Posts

iPad pro workflows for professionals…

On November 11th I ordered my iPad pro and Apple Pencil.
The Pencil took another week to be delivered and we are now app 3 weeks later and I think it’s time for an update on how I use the iPad pro and what I think of it as a professional tool. Let me start by saying that if Apple didn’t also release the Pencil I would have not bought the iPad pro for the simple reason, it’s just a bigger and faster iPad. The Pencil makes all the difference.

 

Now when you read reviews it’s a bit black and white, loads of reviews discard the iPad pro because it’s too expensive, doesn’t deliver anything more than the iPad air series except size, there is no force touch etc. However these are not the kind of reviews I agree with, as mentioned before the Pencil makes all the difference, for me the iPad pro is much more than my iPad air.

 

My iPad air was used for entertainment on the road and at home, it controls our Home Theater via iRule and it was sometimes used for editing video on the road and some lightroom mobile, but not that much to be honest.

 

When the Pro entered our home everything changed, I picked up drawing again and I began my quest for finding the “perfect” app based workflow as a traveling photographer/creative person.

 

Apps vs Full OS
When I uploaded a video on YouTube on ONE app called Astropad I was stunned by the amount of reactions (some downright offensive) about the fact that what the iPad Pro did with Astropad was already done for years by the Surface Pro by Microsoft. Somehow this is the base I think for a lot of the misunderstanding of what I do with the iPad pro (and many more), Astropad doesn’t run the full version of Photoshop for example, it’s “just” a sort of Wacom Cintiq alternative, you still use your Mac as main computer but you can now draw, edit, retouch on the iPad pro while you see your Mac screen, and it works pretty well (except when you have the marching ants, but let’s hope they fix this, Astropad for the Pro is still in beta remember).

 

So let’s look at the way apps works vs the full os, and yeah I know I already discussed this before but things change rapidly.
My remarks on my YouTube video (and online) was that I was not feeling comfortable controlling Photoshop from a Surface pro without a keyboard because I needed certain shortcuts like sampling for example. I also found that photoshop was far from optimized for touch. Well… Adobe released a huge Photoshop update not a week later, and ….. Photoshop is now much beter with touch devices, to a point where most of my remarks can go out of the window, and trust me that’s a good thing (I’m always honest in my pieces and reviews).

 

So did my opinion change, well yes and no.
Let me start by saying that if Apple released a full touch compatible MacOsX next week I would be raving about it and it would be the best thing ever for me, however…. working with for example Capture One, FinalCutProX etc. in a touch environment…. not really amazing, try to edit for example with just a touchpad and don’t use gestures. You will very quickly find out that it’s far from perfect, and can even be downright annoying. So before everything is PERFECT there is a LOT of work that has to be done by not only Apple but also by ALL software manufacturers. Which brings us directly to the next part.

 

Apps
The nice thing about apps is that they are 100% touch based, and with the appearance of keyboards a while ago most apps (like for example iMovie) have shortcuts that speed up editing a bit. But it’s the other way around than a Full OS version, in a Full OS version taking away the keyboard makes the software very slow to operate or some functions even impossible to use, with Apps the addition of a keyboard makes the apps a bit easier and faster to operate. One might say its the same thing, but it’s not.

 

Now the Eco System for apps is HUGE with Apple so one could very easily think that there is no problem finding alternatives to create a professional workflow with apps vs full OS right? Well that is not true and I’ve hit my limit of frustration quite some times, so lets look at the options and how I at the moment use my workflow.

 

Video
This is easy, and to be honest I didn’t expect that. Video I thought would be much harder to get right with the iPad pro (iPad series) than photography, but boy was I wrong.

imovie-4k-ios-773d0

With iMovie and Adobe clip you actually have two apps that work flawlessly with video, you can export to your internal video roll in 4K, there are a LOT of options like titles, adding audio, picture in picture, looks etc. It’s all not as extensive as the full blown versions but let’s say you can get 95-100% done mobile and later just export it to FCPx or Premiere and finish it off.
Video I would say I’m 100% happy with the mobile workflow and prefer it to running a full OS with just touch on the iPad pro. (Unless of course FCPx and Premiere would fully support touch, more options are always better).

 

Street and travel photography
Or just add wedding, event etc. here.
In other words the photography that is heavy on selecting, small edits, mostly adjusting cropping, exposure, looks etc.

 

For this Lightroom Mobile rocks, upload everything at home as smart previews, download everything on your mobile device, edit on the road and sync again when home…

 

And this is where the problem also lies.
Uploading to the cloud is HORRENDOUSLY slow and cumbersome. If you are blessed with fast internet you are lucky, but most hotels aren’t so planning will be VITAL if you want to be able to work on the road. But when you have… well there is not much that I don’t like about Lightroom mobile to be honest, it just works.

 

If Adobe would add a way to bypass the cloud I would say that for my street and travel photography Lightroom mobile works for 95%, and the other 5% I can do very quickly as soon as I’m home.

 

Portraits, fashion etc.
This is where my quest was a HUGE frustration.
Not because the software isn’t good, heck no, it’s because in fact there are LOADS of alternatives that would make working on the road easy, but all seem to be missing some vital parts…..

 

let’s see :
First off Adobe fix.
Great software, can edit my work very easily and store it, but… if you want to store as PSD you are actually needing the cloud, to the filmrol it’s JPG only. Also the fix functions are great but you can’t really tint your images or do other “funky stuff”.

 

hero
After this I decided to give Pixelmator a go.
AWESOME software, really nice, but not really great on storing again, if you want the better quality… it’s that cloud thing again. No real problem if you have a fiber internet connection but in hotels or on a plane… well I don’t have to any further right. One solution is however to save your work and when you have fast internet just sync it then, this is of course a great solution so Pixelmator is without a doubt in the running of being the best app, however there is one more….
screen480x480

Our old favorite Snapseed isn’t really an option at the moment, highly limited to a low resolution it seems like Snapseed and the other apps are mostly focussed on shots you do with your iPhone, and that’s ok, let’s be honest a few weeks ago there was no real need for real professional editors because the iPad was not considered a professional tool.

 

You know that feeling that you know it should be possilbe?
Heck if Adobe would have the need I’m sure they could release a full blown Photoshop on the iPad pro, it’s fast and big enough, but for now I was left with a load of great apps that all did what they needed to do but were all missing that one real important thing…. resolution and saving in high quality PSD or TIFF internally.

enlight-photo-editing-app

On facebook I saw the app Enlight a few times and it looked like a great photo editor, with one major drawback… in their description it’s clearly stated they only support 19MP on iPads… still I decided to just email them and much to my surprise (which is actually weird if you think about it) I got a reply from them within 24 hours stating they are supporting high mp counts on the iPad pro and will soon even release versions that will support up to 70MP (well even it turns out to be 50 I’m happy, although editing my MF shots would also be nice of course). So I decided to spend the 3.99 on the app and I was blown away.

 

This is the app I would HIGHLY recommend to ALL photographers using an iPad pro (or other). You get a load of options including a great resize tool where you can freeze certain areas and after that stretch the canvas, but you also get a huge amount of looks ranging from filmlooks to downright ridiculous artistic looks (not for me but it might attract you). There are no layers from what I can see but don’t worry you can use masks which works very well.

 

The most important thing I love about Enlight is the skin options, under clarity there is an option called portrait, run this on a model and the skin gets a very nice treatment, now use the mask to fill in on the areas you want and voila use a bit of the patch tool and you have a retouch that will fit 90% of the cases, if you want to have it perfect you will need the Mac/Pc of course, but for 90-95% of fashion work I think the end result will be more than enough, especially if you mask it nicely and know what you’re doing with the strength 😀

 

The best thing about Enlight is that it just stores the files on your film roll in TIFF. Very cool app and finally a company that responds to your questions, highly recommend this one. Don’t forget Pixelmator however, although you have to wait till your home to sync and you DO need fast internet if you need to sync 10 PSDs it’s still an awesome app.

 

Painting and drawing
With all previous tasks it’s a step back from sitting behind your desktop and working, but with drawing and painting I would say it’s the other way around, the iPad pro really knocks this one out of the ballpark, the 13” screen is amazing, the palm rejection is close to voodoo and the way the pencil works is magic….. “come on Frank really?” yeah really.

 

I love to draw and paint digitally but never picked it up on my digital devices, in fact I didn’t draw since I was 16-17. I tried, oh trust me I tried but I never found the way that felt comfortable or where I could get results that were even close to what I wanted (now I have to say I’m not a great drawing artist :D).

 

I think this is the area where the iPad pro beats the standalone solutions.
I tried drawing with my Wacom in Photoshop and always had problems with my eye hand coordination on the Intuos, and a Cintiq I found too expensive for just drawing and would stand in my way for my retouch workflow, Also in Photoshop I found certain brushes to be quick and responsive while others would lag INCREDIBLY, on the iPad pro all brushes are fast and responsive in the next series of apps.

 

Adobe Sketch
If you have a CC subscription this is free.
It works flawless, great fun to use but it’s not much more than well… a sketchbook.

Procreate-made-for-artists

ProCreate
Oh my, this changed my life, literally.
At the moment I try to draw as much as possible in Procreate and it’s addictive as can be for the simple reason it feels 100% natural, brushes, pencils and pens all look great and the drawing experience itself is VERY nice, you can turn the paper to the orientation you like, you can zoom, erasing is a simple two finger gesture, redo a three finger gesture and there are much more gestures build in. Also very nice is to see a video after your artwork is done that shows the complete progress from start to finish.

 

Of course Procreate supports layers, opacities, blurs, blending modes etc. etc. it’s “perfect” but still looks very simple and easy to understand.

about-mpiPad

MediBang paint
Can I say WOW again.
This looks like Photoshop on the iPad, a very very extensive app with of course layers and all their behaviors, loads of brushes (more available online, just like with Procreate), color pickers etc. but also extra additions like drawing perfect circles and other forms, adding content from online like backgrounds etc. and much much more.

 

The interface looks a bit more cluttered which I like for photo editing but to be honest I like the look the look of Procreate a lot more for drawing. However the options you get with MediBang paint are slowly drawing me more towards MediBang, if they would add the movie recording of ProCreate I would probably switch. The nice thing about MediBang is that it’s 100% free.

 

So far
Overal I’m finding my ways on the iPad pro.
The feeling is exactly as expected, it bridges the gap between being at home or in a hotel and being able to work on a “proper” workstation (MBP or MacPro) and traveling.

 

There will always be people that claim the iPad pro is a toy because it doesn’t run a full OS and I can understand this from a Windows perspective, I own a touch based windows laptop (i7 Sony with full specs and pen which I use for other applications than creative) and the app eco system for that system… well it’s there but to be honest it sucks, there are some cool apps but most are not even remotely as sophisticated or usable as the iOS apps, and thats 100% understandable (don’t get me wrong) there is no real need for apps because the laptop runs a full OS.

 

However I think this is the main reason why many surface owners are so bashing the iPad pro, and they are right in many ways, but also wrong in some. The main reason for me to go for the iPad pro above the Surface pro is not because I don’t like microsoft, I’m a modern guy and I know my hard/software so I can make everything talk to each other.

 

The main reasons are much simpler
With the iPad Pro have a device that is superior in drawing and painting which although it’s a hobby is very important for me, now I know there are people doing great art on an iPhone with their fingers, but I’m not that talented I need a very simple to use interface so I can focus on my drawing “skills” and for example Procreate delivers this, it’s 100% touch based so it feels natural, and the Apple pencil is just awesome for me.

 

Also it’s a matter of battery life, although both claim the same battery life my experience with both my Sony laptop and Surface pro is quite different. When I edit video my battery is empty in about 2 hours on the Surface Pro and my Laptop, the iPad pro however just keeps going and going. For watching movies we flew from Amsterdam to LA and both my iPad (Air) and Surface were both not 100% empty so for entertainment this is non-issue but when editing video/photos the iPad pro will just last longer and seeing the fact that not every seat on an airplane has a power connector I prefer that a lot.

 

Also it’s a matter being able to do what is needed. In the air or on the road I don’t need to FINISH something, I like to do the ground work, I need to be there 90-95% so when I’m at home it’s a simple way of syncing everything up and finishing what’s needed in 2-3 hours and be done with it. Before I worked mobile it meant that I lost 1-2 full days at home for retouching and editing video.

 

During workshops I can shoot tethered to my iPad pro with the Sony software and QDSLR dashboard, that’s all I need. During shows I can connect the iPad to a large screen TV or projector via a cable and power the iPad pro via lighting so we can shoot all day.

 

For presentations I can edit in KeyNote and control keynote on the iPad pro via my iPhone, use it as a laserpointer, draw on the screen and see my next slide and notes.

create
Documents I can edit on the road via the Logitec Create keyboard (I didn’t like the Apple keyboard), which in fact almost makes the iPad Pro into a full blown laptop when combined with Numbers, Pages and Keynote (or Microsoft office).

 

Would I like more?
Yeah of course, this is not an article on how great the iPad pro is, it is what it is and for me it’s a perfect companion for travels and at home, but most of all a great creative tool thanks to the pencil.

 

I would LOVE an extra USB port for external drives or a camera, although I use the iShow fast it would be nice to also be able to shoot tethered via USB with my camera (sometimes wifi can be tricky on trade shows with much interference). The iShow fast however is a great companion for the iPad (Pro) because it makes it possible to copy files (very fast) from my Mac via USB to the iPad (Pro) via lighting, or to just store movies and watch them via the stick.

 

I always carry my laptop with me for the storage of files, bigger tasks etc. It would be great if apple would release a macbook pro without screen where you could just fit the iPad pro too and it would become a “dumb” display, where you can use all the options of a full MacOsX, maybe copy files to the internal iPad Pro storage and take it off and continue working. But till then I will just carry my whole MBP on longer trips.

iShowFast-Hero-square

The future
I strongly believe we are just seeing a tip of the iceberg at the moment. Apple released the iPad and at first it was just a blown up iPhone I think with the Pro we are at that same point, the potential of the pro is not yet used by 99% of the apps I’m running, even Astropad claims they are still in beta.

 

With the recent release of Photoshop with a main focus on touch and GUI improvements I think/hope Adobe is making more steps into creating Photoshop based on a touch device. I don’t know how hard it is of course to port everything to iOS but seeing the fact they are already release many mobile apps the last few months/years and those apps grow in power I would not be surprised if 2016 would be the year in which we see some major improvements in Photoshop on the iPad pro and probably also Lightroom mobile.
On the other hand, I think also Apple feels the need to integrate the two worlds. They will not run MacOsX on a 100% touch device I’m afraid and I understand why, where I always got the feeling that Microsoft looked more at a standpoint from “if our software runs great we release it” Apple looks at it a bit different “EVERYTHING needs to be seamless and perfect otherwise we don’t release it” this is now clearly shown with the release of the iPad pro which many (including me) hoped to be running full MacOsX, we now have a device with loads of power and possibilities but we are depending on apps, on the other hand if these apps are created you will have a superior device to anything else. It’s a matter of something can be said for both. I for one would be able to live with a half functioning Capture One on my iPad pro running MacOSx as long as tethering worked for example but it isn’t so and that’s reality.

 

At the moment I feel very confident with the purchase of the iPad pro, it bridges the gap between travel and being at home “perfectly” and is perfect as a creative tool for creating drawings and painting.

 

Still I’m always looking at the surface pro series from Microsoft and find the recent updates to Photoshop more than interesting, but in a 100% mac environment and with the apps I use the iPad pro at the moment is the perfect addition in my workflow.

 

I hope this article gives you some ideas about apps and how I use the iPad pro at the moment.

iPad pro vs Surface pro …. oh no

Let me start of by saying that I always believe that everyone is right…
Now what do I mean with this?
Everyone has a different workflow, everyone has different skills, everyone has different needs and that’s ok, so whatever I will say in this blogpost is actually aimed at me, and maybe at you…. But one thing…. please read the WHOLE blogpost before you start a discussion because I think it will make a lot of stuff clearer 😀

 

Why this blogpost?
I recently got an iPad pro and Apple Pencil and have been over the moon with the possibilities (see my reviews online and on this blog), in fact the Apple Pencil awakened a long sleeping desire to draw in me, and I’ve been doing since the day I got the Pencil, it just feels very very natural. So I’ve been posting very positive about it. Also because I never intended to buy the iPad pro for the simple reason it didn’t run full MacOsX, but….. and this where it happens.

 

Full OS vs iOS
So why did I bought that expensive iPad pro and didn’t I buy a MacBookPro or 12″.
Well the 12″ doesn’t make sense for me, I need processing power, we edit 4K videos on the road, I retouch 42/60MP files etc. and although the 12″ is great for business men, for me it would be a paperweight (a very light one) and I would still prefer my MacBookPro 15″ retina.

 

But… I can’t draw on my MBP.
And this is the MAIN reason I bought the iPad pro, the incorporation of the stylus, excuse me Pencil. Of course it also helps that it’s smaller than a laptop (easier when traveling) and it’s bigger than an iPad so I can work on it better, and even with the attached Logitec Create keyboard it will still fit on my lap in an Airplane (barely). But most of all because all the apps are 100% touch based….

 

Surface pro and likes and iOS iPad Pro
So whatever you post about the iPad pro there will be a group of people claiming the iPad pro is just catching up because the Surface Pro has been doing it for YEARS…..and indeed they Surface pro (and others) have been in that form for years, indeed, so that’s true. If you look at it like this…. you have a pen and a tablet.
BUT…..
There is much much more, let’s look at some differences.

 

The first thing you have to realize that there is a huge difference between a tablet and a PC.
A tablet is/should be 100% touch, meaning bigger menus for your fingers (slightly smaller for a stylus), there should be more than enough apps to do whatever you want to do and…. most importantly the system should be very stable.
A desktop or laptop is a different beast.
You have a keyboard for typing and shortcuts, and you have a pointing device for example a mouse and/or trackpad. Most importantly this means you can have smaller menus, you can use keystrokes for quick and easy acces to much used commands and you can work in a efficient way.

 

Did you read that last one?
In a more efficient way, and that’s 100% true.
Let’s look at Photoshop for example.

 

Photoshop (real life) example
For Photoshop I use the following keyboard shortcuts a lot (read sometimes several times per second)
sampling, brush size up and down, Undo and redo, zoom in and out, drag, and switching color when working with masks and I know I only use a few compared to some others. But I would need 9 hardkeys or soft keys to do my work in the most simple way. On my Mac/PC or laptop no problem at all, the keyboard is always there.

 

Now I disconnect the keyboard like on the surface, I sit down on the coach and start to retouch…. after opening my image and looking at it the first problem occurs, I want to zoom in… well that’s possible via the Menu. But now I want to take away some blemishes…… uh…. well….. I can find my healing brush but….. how do I sample without a keyboard? ok let’s forget the sampling just run a filter because I’m running the full version, so that’s done, now I make a layer mask, hide all and I start to paint, every time however I need to switch colors I have to click on the colors, but that’s doable. However changing the brush size….. well that’s again very annoying because it has to be done in the menu. But we’re done with that… now let’s change something in the background with the clone tool…. oops that doesn’t work also because I have to sample something….. well let’s skip that too….

 

To be honest this doesn’t work for me.
If I need to skip things in my workflow I would rather not be able to retouch at all, it should be seamless. You could of course project the keys as a floating keyboard and use those with touch, but when I worked with the Surface I couldn’t find an app that made a few small buttons I could program as keystrokes.

 

Same goes with video editing, try to operate Adobe Premiere ONLY with a stylus… you can better wait till you’re home and do it at home.

 

So I’m running a full OS, I can work in Photoshop and Lightroom but… I can’t do the things I normally do unless I switch constantly between menus and taking for granted that some things never will work. One could argue that you can program the keys on the stylus for this but this is not something that worked very well for me, I lost a lot of control when I did this and found myself frustrated a lot, but maybe if I would have stuck with it for a few days longer I would be able to learn it, but even then I would have only had 2 extra keys.

 

Now let’s look at a 100% touch interface
A tablet runs with apps.
Now apps in the past were terrible, it was a game, an option to put two fingers on the screen and draw, play piano etc. and of course an app was never take seriously… but hey it’s 2015 and apps have grown, in fact you could say that when you look at the apps today some apps are even better than the full blown versions on the “real” OS. But the system will live or die by the amount of apps, and this is (in my opinion) where the Apple system blossoms, there are apps for everything and the apps are very very good overal.


imovie-4k-ios-773d0

For example take a look at iMovie
When ever I tell people I use iMovie they look at me with a big question mark like I’m editing on a typewriter.
But let’s face it, iMovie on the iPad/iPhone has matured and delivers 99% of what most people need. You can edit 4K streams, use PIP, use titles, add music, manipulate music, change the look of clips, change fades etc. plus it reads a lot of video formats now a days. What do you need is the big question, if you need to edit Multicam you are right, iMovie is not the place, but if we are filming a BTS video we often use one camera and that we can edit for almost 100% in iMovie, the only reason I say almost is because sometimes we want a different kind of title, a different look etc. but that’s personal, if it would be just the video we could do it 100% in iMovie.

 

Now throw in Adobe Clip in the mix and you have different options including a cool one where you select the music, throw in the clips, sit back and it creates something cool all automatically on the music which of course you can later fine tune. I know of people that actually use this every time for BTS videos even when at home, they throw the clips in, let it do it’s magic and fine tune it in Premiere pro on their macs. It’s actually also something we are looking into, but Annewiek (and me) actually like a bit more control so we always edit manually. But hey it’s pretty cool.

 

Interaction and connectivity
In the past the iPad was the iPad, you needed iTunes to connect and what came out of the iPad was a finished product. But also that has changed A LOT.

 

First of all using iTunes is also something I don’t like that much, but I hardly use iTunes anymore, only for my music and backups to be honest. The rest is all transferred via a USB3/Lighting stick which is available up to 128/256GB so that should keep you going. Work I create in Procreate is synced via my dropbox, videos and photos we use airdrop and movies I just copy to VLC player via the stick or via iTunes drop, so this is really something from the past… but there is more.

 

You can easily start a project in Adobe Clip or iMovie and continue that project in Premiere or iMovie/Final Cut ProX on the desktop, no problem at all. I can create a drawing in ProCreate and drop this as PSD to Photoshop to finish it off.

iShowFast-Hero-square

 

Limitations
Because the interface is 100% touch and Apple doesn’t want to take any sacrifices they will not merge MacOSx and iOs together at the moment so somethings you can’t do. For the moment for example there is no full Photoshop touch that works with plugins the way you are used to on the desktop, but I think there will be solutions pretty soon. If you for example look at the interface of the FREE MediBang Paint you can see that it’s very well possible to create a very sophisticated program on iOS. I have to be honest that it’s a program I just installed 2 days ago (never heard of it before) and I’m now switching between MediBang and Procreate to see which one I like the most, but MediBang is pretty impressive and I can see something like this EASILY used for photo editing if they changed a few things around and add a few features. (by the way the interface is 100% english in my version)

about-mpiPad

 

A look into the future, that I THINK will be reality
Let me start of by saying that this is just my COMMON sense speaking, what I tell you now is not something that I know is coming, but it’s something that if it would NOT be coming it would REALLY surprise me.
Let me start by saying the following (and this might shock people), Photoshop doesn’t read RAW files.
No really it’s true. Photoshop works with a “finished” product, ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) converts your RAW files into for example TIFF 16 bits ProPhotoRGB files and this is what Photoshop uses. After this all the plugins are used, you can retouch etc. but in essence you are working on TIFFs/PSD etc.
So let’s see what the future COULD bring
I process all my files in Lightroom, Capture One or DxO on my desktop (in the hotel or wherever) into TIFF/PSD 16 bits files. Now I put them on my USB stick and we travel. During travel I now open first my TIFFs/PSDs into Photoshop fix (which can handle pretty big files) and I retouch my skin, other small things etc. Now I open up my other skin plugin (if needed) and I make the skin nice of course I use the delivered adjustment brush to paint the effect in where I want it. After this I run my mobile app for the special sharpening (on my dekstop this is Intensify pro from MacPhun) and I’m done with that (also with the adjustment brush ofcourse), now I open up the final software and I tint my image….. And…… well I’ve done the EXACT same workflow as I did on my desktop and I have the EXACT same file as I did on my desktop, but there is one huge difference…. ALL the apps I used are designed for touch, meaning they use easy to use interfaces, they support the Apple Pencil and they run VERY fast because everything is optimized for my tablet. Everything is now stored on my stick which I take out and plug into my desktop and copy everything on my harddrives and sync it within Lightroom and… well I’m done.

 

The whole discusion of “the iPad can’t read RAW” is pretty “lame” RAW files only need to read once and this is where you adjust what you need and you store it as TIFFs/PSDs after that you can edit in whatever you want. So also on the road.

 

Discuss because of….
I’m afraid a lot of the discussions about surface pro vs iPad is more a matter of “my brand is better than yours” than people that really think about the workflow differences and the options you get. Or they simply don’t want to be open for what’s really going on, and of course you could say I’m the same 😀

 

Is the iPad pro a game changer… well I think it is but not if you just look at it as a tablet with a stylus, that indeed has been on the market for years. It has just been released and you already see artist and real creatives (I consider my drawing skills to be absolute starter) taking the Pencil in their hands and being blown away and switching to the iPad pro because it gives them more control, although already they created art I can only dream off on iPhones with their fingers. The Apple pencil is I think the real game changer, and as you know the iPad pro was designed for that Pencil (the technique is not 100% in the pencil but also in the iPad).

apple6_600x400

 

You see apps like Astropad who not a lot of people heard of explode online now it really comes to life with the bigger screen and Apple Pencil on the iPad pro. You do have to realize however that Astropad is not a substitute of running Photoshop on an iPad pro… it’s in fact a 19.99 Cintiq alternative, for me for example the Cintiq was never a question, I would LOVE the companion but it was too expensive and the use I would get out of it was too little to justify the costs, and carrying another device on the plane or during travels.

 

In the coming months you will hopefully see more and more plug-in creators change their plug-ins for Mac/Pc into apps on the iPad and if someone is smart enough to create a “macro” app which will let you open a TIFF and run it in series through the Apps you need this would be a golden combination. So open in fix, save, open in skin, save, open in intensify, save, open in tint, save and now finally….. choose.

 

Most professionals have a really streamlined workflow, my Photoshop workflow for example is almost always the same, so for me it doesn’t make sense to go back to step 1, my retouches take on average 5-10 minutes total and are always in the same order, heck I even flatten my layers when I’m done. So being “stuck” with apps would actually be no problem at all for me.

 

Most of all however the game change element is in the fact that for the first time you have a REAL tablet (so one that is based on 100% touch) with a HUGE library of apps that now also supports a creative device (the Pencil) that can be qualified as top of the line, that combines this all together and opens totally new workflow options. The iPad never really FILLED the gap between being at home and traveling, it was always more “playing around with your files and great for iPhone shots”, now it really fills that gap WITHOUT claiming other wise, I never heard Adobe say you would never use your Photoshop anymore, they always talk about connecting everything together, working on one device and continuing on another. This is also what I didn’t like about Cooks announcement that it would replace the laptop, for business men I think it could, for creatives… well never.
When Microsoft lend me the Surface Pro I was amazed by the device, when they recently released the Surface book I was blown away, it looks drop dead amazing for what it’s on paper, but I also know that as soon as I disconnect it from the keyboard I’m stuck with a crippled Photoshop and the apps for Windows that are 100% touch don’t come close to the offers on the iOS system, and that’s understandable of course, it’s mainly windows with added touch so that’s not an attack, but why would you write an app if you have the full blown OS available.

 

I always claimed that if there was something better than what I’m using now I’m switching, this is also why the Surface pro replaced my MacBook for about 6 months (I actually sold my MPB) but in the end it just didn’t work out, I found myself using it more for watching movies and some photo selecting in Lightroom than running Photoshop, when I ran Photoshop I had a keyboard connected and then loved it, but as soon as they keyboard was gone… well I couldn’t work with it at the speed I wanted so I never used it. For photoselecting I can use Lr Mobile which works faster with touch than the full version to be honest on my Surface.

 

You always have to realize that there are many different markets.
For business men I think the SurfaceBook is the choice at the moment, it will beat the iPad pro senseless for the simple reason that it’s very well thought out, office runs on it and when you disconnect it you can draw a bit and watch movies (although battery time is limited) but without a keyboard Windows will stay crippled. For creative people, photographers, video editors, drawers, painters etc. I strongly believe the iPad pro is the first generation of a device that WILL change the way we work.

 

Are we there yet?
Well yes and no.
With Adobe Photoshop fix you have a great program for fixing things (hence the name)
With Snapseed I could do the sharpening I love and even the tinting (actually snapseed does A LOT) but they need to up the resolution to 50MP on the iPad pro which is the only limitation it has now in the workflow (and of course be able to open TIFFs), but I think that’s something that could be easily adjusted.
For me as a professional I still prefer my MacPro and my Magic touchpad, Wacom/Astropad (still testing which one will stay but I’m leaning to Astropad) and my 27″ dual monitor setup with aRGB color capabilities, but when traveling this doesn’t fit in my bag, so I have no problem at all by selecting my images in the hotel, converting them to TIFFs and putting them on a stick and retouching them all on the plane with the iPad pro without the need for keyboards, because the whole interface is touch based.

 

Conclusion
Sorry for the long rant but I wanted to write this blog post because it seem the last week I’ve been posting the same answers over and over and I’m limited to what time I have online so I thought let’s bundle all these answers into one blog post I can reference to.

 

Let me end by stating (again) that I love Microsoft, they are making great products and the people I worked with were absolutely awesome, I really really like their SurfaceBook. But for what I PERSONALLY do the iPad pro at the moment is filling my needs, but it’s far from perfect, it’s really a very good in between device for photographers and video editors meaning it cuts down a lot of edit time when you arrive back home.

 

Where is shines is drawing and painting and I absolutely love it, and as a traveling companion I couldn’t wish for a better device, the games are cool and gorgeous on the big screen, the movies playback amazing and it even plays 4K if needed.

 

Let’s dream a bit
Howe about if Apple would release a keyboard with build in harddrive, fast video etc. or in other words a MBP without display…. the only thing they would have on top of the keyboard would be the new connector…… and what if…… you would just click that iPad pro onto that connector and the iPad pro switches from being an iPad to just being a display……. I would be willing to pay the price of a MBP 15″ for that keyboard 😀

Review Apple Pencil and video with Astropad

Today again a review on an Apple product, this time the Apple Pencil.
Let me start out by saying that when Apple released the iPad Pro I was not impressed, yeah it’s a bigger iPad and yeah it’s cool but what can I do with it…. who is Apple targeting, up until the point I saw the Apple pencil… at that point I was like “hmmmmm ok interesting for graphic designers, but not for me”

 

Long story short, I started thinking about how the iPad pro would be beneficial for me and fit in my workflow and (like with most new products) it became clear to me that it could really change the way I work, but most of all the things I would be able to do extra, and…. the Apple pencil was the main reason. So I was unpleasantly surprised I could just walk into a store and pick up an iPad Pro 128GB LTE but not the Pencil… they told me it would be weeks. Now my strategy proved to be successful, that morning I also ordered a whole kit online and that Pencil had a delivery time of 5-7 working days. In the end I ended up cancelling my online iPad Pro order but kept the Pencil, and much to my surprise and joy the Pencil already arrived after 5 days, and the next two days were spend playing with it and giving me the material for this review.

 

How does it look and feel
Well I can be short…. it’s a pencil.
And this is a good thing, it really looks nice and it’s cool it will always roll over with the logo on top, but overal it’s… well again it’s just a pencil. It feels really nice in my hand and actually when I go back to my trusted Wacom tablet I have to say the stylus feels weird. I never had that before with a product but you really get used fast to the Apple pencil.

 

One of the things that Apple does awesome is design and the Pencil is no exception, but it’s not without flaws, instead I’m afraid of how long I will be able to not loose parts. The top part disconnects to make it possible to charge the Pencil on your iPad and it claims to be ready for 30 minutes of use after 15 seconds of charging (awesome)Apple-Pencil-Fast-Charge-800x400

Up till so far, no problem, you can probably keep track of this tip without too much trouble, however there is another tip. This tip makes it possible to charge your Pencil via a lighting cable and I’m in all honesty afraid a lot of people will or loose that tip or the magnetic tip so let’s hope Apple has these as spares for not too much money. It would have been nice to include a sort of carrying box or sleeve, especially seeing the price of 109.00 euro.

 

It’s expensive
You hear this a lot, but I have to disagree in this case.
When you look at other styluses you also pay a lot of money for the more high-end products, but none of them will interact as well with the iPad pro as the Apple Pencil of course, so I think it’s very hard to say it’s too expensive, let me put it this way…. you do pay a premium price for a premium product. And I don’t think that’s bad. Also seeing all the techniques inside the Pencil I think it’s actually not that expensive.

 

How does it work
This is of course what you want to know, right?
Let me start of by saying that I never worked behind a Wacom Cintiq longer than a few minutes, I never owned a Companion (but worked with it a few times) and I haven’t drawn or painted in over 25 years…. so am I the reviewer you should trust…..?  well I think so and if you read further I think you understand why I say this, and also gave you the heads up 😀

 

Drawing and painting
When I was young I LOVED to draw, especially cartoon characters. I read books on how to draw and was mesmerized by the styles of Disney and similar styles. When I grew up I simply didn’t have time anymore and fell in love more and more with video and photography and slowly drawing disappeared but my mom still has books filled with drawings I made during my youth. I was always used to first sketching my work and later using a liner to make the lines thicker and finally coloring them, so when I would go somewhere with my parents it was always a lot of stuff to carry with them, maybe that’s also why I just gave up when growing older.

 

The love for real “hand made” graphic art always stayed, I love the photorealistic work from friends like Bert Monroy and Aaron Blaze which always blew my mind, but I’m also always amazed by the ease that Pete Collins seem to have when drawing his work, amazing artists and I’m not even close to what they probably do with their eyes closed, but…. do you have to, to have fun?

 

We live in a world that goes faster and faster and sometimes I also feel the urge to do something useful, do something that people can buy, look at, enjoy etc. and sometimes you just forget there are also other things in life, I think that’s also why those books “Coloring for adults” are so popular, just relax, take a deep breath, sit down and get lost in coloring……. yeah I know it sounds weird but according to a lot of people it really works relaxing. With the iPad pro we now have a device that gives us a lot of extra options, we can use Adobe Sketch, Notes or the amazing ProCreate to create simple drawings, paintings or ultra realistic pieces of photorealistic pieces. But most of all…. create something from nothing and without the need to bring all your pencils, coloring pens etc.

 

The drawing experience is awesome, I really don’t have another word for it.
You REALLY just have to pick up and iPad pro and Apple Pencil to experience it, when you sketch it really feels like your working with a drawing tool instead of a digital stylus, the Pencil is incredibly sensitive and shading is an experience that will give you a real sense of working with the real deal (just tilt the Pencil), the (positive) weird thing is that as soon as you change for example from pens to paint you also feel like your painting, it’s hard to explain but it’s just something you probably have to experience.

 

Lag is almost not visible, there will always be some lag of course but somehow Apple really did their best to limit it to an absolute minimum, let me put it this way I’ve worked on several “older” cintiqs that lagged a LOT more. Also the palm rejection work flawless (so far as I can see now).

 

Drawing on glas?
This is also something I thought about, the iPads are incredibly smooth so how does this translate when paining or drawing, don’t you feel like trying to stay in balance on an ice-skate…. well I can say that also here Apple really did their homework, the pen doesn’t feel like to be going over glass, it also doesn’t feel like art paper, but it feels very very nice.

 

So drawing is nice, but do you want to spend 1200.00 on that alone?
For me it was not, if you read my review on the iPad pro you will get a bit more insight in why I bought the iPad pro, but in essence it really depends on what you do, I think for people that spend hours and hours painting/drawing on an iPad will be in heaven when they try this combination. But also people that now travel with large Cintiqs will probably love it for the simple fact that there is an app for that…..

Unknown

Astropad, will it change your life… it very well might
When I knew I would order the iPad pro I also knew I would be using it with Astropad, in fact a big part of the reason I bought the iPad pro was Astropad. So what is this “super” app.
Astropad is an app that works on your iPhone, iPad and iPad pro and in essence mirrors your monitor (actually part of your monitor) with some nice added tricks. With Astropad you could say you can run the full versions of Photoshop and Lightroom on your iPad (pro) as long as you take into account that you always need a host computer. Now I hear you say.. “what’s the difference between this and a screen sharing program”, well that’s simple. Astropads supports your Pencil or stylus fully in Photoshop/Lightroom so you could say it adds some Cintiq magic to your iPad Pro.
For me it really adds to my workflow, I’ve retouched on Wacom tablets for years and absolutely love them, but I also always looked at the Wacom Companion which looked like a dream machine for me, if it would run MacOsX but it doesn’t, and the battery life is a bit short for long trips but the idea of carrying a sketch book with Photoshop with me all the time just feels like a cool and handy option. And zooming in on the face of model very quickly and seeing what I do straight from the screen I’m retouching on also has a great appeal to me, but to buy a Companion just for that…. well I’m not a graphic designer or painter so for me I just couldn’t justify the costs vs the benefits, when traveling I would still carry my laptop and iPad with me so it would be another expensive piece of gear I had to bring and insure and keep track off. The iPad pro however really combines a lot of these options. Of course Astropad doesn’t work on the plane (unless you also open your MBP, but when you don’t fly business that will be impossible) but on the plane you can draw/sketch/paint, watch some movies, play some games etc. on the iPad Pro, add the keyboard and type some blogposts or documents, and when you arrive on location you can switch the iPad (pro) to the main hub to shoot tethered to (wireless), and back in the hotel you open up your laptop, connect the iPad pro and just lay on the bed and browse through your images and retouch them via Astropad, or Lightroom mobile.

 

It’s the feeling of having one device for literally everything that has that great appeal for me, and the combination of the Apple Pencil and Astropad makes the iPad pro for me a tool that is worth every single cent. But words are always nice but a video does more, so check out this episode of Quite Frankly where I show you the retouching process with Astropad.

 

pencil_social

It’s just a stylus
Every time I see this remark I have to laugh a little bit.
When Steve Jobs said he would never want a stylus he was absolutely right. My first “organizer” used a stylus and it was terrible, I never lost one, but as soon as I got my first iPhone it was a WOW moment, this was the way to operate a smart phone.
When the Pencil was released I immediately saw it for what it was, not a stylus to operate your iPad pro but a graphic tool to boost the uses for the iPad pro to a WHOLE new level, the level where a lot of creatives were already using it but always with limitations, with the release of the Pencil, Apple did not release a simple stylus, not even an advanced stylus… no they released a tool for creatives.

 

Ok let me explain myself.
There are a lot of tablets out there now a days that claim the same. Some use Wacom techniques, some use other techniques. I also own a Windows Sony tablet/laptop with a stylus and it works perfectly for taking notes, drawing some shapes etc. but as soon as I try to really draw I found out I just “sucked” at drawing and I gave up. Same happened with the Surface Pro, my level of drawing is just not good enough I always thought, and seeing that many people make incredibly art with these tools I always believed that was the problem. When I however started drawing on the iPad pro I saw myself doing stuff I never ever was able to pull off on the other tablets, the difference might be small but it was just enough to keep me up till 1:00AM last night drawing away on my iPad Pro and immensely enjoying it.

 

I’m convinced that if you give a real artist a Surface pro he/she will draw art, heck I’ve seen Bert Monroy do stuff with his fingers instead of a stylus that blew my mind, but imaging that if the iPad pro and Pencil already boosted my abilities what will happen when real artists start using this…. I’m very much convinced that this might be one of the best and most revolutionary releases from Apple for the graphic industry. Apple is often blamed for forgetting the graphic artists, the group that actually made Apple and in the past was the main focus for Apple (well at least that’s how I experience it) but with the release of the Apple Pencil I think Apple has proven that they love to motivate and inspire people but most of all give them the tools they need to create stunning art.

 

Conclusion
I have my Pencil for 2 days now and already spend a few hours just playing around in Adobe Sketch and ProCreate and I’m hooked, every free minute I’m now trying to get my skills up and I love the creative process, driving Annewiek mad by constantly showing her stuff I make and new ways that brushes work, for me painting and drawing will stay a hobby but the combination with Astropad makes the iPad pro a serious contender in replacing my trusted Wacom tablet for retouching and thats where I do earn my money and I’m always looking for ways to get a better and faster workflow.
If you’re a graphics artist, or just love to draw and paint without a doubt check out the Apple pencil and the iPad pro I think you will be more than impressed.

First few days with the iPad Pro

Seeing the amount of responses we get on our iPad pro overviews I thought it would be nice to dedicate todays blogpost to the iPad pro in my way. So don’t expect to see a list of accessories, specs etc. you can find in many locations online (calling it reviews) but expect a real honest, in the field way of review where I tell you what I PERSONALLY think about the iPad pro, it’s bad and good things.

 

Let me start off by telling you I’m not an Apple fanboy, somehow I always feel the need to post this because (and I don’t know why) there is a certain group of people that will always try to bash Apple products on price or limitations they feel are important, so let’s start with those points.

 

Price
As far as I know most photographers and videographers are not sponsored by Apple, meaning we all pay full price for the products (if not please let me know, I would love to save money). So let’s look at pricing. Yes Apple is not cheap, but in all honesty in most cases I always get great resale value and the speed in which I sell my old gear is always impressive, although I have to say that selling my iPhone 6 plus took almost a week (compared to the 2 days of my other iPhones was a shock and almost had me worried). On the other hand what you get is pretty impressive, the products are beautifully designed and let’s be honest the OS is just very good, iOS is 100% touch and works like a charm and OSx is stable and also works pretty well (although the last few years first releases can be buggy in some departments).

 

The iPad pro is expensive without a doubt, but not that much more than a fully spec’d iPad Air2 with WiFi/LTD and 128GB and do remember it’s not just a bigger iPad…..

 

It’s just a bigger iPad
Well if you see it like this, than the iPad pro is without a doubt not for you, actually you should stay clear from it. The iPad air for surfing, mail, games, entertainment etc. has the perfect size, both Annewiek and me have travelled with iPads for years and they literally changed long flights from boring as hell to manageable and entertaining.

 

A lot of reviews state the obvious, “Candycrush will look great”, “Email is even better” yeah sure…. why do you need a bigger tablet if you only do that? I don’t see the profit in that, the iPad pro is bigger to carry around, it doesn’t fit most bags where the iPads fit in nice and snuggly, it will fit in the airplane seat nets, but not as easy as the Air, let’s be clear… the iPad air is the perfect travel companion and nobody would ever NEED anything more.

 

So we have the consumers that want to shine and show off with Candy crush and bigger E-mail and sacrifice in portability for this, and we have that other group, and that’s the group I belong to.

 

It’s an iPad pro
As a photographer and instructor I’m always busy, heck I’m happy if I have a day off to be honest, most people know me to be online a lot (answering your questions, posting updates etc) and most of this I do with my iPhone 6s Plus, love the bigger screen and better camera and I always use the iPhone actually instead of my iPad Air2 because it’s just easier, faster and smaller and it fits my pocket. Plus a lot of social media apps run on my iPhone and not on my iPad plus when I shoot an image and edit it in Snapseed or Lr mobile etc. it’s easier to upload and edit is straight from my phone than first “beam” it to my iPad to edit, “beam” back to send, it just doesn’t make any sense. In fact one could say that I use my iPad air2 for remote controlling our Home Theater with iRule, watching movies while traveling, watching TV via a dream box in the RV and do some other stuff when I don’t want to drag my laptop with me but will be surfing for a longer time. In fact I never ever typed a document on it. So when the iPad pro was released I was not willing to spend money on it, but things change.

 

When we shoot in the studio or on location with models I have a certain workflow that is almost routine, RAW developing in Capture One, open in Photoshop do the skin and tinting, save, sync into Lightroom (where my images life). But on the road my workflow is dramatically different. We shoot during the day and at night I download everything into Lightroom, do the edits in Lightroom or DxO optics and do my tinting in Lr or DxO and… well done.

 

So I’ve been experimenting a lot with Lr mobile and was very happy with the workflow because it saves me a lot of work when I arrive back home, now all my images are done, but most of all I like the fact I could now do it in bed (hotel desks are often not really comfy) or on the plane or while Annewiek is driving the RV, but on the iPad air2 Lr mobile already works pretty well, so no real reason to switch to the iPad pro.

 

We also film a lot during travels, Annewiek shoots 4K material and that is edited in FCPx on her laptop and I shoot some material on my iPhone which…. well is never edited, although the material is sometimes rather interesting, funny or just cool but when we arrive home I just don’t have the energy or need to go through this material and editing on the iPhone is ok but not a pleasant experience, on the iPad air2 it works a lot better but somehow I never really took the effort to do it. So where am I going with this….because as it looks now I never really used my iPad for serious work.

 

Unknown

The Apple pencil
When I saw the iPad pro my first response was (as many of you) a bigger iPad but without MacOsX, that’s a shame….
BUT when I saw the Apple pencil my mind went into overdrive… this is it.
But it took some time before I was convinced, actually to be honest it took me till a few days ago before I knew 100% sure I was going to buy the iPad pro, so what changed my opinion.

 

Why don’t I use video editing on my iPad air?
Well it works fine, but the screen is a bit small and crowded, plus the whole finger thing to change clips… well it’s not very pleasant and fast, so enter the Apple pencil with 1 pixel resolution… that would be a lot better. For a while I used a Microsoft Surface pro and I was very impressed at how easy a well designed stylus (sorry pencil) worked in certain software, the reason I don’t use the Surface pro anymore was purely that we experienced some serious issues with shooting tethered during trade shows, USB ports were failing on me and sometimes a reboot helped sometimes not and my MBP always worked so I sacrificed the tablet experience (which I LOVED) for my MBP again, you saw that little line…. “the tablet experience I loved” because let’s make one thing clear working with the Surface pro was AWESOME, shooting tethered on location into a tablet instead of a laptop is great, and walking up stage with just a tablet to connect… awesome… but there were just too many problems, everyone has a mac so if you had the bad luck a projector wouldn’t sync with Apple there was always someone who knew, but with the Surface… well people just said “Yeah it’s windows, a Mac works” (thank you not very much), also as an OSx user I couldn’t really get used to the way the touch but not 100% touch OS worked, because although it’s a touch tablet the experience is not 100% touch, I know it sounds weird but in many instances I really wanted a keyboard or mouse under windows 8. But anyway I’m rambling let’s get back on track.

 

Sometimes there is this moment when everything just falls together, the moment it clicks (sorry Joe).
What if…..
I could get wireless tethered working and shoot wireless into the iPad Pro during workshops.
What if I use a lighting to HDMI convertor to connect the iPad pro to the big screen TV.
What if I use keynote on the iPad pro and control this with my iPhone.
What if I can transfer large files from iPhone to iPad or MBP to iPad without using the always flaky Airdrop (for me it never really works).
What if… and the list was pretty long and I started to work.

 

First shooting tethered, after a lot of experiments we solved this. Of course if you’re using Canon or Nikon you’re in luck with CamRanger and if you’re using ANY Sony A-E mount camera with wifi you’re in luck with Smart remote… unless you’re using their flagship the A7RII (the EVF stays black) until they fix this I solved the problem with a loop on my LCD, and to my surprise it works like a charm, although the EVF is sharper but it works. I’m using play memories and QDSLR dashboard as receiver software.

 

Connecting to a big screen is no problem at all, Apple sells these convertors, and you can even charge at the same time because it has a lighting adaptor inside the convertor.

 

Keynote can indeed be running on the iPad pro and controlled by my iPhone (love this), so now I can draw on the screen, see what I’m doing, using a laser pointer and walk around on stage and see the next slide and notes (which I never use but hey that’s me :D).

xa5origjmloo3ew1qtal

Transferring large files was possible with some sticks on the market with both USB and Lighting but these were very slow, so that was out. Until I found a new product online that promises to give MUCH more speed and works flawless with both iPhones and iPads (pros) and MBP, USB3 speed and lighting adaptor inside. See https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ishowfast-world-s-fastest-iphone-ipad-flash-drive#/ I’m waiting for delivery so I can’t tell you anything about it, but according to some “pre-release” reviews it’s indeed very fast.

 

So most of the problems and wishes I had were solved, and I was more and more looking towards buying the iPad pro and I was lucky to able to just walk into a store on the day of the release and get the 128GB space gray LTD version, so how do I like it?

 

create

Is it a notebook?
This is the first thing my parents asked when I showed them my brand new iPad in it’s Logitech create cover with keyboard.
“No… well a little bit” was my answer (obviously in Dutch).

 

If you don’t know about the logitech Create cover make sure to check it out, it really is one marvelous piece of kit. In essence it’s a backlit keyboard stand that also has some cool features like controlling the sound, light on the iPad pro and keyboard itself, audio, short cuts, home, some double tap things and more, it does however makes the beautiful iPad Pro into a bulky almost MBP look a like. But to get some serious work done where you need to type it’s great.

 

With Pages, numbers and keynote you really have the idea you’re working on a notebook, although you have to switch a lot between the keyboard and the screen, this sounds like a “no deal” but bare with me… I was working this way for an hour and Annewiek asked me something and it struck me as surprising I was trying to use her screen as a touch display……. yeah weird right. So I think that a lot of people who are screaming their lungs out that it will NEVER be a laptop replacement are dead wrong…. but not yet.

 

At the moment the experience is weird, not because it’s not working as advertised, but maybe because it’s working as advertised. Let’s take for example mail. When you are in Mail you can of course type, copy/paste with shortcuts, you can even delete mails by pressing delete on the keyboard…. but…. you can move up and down with the cursor keys, you need your finger for this. Now this could be my age of course or my long time use of mouse/trackpad and keyboard but it just doesn’t feel right, IF they would have added the cursor use I think I would have said that for mail this is a FULL laptop replacement.

 

I also hear some people about why Apple didn’t include a trackpad in the keyboards, and I’m glad they didn’t.
I love my MBP but on the plane I can’t use it because… well it’s too tight and we fly Economy or Economy comfort, however the iPad pro with the much less deep keyboard will be no problem at all, and I would have rather have the space than some form of “ok trackpad”.

 

In all honesty I think it’s a matter of getting used to the interface, we are now used to doing 100% on a keyboard and trackpad/mouse and nothing on the screen of our desktops and when we look back it was also very weird to start using a mouse and a lot of people were actually still using the cursor keys in a lot of early “windows like” software and sometimes grabbed the mouse, I think we are at the start of another revolution in which we have to get used to doing 90% on the screen with gestures and touch and only grab the keyboard when we need to type something, talking about this by the way… the new software keyboard of the iPad Pro is awesome and saves a lot of time switching between modes so for smaller things like emails this will do just fine.

 

If you take this into account I think that for 99% of the people the iPad pro indeed can be a full laptop replacement, because let’s be honest what do you really do on your laptop? You work with Excell, word, powerpoint, mail, surf and watch a movie right? I don’t see a lot of people running autocad or full blown photoshop with a wacom tablet on airports or in busses, most work is the more “basic” stuff. This week we switched from using Office to iWorks in our studio and I must say that’s its a delight, the interfaces are less cluttered, having all the documents in iCloud is handy and keynote just works better than Powerpoint for me, and being able to control it with your iPhone is a big added bonus for me.

 

Get to the point Frank
Yes I’m getting there, and exactly to the point actually.
The Apple Pencil.
I tried some styluses on the iPad Air and never really liked them, of course I didn’t try them all but it just didn’t feel right. The Surface pro actually changed this for me, I loved the way the Wacom pen reacted but as mentioned before I didn’t like the OS and felt it was too much of a mix to be comfortable for me personally.

 

Adding the Apple pencil in the mix made me wanting to run out and get the iPad pro.
I always loved to draw but haven’t done it anymore since childhood, I hope the iPad pro can trigger this again in me because when I played with the Apple pencil it really felt so much better than anything I tried before (including the Wacom series), but that’s not all. In the app store you can find an app called Astropad which in essence promises to replace the wacom you use now for a much better experience, now I’ve looked at the Wacom cintiq but never bought one, same with the companion. It all looked awesome but…. it didn’t fit my workflow or the battery time was too limited, seeing the iPad pro with the Apple pencil being used as an alternative Wacom really was the drop I needed.

 

For me the iPad pro buy decision was made based solely on the Apple pencil, IF they would have not sold this I would have NEVER switched from my Air2 to the Pro for the simple reason…. it’s just a bigger iPad. Now that I did I’m seeing other options. So after this long introduction a very short overview of my first experiences with.

 

Working as a laptop
When traveling I’m always switching like crazy between things I like to do, my attention span on airplanes is 45 minutes max so watching a movie is not really an option, I don’t know why but I just can’t concentrate much longer than 45 minutes. So with the iPad pro I can of course watch a movie but also work on a new blogpost in Pages, fine tune my presentations in Keynote etc. etc. I’ve worked with the Create and Pages and have to say that it’s a great experience and I really see me using this over my MPB, unless I have them both with me, the MBP is just a bit easier and faster for longer texts, but… this can change when I’m used to the touch screen and maybe I will even prefer working on the iPad pro, but remember this is HIGHLY depending on the keyboard you use and the create from Logitech I can HIGHLY recommend.

 

Surfing
What can I say. It’s cool, it’s better than on my Mac at home and MPB.
In portrait mode it’s like reading a magazine, bright and RAZOR sharp with popping colors (but still pretty natural) and the touch interface in safari is refined as can be and a really good experience, again I prefer this above any other way of surfing.

 

Video editing
I still have to wait for the Apple pencil but what I’ve done so far with iMovie and Adobe clip has been delightful. Here are two of the videos I created with iMovie and Clip (about the software itself).

 

Someone commented that I must be crazy to prefer this edit method and it was nothing like real editing, well my answer was very simple. “what do you want more?” both iMovie and Clip do all the basic edits, you can create looks for your video (actually it’s faster than on my MacPro which has to render the looks and don’t ask me how the iPad pro does but it’s almost instant), you can change audio, add tracks, change clips etc. etc. and even use titles, picture in picture etc. Of course FCPx and Premiere has WAY more options, but…. both iMovie and Adobe clip have the option to transfer your work to their host programs and finish it off there…. what more DO you want?  This saves so much work, on the road you edit the clips in your spare time (heck even on the restroom, depending on time of course) and you can share straight to YouTube or Vimeo if you’re satisfied, or you can save it and finish the “ground work” at home in less time that before.

 

Lightroom mobile
As with the iPad air2 it works great, I just wish Adobe would make an extra option possible, transferring smart previews via USB, let’s be honest even with a fairly normal internet connection transferring files takes “forever” add to this the “great/not” speed in hotels or databundels via roaming and Adobe actually shoots itself in the foot with forcing a cloud sync, don’t get me wrong I LOVE Adobe and consider many of them as personal friends, but I never understood why with a program that is meant to be used on the road they rely so heavily on internet which in reality is almost non existent in most hotels, Email will do, facebook will do but syncing a gig of data…. yeah.
Till they solve this (if ever) I’m just leaving my MBP in the hotel and uploading the files while we are out, and hope that it’s done when we are back in and connect the iPad pro to download for offline editing during the nighttime, if I keep this up every day I’m sure I have all shots with me to select and edit while traveling back, and this would be a blessing because I wouldn’t feel the need to edit everything at night on my laptop because I know when I’m home I don’t have the time.

 

Magazines
I love magazines on the iPad but it was always a bit too small for me, reading was ok but I found myself often just zooming in a little bit, with the Pro… gorgeous and I mean WOW

 

Sound
Don’t ask me why it’s important because I don’t have a clue but the sound is LOUD and I really mean LOUD, and it’s pretty good too. For watching a movie in the hotelroom or RV this will rock but I honestly think some people give too much credit to this point, mostly I use my iPad with headphones or silent.
Speed
Good grieves this thing is blazingly fast.
Editing, rendering and even switching between apps is amazing, and candy crush… don’t even start.
Without kidding it’s indeed VERY snappy and rendering 4K video, scrubbing and zooming is smooth as can be.

 

Portfolio shows
Can I be short…. awesome.
I use the smugmug app with offline images and it’s an experience, clients love it and the responses are nothing short of “breathtaking” and I hope they also mean the shots.

 

Apple Pencil
Only played with it briefly in the store, I think it’s ridiculous they don’t have enough in stock, I have to wait 7 days and I see now they are actually pushing this forwards if you order now to almost a month, as mentioned before for me the iPad pro IS the Apple Pencil and if it would have worked on the iPad air2 there would have been even a slight chance I would have just bought the Pencil. Apple should have made sure that the supply is at least 1:1 because besides the consumer that wants a bigger candy crush experience I don’t see why you should invest in a bigger iPad without making use of the pencil.

 

Some bad things (because we have to have those too)
Design is gorgeous with Apple and I love my MacPro but…. I never am able to use an iPhone without a case for the simple reason I’m afraid it will slip out of my hands, same with the iPad pro, it’s slippery as can be, you can’t balance this nicely on your lap without it moving/sliding around. I really do get that design is important, but I feel that with devices you handheld it’s more important to have a surface that’s sticky than something that looks sleek and is ALWAYS covered with a case so you never see it anyway.

 

As mentioned before the keyboard integration is awesome BUT misses some small things like cursor keys that would be nice to be functional in for example mail.

 

Price we can argue about for ages but I think everything is worth what you use it for and how much it speeds up your workflow and gives you new creative options and I feel the iPad pro does everything I want, and yeah I know I have to finish off some projects when I’m home and I will not use it for my model photography YET, but I can live with that, in fact it will save me so much backpains and time that I’m more than willing to shelve over the dough to get it.

 

A double edged 4G sword
We opted for the 4G version and I didn’t talk about that yet because I feel it’s awesome but I also feel I’m being ripped off.
The Apple sim is an awesome idea, travel, arrive, internet. The 4G network in most countries is blazingly fast and vaporizes most hotel internet connections.

For years we have been traveling with a MiFi where we simply visit a store, get a pre-paid card, put it in the MiFi and we have fast internet wherever we go, we actually have 2 (one for the USA with Verizon and one for Europe). But… sometimes it’s easy to get a sim like in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Germany etc. but sometimes you also have to look REALLY hard, we found out that especially in the states it’s a disaster, we tried to activate our Verzizon device and were send away from every store, we had to find a main office store from Verizon and… well they were not close by so we ended up with just hopping hotspots that week, also the price for 1GB of internet was ridiculously expensive.

 

Enter the Apple sim, you land, you connect to a provider of your choice and no more looking for simcards or getting a card that doesn’t work or where you have the first call with your phone to activate the card (try to get a normal sim in an iPhone). Sound awesome, but it’s not all happy internet camping.

 

The pricing of the Apple sim provider GigSky is not cheap, on average you pay $50.00 for 1-3GB of data, compared to what we pay in Denmark or the UK for data this is PRETTY steep, I believe the last time we had 6GB of data for EU60.00 in the UK. Also when you check online you can use the Sim in the Netherlands (they even rate pricing) but when checking on the iPad pro it states I can’t use it in the Netherlands, but Belgium and Germany do work, maybe a bug. However we still opted for this option for the simple reason that we are loosing a lot of valuable time by looking for a simcard in some cases, so we decided to check on arrival when doing groceries and if we don’t find anything we pay the premium and just forget about it, because in all honestly loosing half a day of time is also very expensive when traveling so that 25.00 euro more you pay might actually be worth it.

 

Conclusion
If you’re still reading I must be doing something right because I think this is the longest blogpost I ever wrote.
In conclusion I love my iPad Pro for the following reasons

 

  • I do feel it’s not worth it’s money without the Apple Pencil
  • with a keyboard it’s a perfect alternative for a laptop unless you do hardcore video editing and you need full blown photoshop on the road (again who does), the interface will be something you have to get used to.
  • The iOS apps are already worthy work tools and it can only get better
  • for creatives this is a dream come true
  • Working on full blown photoshop is possible with astropad, see it as remote controlling your mac (have to test this when the pen is in)
  • screen is gorgous
  • it’s very fast
  • Shooting tethered to the iPad gives the students a bigger screen to watch and me less cables and carrying around stuff
  • it just saves a LOT of work because the groundwork can be done on the road

 

Thanks so very much for reading and one final remark.
If you’re planning on posting that the surface pro book is a better alternative because it runs full windows I have two remarks for you.

 

  1. Yes it does, but I (and most people) don’t need a full blown windows for the simple reasons what you have to do in the field can be done with the iOS apps as soon as you realize it’s ground work, and to be honest it’s about the same thing I do with my MBP most of the times I also finish my work as soon as I’m home and use my MBP to “start” the work.
  2. It’s not an Apple product… in other words I’m used to certain apps which I use and my while workflow is Apple based, when I used the surface pro I loved the product but the integration with Apple was ok but not stunning, when you use office it’s workable but with iWorks the experience is of a totally different level, plus we use a lot of notes and other small things that are inside the Apple workflow.

 

In the end there is always something better and especially something better is coming next year, for now I think working with the iPad pro is a revolution in terms of getting used to the touch screen as main device and keyboard just when you really need it, when you get over this it can be a 100% replacement of 99% of the laptops out there, and overall…. did I already tell you how amazing candy crush looks?