FiftyThree to bring natural 'Pencil' stylus control to 'Paper' app with iOS 8 update

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Art-minded app and hardware developer FiftyThree on Tuesday announced it will be adding an iOS 8-exclusive feature to the "Paper" drawing app that lets users of the company's "Pencil" stylus change the characteristics of a drawn line by modifying how they hold the tool.

The new feature, called "Surface Pressure," will be built into an updated Paper app and allows the Pencil's tapered tip to shade, fill and draw depending on how much of the rubber tip is in contact with the screen.

The enhanced granular controls are meant to add a new sense of depth to the digital experience, closely mimicking drawing with a real pencil and paper. For example, fine lines can be created with just the tip of Pencil's nib, while users can quickly switch to wide swaths of color, broad strokes and shading by tilting the stylus to one side.

Aside from natural handling and speed, the augmented input feature works with each of Paper's existing digital brushes, opening up a new range of creative possibilities for users of the app/hardware ecosystem.

Surface Pressure also applies to Pencil's eraser, a unique feature that switches input from drawing visible lines to erasing by flipping the stylus over just as you would a regular pencil. With the augmented functionality built for Apple's iOS 8 update, artists will be able to use an expanded set of techniques in their work, like subtractive drawing.

According to FiftyThree, Paper will still include the usual palm rejection, finger smudging and loupe tools that made it one of the most popular drawing apps in the App Store.

Surface Pressure is due out this fall with the launch of iOS 8 and will be automatically unlocked for all Pencil owners. Paper by FiftyThree is a free download from the App Store, while Pencil can be purchased from Amazon in Graphite for $59.95 or Walnut for $74.95.


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