ArtRage for iPad
Price £4 | Company Ambient Design | Web www.artrage.com |

A long-standing fixture on desktop computers, ArtRage may not have the following of Painter, but it’s a well-regarded package with a loyal fanbase. This release sees ArtRage migrate to the iPad, where the program has the potential to reach a whole new audience.


ArtRage for Windows and Mac OS X already offers a tablet-friendly interface, which means the fundamentals that define the software haven’t changed greatly for the iPad release. The two bottom corners present touch-sensitive buttons that reveal brushes and pens to the left, and the colour palette to the right.


The brushes are as capable as you’d expect from ArtRage’s pedigree, with oil, watercolour and airbrush among the media provided. Once you’ve laid down some paint, a Palette Knife tool enables you to smear it around. You can also create line art with a pencil, pen or crayon. Sliders enable you to adjust size and pressure, along with media-specific options such as drying time for paint. When you establish a combination of settings that you like, you can save it to a preset list to access at any time.


The potential of the brushes and pens is improved further with the ability to customise your canvas. Choose from canvas presets or make your own adjustments, and you’ll see your tools respond differently to the new conditions. The interaction is progressive, meaning that you could, for example, lay down watercolours on a rough canvas, then smooth the surface to work over the paint with crayons.


You can also work on layers, with blending modes that will be familiar to Photoshop artists, along with a Watercolour mode that enhances your paint based on its thickness. Add the brushes, pens, canvas and blend modes together, and you have a toolset to satisfy dedicated artists, wrapped in an interface that builds on the strengths of its desktop counterpart. ArtRage for iPad is a pleasure to paint with.


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Rating: 5/5