ArtRage 4 Painting App – Review

By Cory Healy on 19 August 2013
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A sketch prepared using ArtRage

A sketch created using ArtRage

As artists who travel frequently probably already know, it’s often not feasible to bring art supplies while traveling on commercial flights or other forms of mass transportation.  Bringing kits, sketch pads, and even canvas sheets on board can be a hassle.  One software company, ArtRage, sought to address this problem by creating a realistic art simulation app for computers and portable devices, compatible with styluses that function as paintbrushes.

ArtRage’s latest software update, ArtRage 4 includes a plethora of new features implemented at the request of users.  Virtual mediums include oil paint, watercolors, a variety of brushes, pen, pencil, crayon, and pallet knives—each with adjustable settings.  There are also tools for tracing and stencil-making.

I had the pleasure of meeting the app’s creator, Uwe Maurer, accompanied by artist John Colasante, both of whom invited me to experience ArtRage on a Microsoft Windows tablet.  Although it was my first use of the software, I found it intuitive and easy to use.  Outside of toolkit usage, one can resize, rotate and make  the kits disappear effortlessly, without having to pore through a confusing manual ahead of time, like many other image manipulation programs require.

The ability to copy work and tack replicas of it anywhere on the screen was useful.  These copies can be resized as well, and any work done on one version is rendered on the others in real-time, providing the artist with the ability to examine his or her work from afar without ever having to get up.  One can assign settings to multiple styluses – which need to be purchased separately – turning each into an individual brush.

There is a great deal of detail in the watercolor setting.  Settings can be changed such that colors bleed, instantly dry, or have a ‘messy streak.’  In these settings, the colors bleed and mix as real paints would on an actual canvas.  It creates a truly authentic experience, which, according to Uwe Maurer, was a challenge to replicate.

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