ArtRage is a consumer-oriented app for working with natural media — pens, paints and the like — from the safety of your Mac’s display. The interface is friendly, if esoteric; it doesn’t look very Mac-like, but it is simple to select tools, pick colors and update settings. If palettes sprayed across your screen get too much, there’s a minimal “workbench” alternative.
The tools are broadly impressive. We especially enjoyed messing about with ink pens, the paint roller, and oils. The new grid overlay is also useful. Add it to your canvas and your scribbles are supposed to align to the grid. It’s not perfect. Often, the line snaps to a parallel one, and the means to lock your direction is missed. However, the tool has its uses. Pinned reference images also get a grid, which is great for upscaling, and customizable ink pen smoothing makes the grid handy for lettering. A lack of smoothing gets you rigid, square letters; ramp it up for highly stylised but structured characters, albeit ones where it can be hard to predict what will happen when you stop drawing.
Elsewhere, the update brings multi-touch canvas zoom and rotation to the Mac, an injection of speed to the app’s performance, the means to deal with larger canvases before keeling over, and a handful of UI updates. A couple of years back, we said that ArtRage was an enjoyable tool for digital art dabblers and this update does nothing to change that.
The bottom line. ArtRage is an entertaining app for anyone wanting to get their art on.