The Bottom Line
- Inexpensive. Costs only US$25 for download or $50 for a boxed version.
- User-friendly and very easy to learn. Great way to experiment with digital art.
- Allows you to load an image as your canvas or as "tracing paper" for painting over.
- Layers support, Photoshop PSD import and export.
- Version 2.5 adds new tools and layer improvements.
- Sometimes brush strokes lag behind the cursor.
- No multi-monitor support.
- Lacks some tools you'd expect. Some I'd like to see are watercolor, sponges, and masks.
- Paint and draw with oils, pencil, airbrush, markers, chalk, crayon, palette knife, glitter, roller, tube, eraser, & stencils.
- Tools function like their real-world counterparts and can be adjusted for various effects (wetness, softness, angle, etc.).
- Stylish, un-intimidating, easy-to-learn user interface. Includes thorough User Manual (PDF).
- Load a tracing image and paint over it with or without auto color selection. "Pin" a reference photo to your workspace.
- Import an image as your canvas, then paint or color on it--or smear colors with the palette knife.
- Use preset canvas textures or adjust grain, color, roughness, scale, opacity, and metal effects to create your own.
- Metallic paint option makes any color into a metallic. Work with metallic oils, glitter, and shiny background textures.
- Tool palettes are easy to use. Palettes hide themselves automatically when you paint near them.
- Work with layers, including 23 layer blend modes. Import & export layered PSD files for Photoshop compatibility.
- New: Layer improvements, smooth blender, precise pencil, stencils for drawing shapes, lines, and curves.
Guide Review - ArtRage 2.5 Painting Software for Windows and Mac
ArtRage 2 introduced four new tools: airbrush, glitter, paint tube, and paint roller. The full version offers full layers support including all 23 of Photoshop's standard layer blend modes. In ArtRage 2.5, the layer features were expanded to include layer groups and better Photoshop compatibility. Also a stencils and rulers feature was added for drawing precise shapes and lines. The program includes several fun and practical stencils, and users can also create their own. Ambient Design's Web site offers several tutorials and a user forum to help you learn the program and interact with other users.
ArtRage is perfect if you have a child who's interested in exploring computer art; even very young children should have no problem picking it up. As soon as I tried the glitter tool it brought me back to kindergarten and making art with glue and metallic glitter. With ArtRage, there's no glue mess and you won't have to worry about your kid eating the foil glitter.
ArtRage is equally fun for adults--and educational, too. If you own a graphics tablet or tablet PC, you absolutely need to have this program. Go ahead and spring for the full version--it's totally worth it!
ArtRage can be purchased from the developer as a download or in a boxed version from Smith Micro (compare prices below).