ArtRage Natural Media Creation App Comes to Android

When it comes to natural media applications, there really isn't any competition for Corel Painter, a mature application that can be used to create imagery of the highest quality. However, such functionality comes with a matching price tag of $429. While Ambient Design's ArtRage is in no danger of overtaking Painter any time soon, it packs some significant natural media punch for a modest price. Factor in its support for Photoshop and it just might be all you need.

Beginners can take advantage of the Tracing Image system to import a photo as a guide while painting, with ArtRage picking colors from the image to allow users to focus on the brushwork. Those with traditional media skills are said to be able to employ familiar techniques, such as laying down blobs of color and blending them with a palette knife, and working with settings that reflect how they employ real pigment. It's even possible to pin reference images to a canvas while working on it. ArtRage can also be used to add natural media effects to images created in other applications, notably Photoshop, since it supports PSD images imported and exported with their layers, groups, blend modes and text layers intact.

Users can load a Palette Knife with paint and create smooth strokes of pigment across the canvas, blending as they go. ArtRage also allows control over the precise angle of the knife edge, handy for creating uniform strokes without worrying about how the stylus is held. The Airbrush provides controls for the sharpness of its falloff, making it possible to create hard edged strokes, and provides control over drips in the nozzle to allow spattered paint effects. Hard tipped media tools such as Pencils, Crayons and Chalks allow expressive variation based on stylus pressure when they interact with the canvas. ArtRage supports Wacom Stylus Recognition, which allows it to remember which tool you had selected for a specific stylus.

A Package system lets users gather together custom resources and compress them in a data file that can be shared with other users. Also notable is a Script File feature that makes it possible to record the process of painting to a data file that can then be played back, reproducing the strokes that made up the painting dynamically for the viewer.

Version 4.5 for Mac and Windows was released in August and notably added support for 64-bit systems, offering potential speed improvements and the ability to work with larger files. Performance on 32-bit systems was also said to be improved. The addition of a Grid tool was significant, with grids functioning either as a passive reference or providing active snap-to characteristics. Live Pencil Tilt allowed the Pencil tool to reflect the angle of the stylus via the creation of thicker or thinner lines. Support was also added for multi-touch OS X devices (this was already present for similar Windows devices).

While a version for iOS has been available for some time, now Android users can also tap the creative possibilities of ArtRage. But not just any Android users. The new release has been optimized for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge, with Samsung making this available for free download via its GALAXY Gifts initiative. Not a bad idea, since this version of ArtRage is said to take full advantage of the Samsung S-Pen, a pressure sensitive drawing stylus that's fully integrated into the Samsung device operating system, something of which iOS users can only dream.

As with the desktop version, the Android edition provides a gamut of painting, drawing and sketching tools, including Oil Brush, Watercolors, Airbrush, Palette Knife, Paint Roller & Tube, Ink Pen, Pencil & Marker Pen, Pastel (Chalk & Crayon) and Eraser. Each tool has its own settings and custom tool presets. Users of other Samsung Galaxy mobile devices can purchase this for $4.99, with general Android availability set for early 2015.

More information is available on the ArtRage site.