If you’re looking for a drawing tablet to hook up to your computer, but don’t want to buy a Wacom tablet, you may be in luck. All you need is an iPad. Two former Apple engineers designed the Astropad software, which turns your iPad into a drawing tablet for your computer.
Astropad is built on a lot of high-quality technology that’s meant to be very useful for professional creatives who use applications such as Photoshop. The basis of the software is a proprietary technology called LIQUID, which quickens response time to a 12ms delay and smooths out the visuals to 60fps.You connect the iPad to your computer either via USB or Wi-Fi, and Astropad is designed to work with any Mac app — There’s no need to install any drivers.
Astropad also uses ARM assembly code to maximize battery life for your iPad if you’re out in the field, or are too lazy to plug it in while at home. It makes sure to color correct and match your Mac, so you won’t have to do guesswork on color.
When you use Astropad in concert with, say, Photoshop, you can see the visuals on the iPad and pinch to zoom and pan. Most pressure sensitive styluses are supported by the software as well. One of the big things Astropad touts is that the iPad visuals have “uncompromising live-view image quality” with “no compression artifacts.” That’s a big deal because it means that the image you see on both screens will turn out the same.
Astropad is supported by iOS 8 and OS X Mavericks 10.9. The software downloads for free on the iOS App Store for the iPad, but the Mac companion app costs $50. Luckily, there’s an educational version for $20, and a 7-day free trial version as well.