DrawPad user's manual
This manual gives quick hands-on introduction
to the DrawPad program.
DrawPad is an experimental system
designed to shed light on the question:
"What would be the ideal animated napkin sketch?"
It is not a commercial product at this stage.
I tried to reduce things to their bare
minimum, to create an interface
that would encourage people to jot
down their ideas with the same ease
with which they now draw on a Whiteboard
or a restaurant napkin.
There are very few commands in DrawPad.
Mostly you just draw things with your pen.
It is very easy to introduce
time into these drawings,
so that somebody who later looks at these drawings
can see your creation "process".
Also, it is very easy to nest
animated drawings one inside the other,
so that you can quickly create
a "tree" of nested animated drawings.
Those are the only two organizing
The goal is to (eventually)
get to the point where DrawPad
feels like a physical medium like paper,
rather than a computer program.
The goal is to find a universal
underlying "physics" that you
would want to find on any PDA,
Tablet PC, or Web Page.
With such a physics, society
can start to build a shared literacy
that allows people to use animated "process"
when describing their ideas
to people who are separated from them in
place or time,
rather than being forced to
reduce those ideas to text emails.
How to use the program
The basic conceit of the program is that
it has only a few major metaphors:
Here are a few other things you can do:
You can draw things free-hand, and your process of drawing
can "animate" over time.
This animated drawing can be split up into successive "shots",
so that people can separately see
just the first part of what was drawn,
then the next part, and so on.
You can easily create sub-drawings that
can be zoomed into,
by drawing a lower-right to upper-left diagonal line
(a link gesture)
through some object you've drawn,
and then clicking on the object.
This creates a new link at that object.
When you click on this link,
then you are zoomed into a new sub-pad, and
you can make a sub-drawing there.
Use the "up" arrow at the bottom of the window to zoom back out again.
You can make sub-drawings of sub-drawings, to any nested level.
In this way, you can nest arbitrary
amounts of detail into a drawing.
- Delete an object:
Draw an upper-left to lower-right diagonal line
(a delete gesture) over an object,
and then click on the object. The line and the object
will both be deleted.
- Change the color of your pen:
or of objects you've already drawn,
by moving your pen to the lower left of the window.
When you do this you'll see a color palette.
Click on a color swatch to change the pen color.
Or, drag one of the color swatches over an object
to change that object's color.
- Group objects together with a lasso:
If you draw a closed loop around some objects, and click inside that
closed loop, then it becomes a lasso.
When you drag on the lasso, objects inside it move and scale.
Just click inside the lasso to get rid of it.
- Delete a lasso and all objects in it:
Draw a delete gesture over the lasso, and then click in the lasso.
- Enter text: by typing it on a keyboard.
- Adjust how much time each "shot" takes to draw itself on:
Move your pen to the upper left of the window.
You'll see a timeline with tic marks on it.
These tic marks represent the shot boundaries.
Drag right or left on a tic mark to make a shot take more or less time.
Drag downward between tic marks to merge or separate shots.
Once a drawing is made, people
can navigate it by clicking on
links to zoom into things, and by using
the three large
arrow buttons that appear along the bottom of the drawing.
These arrows do the following:
- left arrow:
Rewind to the previous shot in this drawing.
- up arrow:
Unzoom out of a sub-drawing.
- right arrow:
Animate the next shot in this drawing.
If this was the last shot, then
start a new shot (for whatever gets drawn next).