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Do you remember the technical pen sets from design studio? In the early days of drafting before CAD, the undo button was an electric eraser, and for some reason we thought it was ok to touch ink to our tongue to get it to flow again. Back then, a nice set of pens was your biggest expense and your go-to for design drawing. The technical pen set was actually an evolution of the original ruling pens1, which consisted of a pair of calipers that adjusted thickness by twisting a small dial.
The dial controlled the gap holding the ink and thus the thickness of the line. For generations architects and designers have relied on line weight to describe space, detail, section, and hierarchy, granting legibility to three-dimensional space within two-dimensional drawings. With a single line weight adjustment a three-D box could look open versus closed, up versus down.
With the pervasiveness of CAD software, pen sets were made virtually extinct in the 90’s and early 2000’s as the art of hand drafting faded from practice.Fortunately, creative production is fueled by much more than just efficiency, and architects and designers have given new rise to hand drawing and sketching as part of their process – a renaissance no doubt ushered in by the touchscreen and stylus.
“In the expanding digital drawing world, a one-size-fits-all approach of sliders for controlling line weight just doesn’t cut it for those that are used to fine-tuning their lines, or those working in dynamic drawings such as architects,” explains Mark Collins, Morpholio co-creator. Drawing traditions which are centuries old, but still well established, such as line weights proportional to certain conventional drawing scales and types, are impossible to keep consistent, much less keep track of in the telescoping virtual realm. Zoom in and your line is too thick, zoom out and it becomes too thin. “We needed a solution that would translate this crucial and precise language into the intuitive and tactile mobile tools that architects and creatives are relying on more and more every day,” explains Toru Hasegawa, Morpholio co-creator.
Welcome the ScalePen Feature
Today, Morpholio releases ScalePen, a patent-pending new way to draw on the iPad in Morpholio’s already popular “Trace” app. “We see this as an entirely new opportunity for architectural drawing,” says Morpholio Co-creator Anna Kenoff, “Rather than setting or keeping records of your own pen weight, Morpholio makes the software do the work for you.”
The ScalePen feature checks the drawing scale and zoom level continuously to automatically assign a calibrated set of technical pens. The result is simple but powerful – an array of perfect pen sizes that dynamically responds as you move around, through and into the drawing. It yields an enormous reduction in time for the designer, brings precision and clarity to line weight, and gives architects the ability to make beautiful sketches at multiple scales, within a single drawing, set of layers or layouts.
Start with a site plan and get ten pen sizes. Zoom in to a house plan and get another set. Move back out to your site plan and your original pens will return. You can now draw a detail and within seconds zoom out to an overall elevation without having to adjust your pens. Architects can finally take full advantage of the benefits and magic of digital hand drawing with this essential and time-honored tool added to their mobile arsenal. As a bonus, the ScalePen feature works on eight pen types, including pencil, charcoal, and brush, bringing it’s unique ease to digital rendering and design drawing of all types. Effortless precision, endless possibilities.