This week marked the release of the first major update to Superbrush, Android’s first pressure-sensitive display mirroring app. The most prominent feature was the addition of a virtual monitor driver, which essentially turns the app into a portable USB monitor. To emphasize this functionality, I have decided to rename the app superDisplay.
In addition to the new features, superDisplay now offers a free 3-day trial, and the price of the app has been significantly reduced to $10 — at least for a while. If that got you interested and you can’t wait to try the app, check it out at https://superdisplay.app. Otherwise keep reading for a closer look at all the new features.
Virtual Display Functionality
Probably the most frequently requested feature for Superbrush version 1.0 was the ability to use the application as a second screen, which is why I’m incredibly excited to announce that this is finally possible. To change the app back into mirror mode, you need to select to clone the desktop on both devices from Windows’ display settings.
Touch Gestures for Zooming and Rotating the Screen
Another huge feature is the ability to zoom and rotate the whole screen on your device using touch gestures. While you can increase the size of the interface of most Windows applications via Windows display scaling — accessible in Windows’ display settings — many Android phones and even some tablets are simply too small to comfortably accommodate the drawing canvas and the user interface at the same time. Zooming makes it easier to hit those buttons, as well as enabling easy canvas navigation in Windows applications that do not have gesture support or implement it poorly.
On-Screen Shortcut Buttons and Touch Menu
As if zooming and rotating weren’t enough by themselves, you can even save the zoom level and orientation of the screen, and return to it later with the push of a button. This makes it easy to switch between the canvas and the toolbox, for example. Saving the canvas orientation — or view — is implemented as slots represented by the letters α, β and λ in the touch menu. Selecting any one of these will switch the current view to whatever the view was when that slot was last active. To quickly reset the view to the whole screen, just tap and hold one of the buttons.
To access the touch menu, you need to tap and hold the circular button at the top-left corner of the screen. Simply tapping the button switches between forwarding touch input to Windows and resizing the canvas, although the former can be customized from the settings. Likewise, if you don’t want to see the touch menu at all, you can disable it altogether from the settings.
The last button you will see on the touch menu by default is an undo/redo button, which send the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Z to Windows when tapped, and Ctrl+Shift+Z when tapped and held. This button is fully customizable from the settings, and you can even add more buttons if you want to.
Easier USB Connections
The way you connect superDisplay to Windows has been rethought as well. No longer is it necessary to install vendor-specific drivers or enable developer mode, as the application will automatically connect upon being plugged in as long as the superDisplay driver is installed on your PC.
Due to hardware limitations, this plug-and-play connection mode is unfortunately not supported on Chromebooks, but you can still use the app on a Chromebook by enabling developer mode and USB debugging.
Point Sampling for Pixel Art
Thanks to a user request, superDisplay now includes an advanced setting that allows changing the sampling mode while zooming to pixel-based point sampling. Point sampling — also known as nearest-neighbor or integer sampling — gives individual pixels hard edges. This small tweak can make a world of a difference to anyone working on pixel art.
Although this is likely the biggest update to superDisplay in a long while, there is still more to come. Features such as support for tilt-sensitive styluses has been requested and will be added in the future.
To stay up to date with superDisplay, follow this blog on Medium or follow me on Twitter under the handle @KeloCube. And don’t forget to check out the app itself at https://superdisplay.app!
For media queries, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.