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 18.104.22.168 (CC 2014), 22.214.171.124 - runs
- Flash Professional 126.96.36.199 (CC 2014), CC 188.8.131.52 - 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 184.108.40.2067 - RealTimeStylus support added, all prior versions - no pressure
- Painter 15 220.127.116.115 - runs
- Painter X3 18.104.22.1680 - runs
- Photo-Paint X7 22.214.171.1241 - 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 126.96.36.199 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)
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 188.8.131.52 - 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
UPDATE: Additional testing of the Flip has surfaced a much more serious issue than pen pressure or fan noise. I must recommend that you avoid the device until the issue is corrected. See this post for more information: http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2013/11/14/the-real-dealbreaker-for-sony-vaio-flip-15a-frequent-loss-of-pen-touch-control
And in case you're interested, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro 6.0.4 runs well and with pressure sensitivity.
* * *
I had the chance to install two additional applications on the Sony VAIO Flip 15 A this afternoon and I'm sorry to report that neither program runs perfectly.
Paint Tool SAI
It doesn't really surprise me that pen pressure in Systemax's Paint Tool SAI v1.1 doesn't work. This version was released in 2008.
I must thanks Twitter follower Dave Barrack (@grrlpowercomic) who explained that pressure sensitivity in SAI is set on a per brush basis under Advanced Settings, Hard <-> Soft.
Unfortunately, no value from 0 to 200 yields a pressure sensitive brush stroke.
The program doesn't have multi-touch support either, so it's not possible to pan or zoom with one's fingers. Though palm rejection works for the most part, it's still possible to create stray marks with one's pinky or knuckle even though the pen is also in the screen's proximity.
There supposedly are more recent beta versions of SAI available for download, but I was unable to find them.
The SAI interface is also not ideal for a tablet. Even on the Flip's ample 15.5 inch screen, touch targets are very small and need to be selected with the pen tip.
UPDATE: Thanks to Twitter follower Yenny (@Nashoki44), I found the latest beta download for SAI 1.2b5. Unfortunately, that version did not correct the lack of pen pressure.
Although the latest update of Ambient Design's ArtRage 4 recognizes pressure and supports multi-touch with the N-Trig digitizer, I was disappointed to learn that it's still possible to create errant marks as you draw.
If you need proof positive that pc manufacturers haven't a clue, look no further than Sony's decision to bundle ArtRage 3.5.5 Studio with each Flip sold in the U.S.
I'm sure that retailers display that program when potential buyers ask about paint capability and I'm equally certain that savvy buyers will quickly cross the Flip off their lists based on its buggy performance. Any finger gesture may result in unwanted drawing and sometimes in the middle of a two finger zoom or even a pen drawing, unwanted lines will start shooting across the screen.
ArtRage 4 has been out at least since the beginning of this year and it has far fewer issues. Why Sony chose to package the older version baffles me.
If you can keep your pinky or knuckle from tapping on the screen as you draw, you'll be very happy with the results. Otherwise, you'll need to stay vigilant and frequently use Undo.