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?
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.
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.