ArtRage 5

nat­u­ral tal­ent For bud­get-con­scious artists wish­ing to em­u­late tra­di­tional paint­ing tech­niques on-screen, this soft­ware’s hard to beat

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This lat­est up­date could be per­fect for when you want to create a tra­di­tional-style paint­ing, but keep the ver­sa­til­ity of dig­i­tal.

The in­ter­face van­ishes when you start paint­ing near it so that you can put down un­in­ter­rupted brush­strokes

Am­bi­ent De­sign’s ArtRage 5 is the per­fect pro­gram if you want to sit down and start paint­ing straight away, but while other paint­ing soft­ware boast this abil­ity, un­der the hood ArtRage has enough cus­tomis­able op­tions to make it a pro­fes­sional-level ex­pe­ri­ence.

The re­designed in­ter­face is in­tu­itive and min­i­mal­is­tic; it’s de­signed to en­sure you can fo­cus on your cre­ativ­ity. The in­ter­face van­ishes when you start paint­ing near it so that you can put down un­in­ter­rupted brush­strokes, and reap­pears as soon as you fin­ish. These kind of help­ful de­sign choices are preva­lent through­out ver­sion 5, which is part of what makes ArtRage such a joy to use,

Es­sen­tial op­tions such as tool and colour se­lec­tion are im­me­di­ately vis­i­ble in the in­ter­face, while other less-fre­quently used func­tions are con­cealed in Pods to avoid tak­ing up too much of your workspace. The in­ter­face is or­gan­ised to max­imise the space you have for paint­ing, but it’s no bother to lo­cate an op­tion or menu when you need to.

The in­ter­face is cus­tomis­able: most panels can be re­lo­cated from the can­vas and moved to more con­ve­nient lo­ca­tions such as on a sec­ond mon­i­tor, and you can scale and ro­tate any of the float­ing panels.

The tools are lo­cated in the bot­tom left of the screen, with each tool act­ing much as you’d ex­pect of their nat­u­ral coun­ter­part. They each have a num­ber of dif­fer­ent use­ful and re­al­is­tic feel­ing pre­sets avail­able, and you can fur­ther cus­tomise their prop­er­ties by click­ing

the Set­tings box if you want to start fine-tun­ing ef­fects. The op­tion is there to create cus­tom tools if you’ve got a mod­i­fied brush that works well, but you’ll find a lot of the pre­sets are so good at repli­cat­ing nat­u­ral me­dia, that you may not even feel the need to.

An­other new fea­ture in ver­sion 5 is its abil­ity to im­port pho­tos or im­ages as both ref­er­ence im­ages and trac­ing im­ages. Mul­ti­ple Ref­er­ence Im­ages can be pinned to your screens so that you can use them as you paint, which is handy in it­self, but they can be re­sized, repo­si­tioned and also zoomed into if you only need to look at one spe­cific area. Again, this en­ables you to make the most of your workspace. Ad­di­tion­ally you can use your ref­er­ence im­ages to colour-pick, to make paint­ing even faster.

Trac­ing im­ages work dif­fer­ently. They ap­pear translu­cently so that you can see your paint­ing and use your brush­strokes to more cre­atively clone your pho­tos, while ArtRage’s Au­to­matic Colour se­lec­tion sam­ples the rel­e­vant colours for you.

ArtRage 5 is straight­for­ward to use from the out­set, with a gen­tle learn­ing curve. It helps you to pro­duce fan­tas­tic, re­al­is­tic-look­ing re­sults, gives you a lot of cus­tomi­sa­tion if you need it, and is a bar­gain buy to boot.

The lat­est ver­sion of ArtRage en­ables you to pin ref­er­ences – which can be re­sized and ma­nip­u­lated – to your can­vas, for ease of use.

ArtRage 5 en­ables you to choose op­tions such as how much paint is loaded and how well it mixes. Phil Gal­loway is able to put his tra­di­tional art skills to work in ArtRage, mak­ing the most of the pro­gram’s de­fault brush set.

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