Thursday, January 5, 2017

Using the MacBook Pro's Larger Trackpad as a Drawing Tablet

The MacBook Pro's new larger trackpad was made for supposedly "creative" purposes. What exactly could that entail? Well, perhaps it works as a drawing tablet. After all, the Force Touch Trackpad can receive input from anywhere on the trackpad and detect pressure. So, I tried it out using Mischief and an Adonit Jot Pro. What resulted was the atrocity to the left. So, is it a drawing tablet? Not exactly. While drawing skills are subjective, my chief complaint, at least with Mischief, was my stylus and cursor were not one to one. Everything felt very forced. A lot of drawing and undo-ing. The only thing that didn't feel forced was resting my hand. The palm rejection on the trackpad is spot-on. My control for this was using the Paper app on the iPad with the Adonit Jot Pro, shown on the right. I finished this drawing in about half the time. Everything felt natural, by digital drawing standards. The thing that it didn't do right: palm rejection. So, there's a trade-off here. It would be nice if the trackpad worked like a drawing tablet, because it would feel super integrated. No peripherals, just a stylus of your choice. This way, a larger trackpad would've felt much more justified. But the results below are raw drawings with minimal undos and redos. If you polished it enough, you would definitely get a better result, but I felt these as results can show how the drawing process felt better than polished results.

Created using Paper on an iPad Air 2
Created using Mischief on a 2016 MacBook Pro

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