InkFlow - a special new creative scalpel

3 minute read

Astute Graphics' founder and CEO, Nicholas van der Walle, gives insights into the new release.

As we have now reached Illustrator plugin #19, having started in 2006, it’s easy to become blasé about what we can do to boost creative professionals. However, our latest and greatest—InkFlow—is special for many reasons. Here are some insights…

It’s been carefully crafted for creativity

InkFlow is a tool that allows designers to sketch and write in Illustrator naturally. Sounds like it should have been done a long time ago, no? Various attempts have been made by Adobe and Astute Graphics in the past, but none fully nailed the smoothness and quality.

We wanted to focus purely on the experience, making the results feel natural and as close to pen-on-ink as is possible in vector. The fine-tuning process alone has taken over a year by a dedicated in-house, and expert team. We finally hit the mark perfectly.

This is always particularly tough when creating vector design tools. By their nature, they are highly mathematical and technical on the inside. That’s why many previous attempts by various companies have resembled tools created by engineers, for engineers. We knew we had to work hard to overcome that.

It’s overflowing with new tech

Trust me—we are trying very hard to shield everyone from the utter complexity and intricate development, plus investment, that’s gone into this tool. It’s very much like an iceberg…

The result is a tool that is live and dynamic, realistic and accessible, efficient and flexible. Without the user having to even think, it places vector points where humans would when drawing manually. It allows creatives to tweak and adjust results to their heart’s content. All this is possible only because of the amazing engine that lies within, under the waterline.

Version 1.0 is just that—the first step

Earlier in 2020, Astute Graphics took full advantage of its recent change to a subscription model and provided earlier and constantly updated releases to new tools. Our Stylism plugin received two major new tools in a matter of months, and then benefited from customer-driven updates to make it as beautiful as a highly polished pebble.

We’re taking that approach with InkFlow where version 1.0 gives a glimpse into the creative options and power now available. Next, we’ll be revisiting the User Interface to remove any usability inefficiencies since discovered. Then comes the “Wow factor!” updates with augmented ink simulations (ink splatters, etc.) with full expectation to finally add our own fully developed vector brush tech. Exciting stuff!

Breaking the boundaries of Illustrator

Don’t work in Illustrator or prefer to work on an iPad or in a dedicated sketching app? The news only gets better. All that amazing tech that lurks underneath was developed from the ground-up to be completely system-agnostic. That was a very conscious decision by us.

We have ambitious plans. Watch this space!

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