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Autodesk Sketchbook Pro - Solving the "Photoshop Shakes"?

2 Ish Good!

I've been looking for a solution to something that's been bugging me for a while.

The Photoshop "Shakes"


Click on the image to see the full image - which is rather large...

Let me try to explain this phenomenon - when working at a magnification less than 100%, I get odd hyper-sensitive "shakes" in my lines. I may not even notice them until I zoom in and then - too late, I feel the horrible urge to clean them up.

Granted, MOST people won't see my work at 100%, it's something that irks the living daylights out of me. If I want the cleanest lines possible, I need to work at 200% magnification or higher... which can make it challenging to draw, since I can't see the rest of the drawing things get out of proportion and perspective real fast.

Every now and I again, I attempt to work in Corel Painter X, which I've had some luck with at smaller resolutions, but working at my usual 14"x5" 600dpi, I experience a lot of lag when working. Some attribute this to an incompatibility to the Mac OS, others suggest it's a bug, a few say it's my computer. So I leave Painter for my smaller, less computer-taxing projects - like the nemu*Olympics drawings. ^^

I put forth my querry to the Twitterverse and Diana Knox of Jinxville sent back this suggestion: Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

It's a drawing program, but very simplified. Just the basics, no filters or fancy bells n' whistles. Their tool set is based off of physical art supplies like brushes, markers, ballpoint pens, pencils, etc and are customizable. If the brushes aren't to your liking, you can create new brushes based on the existing presets and easily adjust them by size, opacity, slant, roundness, and sharpness.

The commands are controlled by a "wheel" control panel that you click and hold the icons and "strike thru" the command you want. It takes a little getting used to, if you use hotkeys or menus, but it's pretty innovative and quick.

There are options for layers and the program even allows me to save as a PSD file, so I can load it in Photoshop later for further work.

I spent the last couple days playing with it, inking a couple strips - even using a straight edge (ruler) to draw my lines directly on my Cintiq. The lines appear crisp, even when drawn at a lower magnification, which has made my drawing backgrounds and miscellaneous objects less "painful".

I only started playing around with the other brushes and colors this evening:
These were drawn directly on the Cintiq - no scanned drawings to trace/reference from. Used various tools, but mostly the pencil and custom pencil for sketches/lines and the paintbrush tool for colors.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is available for both Macs & PCs as a 15-day free trial. The full program is about $200 and is available here: Autodesk Sketchbook Pro 2009 Mac/Win.

My overall thoughts? I can't say this will be my end-all drawing program, but it is very nice for linework and sketches and a nice alternative for my inking. The tools act very much like the tools they are emulating, which is nifty. I get clean and smooth lines and am pretty happy with the end result.

Truthfully, I'd prefer to just stick to a single program to do all my work but until I can find a fix to the "Photoshop Shakes", I'll just have to work around it.

Share your thoughts

14 Replies

  • Konachan918

    Do you have a tablet? or are you drawing everything by mouse?

  • Kitsy

    Konachan: I use a tablet to do all my work. (Actually, I use a Cintiq, which is like a second monitor with tablet capabilities!) ^_^

  • Jasmine The Dragon

    I don't know if that'll help much... but it's the only thing I could find :c

  • kitsy

    Jasmine: Thanks for the tip! I'll give it a try today! :D

  • Cherry

    I hate when it happens too. D:

  • Lee McIntosh

    If it really bothers you that much, then use Manga Studio from . Supposedly version 4, that will be released some day soon, will have the same color capability per layer as Photoshop. Other than 2 colors per layer, the current version is better than Photoshop in my opinion, altho I do like Photoshop's save to web feature ^^

  • kitsy

    Lee: Hey! It's good to hear from you! Hope your comics are still going strong? :D

    I haven't tried out Manga Studio yet, but I have seen it in action - lots like it because it auto-smoothes lines. I believe Illustrator does something similar, but I'm just not familiar enough with the program to work entirely in it.

    I'l have to do some research when 4.0 comes out. KS says that because it's not built native to the Mac, it may have some compatibility issues?

  • Lee McIntosh

    I've got new drawings that I'm posting as I get the time, plus I just finished an entry for the contest Costco is holding. As for Manga Studio not being native to the Mac OS, I'm not sure what he's talking about unless you mean that it's not native for Intel Macs. I just checked the forums, and the Japanese 4.0 version was released just this week, so the English version should quickly follow sometime soon (which will be a binary). Just keep waiting ~_~#
    I on the other hand, will have to upgrade my Mac before I can upgrade to 4.0 =\

  • michaelsngws

    I just stumbled on your article, so my reply might be months too late.

    If you are using Windows Vista, you will get some shakes in Photoshop if you turn off the Aero theme. The solution is to turn it on. It doesn't make sense but it works.

    I hope this is your problem and a solution can be found.

    I'll check out Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

  • Harold George

    I also am working with Sketchbook pro and I like it better than Manga Studio Debut 4 (a Christmas present). I am still trying to get used to the shakes myself. I use a wacom tablet, about 5x7 in size. My ultimate goal is to get the tablet that you can see the image directly on it...thus reducing the disconnect that happens from table to screen (if you know what I am talking about). I'd be interested in hearing any techniques that you may use to ink stuff. So far... I have just been scanning my work in and inking it there. I dread inking, but I like to see finished work, even if I don't know any inkers. I guess the more I practice the better I get at it. Well, keep me posted...

    • Audra Furuichi

      I understand what you mean - you're probably looking at the tablet PCs or the Cintiqs. I have one and they're indispensable. They really help speed up my work flow~ but indeed they are pricy.

      I usually scan in a rough draft of my work and ink at 600 dpi in Photoshop CS4. CS4 has really fixed the weird "shakes" you get at lower magnifications, but the lines tend to have that overly smooth rendered quality. Not so much as in Manga Studio, but similar.

      I'm still hopeful I'll have some success with Painter with my upgraded machine. I'll have to make some posts once I have some time to hash some illos out.

  • Leigh Dragoon

    I just received a copy of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, and I would like to use it for comics (I find it MUCH easier to draw/ink in than Photoshop). I've been having a little trouble working within the program at higher resolutions (11x17 @ 600dpi). I was wondering if anyone else had experienced similar problems, or if there were work-arounds I hadn't yet been able to find on my own? Thanks in advance!