About Pen Stabilization

By default, when drawing with freehand drawing tools such as the brush, pencil or eraser tools, Harmony smoothens each drawing stroke you create right after creating it. It does this by generating the vector shape of your drawing stroke, then simplifying its structure of points and curves, to remove what appears to be jittering. However, this can cause your precisely executed strokes to lose in precision and quality.

When drawing with minutia and precision, you can use Harmony's pen stabilizer instead. The pen stabilizer allows you to easily draw curved lines with precision without having to apply smoothing to them after you have drawn them.

Harmony's pen stabilizer works by letting you draw a stroke of a certain length without generating artwork right away. Once your stroke reaches this length, Harmony starts generating an actual drawing stroke that trails behind your mouse cursor or tablet pen. It determines the direction the drawing stroke takes using one of the two following methods, depending on which one you select:

  • Average: Harmony calculates the average direction of all of your mouse or pen gestures between the end of the actual drawing stroke and the current position of your mouse cursor or pen tip, and extends the stroke in this average direction, effectively evening out jitter and rounding sharp turns.

  • Pulled String: When you start drawing a stroke, Harmony positions the drawing tool where your stroke starts. As you move the mouse or tablet pen, the drawing tool remains in that position, but a "string" appears, linking your drawing tool to your mouse cursor or pen tip.

    This string has a certain maximum length. Once that length is reached, the string pulls the drawing tool in the direction of your mouse cursor or tablet pen.

    NOTE The distance between your mouse cursor or tablet pen and the stroke can be adjusted. For the purpose of demonstration, these images were done using the largest supported distance.

Both methods allows you to cancel out the jittering and the small mistakes in your drawing strokes as you make them, rather than afterwards. But the two methods feel different:

  • The Average method takes in account all your drawing gestures. Therefore, if you jitter a lot while drawing, your strokes may jitter a little. It is also tricky to create sharp corners with this method. However, this method tends to create very consistently smooth drawing curves. Also, since it actually follows the gesture of your mouse or tablet pen, you might find that this method feels more natural than the Pulled String method.
  • The Pulled String method gives you more precise control, and can be used to make sharp corners with the right technique, but may be harder to learn and to master. Your drawing tool does not follow your drawing strokes, it just gets pulled in the direction of your mouse cursor or tablet pen, which means the way your drawing gestures translate into drawing strokes is different than what you're used to.

You may need to do some trial and error determine which method fits your drawing style the best. You can also customize the distance by which your drawing stroke trails behind your mouse cursor or tablet pen. A shorter distance will feel more natural, but a longer distance will stabilize your drawing strokes more.

The Pen Stabilizer works with the Brush, Pencil, Stamp and Stroke tools. Optionally it can also work with the Eraser tool.