Hello. I have a suggestion for Artrage, if this has been suggested before, I am sorry.
First a bit of background: I study architecture and have the need to produce drawings with some geometrical content and some freeehand content. Right now the possibilities are very restricted. I can use paper and rulers, but then this needs to be scanned, tidied, resized, etc, etc to be put in a layout and the whole process is very cumbersome. The other option is to use a computer, but the drawings get very sterile with programs like illustrator and even though they are geometrically correct, the lack all emotional power, and usually have to be 3D modelled with a certain degree of accuracy to produce anything resembling a good drawing, exported, resized, tidied, fixed, etc,etc.
So for the solution: ArtRage. It gives me the possibility to use my tablet and generate good drawings fast. There is however a couple of things that would make my life a lot easier and make ArtRage every architects digital replacement for a drawing board.
1. This is the biggie. The Rulers enable us to draw straight lines, and work really well, except that when you are drawing 5-qazillion vertical lines at the same angle, moving the ruler around for each one is a bit cumbersome. Recently I did a city planning assignment where I drew a whole city (Wellington for all you kiwis). Now, wellington has a grid system, like many cities, where the streets are parallel and with 90 degree angles. This is also true of many plandrawings and elevations for houses. parallel lines, and 90 degrees. The solution: "the grid tool."
Ok, heres my vision for this. A nice little round thingie with a cross over it in one of the corners. This thingie you can rotate 360 degrees. Within this thing is 3 check boxes: vertical, horisontal and free. Push on vertical, the vertical axis becomes active (because you can rotate this 360 degrees, it should be color coded, so lets call the original vertical red, and the horisontal axis blue from now on) Now, if you hold down the shift key, you constrain your lines to the red axis. Tick on the blue axis, now your line can be constrained on either red or blue axis, dependent on the direction you start drawing your line. When you rotate the thingie in the corner, these two axis' (red and blue) rotate on the screen, even though they are always at 90 degrees on each other. When you rotate, a grid with suitable density appears on top of your artwork, so you can align it to whatever suits you. Let go and the grid disappears from you artwork, but now your lines are restricted on this grid if you hold down shift (possibly a tickbox somewhere for "on constantly" as well, but PLEASE but this on modifier key so we can fast jab down a single constrained line amidst our freehanding.)
The last tickbox in the thingie is "free" which is a line at an angle between 0 and 90 degrees to the red and blue, by default this could be 45 degrees. Tick the last box, and you can constrain to this as well. You can also easily change this angle on the thingie by grabbing an edge along the perimeter and dragging it up and down, or by inputing a specific angle.
2. Bezier ruler. Simple, Click and drag with a specific tool to make a new ruler, just like you would make a bezier with the pen tool in illustrator, when you click enter, this becomes a ruler with two sides that have the same bezier curve. This way you could mask away for instance a horizon line when you want to draw in clouds or whatever. Yes, you can do this with layering as well, but sometimes you just need to do a curve that is smooth and exactly right, not mask it away somehow. Right now, you can do it with the stencils, but it is a hassle to make one of those stencils just for one line.
3. Layer naming, because some times there are several so small that you always have to click through all of them just to see whats on.
4. If you accidentally double tap your tablet in one of the input places, the whole thing freezes until you either type in a number or push some button. I have many times continued drawing and wondering why I am not getting any lines just to notice that there is a box in som corner that wants me to input numbers.
5. Selections and transforms, preferably with some sort of method to do precise selections, ie pen tool or atleast straight lines. I know a lot of people want a "natural" feel to ArtRage and I agree that its one of the key strengths in ArtRage, but that is not a good reason for why artrage shouldn't take advantage of the digital possibilities to enhance what you can do. Lets be honest, we all love Cmd+Z already.
6. Thank you. It is already an incredible software that I cannot fathom is so affordable, a few more tweaks and it becomes an invaluable software, at least for me, and with the grid tool, I would wager a lot of architects who have been robbed of their sketchpads by the digitalization of architectural firms would be thrilled too.
Heres a illustration of the grid tool, just because it is hard to explain and thus even harder to understand what I am talking about. Disregard the horrible colors and cheezy interface.