Hello, i'm Jake. since getting my first ipad back in 2020, i've been using Artstudio Pro nearly every day to make professional artwork, for commissions and the like. Right now i'm still using the app nearly exclusively, making high production artwork on it, now on an Ipad Pro M1.
This is by far the best app there is on the app store to me, with an appropriate balance of features and ease of use (compared to an app like Procreate, which in my eyes sacrifices feature-full-ness for ease of use and shininess), and most importantly, a lot of stability, which is very important for large projects.
However i do have some gripes, or suggestions.. or both, depending on how you see it.
If i were to generalize it i'd say "artstudio over the last years has tried imitating Procreate too much" but there's more to it so i think i'll go into detail with a list
- the UI:
The UI is far better in Artstudio than a lot of the competition (especially the cluttered mess that is CSP) but it could still be improved. The main screen you see when working on a project for one has a lot of unusable empty space on either side of the tool quick selection list, on the top of the screen. if we look at an app like Inifite Painter (which imo has the best UI of any art app i've ever seen) does it better, by showing the canvas around the quick selection list and wasting no space on empty UI elements.
- the reference panel:
The reference panel was a very welcome addition when it was added to Artstudio, but imo it very much follows the Procreate mold too much. Having one single window for references/navigator allows just *one* reference at a time, *or* for you to see the canvas in the navigator. Not to repeat myself, but Infinite Painter does it much, much better by having the images directly displayed ontop of the canvas, pinchable and rotateable, hidden-able and deletable through a hidden menu accessible by a button on the side. not only this, but it allows for transparency, which ends up looking very neat. This also allows you to just have like.. a stack of references on the corner of the screen? if you want that?
Only disadvantage to IP's approach is that you can't zoom in on references without zooming the whole picture (thus obscuring the whole screen if you only wanna see a small detail) but i think this can be fixed by having multiple windows with thin "frames" which allow for transparency
- the colour picker (not the eyedropper, mind):
The colour picker is another thing for which i think Artstudio Pro copied Procreate too much. I did want some customizability to the colour picker, but only a circular alternative? that shape just isn't any good for a colour picker, imo, it doesn't allow you to even see where the corners are (pure black, pure white, full saturation); instead a triangle shape would have worked a *lot* better.
additionally, i did also want the colour picker position to be lock-able and movable on the screen, but why in a window? there's so much wasted UI space by not having an option to *just* have the colour picker on the screen. I'm repeating myself but Infinite Painter does it much better: a colour picker that is rescaleable, moveable, has transparency and can be modified just by using two fingers (and removable by moving it to an X on the screen)
- allow me to exit a project without saving
just please. I've accidentally overwritten my own art so many times.
- perspective tools
I like the tools in Artstudio Pro, but i feel like they could do so, so much more. Look again at Infinite Painter. For sure in that app i can't reset the horizon, which is annoying, but you know what that app has? perspective guides that *work with drawing guides*!
Let me explain: in IP, once you set your one, two or three vanishing points, you can draw a circle using its version of a drawing guide, and *the circle follows the vanishing points*! it's so, so useful for drawing circles in perspective, since ellypses are always tricky. Additionally, you can even tell it to draw an ellypse, and have that ellypse move around the canvas, automatically transforming with perspective, getting larger away from the vanishing point and smaller when closer to it! Even better, the app has a "stamp" feature that allows you to draw a shape and then "stamp" it as many times as you want, which is very helpful for drawing multiple circles and squares on a surface in perspective
- filter layers
I like the fact that Artstudio has effect layers, but i think it'd be helpful to have filter layers too (like gaussian blur, motion blur etc) so i don't have to merge all the layers of my drawing just to apply blur to a small area
- Keyboard shortcuts
This may be an issue only on my specific Ipad or keyboard, but the "-" and "+" keys on the numpad don't seem to do work as shortcuts? idk, it's not a big deal
- App slowing down over time
Not a huge issue either, but after an hour or two of work, the app does slow down significantly, to the point that i have to close and re-open it again, which fixes the issue for another hour or two. I think it may have something to do with how the app records videos? I'm not sure
- In conclusion:
I apologize if my post is a bit all over the place, but i hope i'm getting my points across. In general i love the app, and i wish it only the best moving forward, but i'm afraid it's trying to copy its main competition a bit too much (procreate, with all its no doubt large resources) instead of trying to carve a niche to itself (by introducing features other apps just don't have), the way Infinite Painter does. For reference, IP has had perspective tools, reference tools, filter layers and a lot of other features way before Procreate ever did (and Artstudio too). Back when i was using an Android tablet to draw, IP was my main driver and i was so disappointed in the lack of publicity it had. The only reason why i switched over to Ipad and Artstudio is very much the stability, as IP had a bad habit of crashing frequently and even corrupt layers at times, so i wanted something a bit more powerful and stable.
I just hope that moving forward, Artstudio becomes more and more feature-ful in a way that truly matters, while maintaining its stability, without trying to expand too much into things that may not be all that important (i'll be honest, i still don't undestand why the animation feature was implemented.. like, it's cool, i get it, but did you do it just cause Procreate did? please don't tell me you're going to try doing 3d stuff next...)
So yeah! i hope all the best for you all in the future, and i hope i gave you some ideas for the future, or at least that my rambling wasn't too obnoxious. Thank you for your time!