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Wacom Inkling transfers drawings to drives


August 30, 2011

Wacom's Inkling is a system that digitizes and stores pen-and-ink sketches, as they're being drawn

Wacom's Inkling is a system that digitizes and stores pen-and-ink sketches, as they're being drawn

Although E FUN may have just released its APEN, Wacom today introduced its very similar - yet different - Inkling digital sketch pen. Like the APEN, Inkling is a ballpoint pen that writes in ink on regular paper, and is combined with a small receiver that users clip to the top of the page. That receiver logs the location of the pen on the paper. When that data is transferred to a computer, a digital image of whatever was written or drawn is the result. Inkling is unique, however, in that it also incorporates pressure-sensing technology. This means that the relative line weights of the inked content will be transferred to the digital images, which makes it particularly well-suited to artwork.

The pen can detect 1,024 different levels of pressure, so it's quite sensitive. The receiver can reportedly store thousands of sketches at a time, and can also facilitate multiple layers of a single sketch. When users want to render their drawings for emailing, editing or other reasons, the receiver is simply hooked up to a computer with a USB cable.

Inkling exports its files directly to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator (CS3 or newer), and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro (2011). Wacom's included Sketch Manager software also allows users to edit, delete or add layers to their work, or to save files in a variety of formats, for manipulation using other applications.

It would also be possible, of course, simply to put pen-and-ink drawings through a scanner. That could be quite time-consuming, however, plus the user would need access to a scanner-equipped computer. With Inkling, however, any machine running Sketch Manager would suffice. The pen and receiver are also much smaller than a typical scanner.

Inkling will be available through Amazon and the Wacom store as of the latter half of September, at a price of US$199.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

When was this article written? Ten years ago? Surely most people possess a scanner. It is not very time consuming to scan a drawing. I think the problem is having to buy Photoshop, or the other programmes mentioned, in order to use this device, which you will also have to buy.

2nd May, 2015 @ 5:24 a.m. (California Time)

It sounds like a great way to record an image or drawing when using a scanner is not possible.

2nd May, 2015 @ 5:24 a.m. (California Time)

This would be so helpful for doing creative work. My preferred arena for creative ideas is a ballpoint pen and sketchbook. So many times when I scan the images I\'ve made, the subtler lines are not captured by the scanner unless I take the scan as millions of colors. Then, of course, I am dealing with high memory usage, slow scan times, and limited ability to convert the images back to grayscale without losing those same subtle tones I tried to keep.

With 1024 levels of sensitivity, this device should keep that data true. Not just for one drawing, but for up to fifty! Time to go sketching at the park again when it is time to create that next masterpiece.

2nd May, 2015 @ 5:24 a.m. (California Time)

If it records and stores every pen stroke for later manipulation then it does way more than a scanner. Also, if you\'ve ever tried to remove the background from a scanned image you\'ll no that you can\'t rely on uniform \"white\" in the background.

I think this is an excellent complement to the tablet for initial image capture.

2nd May, 2015 @ 5:24 a.m. (California Time)

Plus it saves the strokes as vectors for you to edit with nodes!

David Orridge
2nd May, 2015 @ 5:24 a.m. (California Time)


2nd May, 2015 @ 5:24 a.m. (California Time)

I think people are forgetting that there\'s a big difference between using a scanner, and inkling by wacom. This product will be able to transfer your drawings as vector images not just a simple jpeg file where the lines on the drawings can come out rough or distorted through a scanner. Vector images vs scanned image is completely different. Also it can make layers, which is a big leap when it comes to editing through photoshop or any other programs.

Shawn Lee
2nd May, 2015 @ 5:24 a.m. (California Time)

I tried it at a conference. I hated it. It lost accuracy if you turned the paper, or broke the line of sight to the receiver. I didn't do much with the files after, but it seems like it would take a lot of creativity to use them. I'll stick with the wacom digitizing screens thanks. Oh, and for you tablet users, check out the upcoming Jaja stylus.

Ali Kim
2nd May, 2015 @ 5:24 a.m. (California Time)
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