I’m a bit late in this review, due to work constraints, but I thought I’d post my quick little review of the amazing ArtRage 3 Studio by Ambient Design!
The price has gone up a bit this time, ($40 for Standard, $80 for Studio Pro) but the incredible amount of features really bring this amazing application to a whole new level. ArtRage 3 Studio is not only a light and easy sketching application, but a powerful image editing solution that’s still amazingly cheap for it’s constant development, and ease of use. It’s so great in fact, my pal Sherm Cohen regularly uses it to paint the covers of Nickelodeon Magazine! Sherm has some great tutorial videos going through all the new features that you should check out if you get a chance, and is just an amazing cartoonist to learn from. Check it out!
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy popping this program open on my Tablet Pc. It’s just an incredible experience to mix paint and colors in, and just get right down to sketching and drawing right away. Even better on a Cintiq!
Ambient Design has divided the release into two separate programs. ArtRage Studio , and ArtRage Studio Pro. (For a more complete feature comparison list of the $40 / $80 versions, click here.)
My review will cover Studio Pro! Let’s get started: (Click on any of the screenshots to enlarge) This is an unsolicited and unpaid personal review.
Studio Pro starts up with a slightly updated interface. Ambient Design is famous for it’s extremely beautiful and easy to understand user interface design, and let me tell you, the best just got a whole lot better!
Each tool has it’s own settings popup screen that can easily be placed anywhere you wish. All the classic paint tools are there, and everything disappears on a simple right click of the mouse / pen. ArtRage exports to many different formats, including layers for Photoshop format. (PSD) -very handy for those who need to open a document in horrible Adobe bloatware.. er.. cough… ahem.. Photoshop.
Stencils! Remember using a frisket with your airbrush! Of course you do.. Well, now any layer can become a stencil! Here I’ve duplicated my main layer, and through the drop down menu, made it a stencil! Let’s cover that layer in black paint for the creation of a nice dropshadow..
After hiding my stencil, here I click and drag my painted shadow layer so it falls underneath my main layer. Then, using the new tranform tools, rotate and scale my painted dropshadow into position! Rotate, move and scale are easily accessed by pressing the transform button in the lower left toolbar, underneath the drawing tools. (highlighted)
Whew! Shadow into position, I knock the opacity back a bit, and merge the shadow layer with my brownish painted background layer. While I’m here, I think I’ll take advantage of the new mixing modes for the palette tool! Aside from the standard palette tool, there are some fun frosted modes that really make the mixing of the paint seem a bit more real and natural.
Onto the pencil tool! The pencil in Pro has been expanded quite a bit. You can not only choose from a gritty 2b pencil, but from an ultra smooth sketching pencil, or flat shader. Ambient has really done an excellent job here, and has created one of the most realistic digital pencils I’ve ever seen. Really fun and intuitive to draw with, and again, the settings can be tweaked to your heart’s desire amongst all the different presets.
Reference! Import a photograph and pin it to your canvas as a reference to use while you’re painting! Ooh.. maybe I’ve had too much coffee..
The airbrush has quite a few more modes to it as well, and has been greatly improved. Large brushes zip about with quite a bit more speed, and the brushes respond to the pen’s angle, as well as taper off in some of the presets. Very versatile and natural looking.
Stickers! ArtRage Pro ships with a wide variety of stickers for those of you that crave instant gratification or decoration for your digital paintings. I see these as aimed at those with kids, or a way to add spice to an existing bit of artwork. One can re-scale, rotate and freely place an almost unlimited amount of these stickers on your document on any layer.
Some of the included stencils. These can be rotated, scaled and placed anywhere on the screen. One can use almost any tool, to create painted rubbings on the screen. Very nice!
The new selection tool in Pro is just what I’ve needed in ArtRage all along! Make a nice creeping selection with the rectangle or freehand.. here I’ve set the selection to have softened edges on my painted sphere..
Finally, if that wasn’t enough! (And I’m sure there’s a lot I’ve missed..) ArtRage has the ability to rotate and place those boring vertical menus, anywhere you want on the screen, for a truly user customizable interface. Something I really haven’t seen in any other application. Maybe not something I’d do, but for those of you that crave a truly personalized painting interface, it could be just the ticket.
That’s it! You own a Wacom tablet, or Wacom enabled Tablet Pc? A Cintiq? You owe it to yourself to run out and grab a copy of ArtRage Studio or Studio Pro! My digital toolkit just wouldn’t be the same without it!
.. from animating, to animate.
Sometimes when I’m in the midst of a particularly difficult bit of work, I have to stop and do something 100% different in style for a little while, to get my mind back on track. Animation = Perspiration!
( TVPaint on the Cintiq 21″)
A little “mootar” test made using Artrage Studio, (Review posted soon!) and Anime Studio Pro 6 on the LE1700 tablet pc.
Bendy bitmaps F TW!