I employed my two-year old son Silas to helped out with this next ArtRage test. Today we were testing speed and the painting apps “mess factor”. Not trying to make anything too special our goal here was to see how well ArtRage could manage an untidy canvas. As it turns out it excels at quick dirty brush work and is a wonderfully expressionistic drawing tool!
The paint media brushes with their buttery depth and texture are a welcome relief to the flat world of Photoshop. Now I like Photoshop, I’ve painted in it for a good fourteen years but as a painting tool it is sterile. Although there have been countless updates over the years the drawing tools in Photoshop have never really improved much. I tried switching to Painter several times to fill this void but was never sold. Corel Painter makes nice messy paint stokes but on my iMac the rendering just couldn’t keep up and as a tool it felt frustratingly slow. My strokes would lag, especially when painting at a large-scale, and I found myself halving to rough paintings out in Photoshop before finishing them in painter. I also stumbled a lot with its interface, which was confusing to navigate at times. All this made for a pretty lame workflow and Painter with all of its 6D brush goodness was just never able to win me over.
This is not the case with ArtRage which can keep up with my quick strokes and took all of one minute to learn how to use. Case in point, my son Silas has played around on the ArtRage iPad app for the last two months and since the user interface between the two is all but identical he had no problem navigating the desktop app. Now he’s two so that translates as a very intuitive interface. Our one complaint is that changing brush sizes in ArtRage is a tad difficult. Both he and I struggled with this at first and the app could be greatly improved by simply moving the size controls from the corner of the screen to the brush settings tool pellet.
After a good hour or two of going crazy with our colors and brushwork Silas and I have concluded that the ArtRage passes the “mess test” with flying colors. There are always improvements to be made with these things and it would be nice to see a few more random functions like palm smears, gravity blending or water pooling which could effect brush stokes. For now though I’ll take ArtRage as it is as I am sure these sort of things will come.
A Few More Mess Tests
Here are a few extra mess tests that we made while putting ArtRage through the ringer.