ArtRage for iPad Review

ArtRage Drawing and Painting Art App for iPad

ArtRage for iPad
ArtRage for iPad Splash Screen. © Ambient Design

Publisher's Site

What is ArtRage?

ArtRage is a powerful art app for iPad. ArtRage offers a number of painting and drawing tools with adjustable settings, and flexible canvas options for creating art work. The user interface is well-designed and does not get in the way of creativity. Anyone who has used the desktop version of ArtRage will find the iPad version very familiar.

Version reviewed: ArtRage 1.1.6

Compatibility: iPad running iOS 3.2 or later.

ArtRage Pros:

  • Customize canvas texture.
  • 2048 x 2048 canvas size.
  • Tool and setting panels slide out of the way when you paint near them.
  • Gestures allow you to paint without constantly having to open and close tool panels.
  • Unlimited undo and redo.
  • Unlimited layers and powerful layer functions.

ArtRage Cons:

  • Brush strokes often become slow and lag behind the contact point.
  • Memory intensive. Users are urged to restart their iPad frequently to avoid crashes and slow downs.
  • No auto-save function.
  • Too many of the bottom toolbar icons are similar, making it difficult to remember their functions.

ArtRage Description:

  • ArtRage tools include oil brush, watercolor, airbrush, palette knife, paint roller, paint tube, ink pen, pencil, marker, crayon, chalk, eraser, and flood fill.
  • Users can customize settings specific to each tool and store presets of tool settings.
  • Realistic paint effects respond to wetness, paint thickness, canvas texture, etc.
  • Metallic effects can be applied to the canvas and/or paint strokes.
  • Supports unlimited layers and blend modes. Adjust layer opacity, preserve layer transparency, and perform layer transformations.
  • Maximum canvas size of 2048 x 2048 pixels.
  • Canvas properties such as color, texture, and roughness can be adjusted and saved as canvas presets.
  • You can sample colors from a tracing image to create photo-art.
  • Store an unlimited number of color samples.
  • Import photos from device library or camera as layers, tracing images, or reference images.
  • Export PNG files. Transfer PTG files to and from the desktop ArtRage program.

Hands-On with ArtRage

ArtRage is one of the few art apps for iPad which started out as a desktop painting software and was later developed for the iPad platform. In its desktop software form, ArtRage took a unique approach to interface design, and this user interface approach carries over very well to the touch screen interface of the iPad. If you have used any of the desktop versions of ArtRage, you will have no trouble getting around in the iPad version. You can even exchange files between the desktop and iPad versions of ArtRage.

Rather than using tiny icons and symbols for the painting tools, ArtRage utilizes a sliding "drawer" which depicts the various painting and drawing tools as detailed pictures on one side of the workspace, and then the color well slides out from the opposite side. Along the bottom of the screen are the typical menu items for adjusting settings and performing other tasks. As you paint and draw in ArtRage, these tool panels slide out of the way when you come near them, so you don't have to keep opening and closing panels to paint the entire canvas.

ArtRage offers more settings and tools than most other iPad art apps. Not only does each tool have its own set of adjustable attributes, you can save any of your tool settings as presets. In addition, you can customize the canvas texture, color, and roughness, and even apply a metallic quality to the canvas as well as paint. ArtRage supports a canvas size up to 2048 by 2048 pixels, which is one of the largest canvas sizes offered in an art app at the time of this review.

While many iPad apps limit the numbers of available layers and undo levels, ArtRage does not. ArtRage offers layer features comparable to desktop software, including blending modes, layer opacity, layer transformations, and transparency lock. With the tracing image feature you can load a photo and paint directly over it, pulling colors from the tracing image to create a photo painting.

Those who want more freedom can simply 'pin' a photo to the canvas as a reference image.

Unfortunately, all of this power comes at a price--ArtRage slows down often, and while it never crashed on my iPad 2, there are many user complaints of it crashing frequently. And with no auto-save capability, this could be devastating. ArtRage does has a warning system to alert the user when memory is getting low, and suggests saving work and restarting the iPad when this occurs, but it’s a tedious interruption to the creative process.

If the developers can eliminate the performance and stability issues that plague ArtRage, this app would really blow away many of its competitors. Personally, I found it fairly stable on an iPad 2, but first-generation iPad owners might not be so lucky. Even with these issues, ArtRage is a creative app you shouldn't pass up if you are interested in painting and drawing on your iPad, especially at the current sale price of $2.99. ArtRage goes back up to its regular price of $6.99 after June 26.

ArtRage in the iTunes App Store

Publisher's Site

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.