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ArtRage 4.0
Ambient Design's latest offering
By Ko Maruyama

In time for use with your brand new Wacom tablet, Ambient Design offers a new version of their ArtRage software. Version 4.0 is packed with a ton of new tools that will help you work better, easier, and give you the ability to extend your creative works for an affordable price.


You may have been using your iPad more than your laptop or desktop these days - especially when it comes to quick doodles or even serious artwork projects. You may also be using ArtRage 3 on both devices (iPad and computer), but if you haven't you might not know about the ability to move between iPad to desktop version and out to other software (like Photoshop's .psd format).


ArtRage 4.0 has many more tools than you'll find on your iPad version. At $50, you'd expect it to. This software has come a long way from it's early days of natural painting, but still excels in delivering an experience that creates some wonderful looking images.




The biggest new feature is the ability to take full advantage of the Wacom Stylus preferences. Not only do the brushes react to pressure sensitivity levels as you'd expect them to, but you can assign different tools to unique Wacom stylus devices. This is probably the most important feature that you'll find in the new software, but it's certainly not the only one that is significant to your creative workflow.

From a utilitarian workflow viewpoint, the new Workbench Mode allows you to quickly get the tool palettes (pods) out of the way. Yes, you can still collapse the pods by using the TAB key, but the new layout moves everything to the top of your canvas, while still giving you access to the pod shortcuts you want. In this mode, the TAB key hides the entire toolbar, giving you as much canvas real estate as possible.




Two other new features that you'll wonder how you've gone without are the ability to create non-uniform transformations (distortions / corner pinning) and the ability to store almost everything in your user presets. You can save colors with brushes, swatch sets in a user collection, colored canvas patterns.

There are several new features that you might find useful if you had used previous versions of related tools. References that you've pinned to the canvas can be used for color mixing or even testing a brush. If you want to scale/zoom a reference independent to your canvas, it's now possible. If you're done with the reference that you've pinned, just drag it off the canvas window.

Many other new tools round out the new feature set. Some of the new features address elements you asked for : A clone tool; A Paint Symmetry option, Gradient Fills, the ability to Lock transparent (or non-transparent) areas of a layer.

If you're a fan of ArtRage, whether it's on your iPad, iPhone or computer, there is no question that you'll appreciate the new additions to ArtRage 4.0. If you've been interested in creating some natural looking artwork on your computer, this is a perfect entry level software for you. ArtRage is easy to learn and offers many of the tools that similar software might charge 10x more for.

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.

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