How best to use an IPad Pro like a "regular" tablet/notebook?


As a longtime iPod touch user I often found myself envious of the iPad’s many exclusive creative apps. When I had a chance to pick up a third-hand iPad Pro with Apple Pencil for a great price I didn’t have to think about it.
My initial experiences were encouraging, I could see myself adapting to the touchscreen and the Apple Pencil “just worked”, something I could sadly never say about my beautiful XP Pen tablet bought the year before.
I quickly found myself more comfortable with Nomad Sculpt than I ever had with Sculptris or Zbrush on the desktop (and having no proper pen to work with), and there seemed an endless well of very focused apps to do other fun things with photos, video, and audio.
Being an iOS device I had never expected it to play nice with my Win10 desktop, but hadn’t considered just how tall the garden walls might be. I found an app that promised to let me use the iPad as a Wacom replacement, and was told by those in similar situations that dropbox was the easiest way to move files between the two devices, and so I bought a program that would let me view files saved on the iPad and move them to dropbox (which I had already been using on the iPod).
I still feel like I’m missing something. Using the free dropbox I only have so much space, although more than enough to transfer work from the iPad to the desktop. And if I paid for dropbox I could begrudgingly upload models, textures, etc. from my desktop there. But this still feels like such a workaround. I was never big on cloud storage, I dislike subscription services, and more importantly I like being able to freely manage by folders and files by type, date, project…
So my question(s) to everyone is: Am I on the right track or taking the wrong approach? Should I just get used to moving things in and out of dropbox, or should I copy work folders from the desktop directly to the iPad (is that even possible)?
I’m curious as to how anyone here might be using their iPads alongside their Windows workstations, and if there is a way (or ways) of doing it that seems more natural or at least quickly becomes second nature.


I have found that the iPad is best used as a supplement, not a replacement. As amazing as Nomad Sculpt is, you’re really going to use it mostly for concept pieces. You CAN do more polished stuff with it, but that’s really what it’s best for. Large scale work is almost always going to be better accomplished on a more powerful machine. That’s why I never recommend laptops for high intensity work. Even they hit a performance barrier sooner rather than later. iPads, Pro or otherwise, are step below even that. It is what it is, right?

As far as storage goes… Yeah. Dropbox IS the preferred method of transfer for this stuff. However, push comes to shove, you can always just manually transfer from iPad to PC via cable as necessary. It’s not as flexible as working with cloud storage, but at least you control the storage situation. I’m not sure what app you’re using to connect to your PC. I’ll assume iTunes or similar. In either case, you have find the app setting that will allow you to treat the iPad much as you would an external storage device so that you can manually access the data. Otherwise, your subject to the app’s whims and strict limitations as to what you can see or access.

Once you DO have access to these files, you can just move them around as you would any other drive. I know that photos, for example, store in DCIM folders just like regular cameras. So, for these 3rd party apps, there should probably be dedicated file folders for their data too.

That being said, avoiding ZBrush, Sculptris, 3DCoat or whatever your PC sculpt app of choice may be is probably not the answer. As a hobbyist, maybe. If you intend on sculpting in a work environment then you just have to go with the flow and learn whatever app will be asked of you. If you already know Nomad Sculpt well then you’re probably your own biggest enemy. You probably just have a mental block against ZBrush. It’s all just UI/UX anyway. At their core, they’re all really the same. Know Nomad Sculpt? ZBrush should be easy too. Just a whole lot more brushes and extra doodads is all. Where it counts, they’re no different.