View Full Version : Pen Tool for ArtRage using AutoHotKey

12-31-2020, 06:06 AM
Hello there!,

I generally create my art using ArtRage on a Windows laptop and recently have decided this Christmas to create a pen tool for ArtRage as I have never been quite happy with what I have found out there.

The pen tool below contains all the tools I most often use and enables painting on my Windows laptop without the need for any extra accessories and just to use a stylus, so I thought I would share if anyone is interested.

It uses a tool called autohotkey which is an automation scripting language for Windows, so just google autohotkey, download and install, get my autohotkey script from the link below and just double click the .ahk script to run up!

The script can be edited in any text editor so it can be easily modified to anyone's personal preferences.

ArtRageTool Version 1:


Note that the Size and Pick buttons hold down the Shift and Alt key respectively for 1.5 seconds to enable the stylus to either resize the brush or to pick a colour.

Oh and some of the shortcuts that each button initiates may be specifically ones that I have set up myself, like for example, Warp which I assign to <Ctrl>w but they are easily changed in the .ahk file


12-31-2020, 01:47 PM
Thanks Red for the Chrissie Pressie.:cool: I've downloaded and checked out all the keys and it works! I'll give it a full workout today on my current painting and I'm sure it's going to be fun to use as well as a time saver. I have never used hotkeys as my tablet is very basic and so is my stylus. I won't have the courage to play with the script to change anything.

Thanks again for sharing you expertise. Have you been painting lately? Haven't seen you for a while.

01-01-2021, 09:44 AM
Hi Enug, yes I have been painting and I still use ArtRage to finish my art but have been playing around with, ahem, another art application on android!, here is some art I have recently finished on ArtRage :


01-01-2021, 11:33 AM
What no monsters? These are great - I like how you show the brushstrokes. I have a tendency to want to 'smooth' them out. The dog of course is my favourite.

I tried out the pen tool and it really works well for me - I just have to get into the habit to use it instead of reaching for the tool. One question- I don't use the warp tool so how do I change it to - say, select layer contents?

01-02-2021, 02:51 AM
I'm not doing too many monsters these days, mainly just portraits, both human and animal!

I'm glad that you are finding the tool useful! the shortcut for Select Layer Contents in ArtRage is Ctrl+Alt+A which in the autohotkey script world translates to :

this may look like gobbledegook but for autohotkey
^ is Ctrl
! is Alt
and a is a

Also + is Shift

So in the section towards the bottom of the script that is :

WinActivate, ahk_exe %ArtName%.exe
Send ^w

Replace the ^w (which is the key combination of Control + w) with

and for extra brownie points, to change the name of the button from Warp, modify the Warp text at the end of the following line :

Gui, Add, Button, x+5 w40 h30 gArtWarp, Warp

Good luck!!

01-02-2021, 03:01 AM
Happy new year Red and really good to see some of your work again:)
Fantastic portraits, you have quite a distinctive and engaging style.:cool:

01-02-2021, 09:08 AM
I did it!

Thanks again Red for sharing this tool.

01-08-2021, 04:24 AM
Hi Red, just popped in to thank you again for this very handy tool. I'm using it with every painting but sometimes I forget it's there and out of habit reach for the tool. However, I find that is happening less as I get used to it being on my workplace. Thanks so much - you are very clever to have scripted this. I am surprised no one else has mentioned using it.

Come on folks it's a great little helper!

01-09-2021, 04:45 AM
Hi Enug, I'm so glad you are finding it useful, I have since made the tool a little more complicated to add the ability to make it more transparent and to move and zoom the canvas!

01-09-2021, 01:37 PM
Is it too complicated for me? 'Cos I'd love to try it.:cool:

01-10-2021, 06:12 AM
Here is ArtRageTool Version 2!, basically just added some more buttons and a window transparency slider!


ArtRageTool Version 2 download link:

01-10-2021, 06:15 AM
Hot on heels of Version 2 we now have ArtRageTool Version 3!, basically just added some more buttons and tabs!


ArtRageTool Version 3 download link:


01-10-2021, 08:39 AM
Hi Red! I have just downloaded your latest version of the Tool and quickly ran it thru it's paces. It is only 5am here and I'm going back to bed (sleeping problems). I was so excited to see how it worked. I haven't tried cut and paste yet but later I will give it a full workout. Can I swap the warp for the select like before?

I am so impressed that you made this - I sort of understand how you scripted commands but have no idea how you include the graphic. What is your profession if you don't mind me asking.

So excited!:cool::cool::cool::cool:

01-16-2021, 12:03 AM
Hi Enug, yes you should be able to swap them as before! I suspect that you won't be too surprised to hear that I am a software engineer!, happy painting :)

01-17-2021, 03:53 AM
ArtRage Tool Version 4!,


Now I have started to use this tool for painting I have tweaked the following:

A slider at the bottom of the first tab to set the opacity level on the current selected layer, so no fiddling with the little layer dial!
A little rearrangement of button positions so that the most common buttons I use are closer to the left hand side
Selecting the label ArtRage will now strip the tool of its windows header, but of course it will mean that you will not be able to move it, but select the label again and it comes back!
Added ticks to brush size slider and label showing the current pixel increment, also the maximum brush increment is now 200 pixels


01-17-2021, 04:06 AM
Goody Gumdrops! Another toy for me to try. I've just finished painting my three cats and really found the tools helped so much. Yes, I use them both as there are tools on both that I find useful. It's late now but tomorrow I will try out the latest and report back.

01-17-2021, 09:53 AM
OK, I have had a little play and a couple of things are puzzling me. I take it the 'M' is for 'move' but how? Also the slider at the bottom - when I slide it this is what I get....


One other thing I might mention tho I don't use much, it is the Flip. Ticking the box activates the Flip but if I select the Flip All I get a split second 'flash' as tho it flipped. That was the same in the previous version.

And another...the Size button between the undo and do thingies doesn't seem to do anything for me.

Could be I'm just dumb!:(:(

01-17-2021, 10:39 PM
Hi Enug!,

Yes the M is for move and it basically activates the space bar for 1.5 seconds so that the canvas can be moved with the stylus. So I typically select M then put the stylus to the canvas and then move it.

The size button is similar to the M in that it activates the Shift button for 1.5 seconds enabling you to change the brush size when the stylus is applied to the canvas, basically the same as holding shift to resize the brush.

Ah yes, what I forgot to mention about the slider at the bottom is that you will need to set up a shortcut key for the layer opacity as it is not set by default for ArtRage, I chose Ctrl-O, which of course is mapped to Open File in ArtRage (which I never use)

For the Flip All I have added a shortcut key in ArtRage to activate the Transform All Layers function, by default it is not set to anything, so I set that to Ctrl+Alt-L

01-18-2021, 02:44 AM
Thanks Red for the explanations - I don't use Flip all Layers but I do use Open Painting. I like to change the opacity of a layer so I will have to set up something for that.

01-19-2021, 05:53 AM
Is there a version of this for we iMac users ?

01-22-2021, 05:02 PM
As far as I'm aware unfortunately the tool that is used for this to work called Autohotkey isn't available on an macOS

12-02-2021, 10:38 AM
Does anyone have a link to this that works? I changed computers and can't live without this awesome thing Red created!!

12-03-2021, 04:37 AM
Here are a few different versions! :


12-03-2021, 03:50 PM
Oh wow lots of options!! Thank you so much, I couldn't find the one I was using before but I think version 2 will be the closest. Thank youuu, so excited!

12-04-2021, 08:37 AM
Oooooh, after a little digging around, I found version 1 too! :


12-04-2021, 01:10 PM
Thanks Red and Breezy (for asking for this). I had lost this tool when my previous laptop died recently and now having Windows 11 along with ARV I just thought that the tool wouldn't work anyway. So I'm very pleased to have been able to download it again with all it's variations and will see which is the most useful for my way of working. Thanks again!:cool::cool::cool:

12-06-2021, 08:40 AM
I downloaded ver. 8 but when I double click or try to open I get the message "what program do you want to open with".
How do I open the script? Win 11, ArtRage Vitae open. I tried 'open' with ArtRage 6, the helper did not show up.

Thank you

12-06-2021, 09:50 AM
The script will need a tool called autohotkey to be installed, which is an automation scripting language for Windows, so just google autohotkey, download and install.

Then on double click the ahk file should run up correctly using autohotkey!

12-06-2021, 11:20 AM
I am sorry, I read that but the left side of the brain tried to move it to the right side of the brain and it must of been lost somewhere in the middle :confused:
I will give it a try. Thanks!

12-06-2021, 04:13 PM
I 'Bing'ed AutoHotKey and it popped right up. Downloaded all to see which one I like best. Thank you for sharing your nice programing!