Software and performance
We tested the Mighty pen and Napoleon ruler on an iPad with software called Project Parallel. Adobe developed the Project Parallel software with Project Mighty and Project Napoleon in mind. Gough couldn't confirm that the app will be released, however, saying that it "may or may not ship".
The pen and ruler are a very compelling bit of kit. The smart ruler interacts with the screen in such a way as to make drawing straight lines more intuitive and closer to the methods used by draftsmen and architects.
"One of the biggest challenges of working on the iPad is that it's been optimised to work with your finger, or a sausage, so if you want to draw with a sausage [the iPad] is the perfect device, but most people don't, shockingly," Gough said.
The Mighty Pen uses the thin tip technology by Adonit and works really nicely on the iPad, despite its screen being developed for "sausage drawing". You can select different pen types, all of which are based on real pens and drawing apparatus that designers use.
If you tilt the pen on its side, the line being drawn onto the screen will change as it would on paper, creating a thicker line as you curve the pen into corners. It does feel very natural and like the real thing, so Adobe has done a great job here.
The Napoleon ruler is all about drawing straight lines. It doesn't require any power as it draws the minor electric current needed to interact with the capacitive touchscreen from your fingers.
The ruler knows where it is on the screen because of this technology, so it allows you to draw perfectly straight lines from one point to another.
The Project Parallel app also locks to horizontal or vertical positions, or to perspective points. And, if you press the button at the top of the ruler, it can lock the line you draw to points, such as the ends of other lines.
Here's a really badly drawn picture of a house that we attempted. It's not bad considering that we aren't artistically inclined and it was our first ever attempt at using this technology.
The idea behind the Parallel app, Mighty pen and Napoleon ruler is to replace the need for paper and pencil drawings.
"A creative professional spends eight or 10 hours a day on Photoshop or Illustrator, and the only time they leave the application is to go to the bathroom, or to think. If you actually want to have an idea you have to use a pencil," Gough said.
"We were wondering, why is that? Is it the lack of fidelity, the aesthetic experience? Our target with this first set of tablet applications is to replace pen and paper, so we'd like to get to a point where it's natural enough that you don't have to leave the digital world."
Adobe plans to release a wave of beta pens soon to get more feedback from a much broader audience. The prototypes should be ready to ship in early 2014. µ