Here are my wishes & suggestions for ArtRage 3, in no particular order of importance. If some of this stuff already exists but I just haven't found it I'd love to know.
NOTE: I've pasted these in the huge thread collecting suggestions, but I wanted to have a unique post for those who might like to provide feedback on just these wishes.
1. Keep ArtRage a Painting Program: Adobe and Corel have done all the work required to support the commercial graphic arts world and related file manipulations for the printing industry. ArtRage is not a competitive alternative for those products. It is a completely different kind of product. ArtRage is a digital program designed to simulate the real-life experience of creating paintings and drawings. THAT’S IT. It is at its best where it closely mimics the real-world tools that artists use to make paintings and drawings. Agreeing with most of the posts about this, keep ArtRage a digital tool that serves this singular purpose first and foremost. Whatever keeps it in this direction while improving on this theme keeps it true to itself. As a user I hope it stays true to this singular vision.
2. More brushes and other marking tools will always be great - just keep them as close simulations to their real world counterparts. The real world has many brush types, paint and color application tools. So whatever increases the simulated availability of these real world tools in ArtRage seems appropriate to the spirit of the program and will benefit its core user base.
3. Stencils: Real world stencils are a common tools and great assets to artists all over the world, central to making a LOT of art. Helpful improvements include:
a) Make stencils easier to move and resize. Especially make it easier to place them precisely, something hard to do now. Precision movement using the arrow or similar keyboard keys would be a Godsend. Likewise, make it possible to resize just one dimension (both interior and exterior where applicable), a critical weakness with the current stencil tools.
b) Make stencil groups that can be shown or hidden as a group – a hell of a time saver for projects with oodles of stencils in place.
c) Similar to (b) above, make it possible to select several stencils at once and then as a group take actions like moving, resizing, inverting, changing stencil type, etc. Would be an enormous time saver.
d) Selection tool for making stencils of a specific area of a painting: how cool would that be ?
4. ArtRage layer blending tools:
a) These are now fantastic, but make it easier to get to and use them. Currently it is somewhat cumbersome.
b) Also, it might help to have little pop-up windows over the blend tool selections that give a quick blurb of what each is likely to do. Right now it’s a bit of a mystery requiring a lot of experimentation. It slows down the work.
c) Another option is to have more visual representations of what to expect with the blend tools in the PDF user guide.
5. Have a “save-file” and “export-file” warning whenever something has changed that makes the base layer no longer 100% opaque. This will save a lot of hair pulling trying to resolve those splotches in exported files resulting from transparency. I’ve hung myself with this numerous times – the warning would help.
6. Building the initial and revising the painting file – support for printing large scale paintings: Expand the PDF user manual to have a thorough explanation of the effects of starting a painting in one DPI setting and rescaling up or down during and at the completion of painting as it may apply to reproducing paintings in various dimensions and print-reproduction processes. For example, ArtRage bogs down working with large scale paintings at high DPI settings and responds well reducing the DPI to 72 for the same dimensions. But it is not clear at all if it makes a difference to simply work at 72 dpi and rescale up later, both dimensionally and with pixel density (either in ArtRage or other software) when the work is in progress and/or completed if the intended output is eventually a high-quality print reproduction. For those who would like to make their ArtRage paintings “real”, (and especially large dimension paintings) support and clear advice from an expert covered in the manual would be a great benefit. It is a complicated subject for even experienced digital file manipulators and printing professionals. Considering the ArtRage resource restraints for large-scale paintings, documentation for preparing paintings from the getgo intended for high-quality print reproduction would be well received and considerably reduce related technical support inquiries.
7. Decrease computer resource requirements for building large paintings at high ppi/dpi settings: I’m not sure how or if it can be done, but it would be a relevant improvement if it can. Currently it can take several minutes to make moves with certain tools on very large and high ppi/dpi paintings - kind of a ceativity killer.
8. PDF export: Add ability to export as a print-ready PDF.
9. “Insert Text” ability: If nothing else, it would be nice for being able to add a copyright notice inside of ArtRage rather than having to perform the action in third party software. You could even limit it to that function if you want to stay away from adding this kind of thing as a general feature (which I can understand). Of course, I suppose one could do this with a prepared stencil made part of each users customized stencil library. (Likewise, an “apply watermark” tool could be handy.)
10. Increase the maximum nozzle size for the airbrush.
11. F5 Light Toggle: a) Document; b) Put a visible toggle button on one of the selector modules, maybe the color picker? ; c) make it possible to toggle light on each layer separately.
12. Layer on/off toggle (the little eye). Suggest have the color of the layer selector border change when the layer is on or off to make it easier to tell which layers are turned on or off. Currently, when working with many layers, it can be very difficult to easily see which layers are turned off.
13.Pop-up Layer Views: It would be great if you could click on a layer and have a window pop up that shows you what is on it. Currently it takes a lot of effort and time to view the contents of a single layer in a painting with many layers.
14. Crop Painting Tool: Would be nice to be able to simply crop a painting at any time rather than having to struggle through the difficult “resize canvas” routine which is not very useful for precise cropping.
15. Add Scratch and Abrasion Tools: Add sandpaper, steel wool, sharp edge tools, etc. for all the various reasons artists use the tools to scuff and scratch paint. Critical missing tools for lots of painting styles. This leads to the next suggestion.
16. Make paint really layer in the same layer: Currently if you lay one paint over another in the same ArtRage layer and try to scrape away the top layer of paint (say, using the eraser tool with a soft and low pressure setting) you will not come to the lower layer of paint, you’ll get the canvas color. This rules out a whole range of painting styles working in one layer. (If there is a way to do this now I can’t find it). (I realize this could be resource intensive – so maybe can’t work???) EDIT MARCH 7, 2009: Also, if you are very strategic about it, you can mimic this with layers, but it requires a lot of planning and a lot of layers. Would be nice if can just lay paint on paint on paint and work your way down with scratch tools in a way that mimics the real thing.
17) Glitter Requests: a) increase number of glitter shape types: b) have a RANDOM SIZE setting. Glitter is an immensely useful tool for color blending and manipulating with the pallet knife. These additions will increase the manipulation options.
18) Portrait color pickers: Include several standard portrait pallets in different skin types. Great to help beginners and experienced artists too.
19) Fix the resource hogging problems with the soft pallet knife setting and the larger airbrush nozzle settings. With large paintings at high dpi it can take several seconds to minutes to make a single stroke. Anything to fix this would be a big help for using these tools efficiently.
20) Add Formal Glazing Capability : Using layers it is possible to come up with a lot of “glazing” effects. But the process for doing it doesn’t mimic real-world glazing processes. Glazing itself isn’t represented as a process inside of ArtRage. In keeping with the theme of closely mimicking real-world processes it would be great to incorporate glazing as a formalized activity with selections for glazing mixes. Perhaps this can be accomplished simply adding into the layer selection options a “glazing” option. Instead of selecting opacity for the layer, have glazing materials and percentage selections for thinner, paint, glazing medium, etc. This would be a cool “real-world” mimic and provide greater “outcome certainty” to those accustomed to glazing techniques.
Whatever happens, I eagerly await ArtRage 3. I’ve no doubt it will be worth the wait.