The Bottom Line
ArtRage Studio 3 does an above average job of simulating real-life drawing and painting tools, particularly if you have a graphics tablet. Its brushes, pencil, chalk, marker, and other tools look and feel much like their real-life counterparts, due in no small part to the option to choose a variety of paper and canvas surfaces. We particularly liked the effect of the new watercolor brush on watercolor paper. If you didn't know better, you'd swear it was the real thing.
In addition to traditional tools, ArtRage Studio Pro includes a text tool, tracing tool, stickers, and stencils.
- Budget-friendly price.
- Clean interface and well-organized tool palettes.
- Tools feel and work much like their real-life counterparts.
- Works best with a tablet.
- You can only have one painting open at a time.
- Closing the painting you're working on closes the program.
- Available for OS X and Windows.
- Available in two versions: Studio ($40) and Studio ($80).
- Includes multiple canvas types and finishes.
- Supports layers and layer blends.
- Imports and exports Photoshop PSD files, and can maintain many properties of imported PSD files.
- Saves to 10 graphics file formats, including JPG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, and Photoshop.
Guide Review - ArtRage Studio 3
Painting programs have been around since the days of the very first Mac. While they've all been fun, most, at least the free and inexpensive ones, are a pale imitation of the real thing. ArtRage Studio 3 is a satisfying exception to the rule. Painting with ArtRage Studio is almost as much fun as painting with traditional art tools, and at $40, it's a steal. It's versatile enough to please artists, and inviting enough to be fun for non-artists. It's also addictive (don't say we didn't warn you).
ArtRage Studio's palette of painting tools includes oil and watercolor brushes, a palette knife, an airbrush, a pencil, an ink pen, a felt pen, and a paint roller, plus a text tool that lets you add and manipulate text. Tools to satisfy the kid in you include crayons, a glitter tube, a sticker spray that lets you spray or stick a large collection of shapes, colors, and effects onto a painting, and a gloop pen that creates expanding blobs of paint or ink if you click and hold the mouse button, or press and hold a stylus.
You can use ArtRage StudioPro's trace tool to create a painting based on a favorite photograph, or work directly on the photograph to add text, paint, or special effects.
One big advantage of ArtRage Studio over traditional tools, particularly if you're new to painting, is multiple undos. You don't have to worry about wasting paint, canvas, or paper while you learn or experiment. ArtRage Studio lets you undo an apparently endless succession of brush strokes, pencil marks, paint blobs, blends, stickers, and glitter, all the way back to a blank canvas if you're so inclined.
ArtRage is available in two versions: Studio ($40) and Studio Pro ($80). A 30-day demo version of ArtRage Studio Pro is available for downloading on the Ambient Design web site. You can also download ArtRage 2.5 Starter Edition, which includes 8 painting tools.