studio, to do it. Perhaps next comes a way of hooking up Android tablets.

You can download a 7-day trial from the Apple store.

Duet Display is an iPad app that’s similar but works with both Windows and Mac.

This entry was posted in Apps, Articles, Cintiq alternative, iPad on by .

About Vicky

I'm an author and illustrator who has used drawing tablets since the early days. I love how flexible and forgiving they make everything. I'm also fascinated by the technology. I started this site to bring knowledge to everyone. I want this to be the only place you need to go to learn about drawing tablets.

4 thoughts on “Astropad: Turn your iPad into a Cintiq?

  1. Tijmen

    Hi there, I have used an iPad Pro 12.9 inch for a few days now, with the apple pencil.

    I’ve tried Astropad with Gimp, which did not go well. In the Astropad user forums there are only four questions from the same user about Gimp, none of which were answered. Googling ‘Gimp Astropad’ yields no results… The problem is that the tool keeps switching back to the previous tool when I touch the screen. I also haven’t found the settings for pressure recognition in Gimp.

    I still have to test other Mac OS apps like Krita, to see if I can avoid the steep jump into Photoshop.

    So I’ve been using Procreate (iOS) for linework instead, which lets me save as .PSD in dropbox or iCloud, because the iPad OS treats you like a moron and hides all your files – you don’t have Finder like on a normal mac.

    But the functionality of the pencil is great, pressure sensitivity works very well. Screen is super-smooth, so I’ll try a minimally grained screenguard soon.

    It shows my cursor size, In Procreate at least, which was something I was afraid would be missing.

    1. Vicky Post author

      It’s under Windows/Tool Options/click weird blue arrow and you will see options. Though I haven’t tried it with Astropad, sometimes the previous version of Gimp behaves better than the current one.
      Agree, it is necessary to back up files to the Cloud, as they can be hard to find and organize on the iPad.

  2. Chris

    I have downloaded Astropad on to my iPad and connected it to my MacBook Pro. What do I do next? I only want to use it for sketches and cartoons. I don’t have Photoshop. Must I buy that to use it or can I use one of the free drawing apps? The demos on Utube all talk as if it should open up a screen on the iMacBook. Any simple advice would be welcomed. Thanks.

    1. Post author

      Hi, you don’t need to buy Photoshop, you can use whatever is on your Mac, the iPad will become an input device. Some are free, such as Gimp and the free version of Sketchbook. Is your iPad running iOS8 or later? Have you downloaded the Mac app to your Mac? It’s two downloads, the Mac one and the iPad one.


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