Surface Pro and Windows tablet PC users have an amazing array of great software at their disposal and most of it costs only a fraction of what you will pay for a license from Adobe or Corel.
EDITOR'S NOTE: I can't believe I haven't updated this post since September 2014. Spring 2015 brings the regular round of 3d application updates!
Many of you have asked, so I have noted where programs support multitouch gestures.
- Illustrator 18.0.0 x64 (CC 2014) - runs (intermittent pen with N-Trig Wintab R16, R17)
- Illustrator CC 17.1.0 x64 - runs (intermittent pen with N-Trig Wintab driver 14-17)
- Illustrator CS5 - runs
- Photoshop 15 (CC 2014) - runs, no Wintab driver required
- Photoshop 14.2.1 x64, CS6 Extended 13.0 x64, CS5 x64 - runs (requires N-Trig Wintab driver 14 or higher)
- Premiere Pro 8.0.0 (169) Build aka CC 2014.0, 7.2.2 (33) - runs
- After Effects 22.214.171.124 (CC 2014), 126.96.36.199 - runs
- Flash Professional 188.8.131.52 (CC 2014), CC 184.108.40.206 - runs
- Substance Painter 0.7.1, 0.5.0 - runs (UI does not scale)
- Substance Designer 4.3.1 - runs (UI does not scale)
- ArtRage 4.0.6, 4.0.5 - runs
- 3DS Max 2016, 2015 SP1 - runs (supports multi-touch)
- Sketchbook Pro 7, 6.2.5 - runs (recommended)
- Maya 2016, 2015 SP2 - runs (2016 supports multi-touch)
- Maya LT 2016 - runs, supports multi-touch
- Mudbox 2016, 2015 SP1 - runs (2016 supports multi-touch), (no multi-touch in 2015)
- Mudbox 2015- no pen or touch, works with mouse or touchpad
- Softimage 2015 - runs
- AZDrawing 1.13 - runs
- Blender 2.71, 2.70 - runs
- CorelDraw X7 220.127.116.117 - RealTimeStylus support added, all prior versions - no pressure
- Painter 15 18.104.22.1685 - runs
- Painter X3 22.214.171.1240 - runs
- Photo-Paint X7 126.96.36.1991 - no pressure
- Modo 801 SP4, SP3, SP2, SP1, 801 - runs
- FireAlpaca 1.0.51 - runs
- GIMP 2.8.10 - runs
- Sketchtime - runs, software not pressure sensitive
- Krita 2.8.3 x64 - runs
Krogh Mortensen Animation
- Plastic Animation Paper 4.0 - runs (can't configure pen buttons)
- Cinema 4D R15.057 - runs
- Fresh Paint - runs
- MyPaint 1.0.0 - runs
- Silo 2.3 - runs
- Chronosculpt 1.0.1 x64 - runs
- Lightwave 3D 11.6.3 x64 - runs
- openCanvas 6.0.02 (64bit) - runs
- 3D-Coat 4.1.04A - runs (DX64 only)
- Sculptris - runs
- ZBrush 4R6 - runs
- Howler 9 4.00.9.2 - runs
- DrawPlus X6 188.8.131.52 x64 - runs
- Houdini FX 14.0.291 - does not run. Program loads, but objects do not display. Touch not supported.
- Sketchable - runs
- Mischief 1.12 - runs
Smith Micro (Celsys)
- Manga Studio 5.0.4 (Clip Studio Paint 1.3.1) - runs
- Paint Tool SAI 1.2.0 - runs
- Verve Painter v0.99u.11 -runs
- Toon Boom Animate Pro 3 PLE - runs
Triple Squid Software
- Moment of Inspiration (MoI3D) 3.0 beta (June 27, March 24, 2014) - runs
- TVPaint 10.5.7 x64 - runs
- Unity 5.0.0f4 - runs
- Unity 4.60b9, 4.5 - runs (requires mouse or touchpad, no pen or touch response)
Mischief 2.0 price reduced to $25; feature-limited free version also released
High-end graphics software developer The Foundry yesterday surprised industry observers with the announcement of the acquisition of the tiny hobbyist software startup Made With Mischief. The latter's Mischief paint and sketch software was introduced last year.
Along with the acquisition, the companies announced the immediate release of Version 2.0 of the software with new UI, additional brushes and --most significantly for Surface Pro and Windows tablet users-- multitouch gesture support with palm rejection. The retail price of Mischief 2.0 was also cut dramatically to $25 and a free feature-limited version is available to download. The software runs on Windows and OS X and is also available through the Mac App Store.
I tested the paid version on the Surface Pro 2 and 3. In previous incarnations, Mischief required a Wintab driver for pen pressure. But on the SP3, I actually had to remove the N-Trig Wintab driver in order for the paid software to work properly. With the driver installed, many of my pen strokes exhibited an odd glitch: a small spike that would appear randomly, usually at the beginning of a stroke. Uninstalling the driver took care of the issue.
I'd ordinarily chalk the problem up to N-Trig, but my Surface Pro 2 has the same issue (see above). I haven't tried removing the Wacom pen driver because it's more critical to the calibration and pen settings on the SP2.
Several Twitter followers have corroborated the issue, while others have claimed they're not seeing the problem. It could of course be a conflict with other software or one of the many utilities I have installed to test over time. Made with Mischief is looking into the problem.
Performance is also somewhat erratic on the SP3. Multitouch gestures sometimes stop working or are difficult to trigger. It's also easy to lose sight of your work if you zoom in or out too far. If this happens to you, select Edit/View All Strokes to frame up your work.
Besides these early performance issues, Mischief 2.0 is simply a lot of fun to use. I can't wait until the developers introduce flipbook capability so that you can animate the pans, tilts and zooms. There is a sample file available for separate download called Sleepy Story that is absolutely breathtaking.
Although Mischief has a very limited core feature set at the moment, it features a revolutionary technology that enables an almost infinite canvas. "Our infinite zoom is 50 trillion:1!" crowed the @GetMischief Twitter feed."It's like sitting on the moon and zooming down to the wing of a bug (on Earth)!"
The Foundry's blog announcement went into further detail on the technology powering Mischief's zooming capability:
Mischief is powered by a revolutionary patented shape representation, known as Adaptively Sampled Distance Fields (ADFs), co-invented by (company founder Sarah) Frisken. ADFs have several advantages for creative applications: they provide high-quality stroke rendering; they are amenable to hardware-based rendering so drawing is extremely responsive; they are very compact, resulting in small file sizes; they can be scaled without introducing pixelation artifacts; and they can accurately represent much richer and more complex shapes than traditional vector-based stroke representations. For Frisken, the acquisition of Made With Mischief by The Foundry enables her to retain her core vision of providing high-quality software tools for a wide range of artists and to preserve an accessible price point, while bringing future versions of the platform to an even broader audience.
“The Foundry has a proven record of taking exciting, innovative concepts and commercializing them for a broader market,” said Sarah Frisken. “By becoming a part of The Foundry, we now have the ability to grow our team, to be more responsive to our users, and to further our vision... With our talent and technology, we will create new and exciting products that in turn create new possibilities and experiences for our customers.”
The entire announcement video is available to view here.
Although Mischief is an exciting application, its user base is tiny: about 4,000, according to one source I read yesterday. The Foundry specializes in high end applications like Nuke, which begins at £2,534 per seat. Its Mari paint software is a mere £1,221 plus an annual license. Why would they want to sell a $25 program to hobbyists?
FXGuide yesterday published a deep look at the ADF technology that The Foundry is acquiring alongside Made with Mischief and it's definitely worth a look. "The software that is the backbone of Mischief right now is absolutely able to do 3D," Frisken told the site. "All that is exposed right now is 2D but the underlying engine could do 3D. We have imagined sketching in 3D or sketching on a 2D canvas at any orientation or rotation to the camera.”
The article also features a demonstration video of a test ADF sculpting application written by Tomas Pettersson, of Sculptris for The Foundry's Luxology Modo team. If you're into 3d sculpting, it's definitely worth a look.
To purchase Mischief 2.0 or download the free version, go to MadewithMischief.com Registered owners of version 1.x can upgrade to 2.0 for free.
So you're dying to max out your credit card on a new Surface Pro 2 but are worried your favorite won't run. Or you've got the Microsoft wonder tablet but don't want to plunk down a bunch of cash on a graphics app that will blow up your new machine.
Fear not. You've come to the right place. "What Run, What Doesn't V1" was the raison d'etre for this blog and we're proud to present the Surface Pro 2/Windows 8.1 version. Rather than update the original, we'll keep that one in place for anyone who chooses not to update to Windows 8.1. (Don't know why any of you would do that, but we know there are paranoid folks out there who fear change).
Important note: the list below contains only versions I've personally tested on my Surface Pro 2. It's very likely that older versions listed in the original feature will still operate, but we won't be able to re-test those older apps for Windows 8.1 compatibility.
Recommendations are based on UI suitability to pen and touch navigation.
The list below will grow as we install more software. Since most graphics apps limit the number of installations, we're have to be somewhat deliberate in how much we migrate at a time.
As always, if you've got a specific tool you'd like us to test, please let us know in the comments section below.
- Photoshop CC - runs, requires Wacom feel driver, recommend UI scaling hack
- Illustrator CC - runs, requires Wacom feel driver, recommend UI scaling hack
- Substance Painter 0.3.0 (beta) - runs
- ArtRage 4.0.6 - runs, recommended
- 3DS Max 2015, 2014 - runs, mouse strongly recommended
- Maya 2015, 2014 - runs, mouse strongly recommended
- Maya LT 2014 - runs
- Mudbox 2015 SP1 - runs, multi-touch rotation unresponsive. Requires May 21, 2014 Intel HD graphics driver or higher.
- Mudbox 2015*, 2014.5, 2014** - runs, *requires Intel HD display driver update, **crashes on several primitive objects
- Mudbox 2013, 2012 - incompatible, require discrete graphics
- Mudbox 2011 x64 - runs
- Sketchbook Pro 6.2.5, 6.2.4, 6.2.3 - runs, recommended
- Softimage 2015, 2014 - runs, three-button mouse required
- Blender 2.7, 2.69 - runs, mouse recommended
- Clip Studio Paint 1.2.8 (Japanese) - runs
- Clip Studio Paint 1.3.1, 1.2.7 (English) - runs, recommended
- Corel Painter X3 - runs
- DAZ Studio 4.6 - runs
- Shade 3D Professional 14 - runs
- Modo 801 SP1, 801, 701 SP5 - runs
- Inkscape 0.48.4 - runs
The Krita Foundation
- Krita Desktop 184.108.40.206 - runs
- Silo 2.3, 2.2 - runs
- TwistedBrush Pro Studio 20.06 - runs
- Sculptris Alpha 6 - runs, recommended
- ZBrush 4R6 - runs, not recommended due to small UI
- Comic Life 3.0b1 - runs
- DrawPlus X6 - runs
- Mischief 1.11, 1.10, 1.09 - runs, no multi-touch support
- Manga Studio 5.0.4, 5.0.3 - runs, recommended
- Paint Tool SAI 2 (beta), 1.1 - runs, pressure sensitivity works, but there is limited touch rejection. Very easy to leave stray marks. No touch pan, rotate or zoom.
- Metasequoia 4.1.2 (64-bit) - runs
- SketchUp Make 14.0.4900 - runs
Triple Squid Software Design
- Moments of Inspiration (MoI3D) 3.0 beta, 2.0 - runs, recommended
- TVPaint Animation 10 Pro - runs
Unity Pro 4.3.0b6 - runs, requires mouse
Web Technology Corp.
- Comipo! 1.81.00 - runs
The place where Surface Pro artists most fear to tread!
Always on the lookout for new graphics tools, I ran across an interesting entrant from 61 Solutions named Mischief.
With its clean, uncluttered interface, Mischief is a good alternative for the Surface Pro's small screen. Although at first glance, the software appears to have limited functionality, it has one distinguishing feature: what its developers call an "infinite canvas." The effect is like a fractal image that can be zoomed to reveal increasing levels of detail. In fact, it is very easy to draw items so small they cannot be perceived when the image is zoomed to its beginning size.
Mischief uses Adaptively Sampled Distance Fields (ADFs), originally invented and developed at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL) and further enhanced at 61 Solutions. ADFs are a new digital representation of shape which provide numerous advantages including high-quality anti-aliasing, very fast rendering, very small file sizes, multi-scale rendering, support for massive parallelism, and the ability to succinctly represent variable-width, scalable, textured strokes. This technology is protected by over 50 patents.
Similar effects may be achieved with vectors in other programs, but in Mischief functions are performed with standard paint or raster tools.
Although it's relatively inexpensive at $65, I really can't recommend Mischief due to its relatively limited toolset, but if you're looking for a program that can produce extremely high resolution work, Mischief might be for you.