Software Review: Alias SketchBook Pro | 2 | WebReference

Software Review: Alias SketchBook Pro | 2


Software Review: Alias SketchBook Pro




Supported file formats include: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP and TIFF, however, the TIFF format is the only one you can use to preserve layers. The software offers up to 50 Undos, but for maximum performance, a setting of 30 is recommended. Canvas sizes of up to 8192x8192 pixels are available. To create a customized canvas size, click on Edit: Preferences and set the file size there.

Note: If you’re using the limited feature trial application, you’re limited to a size of 1024x1024 pixels.


Sample Backgrounds. Over 300 are available with full version of the software.




An important set of tools are the Backgrounds, images that assist the design aspects of drawing. The full set includes hundreds of backgrounds made up of: Grid Lines and Dots, Lined Pages, Page Layouts, Charts and Graphs, Calendars and Timelines, Video Screens, Games, and Graphic Elements, all in a TIFF format.

Once loaded, a background image is displayed in a locked background annotation layer and the active sketching layer is set to Layer 1. This allows you to sketch freely without damaging the background layer. Backgrounds are created in a read-only format, so you have to save the file to a new name.


The Send Mail dialog offers several options when sending out your image files.



While the software lets you create nearly unlimited layers, you can only open one image layer at a time from image files and there is no import capability. A workaround to this problem is to open layers in Photoshop or another image editing application, which you can then copy and paste into layers. Another issue is that you can only copy one layer at a time from SketchBook into an image editing application. Trying to use the entire file won't work.

One of the useful tools is the Snapshot utility, located on the taskbar as an icon.. It allows you to capture a shot of the screen, which can then be imported into the application as a locked layer, with a layer above that you can draw on.

Another useful feature is the Send Mail command, located under the file menu, which allows you to send JPEG, PNG or TIFF files. There is even a handy calculation tool that will give you a rough idea of how large the file size will be and which format might be the best option for sending your file.





Parting Comments

Overall, SketchBook Pro provides a simplified approach to drawing that is flexible and functional. For traditional artists looking to learn about drawing on the computer, SketchBook Pro is an excellent choice.

System Requirements

Minimum: A 266 MHz Intel Pentium II or greater processor, Windows XP/2000 only, 128 MB of RAM, 16-bit color display (thousands of colors) and a pressure sensitive Wacom tablet and pen, strongly recommended for basic features. Recommended system requirements are: An 800MHz Intel Pentium III processor, 256 MB of RAM, and a 24-bit color display (millions of colors).

Pricing and Availability

Alias Sketchbook Pro can be purchased by downloading the software (an 8.3 MB file) for a fee of $129.00 or it’s available as a boxed version for $149.00. Additional costs of shipping handling and taxes will apply (where applicable). The Alias|Wavefront global headquarters is located at 210 King Street East, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA, M5A 1J7. Toll Free: (800) 447-2542 Telephone: (416) 362-9181 Fax: (416) 369-6140.


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By Nathan Segal Associate Editor:
Created: May 15, 2003
Revised: May 15, 2003