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Adobe's Projects Mighty and Napoleon

The trusted software brand announces its plans for producing hardware for designers and illustrators

by Josh Rubin
on 17 September 2013

At MAX, Adobe's annual creative conference, the brand announced its exploration into the world of hardware development. Today, Michael Gough—Adobe's VP of Experience Design—took the announcement one step further. Their proposed cloud pen; Project Mighty, and digital ruler; Project Napoleon, are no longer technological explorations—they are products with a scheduled release. And with their first foray into this world of tools, Adobe is also releasing a slew of software products to bolster each one.


Partnering with Adonit—innovative makers of comfortable, precise styluses—to manufacture and ship these, Adobe will release the two products in the first half of 2014. According to Adobe, Mighty and Napoleon are their first tools for a new generation of creatives. Mighty is pressure-sensitive yet maintains smooth, natural-feeling drawing and it carries all of the brand's digital advantages—such as color changes and brush options. Also, as it is connected to the Creative Cloud, simple functions like copying and pasting are shared between devices and even apps on a user's computer.

The Mighty feels like an extension of the hand, too—the hydro-formed aluminum is shaped into a triangle with a gentle twist that is near ergonomic perfection. We used to sketch with a pen and paper all the time, and Mighty brings that familiar accuracy of analog back to drawing. Beautiful and intuitive, it is a marriage of what we knew and what we are capable of achieving. As Adobe defines, these products carry "the accuracy, expressiveness and immediacy of pen and paper, with all the advantages of our digital projects." At a glance, the Napoleon seems like a classic ruler-type device, but in practice, the stylus never even touches the ruler. Instead the ruler is used to set up straight lines and even stencil shapes that the drawn line naturally snaps to.


On the software front, Adobe also previewed two new iOS apps tailored for Mighty and Napoleon. Project Parallel is a drafting iPad app that includes several new, intuitive interaction paradigms that allow users to draw with the stylus, but control additional functions with their other hand—much like using a mouse and keyboard shortcuts in tandem on a computer. Then there's Project Contour—referred to as "Kuler for shapes" by Adobe—which makes vector images from photos. It's as easy as snapping and sharing. This allows access to architectural line drawing and sketching in simple, direct way. Both of these products enable what Adobe refers to as "straight line sketching." This announcement redefines the utensils for an ever-expanding, ever-progressing field. Adobe has developed software essentials—and now they're creating hardware that will interact with it better than ever.

Pricing and dates for availability have not yet been announced, but we eagerly anticipate release in the first half of 2014.

Images courtesy of Adobe

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