ArtRage 4.5

Avoid the mess of real ink and paint by do­ing art in­side your Mac in­stead

Mac Format - - RATED - Fun and us­able In­ter­est­ing new grid tool Faster and more sta­ble Some weird user in­ter­face quirks

$50 (about £32) De­vel­oper Am­bi­ent De­sign Ltd, artrage.com

OS OS X 10.6 or later Re­quires In­tel Mac, 1024x768 dis­play or big­ger ArtRage is a con­sumer-ori­ented app for work­ing with nat­u­ral me­dia – pens, paints and the like – from the safety of your Mac’s dis­play. The in­ter­face is friendly, if es­o­teric; it doesn’t look very Mac-like, but it’s sim­ple to se­lect tools, pick colours and up­date set­tings. If pal­ettes sprayed across your screen get too much, there’s a min­i­mal ‘work­bench’ al­ter­na­tive.

The tools are broadly im­pres­sive, typ­i­cally of­fer­ing a pass­able im­pres­sion of their real-world coun­ter­parts. We es­pe­cially en­joyed mess­ing about with ink pens, the paint roller and oils. Some items are glar­ingly off, such as the unim­pres­sive Paint Tube and Eraser tools, but they’re in the mi­nor­ity.

New to this up­date is a grid over­lay. Add this to your can­vas and your scrib­bles are sup­posed to align to the grid. Of­ten, the line snaps to a par­al­lel one, and the means to lock your di­rec­tion (such as by hold­ing ß) is missed. How­ever, the tool has its uses. Pinned ref­er­ence images also get a grid, which is great for up­scal­ing, and cus­tomis­able ink pen smooth­ing makes the grid handy for let­ter­ing. No smooth­ing gets you rigid, square letters; ramp it up for highly stylised but struc­tured char­ac­ters, al­beit ones where it can be hard to pre­dict what will hap­pen when you stop draw­ing.

Else­where, the up­date brings mul­ti­touch can­vas zoom and ro­ta­tion to the Mac, an in­jec­tion of speed, the means to deal with larger can­vases be­fore keel­ing over, a hand­ful of UI up­dates, and a pen­cil tilt tool that didn’t seem to do any­thing. A cou­ple of years back, we said that ArtRage was an en­joy­able tool for dig­i­tal art dab­blers, and this up­date – while some­what slight – does noth­ing to change that. Craig Gran­nell

ArtRage is an en­ter­tain­ing app for any­one want­ing to get their art on, even if not much has changed in two years.

The new grid tool, while flawed, opens up cre­ative pos­si­bil­i­ties.

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