Black Ink is a new, non-realistic GPU based painting application that, instead of imitating traditional tools, brings new inspirations to every artist. Forget about pen and paper or watercolor and discover a new, generative and truly computer based way to create.
User reviews: Very Positive (172 reviews)
Release Date: Sep 6, 2013

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Recent updates View all (9)

May 13

Black Ink 0.225.1998

The Version 0.225.1998 is now available

Dear Black Ink users,

We’re happy to announce a new release!

Following the introduction of floating windows in the last release, we added a new “Secondary Viewport” which provides a second, independent view of your document to save unnecessary navigation while you work. It has all the common navigation and drawing capabilities of the main view to give you as much freedom as possible and create your own workflow.

We also added a log window to follow what’s happening inside Black Ink and a Preference window. This first batch of options in the preferences will help you set-up and troubleshoot your tablet as well as adjust GPU options.

On the drawing side, you can now choose whether or not to have a constant screen brush size and flip your canvas horizontally or vertically with corresponding shortcuts. Very useful for sketches!

About future updates, we are still working on our fill tools which are shaping up to be a very interesting and complementary addition to Black Ink’s features.

As always thank you for your support and see you again soon for more news!

Bleank Team.


List of changes :

  • New Secondary Viewport. This panel displays another view of the canvas with the same drawing features and live editing.
  • New U shortcut: toggle Secondary Viewport
  • New Drawing view can be flipped horizontally(shortcut: F) or vertically (shortcut: G)
  • New The brush size can be made constant in view space or in canvas space (toggle with: Y)
  • New Preferences Panel ( can be accessed from Main Menu > Edit or Main Menu > Window)
    • Stylus Section : User can now monitor some parameters of their stylus.
      • A calibration process is accessible now if Black Ink doesn’t retrieve correct stylus position.
      • The Reset button sets the calibration values back to the driver’s default.
      • The Precise stylus calibration check box discards the tablet driver’s stylus position and relies on the system’s mouse position (less accurate)
    • GPU Section : User can choose a rendering API, a specific adapter and whether Black Ink should wait for the VSync of the monitor when rendering the user interface.

  • New Log View panel. This panel displays logged information of Black Ink activity (shortcut: I)

  • New Notification Bar : Warning and error messages are displayed on this bar if the Log panel isn’t visible.

  • Fixed Rendering artifacts on some brushes

  • Fixed Random crash when changing color after clicking the color button in parameter editor.
  • Fixed Crash when using the Transform tool on little canvas.
  • Fixed Crash when opening a grayscale JPEG image.
  • Fixed Using the second button on a stylus stops the stroke and the user can’t draw until he uses another tool
  • Fixed An error in color mode blending equation.
  • Fixed The lasso informations are now in canvas space. This enables the user to transform the view while retaining all lasso data.
  • Fixed Tool icons and brush favorites overlaps after a Black Ink Window resize

  • Color palette is now interpolated in gamma space instead of linear space for easier color picking.

  • The maximum zoom limit is now 6400% instead of 1600%
  • TestPanel 1 and TestPanel 2 have been removed.

12 comments Read more

January 28

Black Ink 0.205.1923

The Version 0.205.1923 is now available

As promised in our last annonce, a new Black Ink release is out!

The most important new features are customizable layout, multi-monitor support and stroke smoothing.

List of changes :

  • New DirectX11 renderer when available
  • New Hold Z shortcut: set the drawing smoothness
  • New The Controller Editor can now be dragged out of Black Ink’s main window. More panels will have this behavior in future versions.
    This feature shows the new Stacking capacity for such windows in Black Ink. However, some controls/editors are fixed to their place to keep a consistent UI.
  • New Ctrl+← shortcut: Toggle Black Ink main window left panel
  • New Ctrl+↓ shortcut: Toggle Black Ink main window bottom panel
  • New Ctrl+→ shortcut: Toggle Black Ink main window right panel
  • New M shortcut: Toggle Brush Manager panel ( for the moment this panel is fixed and can’t be dragged out )
  • New Ctrl+T shortcut: Transform current selection
  • Improved Framerate when drawing.
  • Black Ink window can be resized by the dragging the top border
  • In the transform tool, after clicking a command button (like “flip horizontally”) the focus is not tied to this button anymore, so that pressing Enter validates the current transform.
  • You can now click on the brush and eraser icon in the top right part of Black Ink to directly select the last brush or the eraser ( same as B and E shortcut )
  • An option have been added in the Zoom tool to enable/disable zooming at more than 100%.
  • When using the Save command on a document which isn’t a BKD, the program automatically transforms the command into a Save As.
  • Fixed Sometimes when doing Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V on big images, the copied content isn’t polluted with some invalids squares anymore.
  • Fixed The Color Blending mode doesn’t output blocky results when using dark color
  • Fixed Crash in trial version when saving when the trial time has expired ( issue )
  • Fixed Random crash after loading a BKD
  • Fixed Crash when importing a grayscale JPG
  • Fixed Several ( all ? ) random crashes when using the program
  • Fixed If the Selection or Transform properties are opened in the sidebar panel, clicking the "Show Brush manager" has effect ( issue )
  • Fixed When hovering the Selection and Transform tools, the popups can disappear under the cursor, and you can only get them back by moving the cursor out of the panel and back into it. ( issue )
  • Fixed With multiple monitor, the Black Ink Window is moved to another monitor when activating the application.

This new version was a lot of work because we added some substantial internal features, which led to significant changes in the core - but it was well worth it because it will allow us to integrate powerful features more easily!

Black Ink’s OpenGL renderer is also underway, and will eventually lead to the Mac OS X version.

Anyway thank you for your support and patience.

See you soon

Bleank Team.

12 comments Read more

Steam Greenlight

Black Ink Beta

This product is still in beta. Purchase now with a huge discount, and receive all future updates for free! A lot of great features are in development for Black Ink and the special beta offer will evolve as they come in. Take advantage of this offer before Black Ink is complete!

About This Software

Black Ink is a new, non-realistic GPU based painting application that, instead of imitating traditional tools, brings new inspirations to every artist.

Forget about pen and paper or watercolor and discover a new, generative and truly computer based way to create. Black Ink’s non realistic tools makes creating original pictures fast and easy, whether you’re an experimented artist or never used a painting program before.

Black Ink gives you the freedom to modify your brushes in any way you want and no real life constraint is going to stop your imagination. You can create the perfect brush, or the most crazy one, and share it with other users for unlimited variations and effects.
Black Ink’s unique and simple node-based system allows to very easily assign behaviors to your brush as well as create limitless advanced setups.

And thanks to Black Ink’s GPU technology you can forget about the pixels and work on high definition documents. Don’t worry about the resolution anymore and just create a 4, 8 or even 10k picture and draw without slowing down on real, full bitmap documents.

Tutorials | Brush making | Tips and tricks

Key Features

  • GPU rendering technology offering unprecedented speed with full bitmap high resolutions documents (4K, 10k and more)
  • Non-realistic brushes for generative computer based creation
  • Powerful node-based brush customization tool
  • Unique and intuitive user interface

Upcoming Features

  • Tools upgrades:
    More layers options, transformation tools, search and filters in the Brush Manager, blurred shapes, canvas flipping, stroke modifier, new controllers nodes…
  • New features:
    Preferences, shortcut customizations, symmetry and duplicate tools, tile tools to loop strokes over the edges of the picture...
  • New brush types:
    Multi-splines, polygonal, multibrushes...
  • More details

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP (SP3)
    • Processor: Single Core Processor at 1.6 Ghz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Graphic card with support of pixel shader 3.0 and 512 Mo of VRAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Hard Drive: 50 MB available space
    • OS: Windows 7 SP1
    • Processor: Quad core processor
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Graphic card with pixel shader 3.0 support and with 1 GB of VRAM
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Hard Drive: 50 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
49 of 50 people (98%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 3
Black Ink has become my favorite drawing/painting application and I do recommend it, but you should be aware of some of its limitations before you decide if it's right for you.

The first limitation is that it requires a powerful graphics card to operate. Don't expect to run this on your laptop, much less your Surface tablet. The lag will make it unusable and some brushes won't even render. If you're looking for something to take with you so you can paint under a tree by the lake, this isn't the program for you, unless toting a massive rig on a picnic is your thing.

The second limitation is that the selection of brushes is very limited and not entirely satisfactory. While the software is certainly able to handle them, it contains no traditional brush/knife/spatula effects, giving you instead a number of flashy, but not very useful "computery" ones. Bleank's forums include a "brush exchange" where you can get another 20 or so brushes, but half of those are just experiments from people who are learning how to define brushes and most of the rest are interesting, but exaggerated effects of limited applicability. You might find about half a dozen actually useful brushes, including an impressive flame brush, a decent graphite pencil, and a nifty comic book hash shadow brush. The forums also contain a few tutorials on how to make your own brushes. How effective these will be depends as much on your own skills and background as on the tutorial itself. Making a custom brush is as much a technical endeavor as it is an artistic one.

The third limitation is that there are no geometric tools whatsoever: no lines, circles, arcs, rectangles, spline curves, etc. Their addition would make the program enormously more useful for certain types of illustrations, especially if they were given parametrizable "organic" effects (like random variations) in addition to being rendered with the current brush. Given how easy it is to do this (yes, I am a software developer and yes, I have written drafting programs in the past), it's difficult to justify their absence.

Also, keep in mind that you will need a drawing tablet and a pressure-sensitive stylus to get any decent results. Mice and track pads just won't cut it. This is true of all paint programs, but not everyone will think about it until they've tried and struggled with an inadequate input tool. I'm using it with a medium-sized Wacom Intuos Pro and it works great. You might consider upgrading to a stylus with tilt sensors because some brushes are tilt-sensitive and you'll get even better, richer results. Because Black Ink works best on large drawings, I recommend a large writing surface as well, though that's largely a matter of personal taste; I prefer to have room to move my arm rather than just my wrist.

But even with these limitations, what it does, it does very well. I am particularly in love with its layering feature. In addition to letting you stack backgrounds, foregrounds, and various intermediate slides, it's also great for experimenting on one layer without damaging parts that you want to keep. Which brings up the fact that Black Ink's undo feature works very well. This seems like a trivial observation, but I've used programs that make you want to throw the computer out the window either because they undo too much at once or they can't undo enough.

So I certainly recommend this program to anyone who wants a pleasant sketching/drawing/painting program, but I also recommend to Bleank to add more conventional brushes (and why not some more unconventional ones, too?) and a small panoply of geometric tools to make this a more complete and satisfying product.
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15 of 18 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
32.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 25, 2014
Great Art Program !!! I Like Everything About It Exept The Fact That We Can Only Use 8 Layers...
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17 of 25 people (68%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
22.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 20
This is a very nice application for all painters. you can make very nice pictures. You have ver much nice painting features.
When you like digital painting, than you must buy this application!
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7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
25.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 28
A standalone image creation and editing platform this is not.
Fully supports professional graphics tablets, although none of the default brushes seem to use tilt, bearing, rotation etc.
I'd like to see more experimental input options such as audio.
It rather reminds me of Alchemy, or of the newer Painter X3 gravity brush engine etc.

It could really use a brush size lock (zoom in = bigger brush-or rather, the brush stays the same size relative to the screen) The same behaviour really irks me with Mischief too. Seriously, toggle this feature on and off. This is the one and only thing I can say I actually hate about the app. Sadly I really really HATE that behaviour.

It's basically a very slick digital painting app with very limited editing capabilities and a single, very fast, robust, and customisable brush engine.

It's fun to play with but I can't get my head around the brush editor and I hate the brush size behaviour.
It's very good at what it does but it is kinda awkward, and expensive, and Windows only.
It would be unfair to review it on tasks it's not designed for so that's it.
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7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
15.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 14, 2014
Wow this program is insanely powerful. Although it's an alpha drawing software, it's still really strong when used to create photograph base, abstract art work. Currently the program has its limitation such as only having a max of 8 layers and not having filters or filling in color, etc. On the other hand, it has an unique brush creation feature which is really handy because the unique brushes can allow you to create unique effects really quickly and effortlessly, the program also feature a picture base painting feature, which is basically making a picture the paint.

-Great for non-realistic artwork (can still do realistic art work)
-Makes abstract art an ease
-Simple UI
-Unique features for a drawing software

-$110 D: (but you can grab it on sale, like now for 50 :P)
-Currently still unfinished (but I have great faith in it XD)
-No fill tool, dam it :(

If you are not experienced in digital art and just getting started, this software is probablly easier to get you started in digital drawing.
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
28.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 24
At first I thought this software was a piece of...junk, so I haven't touched it in a while. However after using Clip studio paint, and other art software I then tried to compare those with this piece of junk. After a couple weeks later I just love this junk. I can't stop using this junk, after rubbing my tablet for a while, the junk turns my rubbing into beautiful white pictures that gives me joy and happiness. I can no longer hate this junk and its just so easy to use. It's so simple but it gives me so much pleasure. I love this junk.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.2 hrs on record
Posted: February 22
Im too dumb to use this program at full potential
Yet i recommend.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 7
As of May 7th 2015 it's still very-much in beta mode, issues with Wacom tablet sensitivity, setting canvas size and the documentation is far from complete (a lot of missing and wip pages). No practical brushes are included, I guess it's up to the user to make them. Brush generation is less extensive than it was made out to be. Interesting but I can't recommend it in it's current state. Download Krita instead.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
27.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 30
Definitely the best performing digital painting software. Can handle 8k pictures with ease, even in this early stage. Brush exchange needs some more people onto it, but the options, holy....
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
11.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 13, 2014
Its potential is there, looks clean, works nice. Interface could be refined for tablet use, but works well enough. My only and biggest problems with the software is that it still lacks of some basic editing tools found in most other art programs. you never notice how much you use a blur tool to smooth gradiants, until you don't have one.

If your willing to play around with the brush editor, I say it is worth looking into; Not sure if it is worth 50$ yet personally, but what it got so far is a solid interface and system to build apawn in future updates. with the promise of future more features, I would recamend it.

However if you are looking for something that has all your standard art needs right now, I would double check everything you need is in here.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
31.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 18
Black Ink is an amazing program. (Probably one of the best art programs on Steam) The goal of Black Ink to focus on user friendliness and tool/brush creation and allow for infinite creative freedom, rather than imitate programs such as Illustator and Photoshop. It is however still in development and has a number a flaws. That being said, I have a few recommendations.

-Cloud Support

This is likely my biggest concern. It's kind of a pain that I can't access my work/brushes from multiple computers.

-Workshop Support

I can live without this one but it would be a neat addition. Workshop support would allow artists to share the brushes they've created. (Although it would in some cases be counter-productive, as people could easily abuse the workshop.)

-More Tutorials/Digital Manual

The lack of tutorials is a bit of a problem. I still haven't fully grasped all of the controls which has made my work a bit limited.

-Photoshop/Illustrator based tools.

This suggestion is a bit d!ckley on my part seeing as it would sort of defeat the program's purpose but in my opinion some of the tools seen as Photoshop and Illustrator could have uses such as modifying a scene in a way just brushes can't. It'd also help people who are getting into Graphic Arts (Such as a student like myself) slowly ease into the program.

-Simpler Editor

When I say this I'm talking more about presentation rather than changing the actual editor. It seems to be based around mathematics. (Which is fine) I just wish it were a little easier to understand. (I don't get math.)

In conclusion, Black Ink is a program with near limitless potential and it's just 45 bucks. (That is until the final product is released.) If you REALLY want to see what it's capable of, check out the portfolio on tumblr: Some REAL gems in there! ;)
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
27.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 20, 2014
Fantastic art program. It is incredibly diverse in terms of what you can create. I decided to take a risk and purchase this despite it being the first software I have purchased specifically for art.

Completely worth it. Apart from the layer limit which is kinda odd, it's perfect! I use the calligraphic pencil for sketching and it looks great. I would recommend downloading some brushes off the forum because the default ones alone aren't that good. The program does lack some features but I use it along with photoshop and it works perfectly!

If you can afford this, get it now!
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
62.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 21
make me forget about dota which is good
mastiin good
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
316 of 333 people (95%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
7.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 26, 2013
Make, download, or use the provided brushes to make amazing speed-sensitive designs. People with no talent can make interesting paintings in seconds, while those with skill can produce amazing picasso-esq poitraits in minutes. You might want to conisder picking up a small graphics tablet for an input device, also.

Or you can be like me and just get high and drunk and doodle, and then when people ask what you do all day, instead of having to respond that you're always sitting on steam, you can proudly say "I, sir, am an artiste" as you laugh and twirl your mustache.
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82 of 85 people (96%) found this review helpful
60.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 29, 2013
Black Ink is an... Intriguing tool.

I got this from a friend as main drawing software, since I can't afford the really shiny stuff like Photoshop and don't like getting out the old bottle of rum. Though it's really powerful, there are also some annoying drawbacks, mostly regarding the beta stage of the product.

First, the biggest and most annoying drawback: Bugs. There are times when you boot it up and try to draw with your tablet, it's completely out of calibration - something that isn't supposed to happen. The computer certainly detects the tip to be where it should be, but the program just paints a few mm to a few cm off to the left (or to the right, depending on its mood on that particular day). Besides that, Black Ink has the nasty habit of crashing from time to time, but as long as you save often that shouldn't be too much of an issue.

But, unfortunately, the topic of saving brings me to the most annoying beta-related downside: Corrupt savefiles. It happens, is really frustrating and I hope it gets solved soon. For now the way around it is simply to keep a lot of backups, but really, this needs fixing.

The last drawback isn't all that bad, but just a bit annoying: You can't zoom further than 100%. They're working on this, though, and I'm sure it'll get resolved soon.

Now, enough with the negatives! Positives!

Let me start this section off with what I am sure is the biggest selling point: The brush editor. You can create or download countless brushes, taking parameters as speed, pressure and direction and using those definitions to change your brush or add something or whatnot. I don't know much about it, but it's still pretty damn cool and, if you're looking for this, it's a selling point.

And besides that this is just a really solid tool. It's responsive, there are nice tools to add saturation to colour instead of having to change the hue up constantly to shade, pretty brushes... Fun!

All in all, though the beta stage certainly brings its drawbacks, this is a solid tool. If you're interested so far, buy it!
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54 of 55 people (98%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
696.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 23, 2014
TLDR; An exciting platform capable of producing HUGE resolution paintings with highly customizable brushes. I have never used a painting application and been inspired BY the painting application itself before Black Ink.

To get a good impression of this product and its developers visit the Black ink forum:

The following is based on my personal experience and user feedback I've read in the discussion boards.

Be aware that this software is:

- In development. Updates roll out on a regular basis, and u2 (developer) is highly responsive to suggestions and issues. Some tools you might depend on may not be included in the current version. For example, at the time of writing this review there is no smudge tool but it is slated for inclusion.

- Highly GPU intensive, but from what I can tell most dedicated gpus work fine. Check for compatibility. If you're not super familiar with computers or other painting applications, know that this is unusual. GPU vs CPU will mean that just because other painting applications work for you, it is not guaranteed that this one will. It did not work at all on my laptop, but works wonderfully on my desktop. Try the demo. Paint something HUGE. ;)

- Has node-based programmable brush controllers. Your typical sliders (color, size, opacity, etc.) are still there, but you can go under the hood to customize your brush by tying the behavior of various brush parameters to the input of your choosing. There is a lot of untapped potential here. If you're the experimental type or mathematically inclined, you have to check this out.

- Focuses on non-realistic painting, but CAN do realistic just fine. For either type, visit the brush section of the forum to see what the community has created.
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27 of 31 people (87%) found this review helpful
15.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 23, 2013
A really cool painting tool! Easy to learn its features and you can create awesome art work pretty fast. It might take a while to master them though... since this software gives a different kind of freedom compared to other painting software.

Experiment alot when you try to make your own brushes. You might end up making a super cool brush on accident. Also, don't forget to download other people's brushes on Bleank's forums!
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25 of 29 people (86%) found this review helpful
306.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 18, 2014
Very nice, simple, and easy-to-use application.
Provides many tools, effects, and brushes.
The pencil lines are realistic since it adjusts its size according to the speed.
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19 of 20 people (95%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
25.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 21, 2014
In my opinion: very efficient and modern drawing software if you have a powerful gpu. I usually work with Krita but when I need to draw on very high resolutions, well, Black Ink stays smooth and reactive while Krita can take 10s to display my stroke XD.

Some notes though:
- I already stated it but some people still seem to miss that it requires a powerful gpu, otherwise it is completely useless!
- The brush system is very powerful but can also be tricky and time consuming. Note that there are not many brushes so you'll certainly end up doing yours.
- Keep in mind that this software is young => not much resources on it (tutorials, brushes, ...).
- It is a completely different way of thinking so if you don't like new stuff, this may be a bad idea.
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23 of 27 people (85%) found this review helpful
25.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 8, 2014
Just getting started with this software, and I love it.

I'm a studio artist with painting, animation and filmmaking experience. I often work digitally. I've used Photoshop, Corel Painter, and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro (PC and tablet) to complete projects. Black Ink has enough going for it that its become my first choice in a very short time. I've only scratched the surface, but I'm particularly fond of the node-based brush editor. The ability to undo tool setting changes is a very smart feature I suddenly want in everything. Drawing on very large canvases is clearly more responsive than in Photoshop. Hot key commands are intuitive, and well implemented. Philosophically, I'm glad to have a tool that is uninterested in simulating physical media. Oil painting is great. If you want to paint with oils, get some oils. Drawing on a computer ought to be a different animal.

I'm looking forward to/hoping for a much more robust palette management system before the commercial release. If there is a way to create a palette with more than eight colors, I have yet to figure it out. I would also like to see a (minimal) vector drawing toolset, so I can be precise when I need to. All that said, this is a beta. It's supposed to be a work in progress. Currently, all the tools are there to do some exceptional doodling and quality finished work.

Stability has been good for me so far. I have a very powerful Windows 7 Intel Xeon machine, lots of RAM and a Quadro 4000, for what it's worth. I would expect this software to run well on a laptop, but haven't tried. I would LOVE to have Black Ink on a Cintiq Companion, if I were to spend $2,000 on a tablet. I might never draw on paper again.

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