Designers explain the S Pen's appeal
22nd Apr 2013 | 14:37
Web, graphic and fashion designers all love the Note II
Web designers, graphic designers, fashion designers or anyone with even an iota of creativity will fall in love with the Samsung GALAXY Note II, if they haven't already. Not only has the phone got a handsome HD Super AMOLED display measuring in at a generous 5.5-inches, it also comes loaded with Samsung's S Pen.
The S Pen is anything but a stylus. It offers an incredible 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity when combined with the Note II, the same sensitivity as professional graphics tablets such as the Wacom Intuos range.
Speaking of Wacom, the GALAXY Note II's S Pen tech is powered by a Wacom digitizer, so anyone used to using a graphics tablet will feel right at home sketching, snipping and ultimately, creating on their Samsung GALAXY Note II.
Samsung GALAXY Note II - Native design features
Before we even start designing anything, we mood board. This is a brain dump of inspiration ranging from images, textures, colours and even typefaces that resonate with what we're trying to achieve.
Of course, any Android phone has apps like Pinterest and the stunning Pic Collage, but the Samsung GALAXY Note II is packed with interactive, rich mood board functionality out of the box.
The first and probably the ultimate mood board feature is the snipping tool. Holding down the button on your S Pen and tracing around an inspiration will cut out your trace, throwing it into your Samsung GALAXY Note II's memory for use later.
This feature is incredibly quick and easy, doesn't open a new app or require you to think about opening one yourself, perfect for fleeting inspiration on the go that you'd miss if you didn't have such a great way of capturing it.
Collating inspiration is only part of the mood boarding process, it has to end up somewhere, and that is where S Note comes in. Open up the app, tap the 'add image' icon to the top right and you'll see an option 'clipboard'.
Simply select it and you'll have access to all the snippets you captured before. Once you find the one you want, tap it and it will be dropped onto your page. You can then throw more images on at will, take some from the camera, or get doodling, enriching your moodboard with hand-written notes and hand-drawn sketches.
Incredible tools like shape match mean that even hand drawn sketches can have a refined look and feel to them. What's shape match? It's a simple feature that converts your rough shapes into perfect lines, circles, curves and squares.
Samsung GALAXY Note II - Downloadable design features
There's plenty more we could talk about pre-loaded on the Samsung GALAXY Note II, but a quick dip into the Google Play Store gets even more design value out of this creative phone, so here are our highlights:
If like us you work with images on a day-to-day basis, the Samsung GALAXY Note II has a great photo editor accessible through the Samsung Apps world. Any designers out there however may want to take things to the next level though, and the best way to do that is by downloading Adobe Photoshop Touch.
The app costs £2.99, so isn't cheap, but what you get is an image editor as fully functional as the £50 Adobe Photoshop elements. The versatility of having it with you all the time is also incredible, with the instant access to the Note II's 8-megapixel camera being priceless.
Any existing Photoshop users who upload their files to the Creative Cloud will have access to all their uploaded files with a simple sign in. With the editing capabilities of the app being virtually limitless, supporting layers and the S Pen's pressure sensitivity, the asking price becomes easy to justify very quickly.
Android's sketching app of choice is generally Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile (£1.32), regardless of what phone you've got, but no phone pulls off Autodesk's app quite like the Samsung GALAXY Note II. Why? It's all about that Wacom digitizer.
The 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity make sketching on the Note II as lifelike as possible, and Sketchbook Mobile takes full advantage of the fact. You can import pictures to trace or start from scratch. With a range of brushes and tools, you've got a huge amount of freedom to make an illustration look exactly how you want it to look, and what's even more impressive for designers are the export options.
Naturally, you can save your results as a JPG, but what you might not have expected was the option to export your Sketches as a multi-layered Photoshop file. This means that once you're done sketching on the fly, you can get right back to your workstation and pick up exactly where you left off.
Working with colour
Any designer knows how important colour is. More importantly, colour consistency across projects is priceless, and the Samsung GALAXY Note II's HD Super AMOLED screen can be coupled with some great tools to ensure you get just that.
The first app worth a mention is incredibly simple, and it's called Magic Color Picker. The app presents you with a colour spectrum wheel, you pick a colour and it gives you the colour code in a number of standard formats such as RGB, HSL and even hexadecimal code for web safe colour work.
The second colour app worth shouting about is all about your Note II's fantastic 8-megapixel camera and it's called SwatchMatic.
Just open the app, point your Note II's camera at anything and SwatchMatic will make a colour swatch based on what it sees. Tap your screen to save the swatch and once again, it'll give you all the colours in standard formats.
The app is free to try ten times, after which it'll cost you £1.93.
Unsurprisingly, it wasn't particularly difficult making a case for the S Pen as a designer's best friend – Samsung clearly had creatives in mind from the get go with the Samsung GALAXY Note II.
It doesn't stop at the Samsung GALAXY Note II though. The Note range is expanding. The GALAXY Note 10.1 is already available to buy, packing the same core specs and features as the Note II with a 10.1-inch display, and the Samsung GALAXY Note 8.0 is en route, expected to land in the next couple of months, complete with phone call capabilities and a stunning 8-inch HD display.
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