- A social art/design software
- An online-based, multiuser art and design application
- A multiuser realtime system for painting/illustrating/designing/drawing/sketching and teleconferencing
- Artists/designers/illustrators in various fields
- Those who are managing the works of artists/designers/illustrators
- Those who often have to meet clients to work with them on a design, but also have to deal with a lot of travelling for their work or leisure
- Those who design for international clients
- Those who want to create artworks without dealing with real paint mess and art clutters
- Those who need to showcase design protoypes to clients and make real-time changes as necessary
- Beginners and Professionals
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Sketcher?
What are the software requirements of Sketcher?
Why am I only able to enter the General 1 room?
What is the digital signature dialog?
I see a blank window with an error message in it when I attempt to open Sketcher.
Sketcher is connected, but the canvas does not load.
HaveI have installed JTablet but it is not being detected.
Why is nothing labeled?
I am drawing with a mouse. Do you have any advice?
How can I draw smooth curves?
How can I draw fine details?
How can I recolor my line art?
Can other people see it if I add or remove layers?
Q: What is Sketcher?
A: Sketcher is considered by many to be ArtGrounds' main attraction. Sketcher is a social art/design software! It allows multiple people to draw on the same canvas in real-time. If you have ever used a live chat room before, you will feel right at home in Sketcher. Imagine a whole group of people working together drawing/sketching/painting/illustrating on a big wall. Now make this wall a computer screen and place it on the Internet. Add a chat room utilizing text chat or Voice over IP (VoIP) for communication, and you have Sketcher!
Sketcher utilizes the latest advances in technology and tools to assist artists in their art without losing the conventional feeling and methodology of drawing, painting, and illustrating. The tools Sketcher offers are intentionally simple and closely depict the process of writing, doodling, sketching, inking, coloring, and shading as if they were using a pen, pencil, brush, and real paint. We could describe the Sketcher experience as using Adobe Photoshop and Abode Illustrator without the complicated interface and menus.
A single canvass can accommodate multiple artworks created simultaneously, allow multiple users to work together in real-time, and allow users to view and comment on each other's work in real-time. In addition to the text chat feature, Sketcher also has a built-in Voice over IP (VoIP) tool that users can use to verbally speak to each other while they work without having to take their hands off the canvas. Users could also use Sketcher as a virtual conference room and teleconferencing tool where colleagues can get together on-line, regardless of their location to discuss and illustrate ideas, deliberate on problems, and find solutions, etc.
Q: What are the software requirements of Sketcher?
A: You need the latest Java plugin from Oracle. If you own a tablet such as the Wacom Intuos, you can also install the JTablet Plugin for Java. This will give you pressure sensitivity in Sketcher and several other Java applets.
Q: Why am I only able to enter the General 1 room?
A: All new accounts are restricted for 7 days. This prevents excessive or abusive creation of accounts and helps to defend against the automatic scripts that are used by some trolls.
Q: What is the digital signature dialog?
A: Digital signatures identify persons or organizations on the Internet. Verified digital signatures are issued and backed by certificate authorities such as VeriSign or Thawte in return for money. Sketcher is signed with an unverified digital signature. These are free of charge and can be issued by anyone. Unsigned Java applets are severely limited, for security reasons, while signed Java applets are allowed to access files and perform other actions that could potentially be harmful in the hands of a malicious programmer. Accepting a digital signature thus means that you trust the signer. Sketcher uses these extra privileges to save images when the user requests it and does not depend on a signature.
Q: I see a blank window with an error message in it when I attempt to open Sketcher.
A: This error message appears when a Java applet fails to open. Sketcher is a Java 5 compliant applet and the computer you are using must have Java 5.0, or preferably, a newer version, installed on it. Check the version number if you are using Sketcher on a particular computer for the first time. Sometimes the problem is resolved on a second attempt. A less likely cause is that there is an issue with Sketcher itself, and you may want to send us a bug report. Please click the blank window to bring up the details dialog, and then click the Details button to bring up the Java Console. Click the Copy button, and paste the text into an email. Send this to support and we will investigate your issue.
Q: Sketcher is connected, but the canvas does not load.
A: The most common cause of this problem is that Java is not offering enough memory to the applet. With the new and long awaited double size canvases, memory requirements are somewhat higher. We solve this for Java 6 and newer by passing a java_arguments parameter to the applet. Java 5 users can upgrade to Java 6 (recommended) or alter their Java runtime parameters under Control Panel → Java → Java → View... → User → Runtime Parameters (Windows) to say "-ms96M -mx384M" (no quotation marks). Linux and Mac users have the same setting available to them under System → Preferences → Sun Java Plugin Control Panel and Macintosh HD → Applications → Utilities → Java → Java Preferences.
Q: I have installed JTablet but it is not being detected.
A: Be sure to restart your browser after installing JTablet, and always connect the tablet before opening Sketcher. Java often performs upgrades and installs itself to different folders on your hard drive. Unfortunately, it does not take JTablet along for the ride. You will therefore have to reinstall JTablet each time Java is upgraded.
Q: I am drawing with a mouse. Do you have any advice?
A: Tablets are the best input devices for Sketcher. There are, however, measures you can take to make mouse drawing easier. Computer mice are actually sensitive and accurate motion detectors, but are usually not configured this way. On Windows systems, a checkbox named Enable pointer precision under Control Panel → Mouse → Pointer Options can be unchecked to improve pointer precision. Yes, you read that right. Uncheck it! Your mouse pointer will now move with steady speed. Pointer speed can be adjusted as well, but do not increase it, as lower settings are better. These settings are good for drawing only, and you should change them back after closing Sketcher. See also the next question. Other operating systems: Ubuntu users can set their Acceleration slider to slow under System → Preferences → Mouse. Mac OS X users need to install a tool such as USB Overdrive to disable pointer acceleration.
Q: How can I recolor my line art?
A: Open the Brush settings panel and click the Lock Transparency checkbox to the right of the top slider. Transparency locking is useful whenever you want to avoid coloring outside the lines.
- Abide by these rules.
- Avoid flaming, swearing, and pestering people.
- Always be polite. If there is a dispute take it off-site, or ask an admin to settle it.
- One account per user please. You have the ability to change your name.
- Do not erase the drawings of other users unless they ask you to, or they have been gone for several hours.
- Do not edit the drawings of other users without permission.
- Do not draw too big if there are many people in the room. Keep space for others. There should be enough room for 12 people to draw comfortably.
- Do not box-off or reserve spaces. If you do reserve space, keep in mind that that space is still FREE GAME for other users.
- Draw only PG-13 in the General rooms. Adult artworks may be done in Oasis rooms.
- Erase before leaving the room, unless you are coming back right away.
- Role-playing may be done in Oasis rooms.
- Do not force members to join role-playing activities.
- Admin decisions are final.
- If you are not logged into your ArtGrounds.com acount and/or are not a registered user, you will only be able to enter a room as a "Viewer". You will only be able to watch others to draw and talk in Sketcher, but you will not be allowed to participate or interact with them.
- If your account is less than 7 days old, you will only be able to participate in General 1. After your account is 7 days old, you will be able to participate in all of the rooms.
- If you wish to report something, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.