Computer ArtsNews

Wacom's Inkling revealed!

It isn't a tablet! Instead it's a special pen that records your drawings

We've been wondering for the past week exactly what Wacom's new secret thing was going to be. Heated discussion in the office, there's been. In which we came to the conclusion that it'd be a special pen that you could draw with on paper, and it'd record your drawings and turn them into vectors so you could then work on them in Photoshop or Illustrator. And it'd have 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Annoyingly, we didn't publish this speculation anywhere, because we didn't want to look like idiots if we got it wrong. Naturally we turned out to be right on the money. It's called the Inkling and it works pretty much as we surmised, except that there's a little receiver that comes with it, which clips to your sketchbook and, we imagine, records everything then plugs into your computer to copy your sketches across. You can even work with multiple layers; just press a button and you have a fresh layer to work with, which should be brilliantly helpful once you go to work in Photoshop or Illustrator (or SketchBook Pro, if you prefer).

Best of all, you can order it right now for £149.99. We want one. Here's the full press release, just in case you want to drool over the full details.

30th August 2011: Today, Wacom® introduces Inkling, a new digital sketch pen that captures a digital likeness of your work while you sketch with its ballpoint tip on any sketchbook or standard piece of paper. Designed for rough concepting and creative brainstorming, Inkling bridges the gap between paper sketching and digital drawing by giving users at the front end of the creative process a way to rough-out ideas with real ink on paper and capture their concepts digitally so that they can be later refined on their computer. Inkling even allows users to create layers in the digital file while sketching on paper in the following creative software applications: Adobe® Photoshop®, Adobe® Illustrator® and Autodesk® Sketchbook® Pro.

Spontaneous and Liberating
Virtually anyone who uses sketching to capture their creative ideas and wants to have their drawings in a digital format to e-mail, archive or further refine on their computer can benefit from Inkling. For example, artists, illustrators, or storyboarders who appreciate the convenience, speed and spontaneity of loosely sketching their ideas on paper could profit from the capabilities of Wacom’s Inkling digital sketch pen. In everyday use, a graphic designer could use Inkling to create rough concepts on paper for a new advertising campaign and then review and share these concepts on the computer with colleagues or clients. The pen and receiver store and recharge in a compact case making it easy to transport Inkling between, home, office, hotel or any typical workspace.

“Inkling’s inspiration comes from a desire to give artistic people the freedom to draw on paper and to provide an easy way to transition the drawings to digital media,” said Guido Mller, product manager professional brands at Wacom Europe.

Inkling Specifics
The Inkling digital sketch pen is comprised of both hardware and software components. Hardware includes both the pen and a wireless receiver that captures a likeness of the sketch and stores it digitally. The ballpoint pen uses Wacom’s pressure sensing technology (1024 levels of sensitivity) to detect how hard the pen is being pressed to the paper while sketching. These pressure variations will appear in the digital version of your drawing. “Through its pressure sensitivity, Inkling captures the varied line weights created by the ink pen,” adds Mller.  

The receiver can be clipped to the edge of standard paper or sketchbooks and the position can be adjusted for left-or right-handed users to provide the receiver with an uninterrupted line of sight with the pen tip. When sketching is complete, the receiver is connected to the user's computer via USB to transfer the digital files. Files can be opened with the included Inkling Sketch Manager software to edit, delete or add layers as well as to change the formats and transfer the files for adjustment and editing in creative software applications.

Inkling can store thousands of sketches and export layered files directly to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator (CS3 or newer), as well as Autodesk Sketchbook Pro (2011). Alternatively, files can be saved in JPG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, SVG and PDF formats for use with other applications. According to Mller, “Inkling’s support of raster based applications such as Adobe Photoshop, as well as vector based applications such as Illustrator and Autodesk Sketchbook Designer, will provide users with options for incorporating their preliminary sketches into further developed work”.

The Ideal Companion for Intuos® and Cintiq®
Users of Wacom Intuos pen tablets and Cintiq interactive pen displays gain extra benefits by adding an Inkling to their creative toolbox. “For those working with our professional products, the pen is already their input tool of choice,” continued Mller. “Inkling can deliver an immediate ROI to these users by delivering an accelerated and more mobile workflow resulting in digital files that can easily and quickly be transferred to their home or office computer and redrawn using the Intuos or Cintiq pen.”

Pricing and availability
The new Inkling sketch pen is priced at £149.99  (including VAT) and will be available from October 2011 onwards.

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