3D apps (ZBrush, Maya)


Hi there,

I just found out about Astropad and I’m excited to try it with my iPad Pro. I currently use a Cintiq, but I would happily dump it if I could use Astropad to work on 3D modeling and animation.

If anyone is using Astropad with Maya and especially with ZBrush, I’d love to hear your experiences and any tips you have.

Thanks in advance!

PS I also use Sketchbook quite a bit if anyone cares to comment on how that is working too.


Hi there!
I just bought Astropad for that exact same reason. For now I’m not completely convinced that it’s working out as a Cintiq alternative. Why is that?
When drawing in sketchbook pro it’s working pretty good. So there’s that, thumbs up!
But when you get to a 3D app (I’ve tested it using maya and modo), it’s a different story. You have to keep in mind that when you’re navigating in a 3D viewport the whole screen needs to refresh, 60 times a second. So what Astropad is doing to keep up with all the changes is reducing, visually, what’s happening. So you will see a pixelated image for the time you’re moving around, but it will get crisp again as soon as you stop moving.
Now in my case I’m using it on a pretty dated late 2009 MBP. So this might only occur on this hardware and newer models might be able to keep up with all the encoding work a lot better. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to test this on a different machine yet.

Another thing is that I can’t get the on screen shortcuts (shift, alt, cmd) working as of yet. As you know, these are kinda essential for navigation. I’m pretty sure there is a way to get them working but for now you could also use an external Bluetooth keyboard (like you would with a Cintiq as well).

To recap: the potential is there. But it comes with limitations, for now. Keep in mind that I’m still totally new to this and the app is still in development. What I would suggest is: just get the app, it’s only 19,- right now, and see for yourself if it fits in your workflow :slight_smile: . If you’re running in any problems then just get back here or write the support, Malyse is fast to respond and gives some awesome tips!

Let me hear what you think of it or if you have any more questions. I’ll be happy to test it for you and maybe we can help each other along the way ;D.



Nice! Thanks for responding pretty thoroughly. I have a question for you if you don’t mind. Is there hover detection at all with Astropad?


@jezreeljay unfortunately not, but that’s due to the hardware of the iPad. Wacom tablets use a different technique to track the position of your pen, it’s working somewhat like measuring the disturbance of the magnetic field close to the tablets surface (I guess :grin: ). The iPad detects only the direct contact with the surface.
So you can’t really use the iPad + Astropad combo like you would use an intuos tablet. But you can use it like a Cintiq, which is even more awesome ;).

I hope this answers your question :slight_smile:

Btw: I’m using Astropad on an iPad Air 2 with a Jot Touch 4.



Thank you, Tim! That helps me a lot. I think I’m going to bite the bullet and just see what all Astropad can do. After looking at some of the alternatives on the App Store, it’s clear to me that Astropad is going to be the best solution. I really like that the guys developing it are ex-Apple (full disclosure: I’m ex-Apple too) as it seems to show in the Liquid tech they created and in their UI and overall design.

I’m hoping with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil we will see more and more apps that run only on the Mac become iOS apps or new companies will bring things like robust 3D modeling to the iPad. But in the meantime, having a solution that “brings” Maya, Modo, and ZBrush to my iPad (and wirelessly even!) would be a fantastic stop-gap.

Thanks for letting me know about Sketchbook Pro, too. I use that heavily, but with their latest updates and support for the exceedingly rare Apple Pencil, I’m hoping to be able to do a lot of that work natively on the iPad if I can.

I’ll definitely let you know how my experiences go and thank you again for sharing your experiences and giving me the confidence to jump on the Astropad train!



@Headon glad I could help you with your decision :slight_smile: . I too am really looking forward to future apps for 3D artists, especially considering the iPad Pro which is packing some serious horsepower.
But I’m really happy with Astropad offering the Cintiq-like experience because this means no extra export / import step. The files are right there on my machine and stay where they belong.
Of course there’s still room for improvement (there always is), but I’m happy to support the team by buying the app.

So yeah, let’s use this thread to exchange experiences and tips and tricks for using Astropad for 3D modeling :slight_smile: .



Thanks for the discussion! I just wanted to follow up to let you know that we are working on improving Astropad so we will minimize Pixelation and have better shortcut functionalities.


That sounds very promising, thanks for letting us know :slight_smile: . I’ve got some ideas for improvements myself, now that I’m using Astropad actively. I was thinking about making a little mockup… Might post something in the next couple of days :wink: .


Thanks all.

It looks like Astropad—as it is—won’t completely replace a Wacom workflow. That said, I don’t think it’s trying to?That cursor hover is pretty crucial in my experience, especially in Illustrator and Cinema 4D. But to clarify, does anyone know if that kind of feature is completely impossible because of hardware, or is it just not implemented in software yet?

I’m interested to see how this is addressed. My head is spinning trying to think of how I can work around things like this, but I guess I’ll have to try it out for myself in the coming weeks!

Incoming armchair designer:

Maybe have a mode where the stylus is only in tracking mode, but you’d have “mouse buttons” on-screen that toggles click and hold. Thoughts?


True hovering would be impossible due to the hardware of the iPad. What could be achieved though would be to limit the pressure sensitivity, I guess:
lightly put down on the surface would only move the cursor and when you press harder (let’s say 20% pressure) the mouse click would be triggered. But that would mean you’ll lose some of your pressure sensitivity. I guess that would be okay for apps like C4D, Maya etc. and for something like ZBrush I don’t really see the need for hovering anyway :slight_smile: .


Would also be interested in seeing support for 3D applications like Modo

I’m waiting for my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to see where this is at this point but is there right clicking with an Apple Pencil and Astropad?

Also wondering where would a hovering cursor be a benefit in 3D (I haven’t tried it yet so I probably haven’t run into the issue)


Just bought AstroPad to try it out as a prerequisite to a potential iPad pro purchase (using an older ipad for now). I’m primarily interested in ZBrush and Sketchbook Pro.

First: WOw! I’m psyched for this app!!! Some great comments on this thread so far, and great to hear the pixelation will be improved. If I might add two important sugs (I am new to the app so if you can already do this, please correct me!):

  • The ability to store different hotkey configurations to pull up for different apps would be fantastic.
  • Ability to customize the screen hotkeys is essential for 3D. For instance, SBP & ZB both can get a lot out of Spacebar, and ZB will need a RMB click/hold to zoom/navigate easily. Holding a Spacebar hotkey in the side bar doesn’t seem to work well .

Thanks to the AstroPad devs for a very exciting piece of software! I’m excited to see the interest in making this a full workflow solution - If it can get to the point where it can replace my cintiq, I will be singing its praises to many other artists!


Not only we will be as good as your Cintiq… we will be better!


ok, so I just got this app… and I am so impressed with it! I can’t believe how easy it is to setup! it just works.

I am specifically posting in this thread because I am a 3d artist, so I have to work with many different apps including Photoshop (or equivalent) , Maya, 3dsMax, ZBrush, etc. and I was looking for a replacement for my MBP and another tablet… when I found this app looking thru some reviews on youtube from other artists.

Now I am not so sure if I am going to replace anything for the time being.

I jumped first on ZBrush to do some 3d testing and the thing that I see so far is that either wireless or wired I get the pixelation people talk about, which I assume is a redrawing speed issue? I do have a question for the developers on this. Is it because my Mac Book Pro is a 2010 model and I am using a 4th gen iPad? (I think is the first gen with retina display?) my scene in zbrush did not had anything special, just a sphere that I was sculpting, not too many polygons either…

Then I jumped to Pixelmator for some 2d testing, and as expected this works a lot better since the times the screen have to redraw is when I zoom in or out, and is so fast it doesn’t really bothers me. It just works!

I am using also a Wacom Creative Stylus 1st gen.

I do have to say, it would be nice if we could store different button/hotkeys configs to use on different programs. A regular workflow with 3d consists on multiple applications running simultaneously or one right after the other. So it would be nice to at least have a panel with different configs so I can easily jump from, lets say… photoshop to Maya or ZBrush and instead of reassigning the buttons I just click on the app config.

I will be doing more testing tomorrow on this app and what I usually work with, but I am so impressed so far!


we are working on per app shortcuts! thanks for the kind words… please leave us a review on the app store, it would really help us!


I just started trying out Astropad in my workflow (2012 macbook pro and iPad Pro with apple pencil). I use mainly blender and adobe applications but my main interest was looking into how I can manage 3D work/sculpting. I too came off impressed, its so close to being a good option to work on over a Cintiq. In my current set up the pixelation does occur when I pan or do a stroke on a fairly intense mesh (refreshes fairly quick) but its workable, particularly as a tool for initial block-ins (hoping to work from start to finish on a heavy sculpt through iPad using Astropad one day though). I miss having two buttons on the pencil like the cintiq but per app shortcuts would help immensely. Hovering, I miss too but not as much as I thought(still would be nice to have some form of implementation for adobe illustrator). I only spent a few hours testing a few files so I might not be accurate on all my comments. Its also still early with the release of iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil so I look forward to seeing how Astropad will evolve and take advantage of the new hardware.


Hi everyone,

I am so happy to see so many other people who are interested in using their iPads with 3D apps, and I’m grateful to the developers for taking an interest in making Astropad even better for us.

I finally got my Apple Pencil and spent a quick hour playing Astropad with ZBrush this mornig. I’m really impressed with what I can do already and my experiences echo what other 3D app users have already commented on. I think it will be great to have applicaiton specific hot keys, so I look forward to that. I will be diving into things more over the holiday here in the states and I’ll share anything new I discover.

For those considering an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, I can’t recommend them highly enough. I’m blown away. And Astropad on the iPad Pro is amazing. It’s incredible to see and interact with my 15" Retina MacBook Pro’s screen in fullscreen mode on my iPad Pro and have it look so crystal clear and be big enough to easily use my Mac’s menus and especially ZBrush’s menus.

Great job, Astropad guys! I’ll be leaving you a 5 star review shortly.



great to hear that! can’t wait! and yes, already gave 5 stars on the app store :smile:


OK cool! Thanks to all the other 3D fellows chiming in! I’m just getting started in 3D and your feedback is really assuring. Will definitely pick up a pencil + Maxipad as soon as I can. Still can’t find the damn pencil anywhere though.


If your in the us bestbuy may be the place to look they’ve had more stock than apple