Digital Design Tools on the Go Part 2
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Digital Design Tools on the Go Part 2

Jun 25, 2021
Video Length:  1:07:49
Presented By:  Paul Houchin
In the first installment of this series, we looked at some useful tools for landscape design on a tablet. In Part 2, we’ll guide you through the transition from your desktop computer to a tablet when you need to take your work outside the office. We’ll give our recommendations for preparing your drawings for pen and tablet rendering. You’ll also pick up some valuable techniques for moving your PDF sheets from computer to tablet for an optimal design experience while out on the go.

Webinar Contents:

Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)


  • Intro/TOC
  • Last Time Recap
  • PDF Sharing Options
  • Preparing Design for Render
  • Rendering a Landscape Plan on the iPad Pro

0:00 – 2:21: Intro/TOC

2:22 – 3:47: Last Time Recap

We briefly looked at two devices suitable for on-the-go work: the iPad Pro and Surface Pro.


As well as some useful apps for:

  • Viewing and marking up PDF documents
  • Sketching
  • Taking notes


What we really didn't get a chance to show off was sharing files between the devices as well as rendering a larger-format landscape plan.

3:48 – 13:38: PDF Sharing Options

Sharing files with your tablet (3:48)

Use a PDF editor to make notes and other markups on a plan.

  • Great for site visits, meetings with clients, or reviewing a designer's plan and making notes.


But how do you get your plan from CAD onto your tablet to use the PDF editor?

  • First, you'll need to plot your AutoCAD drawing as a PDF.


Sharing files (5:08):

Surface Pro:

  • If your Surface Pro is also your workstation, you're already set.
  • USB flash drive.
  • Office server.
  • Cloud storage.


iPad Pro:

  • USB flash drive.
  • Office server.
  • Cloud storage.


Some popular cloud services (6:46):

Google Drive

  • Best overall (popular opinion).
  • Seamless in PC And Mac environments.
  • We use it here at Land F/X.
  • Great if you choose to work in the Google Suite (Docs, Slides, Sheets, etc.).



  • Totally viable option.
  • Works well in all environments.



  • Popular opinion is that it works great even with Mac and iPad OS.
  • Great if you subscribe to the Microsoft ecosystem (MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.)



  • Works best in an all-Apple environment.
  • It's fine but not Paul's favorite.


Why we aren't demonstrating the Surface Pro (9:08)

  • Photoshop is the same as on PC but with pen capabilities.
  • Eric Arneson already has a great video on this. (He uses a Surface Book, but the experience is basically the same.)
  • Redundancy with previous Photoshop webinars.
  • We already knew the Surface Pro was capable of this task.


Why demonstrate rendering on the iPad Pro? (11:28)

  • We wanted answers to the following questions:
    • Can a larger document be rendered on an iPad?
    • What is the experience?
    • Is it a viable option?
  • Demonstrating in Photoshop:
    • Creative Cloud connectivity.
    • Familiarity.
    • Procreate limits number of layers.
    • Autodesk Sketchbook would also work.


13:39 – 16:36: Preparing Design for Render


  • Plot PDF files for different layers of the landscape.
  • This is demonstrated in just about all of Paul's Photoshop webinars.
  • Plot a single sheet for each of the following:
    • Trees
    • Shrubs
    • Groundcover patterns
    • Base linework


In Photoshop:

  • Understand that Photoshop on the iPad is currently limited.
  • Make some initial selection and fills on "base layers."
    • Tree-Base, Shrub, Base, Groundcover-Base, etc.
    • This practice helps in the rendering process.
  • Add in a color palette for reference.
  • Save into Cloud Documents.

16:37 – end: Rendering a Landscape Plan on the iPad Pro

Recommendation for a pen to use with the iPad Pro (Apple Pencil 2) (16:45)


Setup in CAD (17:20)

  • Layer preparation (17:20)
  • Plotting different layers of the plan (base, trees, shrubs, groundcovers, schedule, etc.) to PDF (20:56)
  • Choosing a CTB (color-based) plot style (21:14)


Combining all the layers into one document in Photoshop (22:55)

  • Use the Media Box option under Crop To (23:36)


Specific preparation for working on an iPad (25:04)


Render process in Photoshop (30:32)



Start with the ground plane and make selections and fills to make the details easier.

  • We recommend selecting and filling areas of the same material type (graphically similar) and having these on unique layers named (Name of object or material)-base.
  • Then create a layer above for texture.
  • Have a color palette available for consistency. Use the Eyedropper tool to select colors quickly.


Rendering in Photoshop on the iPad Pro (31:35)

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