ArtRage 4.5

All the rage The premier paint­ing and draw­ing ap­pli­ca­tion packs a host of use­ful new fea­tures

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

The premier paint­ing and draw­ing app packs a host of use­ful new fea­tures. Nick Har­ris is a fan.

Art Rage’s rep­u­ta­tion for re­al­is­tic ef­fects and easyto-use cre­ative tools looks set to con­tinue with this lat­est version. Wet paints mix and wa­ter­colour strokes blend and bleed into each other with the all-nat­u­ral zing we’ve come to ex­pect, while the se­lected me­dia still echo the bris­tle of the brush in use. A range of stick­ers, clon­ers, sten­cils, sprays and pat­tern and gra­di­ent fills of­fers con­vinc­ing new-me­dia ef­fects, but it’s a hand­ful of new fea­tures that add a wel­come ex­tra layer of com­plex­ity to the es­tab­lished set.

With a tweak of your sty­lus’s sen­si­tiv­ity set­tings for ex­am­ple, the new Tilt func­tion makes pen­cil work more re­spon­sive than ever, and the Paint Sym­me­try op­tion adds mir­rored strokes to ArtRage’s cre­ative toolkit. The re­source drag and drop fea­ture brings global ben­e­fits, making preparing your tools a cinch: to be able to or­gan­ise pre­set brushes and pen­cils into cus­tom tool­boxes is a bless­ing how­ever you ap­proach the can­vas.

Bud­ding ty­pog­ra­phers have some­thing to shout about too, with the frus­tra­tion of not be­ing able to mix fonts in the same text block now a thing of the past. Im­prove­ments have also been made to the font picker, en­abling you to pre­view fonts in con­text as you browse the list.

That the new cus­tomis­able grid has taken this long to ap­pear in the app soon starts to feel crim­i­nal. Not only does it make po­si­tion­ing items on the can­vas and quick com­par­isons be­tween ob­jects (in­clud­ing ref­er­ences) so much eas­ier, it also brings a ‘snap to’ fea­ture to the ex­ist­ing toolkit.

In past ver­sions, the sheer de­tail of brushes and tex­tures has added more than a bit of slug­gish­ness to the typ­i­cal ArtRage work­flow. How­ever, the same can’t be said of version 4.5, which takes full ad­van­tage of the 64-bit pro­cess­ing power of the lat­est op­er­at­ing sys­tems.

Over­all, the float­ing-panel in­ter­face is clearer, more re­spon­sive and more cus­tomis­able than ever, and the workspace has been tweaked for more ef­fi­cient desk­top use. Whether you’re a dab hand with paint­ing soft­ware or keen to get cre­ative on your com­puter with the least-steep learn­ing curve and min­i­mal tech­ni­cal know-how, ArtRage comes highly rec­om­mended.

In the lat­est version of ArtRage, tool panes can be moved around the workspace and off the can­vas at will.

Nick Har­ris has been us­ing ArtRage from the get-go.

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