Company: Ambient Design
ArtRage 3 Studio $40 (US)
ArtRage 3Studio Pro $80 (US)
In November of 2005 I first wrote about ArtRage. Since that time I have reviewed ArtRage 2 and ArtRage Deluxe for MyMac and each new version has made ArtRage better and better. It has also become a standard in my art classroom on my iMacs and my students love it. Well, I am thrilled to be writing a review of the newly released ArtRage 3. Just like previous updates, it keeps on improving.
ArtRage now comes in 2 flavors: Studio and Studio Pro. Pro is twice the price of Studio, but it comes with a lot more features for the professional artist and is well worth the price. Find out about the different features here: http://www.artrage.com/artragefeatures.html
For those not familiar with ArtRage, it is a natural media painting program for the Mac (and Windows). If you are familiar with Painter, Painter Essentials, or Dabbler you will be familiar with ArtRage. ArtRage mimics real life art tools and media, and it does a fantastic job of it.
ArtRage 3 keeps the same ArtRage interface, but improves on it. It has a slicker feel, and with the new version comes more tools. Some of the new tools include a watercolor brush, a smooth inking pen which is great for outlines and getting perfect lines, a special effects gloop pen, and stickers.
Two features which are a welcome addition for me are the text tool and the selection tool. In the past versions of ArtRage the experience was more of a true painting experience. You could not add text or select areas of your painting for editing for deleting or moving. This was not a bad thing, but it is nice to see ArtRage embracing the tools that make great art programs even better.
Stickers is a pretty cool feature and one mine students would love. Stickers does what it implies. You chose themed stickers onto your image. Stickers can also be used like a brush similar to the image hose in Painter. You pick an item and paint with it. For example, I could paint something covered in flames using the flames brush.
The new tools are great, and even the old tools have been improved and given new features. For example, the palette knife has a wet blender in the Pro version. All of the brushes now have presets, or brush variations, that will help you get just the right feel to your painting without struggling to get the brush just right.
Besides new tools, the interface has some welcome additions as well. I goes without say the new tools brings a larger tool area. You now have floating palettes which many of the Adobe products and Painter use. The palettes are fully customizable in size and position and can be hidden or shown. One of my favorite tools is the ruler. The big guys better pay attention to this ruler. You can reposition and resize it. It is very cool. You click and drag the end to resize it to your need. I didn’t like the pin used to move it around. That was a little confusing, but once I got the hang of it it was fine. I just love being able to put a ruler right up to something to measure it.
One of the coolest features that my students love in the older ArtRage, and is still in the new version, is the ability to trace images. You can load a picture into ArtRage and paint on top of it. The program selects the colors from underneath and you just select the tools and paint. If you don’t want to trace an image, you can load a photo and paint right on top of it.
ArtRage can be used with a mouse or a pen, but it really shines with a pen. There is nothing like using ArtRage with a pressure sensitive pen to get your artwork just the way you want it.
ArtRage 3 is so packed with features that I am sure I am missing plenty of them. You can get all of the details at www.artrage.com. You can also view sample artwork on the site or samples on this site http://www.waheednasir.com/, which is the site of an artist who uses ArtRage.
As I mentioned earlier, ArtRage comes in two versions now: Studio and Studio Pro. Studio Pro weighs in at $80 versus $40 for Studio, but is well worth the extra money. If you just want to play ArtRage 2.5 is still available for $20 and so is the free version of ArtRage 2 to get your feet wet.
No matter which version of ArtRage is right for you, you will not be disappointed.