Question about Hover; Why


I really like Astropad and barring a few little technical glitches here and there, which are usually taken out one by one, it has completely replaced my work Intuos5… I notice one thing that people who are usually not using Astropad, though, sometimes they do use Astropad, say it can never replace their Wacom or Surface devices, and that is the idea of hover.

My real question is: what does hover offer?

I was just very curious. It might be other drawing or sculpting programs I haven’t come in contact with, and I would like to get an idea in case I may one day use them, and shouldn’t pack my Wacom too far back in the closet.


I’m in that camp of folks who won’t part ways with their Wacoms. There are still pixelation issues with selections and the absence of a hover cursor prevents me from making accurate selections with the Illustrator Pen Tool, for example. For straight drawing I don’t need the hover capability, but for selections and placing points I definitely do. But there really isn’t much Astropad can do about that, as the iPad Pro simply doesn’t support that feature. So pin it on Apple, not Astropad.


I don’t agree about the hovering - there are possible solutions (that have been proposed long ago) for hovering e.g. keeping a finger (or two) down on the screen so that drawing is interpreted as hovering. The pixelation is kind of annoying though…


Let forget about tablet computers for a moment:
If you aren’t using a device that has a no screen (graphire, bamboo, intous-- what 85% of artists have been using since the early 2000s), you are relying on the hover function to tell you where you are and where you will go. You need to be looking at the screen while you rely on proprioception. So, hover acts like an aide in a digital workflow.

Throwing tablet computers into the mix, hover helps with the offset of the tip to screen since screens were much thicker in the past and this function was necessary. In the past, eh, 7-years or so, we’ve made a huge improvement in screens and off-set issues.

In addition, many digital artists grew up with the aide of the hovering cursor since a lot of pixel pushing is necessary in a digital work space (primarily anything that isn’t rastor illustration). Alas, Wacom has decades of software and hardware development behind them, so like geshults said, there’s still a camp of folks who just don’t want to part ways with their wacom, probably because it’s so ingrained into their workflow. A traditional artist leaping from paper to an iPad pro may not have this bias since they have, simply put, different motor skills (and probably work that doesn’t require something as fine as anchor points). Another huge factor is Astropad is Mac OS exclusive and many artist are on Windows, where Astropad doesn’t exist.

I wouldn’t pack your wacom away just yet-- Astropad is great but it’s still a budding piece of software. While they are actively developing new capabilities, Astropad is still limited to a select library of programs.

Phew, I hope I made some sense! I find this topic to be interesting and I’m sure a whole scholarly article could be written about this topic, unfortunately I am not that person, haha.



One example of the necessity of hover would be in zbrush. For me when pulling or adding zspheres its almost a must to know where the cursor will be pulling from. Otherwise you will end up with zspheres coming out of a models shoulder instead of making the neck. As others have mentioned it helps with offset from the parallax of the screen but this is a non issue with the ipad. I would still need it before abandoning my windows based devices (which I cant wait to do). Some have suggested a key hold while pen down for hover and release for actuation of the pen, or finger touch. Both seem valid. Not ideal to an actual hover but still acceptable. I feel like the digitizer should be capable of it if it were only implemented in the software but I doubt its even included in any dev kits. We need to let apple/developers know this would be a welcomed addition from the art community.