Flame Pain­ter 3

One of our favourite pieces of in­die art soft­ware has just got even bet­ter – but does the price rep­re­sent value for money?

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

Now there’s an even bet­ter way to paint with fire! But do the added fea­tures jus­tify the ex­tra out­lay for this in­die art pro­gram?

Price £18 (Per­sonal), £54 (Pro­fes­sional) e’re big fans of Flame Pain­ter, Es­cape Mo­tions’ fire-cre­ation soft­ware. It’s a won­der­ful way of cre­at­ing real­is­tic flames, but imag­i­na­tive artists can use it to cre­ate ev­ery­thing from mi­cro­scopic nerve struc­tures to en­tire gal­ax­ies. With the lat­est ver­sion, Flame Pain­ter just got a hell of a lot bet­ter.

At its core this is the Flame Pain­ter we’ve come to know and love, and it works in ex­actly the same fa­mil­iar way as its pre­de­ces­sors. You’re given a blank, black can­vas and a con­stantly jig­gling brush with which to cre­ate your com­po­si­tion.

There are a va­ri­ety of pre­set brushes to choose from, such as Rain­bow Lens Flare, which looks like JJ Abrams’ imag­i­na­tion, or the good ol’ or­angey flames. There’s also a ca­pa­ble gran­u­lar sys­tem for ad­just­ing and cus­tomis­ing brushes. You can change their size, speed, soft­ness, cen­tre, chaos, noise, as well as pick­ing be­tween a sin­gle colour and a gra­di­ent. Dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions pro­duce jar­ringly dif­fer­ent re­sults, and it’s worth ex­per­i­ment­ing with the var­i­ous set­tings to find ef­fects which suit what­ever you’re cre­at­ing.

One of the big­gest ad­van­tages of pre­vi­ous ver­sions of the soft­ware is

WCom­pany Es­cape Mo­tions Web www.es­cape­mo­tions.com that you don’t need more than a mouse to cre­ate stun­ning work – in fact the ro­botic lines and de­fined clicks of a ro­dent con­trast well with Flame Pain­ter’s or­ganic scat­ter­gun ap­proach. How­ever, Flame Pain­ter 3 in­cludes sup­port for Wa­com tablets and Leap Mo­tions’ Kinect-like Mac and PC con­troller. Both of which work re­ally well here.

While Flame Pain­ter’s flames have al­ways been an in­ter­est­ing ad­di­tion to

The fact Es­cape Mo­tions has found so much to im­prove is in­cred­i­ble

Pho­to­shop pieces, there’s al­ways been a lot of back-and-forth be­tween the two. The lat­est ver­sion solves this with a plug-in that im­me­di­ately trans­lates changes in Flame Pain­ter to Pho­to­shop and vice versa.

This does, how­ever, mean you have to have both pro­grams open at the same time. This is be­cause, ac­cord­ing to Es­cape Mo­tions, Pho­to­shop isn’t ca­pa­ble of run­ning Flame Pain­ter’s brushes as an in­ter­nal plug-in.

Con­tact sup­port@es­cape­mo­tions.com

An­other new ad­di­tion is a vec­tor layer, which greatly in­creases Flame Pain­ter’s ver­sa­til­ity. Al­though you’re limited to a sin­gle stroke on this layer, it can be ex­ported as an SVG (Scal­able Vec­tor Graph­ics) file and then bro­ken apart in Il­lus­tra­tor or CorelDRAW. It’s an im­pres­sive tech­ni­cal feat, and it brings a sprightly other-world­li­ness to the staid na­ture of vec­tor graph­ics.

When we looked at Flame Pain­ter last year, we had very few crit­i­cisms and it seemed like near-per­fect soft­ware. So the fact Es­cape Mo­tions has found so much to im­prove and add is quite in­cred­i­ble in it­self.

The only stick­ing point now is the £54 price tag for the pro ver­sion, which is up £18 from last year. But we reckon the new ad­di­tions are more than worth the ex­tra out­lay, and Es­cape Mo­tions of­fers cheap up­grades to ex­ist­ing Flame Pain­ter own­ers.

Ran­domised el­e­ments such as noise can be used to add a lot of de­tail to your im­ages.

Even on its own, Flame Pain­ter is a pow­er­ful piece of soft­ware. Ver­sion 3 has found im­prove­ments where we could hardly see room for any.

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