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Thread: Who Am ArtRage? Just curious ...

  1. #1
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    Who Am ArtRage? Just curious ...

    Hey guys ... I hope I'm not asking something that's already been asked or for information that's available somewhere I haven't looked yet, but while tinkering with some art and browsing the forum, I got to wondering ...

    Who are the people who are developing ArtRage? Specifically, what's their technical and artistic background?

    I'm curious because ArtRage seems to cater so well to artists, with its simple interface and the way it fairly hides a lot of technical issues and properties that artists usually don't understand or care about. As I've mentioned before, most other art or animation software I've worked with retains a very "programmer-like" feel to it, and in the worst cases really impede creativity (or sanity) by forcing the user to work as unintuitively as possible. (Don't get me wrong, I love Photoshop and can twiddle pixels and effects with the big boys, but the way I work in Photoshop is completely unlike the way I draw. ArtRage is just much more fun and natural to doodle and color with.)

    So anyway, what gives? What's your technical and artistic backgrounds, if you don't mind sharing? And thanks!

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    Hi Cooner - thanks for your comments about ArtRage. Being more accessible to artists and non-technical people is exactly what we were striving for with ArtRage.

    For myself, I'm afraid I have no artistic ability. So I'm really the 'engine' programmer. If it were entirely up to me, ArtRage would still have all the tools, but be in a technical interface which would be daunting and scare you away. I've always been in engineering and dull technical jobs.
    Matt is the designer. The interface is his design, and it was deliberately put together in a way that (hopefully!) isn't intimidating to non-technical people. His education background is in Classics and law.
    He and I are the principal programmers of ArtRage - neither of us are really qualified to be doing it, but we both have a passion for the product!

    We first started collaborating on software 11 years ago when we wrote '4D Paint' (also known as 'Deep Paint 3d'). It was a painting application for applying paint directly onto 3D geometry. One of its unique features was the ability to paint the colour, bump, shininess, reflectivity and illumination maps all simultaneously. In other words, one stroke of the paint tool would give what appeared to be shiny bumpy paint directly onto the 3D object. I'll be the first to admit the interface was one of those scary technical ones, with a gazillion settings and palettes.
    From there we both went on to work for MetaCreations (of Kais Power Tools fame). MetaCreations emphasized the importance of putting extremely powerful technology into an easy accessible interface. One of their most successful products - Kais Goo - had phenomenally powerful displacement vector technology wrapped in this really cool, friendly interface that made it a total hit for kids wanting to stretch and mess with pictures of their own face.
    Matt and I wrote much of KPT 5, 6, and KPT 'effects'. It was a great education in making powerful technology accessible to non-technical people.
    When MetaCreations vanished in a puff of 'eCommerce', Matt and I went on to form our own company, mostly doing contract graphics programming for other companies. But all the while we were at MetaCreations and working for other people, we had been (in conjuction with CK Chuang) developing painting technology. It was based around the idea that rich oil paint is so much more than just 'colour on paper'. It has depth and shine and reacts with the lighting. It mixes in a certain way. It reacts with the canvas texture. When the brush runs out of oil, it trails off and affects the surface of the canvas.
    And very very importantly... real oil paint doesn't have 50 sliders and settings to make it look the way it looks. It just is what it is.
    So we wrapped our 10 years of paint application technology and experience into an interface that Matt created. We decided to release it for free because we wanted everyone to have access to the technology.

    The reason we decided to charge a small amount for ArtRage 2.0 Full was to support development. Most of ArtRage 1.0 and 2.0 was written at the same time as we were working on other contracts. It's a work of passion over weekends, evenings, and any spare time we had between earning enough to keep eating. By charging a small amount we're hoping to be able to focus exclusively on ArtRage 3.0
    AndyRage's mantra for graphics engine code:
    "Sure - how hard can it be?"

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    Andy,

    Thanks for the summary ... I see you guys have kept busy ... and kudos on the interface work! The thought you're putting into it definitely shows.

    If the charge for ArtRage 2.0 supports further development, I'm doubly glad I paid it. Seriously, I've paid more for shareware that does a lot less, and I've paid a LOT more for software packages with horrible human interface design (P@inter, Fl@sh, I'm looking at you ... ) And I can't stress enough my appreciation you're developing for Mac as well as Windows.

    Looking forward to and I hope you guys can support lots more development and innovation .. thanks!

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    I do the majority of the testing on ArtRage 2 and a number of products we've worked on in the past, although I've only been with Ambient for the last four years or so.

    My background is essentially technical support. I started off in computer retail sales, then moved into PC hardware support, then at outcource support companies. My last job before Ambient was doing support for Hewlett Packard for their desktops and printers. I enjoy finding faults and bugs with things ( I guess I'm a destructive individual ), as well as solving technical problems for users.

    When I got the offer to come and join Ambient to do QA testing I was quite excited about it. It's been a rewarding job with lots of variety which keeps me on my toes. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere is a bonus as well! It's also been good to get some input here and there into the way things work as well as working on the tool icons and logo for ArtRage 1 and 2.

    My artistic background is mainly just sketching as a hobby, something which I've only had the chance to come back to over the last couple of years but I'm extremely interested in art in general and get a real kick out of seeing everyone's works!
    Dave
    Resident Bug-Hunter
    Ambient Design

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    KPT were my favorite plug-ins... a lot of innovation involved... very unique tools... you just don't find plugins like that anymore... seems like the plugin developments had lost most of it's Mojo over the years... i tend to think there is a lack of that speacial factor that made the KPTs so extraordinary from the older days of photoshop...........

    But i will admit i am looking foward to seeing what ArtRage 3.0 is all about........

  6. #6
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    My exciting technical background - I have a piece of paper that says I'm an electrical and electronics engineer. I still love playing around with electronics, but I've been purely a programmer for quite a while now. Going back many years, I've done all sorts of work, from automotive mechanics and body work to corporate IT (in gradual steps, strangely enough). I like to think that, regardless of what it is, if it doesn't work, I can fix it And if it does work, I can take it apart, find out how it works, and probably break it in the process.

    As far as art goes, I've done some sketching, and was improving, but I just haven't had time to keep up with it, which is unfortunate. The only artistic area that I'd say I've shown any talent would be sculpture, and that's detabable given what I was sculpting!

    Having said all that, my input for ArtRage has been minimal, just having done some support code, and the installer. I'm hoping to be able to do a little more for future versions though!

    Mike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyRage
    We first started collaborating on software 11 years ago when we wrote '4D Paint' (also known as 'Deep Paint 3d').
    wow, cool! I work at Rhythm & Hues Studios, and while I'm not a texture artist here, I believe they use Deep Paint for texturing here.

    And kudos to you guys for one the most amazingly artistic interfaces ever! I mentioned it another post, but the way the palettes disappear when the cursor hits them is complete genius. And also, thanks SO MUCH for making this affordable! Working with computer graphics is an EXTREMELY expensive hobby, but not only are you guys making one of the simplest, most intuitive art programs ever, you're pricing it so everyone can buy it without having to make a concerted effort over many months to save enough.

    Thanx!!

    sean
    if it's not fun, what's the point?

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    A great original post/question! I've had ArtRage for only a couple of months and am almost computer illiterate but from the moment I downloded it I was able to start playing with it. I only checked the manual a couple of times. Now that's intuitive! Also the interface is almost soothing to enter. Sounds weird, I know but , to me it means allot. Also, all this being so new to me , I still get allot of "Who Makes this stuff?" flashes and now I know.

    Great work youse guys...

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    Quote Originally Posted by samIambic
    A great original post/question! I've had ArtRage for only a couple of months and am almost computer illiterate but from the moment I downloded it I was able to start playing with it. I only checked the manual a couple of times. Now that's intuitive! Also the interface is almost soothing to enter. Sounds weird, I know but , to me it means allot. Also, all this being so new to me , I still get allot of "Who Makes this stuff?" flashes and now I know.

    Great work youse guys...
    You might also want to go here:

    http://www.ambientdesign.com/company.html

    And check out the Bios, especiall the vicious cat! :-)

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    Cooner - great question! I was wondering the same thing myself.

    I'll add my congratulations to the Artrage team for creating such a user friendly interface. As Cooner pointed out, the lack of 'technical' whiz bangs is what is rapidly making artrage my digital painting program of choice. It is easy to understand and you can use it without really reading the manual - which brings me to another point. It's great to have a manual that is not 100+ pages just to understand how it works like some other programs.

    I'm impatient at best and like to jump in straight away and this program made it possible. But I'd have to say, it's the way it looks like the real medium that is the big drawcard for me. You can paint in it and it doesn't look like it's a digital painting which is a bonus.

    And as someone else mentioned, it's affordable and you don't have to break your bank account to get it.

    I'd also like to add that artrage has been a huge learning curve and has, funnily enough, helped me learn how to 'paint' and I've been translating that knowledge to acrylic painting as of recently so it's also a learning tool for those of us who could use it to learn to paint the traditional way!

    Looking forward to seeing what 3.0 has to offer! Can you get better than this? Because 2.0 is really good. (Or should I say it's pretty heavenly).
    Struggling to paint a dream....

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