ArtRage 4.5

The lat­est dig­i­tal art re­sources are put to the test by the Imag­ineFX team… Artra­geous For­tune One of our favourite pieces of dig­i­tal paint­ing soft­ware has just got a lit­tle bit bet­ter

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

rtRage has long given us some lovely tools and ef­fects at an af­ford­able price. The lat­est up­date (v4.5) isn't a huge ad­vance, but it's a re­minder that Am­bi­ent De­sign is headed in the right di­rec­tion. Also, it's a free up­date for own­ers of ver­sion 4 – proof that the de­vel­oper is more in­ter­ested in peo­ple than prof­its.

Like Corel's Painter, the mo­dus operandi here is cre­at­ing a re­al­is­tic paint­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The tools on of­fer don't quite have the depth of Painter's, but there are more than enough and

AThere are enough tools to keep all but the most de­mand­ing of dig­i­tal artists sat­is­fied

they feel tac­tile and life­like. An oil brush starts out fully loaded with ink, but quickly thins out and be­comes more trans­par­ent. The wa­ter­colour brush, mean­while, de­liv­ers a pale line with darker edges – just like the real thing.

The way that dif­fer­ent paints in­ter­act is im­pres­sive, too. A pal­ette knife can be smeared over the vir­tu­ally damp can­vas to blur and dis­tort your cre­ations, for ex­am­ple. One im­pres­sive ad­di­tion in the lat­est ver­sion of Painter is the ad­di­tion of more psy­che­delic Flame Painter-style brushes. ArtRage doesn't in­clude quite as many op­tions, and the re­sults aren't quite as con­vinc­ing. There's still a lot to love here, though. With its chunky menus and large tool and colour se­lec­tion ar­eas, ArtRage looks like a tablet app, and as a re­sult it's far more ac­ces­si­ble and child-friendly than Corel's in­creas­ingly bustling Painter. It also in­cludes sty­lus tilt de­tec­tion – a fea­ture that's only just been added to Painter.

ArtRage feels like it's where Painter was a few years ago, be­fore it be­came crowded with fea­tures. This is no bad thing. The price is low, and we love the fact that Am­bi­ent De­sign has cho­sen to drop the Pro ver­sion so it can con­cen­trate on mak­ing the best pos­si­ble ver­sion of ArtRage. It re­tains an el­e­gant simplicity that Painter can’t match, and for the price it’s a very com­pe­tent dig­i­tal paint­ing pro­gram.

Re­sources such as Sten­cils and Pre­sets

can be du­pli­cated and moved be­tween groups (im­age shown

by Nick Har­ris). Col­lect lay­ers, pre­sets, colour sam­ples and sten­cils in the Tool­box. The thick­ness of grid lines self-ad­justs as the size changes. Tilt your sty­lus when us­ing the pen­cil tool and you will

no­tice how it di­rectly af­fects the lines you draw.

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