Web 2.0 and Fun Tools
What are the latest and coolest tools out there?
All the ArtRage
How about playing with paint without the mess and having fun in the process? This tip on ArtRage 2 on a painting package that provides a realistic and fun simulation of using paint on a canvas, along with pens, pencils, crayons, and other tools was shared by Bill Wiersma.

You can run ArtRage on Windows or Mac OS X computers. Using ArtRage on a graphic tablet or TabletPC takes advantage of the unique interaction of pen and screen to produce a realistic painting feel. ArtRage 2.0 comes in two versions, a Free Edition and a Full Edition. The Free Edition contains all of the features of ArtRage 1, along with the speed enhancements and tablet support of ArtRage 2. (costs $19.95)

Twelve painting tools include:
  • Oil Brush: Apply, smear, and blend oil strokes, or add thinners and apply smooth strokes.
  • Pencil: Sketch or scribble with the variable softness pencil tool.
  • Airbrush: Spray smooth strokes on to your canvas or let the paint build up in one spot, create dagger stroke tapering lines, and change the tilt of your stylus to adjust the shape of the spray.
  • Glitter: Sprinkle thousands of tiny glitter sparkles, great with the new Metallic Paint option.
  • Paint Roller: Lay down smooth, solid bands of color with thick or thin paint.
  • Paint Tube: A never ending tube of oil paint that can be squeezed out on to your canvas when you want a large blob for smearing.
  • Color Sampler: Sample color directly from your canvas or references images.
  • Felt Pen: Soft tipped or hard tipped, dry or wet pens that give a wide range of effects.
  • Palette Knife, Chalk, Crayon, Eraser: Simple but effective tools that give realistic results.
  • Move, Scale, Rotate: Position your canvas however you like, including a rotation tool if you need to set it at an angle.
You also have many of the utilities in PhotoShop:
  • Layers: Add multiple transparent layers to your canvas. Each layer is split off from the last so that the paint wonít blend as you apply, but the texture of your paint strokes will still show through. Each layer has its own paper properties, and can be moved and merged with others.
  • Tracing Images: Load an image such as a photo and overlay it on your canvas as a guide for painting. If you want, ArtRage will automatically choose the color to use as you paint.
  • Reference Images: Load an image and pin it to your canvas as a painting reference. These images can be moved, scaled, and rotated however you like.
  • Metallic Paint: Turn on Metallic Paint and every tool will start applying metal to your canvas. Gold leaf, thick silvery goo, sparkly metal glitter, it changes the look of everything you paint. Better still, it can be smeared and blended with non metallic paint, giving things a bit of a sheen they didnít have before. If you really want, you can turn your canvas in to tin foil too...
  • Canvas Control: Change the texture of your paper, make it metal, make it transparent or change its color.
  • Custom Colors: Save sets of color samples for use later, so you donít lose that perfect color for your painting. Or if you prefer, create a custom color picker from your image and use that for selecting colors.
  • Cursors: Each tool comes with a cursor that shows you the size of the stroke youíll make when you start painting.
  • Resizing: Resize your painting or crop/expand its canvas if you find you didnít get it perfect at the start.
  • Photoshop Document Support: Import and export Photoshop documents with their layers intact.
  • Multi-Monitor Support: ArtRage 2 uses the mapping settings of your Wacom tablet to make it easier to work with multiple monitors.
  • Faster, More Accurate, and More Support: ArtRage 2 is faster and more accurate than ArtRage 1, and has support for a wider range of graphics tablets and their features.