Using Ink Layers

Text-O-Matic is a layer-based art app. For example, a simple Text-O-Matic project might have a photograph as the bottom layer, with text on top of that. Perhaps the text is on top of a solid shape to set it apart from the background image.

Ink layers are transparent images with the strokes of your drawings that can be placed anywhere in the Text-O-Matic layer order. This opens up tremendous creative possibilities, especially since the ink strokes in these layers can be edited later. A simple example of this is coloring.



Ink Layer Editor


Above is what the Text-O-Matic ink drawing mode looks like, ready to draw. The editor opens with the first pen type selected and the pen attributes open and ready to adjust. If the menu is in the way, just tap on its face (i.e. not a button) to minimize it. Tap again to open it. But even if it overlaps your drawing, you can draw like it isn’t there. The ink ignores the menu and will draw underneath it.

There are three pen types:

  1. Ballpoint pen – This is a hard-edged drawing tool that responds to pen pressure to vary thickness. The image above uses the ballpoint pen tool for the arrows. You can adjust maximum tip size, color, and opacity. Note that while you are actively drawing a stroke, it is fully opaque. As soon as you release the drawing tool, the opacity is applied.
  2. Pencil – This is a special drawing tool. It is transparent and textured by nature, although the transparency and size vary with pen pressure, just like a real pencil. You can adjust maximum tip size and color, but not transparency.
  3. Calligraphy – This behaves much like the ballpoint pen except that the pen tip is oblong, like a real calligraphy pen. You an select the pen tip shape and make all other adjustments like the ballpoint pen.

The two checkboxes adjust how the ink is applied. The smooth mode makes your ink strokes into smooth curves. When unchecked, you see more detail in your strokes, which can be useful if you are trying to achieve a “hand-drawn” look. Use pressure allows you to turn off pressure-sensitivity which is useful if you want a consistent stroke size.

To draw, select a pen type, adjust its properties, and draw! Text-O-Matic supports drawing with a pressure sensitive active stylus (the best choice), a mouse, or your finger. However, to use your finger, you must toggle the last icon which allows touch drawing. Keep in mind that when you’re drawing with touch, you cannot drag the menu out of the way, so make sure it’s in a good place before you start. Touch drawing is the only option supported on mobile devices at this time.

At this time Text-O-Matic does not support the eraser button found on some active pens. To erase, toggle the eraser icon, and then draw over the strokes you wish to erase. Note that each continuous ink stroke is a single stroke. The eraser will erase the entire stroke.

The last icon is the Ruler tool. Just try it! You move and rotate the ruler with two fingers. (Note that you can only rotate the ruler with your fingers.) When you draw ink near the ruler, the ink snaps to the ruler for a perfectly straight line. To hide the ruler, toggle the ruler icon again.