ArtRage 4.5 is the latest upgrade of Ambient Design’s painting software application. Did you ever want to play with a painting program but found both Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter too expensive? Especially when Photoshop has too few tools and Painter has too much complexity? That’s where ArtRage comes in. It has the tools you need without being too complex or expensive. The latest version, ArtRage 4.5, is an easy-to-use painting and drawing application with a wide range of tools for novice and accomplished artists alike.
ArtRage opens with a simple interface. With the tool picker in the lower left-hand corner you choose among the tools you will work with and select how big the tool will be. Tools include brushes, pencils, palette knife, chalk, crayons, and more.
In the lower right-hand corner is the color picker, is used for selecting colors and loading custom pickers. Here you’ll find a big color wheel which shows you the hue and saturation of your color. There is a control bar underneath with a slider for setting how metallic your paint will be, and a menu arrow that lets you open up the color menu for important options.
You will also see pods in your window, which are place holders for panels. When you click on a pod it opens the panel to display the controls. When you paint, the panels, pods, and controls will get out of the way of your strokes. Each pods contains its own specific functionality including layers, stickers, stencils, presets, tracing, and more.
The main central area is the canvas where you apply your paint. As you work with ArtRage you will find that the canvas is pretty flexible: You can not only move up and down and across the area in two dimensions, but by adding layers you can move vertically up and down within the canvas space as well. You can also zoom in and out and rotate the canvas so as to more comfortably position your hand. When some of the panels appear to be in the way, they will disappear so as to give you full range of the area.
So what is new with this version of ArtRage 4.5?
• 64-bit support is now available in ArtRage 4.5. This means that it can use much more memory, and as such the application will not only run significantly faster, but you can work with a much larger canvas as well as more layers than you could before.
• Grids are activated via the Grids button on the menu bar. This means that you can overlay a canvas grid on your painting as a structural guide while you paint.
• Live Pencil Tilt gives you the ability to manipulate the look of your pencil strokes. By supporting Stylus Tilt, ArtRage lets you adjust the breadth of the lead that you put on to your canvas, giving you more range to express yourself in your work.
• Font Picker and text adjustments are now made more easily through the use of the Font Picker panel. This makes it easier to select your font and adjust how the text behaves, allowing more creativity.
• List item reorganization lets you manually reorder your toolbox items and color samples just by dragging them within their lists.
• Workbench reorganization gives you the freedom to make manual adjustments to your Pinboard, letting you control how your workbench works. The new Color Samples section on the workbench prevents samples from interfering with your Pinboard space.
• Multitouch on OS X means that if you have an input device that supports multitouch, you can now use scale and rotate gestures on your Mac OS X system.
• Resource Duplicate/Move lets you duplicate items in resource collections and move items between collections by right-clicking and selecting the appropriate options.
• Selection Sets are saved with your documents so that active selection sets are available to you upon reload.
• Speed improvements include faster transform operations on the canvas and much-improved undo and redo operation far beyond the speed increase from the 64-bit changes.
ArtRage 4.5 is an accessible and one of the most affordable painting programs on the market. The user interface is appealing and, once you get used to things moving out of the way, very intuitive to use. I also like how the interface is very customizable so that you can work the way that feels comfortable to you.
A big part of this update is the 64-bit capabilities. The program runs much faster and has much more ability to handle larger works of art and more layers. The grids are also really nice as they make it easier to work on your painting, especially when working from reference images and photos.
ArtRage continues to improve and with 4.5 has just raised the bar higher. If you have always wanted to test the painting-program waters and some of the other products were just a bit too far out of reach, or if you own an older version and are wondering if it is time to upgrade, then I can very highly recommend ArtRage 4.5.