Morph Enhancements: Art Overlay Mode, No-Overlay Mode, Mac Driver and More
*You can also find this post on our forum, here.
We’re excited to announce a new firmware release (Version 0.9). The update went live last week, and it's a big one. To get it, install the latest Sensel App, and then update your Morph to the latest and greatest!
This firmware update includes:
- macOS Sierra support
- Support for the Art Overlay
- A new "No-Overlay" mode that lets you use your Morph without any overlay
- Improved velocity detection on the music overlays (Drum, Piano, and Music Production)
We launched our discussion forum a little while back, and we’d love to see it turn into a community where you all share your questions, experiences and suggestions. So if you have any feedback for this post, please share it here. Thank you!
One of our goals at Sensel is to maximize the support of The Morph on all operating systems. So when we learned that the Art Overlay would not send pressure, tilt, and rotation on the latest version of macOS Sierra, we set to work creating a driver that enables these features. The Sensel macOS Driver installs directly into your System Preferences and can run at startup, meaning once it is set up, you don’t have to touch it again.
As we've started shipping Morphs with the Art Overlay, we fine-tuned all of the details for Art Overlay support in the firmware and Sensel App. The Art Overlay has 3 modes: Pen, Painting, and Trackpad, which you can swap between by clicking on the 3 icons on top.
Pen Mode: With paper and without
The Art Overlay firmware includes our palm rejection algorithm, which lets you comfortably rest your hand as you draw with real pen and pencil on paper. The Morph's high-resolution force sensing lets it distinguish between a pencil tip and your fingers or palm, so you can hold down your drawing paper without leaving a mark. Due to variations in paper thickness and the difficult "knuckle problem" (where some people's knuckles leave a similar force impression as a pen) we had to do a significant amount of tuning and testing to make sure palm rejection works well for all.
In user testing, we found that artists without prior stylus experience were quickly able to learn how to use Pen Mode with paper to create digital art. They liked being able to draw with the confidence and control that pen and paper gives them, but with the many stroke styles and color options of their drawing software, not to mention the ability to undo!
For those of you who want to draw without using paper, we developed cursor-tracking functionality, which you use by grazing the overlay. You can select this option by checking the “Use Without Paper” box, which then reveals a sliding scale that you can use to change the force required to go from cursor-tracking to drawing. Our user testing showed that some users preferred a light touch, and others preferred a stronger drawing force, to avoid accidental strokes. So we thought we’d give you the option to customize to your personal preferences.
Please note while using Pen Mode: sharp tips may damage the overlay, so please be careful.
We also made improvements to our painting mode, which lets you paint with your fingers or other tools, sending rich shape information like size and orientation to your painting software. You can access painting mode by pressing the brush button on the overlay. Artists in our user tests wanted to use soft-bristle brushes with this mode, but we found that such brushes actually work better on the bare surface of The Morph. This lead us to invent the No-Overlay Mode!
The Morph can become any device just by swapping overlays. But what should it do before it gets dressed? No-Overlay mode can make The Morph into a large trackpad or painting surface when you use it without an overlay. After using the large Morph surface to control your mouse, we hope you'll never want to go back to a cramped laptop touchpad.
The default touchpad mode supports mousing and two finger scrolling. Windows 10 users can take advantages of Windows' Precision Touchpad multi-touch gestures. Artists can set the No-Overlay to painting mode, which feels great when using a brush. Go to the No-Overlay section of your Sensel App to try the No-Overlay Mode!
Improved Velocity on Music (Drum, Piano and Music Production) Overlays
Over the past year, we have traveled to music festivals across the US, including SxSW, NAMM, and Moogfest, where professional musicians and hobbyists could try The Morph. While they were excited to jam on it, some felt that our velocity curves needed some tweaking.
We took that feedback to heart, and began improving the accuracy of our velocity detection algorithms and MIDI mapping of the Morph's velocity calculation. This allows the Morph to better detect how fast and hard you strike it, which lets your electronic instruments respond more like a physical instrument would. After conducting internal testing with musicians, we are happy to release the new and improved velocity detection support for MIDI to all of you. Go ahead…play as gently or as loudly as you like!
And remember, if you have any feedback for this post, please share it here. Thank you!