Enable Brush Barrel Rotation for the Apple Pencil Pro

The Apple Pencil Pro has introduced a new feature called barrel rotation that allows real-time rotation of your cursor and brushes as you rotate your Apple Pencil. We jumped at the chance to have this feature in Astropad Studio, so it will be available to any  Apple Pencil Pro users in the 5.4 update for Astropad Studio!

Very few desktop art programs currently support automatic brush rotation through a pen’s barrel rotation, but we have instructions to utilize this feature in the programs that do. 

Photoshop CC

Barrel rotation is enabled in Photoshop through the brush settings.

1. Choose a brush you would like barrel rotation enabled for.

2. Select the brush settings for your chosen brush. If you are using the default Photoshop layout, you can access this through the icon shown below on the right depicting a brush and bulleted list. 

3. Click on Shape Dynamics, then under Angle Jitter, change the dropdown menu labeled Control to Rotation.

Keep in mind, that this is a per-brush setting when done this way. These steps will need to be repeated for any additional brushes you would like to utilize barrel rotation.

Adobe Illustrator CC

Adobe Illustrator has many uses for barrel rotation; the most commonly used will likely be for the angle of brushes, though there are options for width, roundness, and size, depending on the brush you are editing. For our example, we will be showing a calligraphic brush. 

1. Open the Brushes window. This can be done by clicking on Window in the menu bar, and then on Brushes. You can also open this window using F5. 

2. Choose your brush from the Brush Window, click the hamburger menu ☰ in the top right, then select Brush Options. Your chosen brush will have a double box around it in the brush window. Keep in mind, that not all brushes have brush options, like the Basic Brush. 

3. Select Rotation from the dropdown menu next to your preferred setting in the Brush Options. For the Calligraphic brush that we chose for this example, we have three settings that can be affected by rotation: Angle, Roundness, and Size. Others may only have Width or Size available.

Krita (Windows Only)

Before diving into enabling barrel rotation for your brushes in Krita, please be sure to disable High resolution input in the Windows Astropad Studio Advanced settings!

Keep in mind, that the use of the barrel rotation feature is currently only available in the Windows version of Krita. Enabling brush rotation is done in the brush settings, similar to Photoshop.

1. Select the brush you would like barrel rotation enabled for

2. Open the Brush Editor. This can be done by clicking on the icon depicting a brush stroke with a bulleted list under it in the top left toolbar.

3. In the Brush editor menu along the left, select Rotation. Once this is checked, enable rotation once more in the Rotation settings for the brush. 

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