Astropad for ZBrush?! (Upgrade to 12.9?)


Hello everyone,
I recently bought a iPad Pro (9.7) model…primarily for taking handwritten notes as well as the occasional sketching. However, I’m not a 2D artist, and the majority of the work I do relies on 3D. I just so happened to run into Astropad…I was curious to try it out on Zbrush. I tried it out and it was fun to work with, however (as many users have said) there is a heavy amount of pixilation when sculpting/moving the model. This is especially true for larger movements (fine details seem to be fine).

My questions are…should I stick with the 9.7 model (really hard to work on Zbrush) or should I upgrade to the 12.9 model in hopes of the pixelation in Astropad getting rid of the pixilation in future upgrades? Or is the current generation of the iPad just unable to work with Astropad without pixelation?

I still have a few days before I can turn this 9.7 model in and get the larger one.

Also working on the 12.9 while not at your desk…how comfortable is it? Too heavy? can you hold i tin your hand easily to do work or does it tire you out quickly?


I don’t do 3D artwork, so I can’t speak how well the 12.9 iPad Pro works with Zbrush. However, I can say that the 12.9 inch iPad is very comfortable to work with and does not tire me out when holding it in my lap for extended periods of time. While obviously larger and therefore more cumbersome than the 9.7 inch model, the 12.9 model is still light and thin and very manageable, and the extra screen space is amazing to work on.


Hrm…good to know that it’s still pretty comfortable to work with. And I’m the same size as a Macbook Pro (what I usually take to school) so I could probably get over the issues with taking it with me somewhere, and the awkwardness of writing on a giant screen in class, haha.


Hi Noel, the pixelation is going to be the same on the 12.9 iPad Pro as on the 9.7. Obviously the larger the screen the better the experience so I would recommend the larger iPad.

We are working hard on reducing further the pixelation (it has already been improved drastically in version 2) and providing better controls for 3d artists (middle mouse click for example). It’s on our roadmap, you should see these changes, hopefully, by the beginning of 2017.

Hope it helps,
Giovanni Donelli
Cofounder & Head of Product


Hrm…so it’d be a good investment to get the 12.9 now? And the reducing of pixelation, will it be to the point where Zbrush is usable? At this point I can only add fine details, but starting from scratch is really difficult due to the blur.


Hi Noel, predicting the future is always hard. We are doing our best to make the Astropad experience better & better. You should see an evolution of Astropad around beginning of 2017 which should make things much much better…

Will the experience with ZBrush be perfect? I cannot tell for sure at this very moment.


Yeah…hrm…I’m going to go for it then!

One last question (sorry, haha xD)
I know you don’t want to speculate too much about the future, but…

In terms of hardware, is (/do you think) the iPad powerful enough to eventually produce a pixel-free or a nearly pixel-free workflow? Or is it simply impossible with it’s current hardware?


Yes we think the iPad Pro should be capable to do that.
You will also need a Mac that is somewhat recent (late 2013 or later)


Perfect, thank you :smile:!


Sorry for the late reply,

As a ZBrush user, I can say that pixelation would be something you can work with. After the latest update is not too bad. I have a large iPad Pro. And is still light enough that you can use it. Heck, much lighter than a cintique companion for sure.

The thing is that as ZBush workflow goes, it would be hard to work just with the iPad alone. Unless they make some serious update on the controls, you will need close by a keyboard. I had to discard the sculpting from my couch idea a while back. This is not a lack of features with Astropad (although more features are welcome), but the fact that working on ANY 3D package requires many keys to play with as the controls and options are overwhelming sometimes. So you are bound to have a keyboard with your iPad.

So if you already picked the larger format of the iPad, good! If not, a bigger real state is always better.

Pixelation is something we have to deal with in ZBrush, but is not as bad as it could be.

Astro pad would not be a good fit yet with 3D programs as Maya or 3DS Max as they need the constant refresh and the whole program will pixelate badly. But again, I didn’t bought this product to do that kind of work with it. :slight_smile:

hope this was of any help to you or anyone thinking in the same lines.


Just wanted to add my voice to the mix, as a professional 3d artist i’d love to use astropad for 3d applications - a lot of artists use a mouse, but equal numbers use wacoms - the three button pen giving us the middle-drag and right-drag ability we need to navigate - but any shortcut system to help would make astropad a great tool for our uses.


I hear you. We are working towards making that possible


command button/ zoom function dont seem to work for me.

Using Ipad pro.

Any ideas?

All other buttons work fine.


@hdcel Is the command key from the on screen quick keys not working?
Touch gesture zooming is not compatible with ZBrush, unfortunately.