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