ArtRage Studio Pro 3 by Ambient Design
If you are a digital artist who longs for the days of squeezing a tube of paint onto a canvas, or watching watercolors wash over paper…yearn no more. ArtRage Studio Pro 3, by Ambient Design, is an excellent solution to the digital artist’s blues.
When I first took ArtRage for a field test, I immediately compared it to the more expensive Corel Painter. However, at 1/3 the price, and with an abundance of similar applications, ArtRage Studio Pro 3 is an affordable addition to the digital artist’s library.
Out of the box, the program had a nearly “flat-line” learning curve. The tools in ArtRage are very intuitive (especially for digital artists with traditional art training backgrounds). After spending a day reviewing numerous excellent ArtRage Studio Pro 3 tutorials by ArtRage expert, Judith Tramayne, I felt that I could easily master the program.
The interface, at first, appeared crowded, which is never a good thing, as work area real estate is an important aspect of any digital art program. However, all external tools easily disappear with a few quick clicks, leaving an uncluttered surface.
ArtRage Studio Pro 3 Interface
The artist toolbox includes a wide array of traditional artistic media, such as: watercolor and oil paints and paint brushes, ink and felt pens, pencils, crayons, charcoals and airbrushes. Each digital brush and medium acts and reacts like its traditional counterpart. Paints can be applied to a canvas or art paper with a variety of paint brushes (not just an array of brush sizes, but also of flat and rounded brush tips). Paints can also be manipulated by palette knife and/or paint roller. The effects garner a realistic appearance, in both texture as well as a blending of colors.
Of course, an artist never underestimates the impact the paper he, or she, chooses for the basis of a work of art. Within the ArtRage Studio Pro 3 preset Canvas Settings, are additional adjustable settings that provide the artist with a nearly infinite variety of papers.
Although designed for the traditional artist, ArtRage Studio Pro 3 also has a playful side. Crafters and scrapbookers will appreciate the Glitter Tube and the Gloop Pen.
The stencil tool allows for manipulation of the included stencil sets, as well as the ability to create and save your own stencils.
The sticker tool has two parts, one application allows for individual stickers and the other is a Sticker Spray that connects a string of stickers in a hodgepodge of shapes and sizes.
ArtRage Studio Pro 3 also comes with some easy to use shortcuts to make painting lifelike. Clicking on the “Canvas Positioner” rotates the canvas to precise angles. Holding down the “Shift-Key” and moving the cursor to the right or left instantly enlarges or reduces the brush size. If creating a straight line is frustrating, just hold down the “Ctrl-Key” and move the cursor vertically, horizontally, or even on an angle…and instant straight line!
One of my favorite tools is the smooth function within the pencil and pen presets. By selecting the smooth function, a squiggly line automatically creates a smooth line.
If you are used to working in layers, you will feel right at home, as ArtRage layers provide all the functions the digital artist has become accustomed too, as well as some surprising extra functions, like Bump Blend Modes.
Lastly, for the pure fun of it, the interactive tracing, and reference, features allow for easy re-creating of your favorite photograph with an artistic twist.
Ambient Design’s ArtRage 3 is for both the Windows and/or Mac users. ArtRage 3 is available in two versions (Studio and Studio Pro). The software is writing tablet friendly; I used the previously reviewed Adesso M14 Tablet and found it fully compatible (and a fun pairing). I would highly recommend going for the Pro version (which is what I used for this review). As a long time Adobe Photoshop user, and a dabbler in Corel Painter, I was surprisingly impressed with this powerful artist program with the affordable price.
Oh, and if you are a professional digital artist, please do not let the low price deter you from giving ArtRage Studio Pro 3 a try. Like the example below, courtesy of Nick Harris … some of the most prolific digital artists of our century have utilized ArtRage in their creations.
Copyright © Nick Harris All Rights Reserved
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Supporting Image Copyright © Nick Harris, and used by permission. All Rights Reserved.
March 15, 2010
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