Will the new iPad be ‘resolutionary’ to the world of digital comics and art?

This week saw Apple launch it’s new iPad, with the now traditional circus of ridiculous hype followed by crushing disappointment followed by venomous online backlash. Although the Apple community may be baulking at the fact it doesn’t have a futuristic touch sensitive input interface or 24TB of storage in a thinner, faster cheaper, better design, the art community have several reasons to be very pleased with the new iPad, but just what is the fuss about this new tablet all about?

First of all, it’s high resolution 2,048 x 1536 retina display is going to make comics and digital art look simply stunning. That screen resolution is better quality than a high definition TV, but on a 9″ screen so there are no excuses for pixellated pictures in your comics. Secondly, it’s new A5X processor has the requisite speed to cope with the kind of images that such a screen with that resolution will produce. This means a greater potential for digital art packages like Photoshop Touch or ArtRage to include more pro-level filters, effects and brush styles that should make it possible for professional artists being able to produce professional artwork on an iPad. To put it in perspective a Wacom Cintiq 24HD has a screen resolution of ‘only’ 1,920 x 1,000 so there’s no reason that can’t now happen.

Finally, along with new apps from Apple’s iLife suite being made available (iPhoto, iMovie and a new look Garageband) as part of the demo Autodesk (makers of the brilliant SketchBook Pro) also announced a new app called SketchBook Ink which is a non-vector line-art drawing app that takes advantage of the new functionality of the ‘new iPad’ and takes a very definite step towards the kind of high end graphics apps which can expect on the new iPad. With it’s of resolution independent images, it means the days of apps having a maximum pixel dimension equivalent to the iPad screens are gone and the chance of using the iPad as an input device for creating high res artwork is fast becoming a reality. We’ll find out more in the spring once it’s launched I’m sure, but in the meantime check out this video of SketchBook Ink in action at the Apple demo.

All of which combined with no price rise and a raft of other new features, means that the new iPad is very appealing to artists and non-artists alike. But that’s enough of what I think. What do those in the industry think. Here are a few quotes from some comics and digital imaging professionals.

“I think technological advances, like the iPad’s new high definition retina screen, that allows users to see what they are reading with great crispness and clarity can only the comic reading experience. It’s an absolute book for the future of our medium. ”
David Gallagher, writer of High Moon & Box 13

“I think the new resolution will benefit any visual medium on the iPad, especially comics. Small details will be more visible even at a zoomed-out resolution, including small text which can sometimes be difficult to read with current screens because of pixelation. It’ll get us closer to the point where people will zoom in on images because they WANT to, and not because they HAVE to.”
Reilly Brown, artist on PowerPlay comic

” Visual artists will benefit from the increased pixel density in the retina display and the 40% higher saturation. The faster processor and increased memory will allow developers to continue increasing the functionality of their creative apps and improve brush and layer performance. It should also allow enable developers to offer larger canvas options for creating and exporting higher resolution artwork. One other feature – Bluetooth 4.0 – may lead to a new generation of pressure sensitive stylus options which is by far the biggest request from digital artists using the iPad.”
Kyle Lambert, digital artist

“I love the idea of a better, more clean screen on the iPad, but like in the 90s when they improved paper and printing quality, it’s only really as good as the material. If the work is good, it’ll look fantastic on the retina display.”
Chris Eliopoulos, comic book letterer and creator of web series MiseryLovesSherman and Cow Boy

“Publishers and creators, not surprisingly, are an amazingly creative bunch. Any improvement in tools, devices, etc. will be met with an awesome display (pun not intended!) of brilliant work. In addition, for Graphicly, its fantastic, given we support publishers and creators to distribute their work on marketplaces such as iBooks which are optimized for the retina display in a way that no random app could be, publishers and creators continue to win as they find new and existing audiences on devices that millions of their fans use and love.”
Micah Baldwin, co-founder and CEO of Graphicly