Tutorial :Application for sketching ideas on a computer [closed]


I've always wanted to sketch all ideas I come up with in the computer instead of on paper, but everyone knows that sketching with good 'ol fashioned pen and paper beats the crap out of trying to do it with a mouse (or even worse, a touch pad).

So I turn to stack overflow with this question: Does any one of you know a magic program that will help in sketching out diagrams, ideas, etc. with decent speed on a computer?

I'm not after something that will do pretty diagrams (that take ages to do, btw.) like Visio, Dia (kudos the the Dia developers though, kick ass app), etc. but for jotting down quick ideas and drawing early work flow sketches, etc.

(I know - a wacom board, but it's not really feasible to carry it around with your laptop)


I still go for a whiteboard and a decent camera on the mobile phone.

Normally when working on the whiteboard, we often go through a phase of erasing out all the unimportant stuff after we've worked out what the real essence of the problem and the solution. So we put some nice pictures on the wiki ;)


Did you consider some kind of mind-mapping application ?

PersonalBrain is quite handy for that type of task, even though the "diagram" feature is quite limited.

alt text http://www.thebrain.com/site/personalbrain/learningzone/topUses/awareness3.png


I'm actually a big fan of OneNote. It's great for entering text and organizing it in a visual way.


This won't do for situations where you're working with other people, but I often do my brain-storming with GraphViz.

GraphViz gives you the dot and neato languages for drawing graphs. So you start jotting down items and the relationships between them in your favourite text editor:

graph brainstorm {    release -- documentation    release -- "bug fixes"    release -- enhancements    documentation -- "release notes"    documentation -- "user guide"    enhancements -- "user requests" -- "support team"    enhancements -- marketing -- demo  }  

You can then turn this into a image:

neato diagram http://share4pic.com/images/2/9/3/2935067.jpg

There are lots of options for formatting and layout and so on if you want to prettify the output.


It doesn't work for idea's or diagrams, but i found this very impressive: I love sketch. Hopefully, we'll see similar tools in the future for other forms of information.

When i was still using windows i used adobe illustrator and a wacom tabled for sketching diagrams (example). Powerfull, but a steep learning curve, if you just want to do sketching.

On linux i use Inkscape (with a wacom tablet). It's not as powerful as illustrator, but it gets the job done. (example).

I would love to use a sketching tool for creating presentations. Have a number of slides on my screen, and just sketch to contents of every sheet, also using the wacom to drag and drop the slides in the right order, etc.


There was a research project called SILK (Sketching Interfaces Like Krazy) a few years ago (mid 90s) at Carnegie-Mellon. Two papers that talked about the work are Interactive Sketching for the Early Stages of User Interface Design and Just Draw It! Programming by Sketching Storyboards.

I thought their ideas were very cool, but the project seems to have blown away. I'm mentioning it here for two reasons:

  1. To support the questioner's idea that this would be A Very Good Thing for early design stages, and
  2. In hopes that someone else will have more luck than I did in finding out what happened to SILK (or at least the prototypes).


The closest thing to the feeling of writing on paper with pencil or pen that I have found is a graphics tablet (relatively inexpensive and small Wacom Bamboo is enough) with Autodesk's SketchBook Pro software.

Try the trial (if you have graphics tablet handy, not really the same with a mouse), it's amazing how natural digital drawing feels with that app.


Depending on how close you are to implementing something, balsamiq mockups may be what you want. I find it great for mocking up user interfaces, and it's probably not a bad way to start sketching a development idea.


Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is the closest I've come to a whiteboard after an extensive search. Minimal controls, yet enough. It's also attractively priced, in line with its simplicty.


I know you are "not after something that will do pretty diagrams".

However, I believe this new web flash-based application LovelyCharts might be oo assistance for quick (and nice too) diagrams, and can be compliant with your goal to "jotting down quick ideas and drawing early work flow sketches, etc."


Example of work flow sketch:

Flow sketch


Maybe you should consider buying a Graphic Tablet . I recommend Wacom Bamboo


I wouldn't suggest it, but people have mentioned mind-mapping products and even OneNote (¡sin comentarios!), so I'll plug my TheKBase Desktop and it's Cloud brother, TheKBase Web. NO, they will not help you draw things like on paper, but in many cases, diagrams are not what you need. You want to organize your ideas and whip them into shape.

If you insist on diagramming, 30x less annoying than Visio is SmartDraw (sorry for the Spanish grammar).


Moleskin for the win!

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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