Using an iPad as a Sidecar Drawing Tablet

In this week’s free episode of Deke’s Techniques, Deke demonstrates how to use the new “sidecar” feature in Photoshop that allows you to use your newer iPad (as long as you have a newer Mac as well) as a pressure sensitive tablet for drawing and painting input.

This means that when he creates such questionable art as this:

Photo of foliage in front of foothills

with this:

Photo of the underside of a manta ray

He can sign his own name to accept responsibility using the best feature of Sidebar, the pressure sensitive tablet that where you can work directly on top of your image (a la Wacom Cintique).

I’ll admit, in order to test this, I had to a) borrow Deke’s new computer b) sign out of my own iCloud account on my iPad, and c) jump through some other tedious hoops to get things working. But all-in-all it was pretty straightforward.

Sidebar allows you to mirror what’s happening on your computer screen with what’s happening on your iPad, that way, you can get completely confused about which input device (mouse, trackpad, Apple pencil, and in my case iPad keyboard, you want to use for input. But you can “write” on your screen with all the power of Photoshop behind you. And I do like part where Cut and Paste commands are three finger “pickup” and “spew out” gestures.  (Note, you are able to use keyboard shortcuts from the iPad keyboard.)

And eventually, I was able to use my iPad to not only change the flying manta’s aura to purple (as they do when flying over foliage) but also erase Deke’s variable width signature with my own.

Manta composite over foliage with Colleen signature

(PS I also have been testing a bunch of handwriting apps, and I have to say the pressure sensitivity in Photoshop in this context is pretty good for making my letters look like the way I actually write.)

Deke’s Techniques, giving you a mirror into what 2020 has in store.

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