My experience with Art Rage so far (the latest version, most recent updates)
#1 Problem: The program is slow. Compared to programs like Open Canvas (1.1 or higher), Art Rage runs SLOOOW. I cannot hope to ever complete an image that is 2000 x 2000 pixels in size or higher, even though Open Canvas (the higher versions) have more options and can handle that or higher sizes just fine, no problem. For some reason Art Rage seems to require more ram, I believe? Unfortunately, my cheap lap top cannot recieve anymore RAM upgrades, and I cannot afford to buy a new lap top at the moment.
Solution(?): Is there a way to make Art Rage faster, for the folk with less powerful computers? The other versions of Art Rage had this problem too. Could it also be the coding, somehow? Maybe there is a way to make it more compact?
#2 Problem: Only one file can be open at one time. Again, I must compare Art Rage to Open Canvas because that is the only other painting and drawing progam I use on a regular basis. In Open Canvas, I can have several paintings open at one time and be working on them without any problems whatsoever. Why is it that Art Rage cannot do the same, even though Open Canvas has more options?
Solution(?): I do not know what to suggest, could this be fixed in the future?
#3 Problem: Speed painting is not possible. This might have to do with the aforementioned speed issue, but there seems to be annoying "lag" when it comes to strokes (Open Canvas does not have this lag), regardless of the size of the painting. When I am in the heat of the moment (which happens everytime I paint or draw), I cannot help but work with very quick strokes, picking the pen up quickly and putting it back down to make another mark. The problem is that the strokes do not seem to "flow" correctly . . . Art Rage does not seem to "register" that I have put the pen's nib back down on the tablet's surface until it is too late. The result is that if I am aiming for a mark that is, let us say, "______" this long, I instead am given a mark that is approximately "__" this long.
Solution(?): I am not sure how to fix this, but I can add that the other versions of Art Rage also seemed to have this issue.
#4 Problem: Reference images now have a magnifying glass icon and an intersecting arrows icon above them. These are very much in the way - my reference images always consist of my color palletes, so that I can choose whatever color I need at the time. These icons cover up some of the colors so that I cannot access them. Why are these icons even there? I could just as easily choose the magnifying glass or the intersecting arrows icons that are available to me just at the bottom of the screen.
Solution(?): These could be removed all together as far as I am concerned, or there should at least be a way to turn these icons off, so that they do not block some of the reference image.
By the way, if by chance any of you need a copy of Open Canvas for comparison, 1.1 has always been free - It certainly doesn't have as many options as the higher versions, but those have to be paid for. Just let me know if you want me to send 1.1 your way, unless you have it already. The program can also be googled and downloaded from various locations.
Sorry for all of the negativities, so here come the praises...
Praise #1: Oh my God, the TEXTURES!! They are so wonderful. I am in awe of their realism!! Not a single person (these consist of more artistically-inclined folk who work in the digital as well as traditional realm) I have shown my Art Rage images to could even tell that they _were not_ done with real paint, or real pencil, or chalk, etc.
Please continue stressing the realistic look, feel and use of Art Rage. Time and time again it has been compared to Painter ... And I find it to be much, much better than Painter in terms of quality AND price. Art Rage should cost much more than what is charged. I want to suggest that you raise the price of the program, _at least_ a little bit. I might have missed this somewhere, but is there a way I could donate money to the cause? : )
Praise #2: It LOOKS good! The look of Art Rage is so unique, sleek and gorgeous. It is a very pleasant experience to just open Art Rage and look around and experiment with the various tools. Photoshop and other more "popular" programs are just so ugly in comparison.
Praise #3 The recent "paint thinner" addition. This is one of the things I have been waiting anxiously for. Because of the way the thinned paint can be layered, I know I'll be using Art Rage that much more now. It feels nice to use, and it LOOKS great!
Praise #4 The recent layer options. Thanks to the "Multiply" mode, I was able to finally delete Photoshop from my lap top yesterday. The only time I ever used Photoshop was to make my line art transparent. : )
One last thing, a question: This is something else that can be done in Open Canvas, but I have not found a way to do it in Art Rage yet (still looking!) - Once I have done "inking" on a separate layer, is there a way to "color" the inked layer alone without influencing the other layers? For example, let's say I am drawing an evil troll or something, and I have the sketch on one layer, then the black ink layer, and then another layer with the coloring.. But then I decide, belatedly unfortunately, that I would have preffered the ink on the inked layer to be red instead of black, because red looks more menacing and troll-like. Is there a way to accomplish this?
Well, this is all I can think of, for now. . .