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ArtRage Studio and Studio Pro Tutorials

Updated on July 23, 2013

Tutorials and Resources for ArtRage 3

This page answers 'how to' questions - how to add text, how to resize the brush, and gather tutorials for painting in ArtRage Studio and Studio Pro as they are created by users and myself. If you're using ArtRage 2.5 or just want general painting tips (such as composition and colour)., please visit the ArtRage 2.5 tutorials and resources page. This page is for the new tools and options specific to ArtRage 3.

As the reviews and tutorials come out, I will be adding them here (or make my own). Meanwhile, browse through quickly to find out what ArtRage is! (The quick version? It is the best painting program that exists today. )

Do you use ArtRage? - And which version?

Which version of ArtRage do you have?

See results

What Do I Do First? - Navigating the ArtRage 3 Studio Pro File Menu with JudithTramayne

Discover what File has to offer in the Menu Bar for ArtRage 3 Studio Pro - from setting up the canvas, to resizing the menu bar. Find more video tutorials on the Best ArtRage Videos /a>page.

ImagineFX 51 - The First ArtRage 3 Tutorial - The Tutorial by Nick Harris

Packed with beginner-friendly workshops, reader galleries, tips and reviews, ImagineFX is geared towards the digital artist and goes behind the image to find out more about artists, deconstructing their work and getting to grips with their thoughts and working processes.

Insider information from the ArtRage forums tells us that there are about five or six pages of tips and information and a disc that contains about 2.5 hours of QT movies on the v3.0 interface, and the creation of the painting used for the tutorial (drawing and watercolours, by Nick Harris).

What Languages Does ArtRage Support? - And how do I turn them on?

How to change the language in ArtRage Studio/Sutdio Pro - Help>Language>Select Language
How to change the language in ArtRage Studio/Sutdio Pro - Help>Language>Select Language

ArtRage 3 comes in English, German, French and Dutch (Franais, Deutsch, Nederlands). To select the language, go to Help in the menu on the top left, then Language>select the language you want.

The Patrician: Havelock Vetinari - smoothed inking, black and red and white fanart in ArtRage Studio Pro
The Patrician: Havelock Vetinari - smoothed inking, black and red and white fanart in ArtRage Studio Pro

Exporting Images

How do I open ArtRage files in other programs?

ArtRage uses the native file format 'ptg' ("mypainting.ptg") which holds the information for textures, layers, lighting, colour and all the other parts of the painting. Nothing else can open a ptg file.

To open a painting in another program, or upload it to the web, you need to export your picture.

Go to File>Export (instead of File>Save) and choose JPEG, PNG, PSD, TIFF, BMP or GIF. I talk more about these file formats here, on the ArtRage 2.5 page

Warning! There is an issue with the new version, with it exporting very low quality JPEGs. They intend to fix this with the upcoming service release, due before Christmas.

For PSD files, the bottom layer of a layered PSD will NOT be transparent - just add an extra layer underneath before exporting the image, if you want it to be transparent.

Mewing Cat - Watercolours and Inking in ArtRage Studio Pro
Mewing Cat - Watercolours and Inking in ArtRage Studio Pro

How Do I Export a Transparent Image?

Tricks for getting files with transparent backgrounds

If you want to use part of your picture elsewhere - for example, in another picture, or on a t-shirt (or a cup - click the image on the right to see!) - you will probably want to be able to hide the background and have only the actual painted part visible. That is, you want transparency.

To get this you must export as a PSD, PNG or GIF - PNG is the standard for most online printing. PSD retains the layers, if you want to work on the picture in Photoshop or GIMP.

Now, you can either export ONLY the layer, from the layer menu (right+click>export layer), or you can export the ENTIRE image, from File>Export Image. This depends on what you want, of course - everything, or just one part. If it is the entire file, you need to make sure the background is transparent (Canvas settings>opacity at 0%)

But What If I Want Canvas Texture?

The problem with invisible layers is there is no texture - and if you want to keep that, you need to use a little workaround.

Export the image, with an extra layer underneath (which means you need to expoort it as a PSD) and open it in another program (e.g. Photoshop).

Hide the bottom layer, and save again as a PNG. Photoshop doesn't have the texture and lighting options that ArtRage has, and therefore saves it as simple image information, not additional canvas information.

Then you can upload the final image to Zazzle or whatever else you intended, and you're done!

How Can I Change the Brush size? - And how big does it get?

How to change the tool size in ArtRage - example of watercolor brush
How to change the tool size in ArtRage - example of watercolor brush

Changing the size of the brush or pencil is done by dragging the little corner bar left (smaller) or right (larger). Alternatively you can double-click to get a text box, in which you can type the size you want. The highest it will go is 500%

If you want an oversized brush (more than 100%) you need to type it in manually. If you try to drag to change the larger size, it will jump back to 100%.

You can also resize (and oversize!) by holding down shift, and left click, while dragging on the canvas.

The nominal maximum size is limited, because larger tool sizes can get quite slow for some users and tools. The actual size of the tools is not correlated exactly to any measurement - it varies depending on pressure and loading and canvas type, as well as relative to other tools (e.g. the roller is larger than the watercolour brush)

ArtRage is Going Slow! - How Do I Make it Faster?

Candle Maid by Flynn the Cat
Candle Maid by Flynn the Cat

While you'll never notice any lag at the doodle stage, people painting large, dramatic scenery of print quality, whi insist on creating larger and larger paintingsa and pushing the boundaries of their computer, will probably run into lagging brushstrokes, freezing, and ArtRage hanging while it calculates and catches up.

The larger the canvas size and the more layers you use, the slower ArtRage will get. How much you can do depends on your computer, of course, ArtRage isn't going to be heavily utilising your video chipset, as it doesn't currently use hardware acceleration. It DOES use a lot of processing power, especially at large tool sizes.

How to avoid lagging?

Use smaller canvases

Merge your layers whenever possible

Use smaller tool sizes or find alternative tools (e.g. glitter to cover a large area. Some are faster than others)

Use smaller strokes - it can't finish calculating until you stop.

Turn off the 3D lighting - the extra texture effect uses a lot of resources.

Painting for hours... - Health Warnings!

A few minor little things to be careful of, when hunched over a tablet and screen for hours.

Posture - Two hours bent over lost to the world, everyday? That will start causing problems further down the line!

RSI - Repetitive Strain Injury, where your muscles lock in one position and sewll up, and cause nerve damage happens less with a tablet than with a mouse, but can still occur. Rest your wrist, and more importantly - vary the angles you hold it at.

Energy - You may need to lay in a supply of chocolate

Warmth - When painting into the long hours of the night, I've gotten up to find I can't feel my feet on many occcasions. And violent shivering can interfere with the creative process.

Rainbow Sticker Brush lines - straight lines in ArtRage Studio Pro
Rainbow Sticker Brush lines - straight lines in ArtRage Studio Pro

Straight Lines in ArtRage 3

How do I draw straight lines?

Hold down the CTRL key (or Command key in Macs) to draw a straight line.

Holding down the SHIFT key will allow you to rotate the direction you draw in, in 15 degree steps.

(holding down SHIFT alone changes the size of the tool, with the pen movement - up to increase size, down to decrease)

The example on the right has used all three shortcuts, and a rainbow brush from the stickers

Text in the Different Versions of ArtRage - Can we write on our paintings now?

Differences between ArtRage 2.5, ArtRage Studio and Studio Pro
Differences between ArtRage 2.5, ArtRage Studio and Studio Pro

As you can see, the ability to add text is a brand new tool - it didn't exist in ArtRage 2.5. ArtRage Studio Pro allows you to have different font sizes, styles, and colours all on one line of text, while ArtRage Studio allows you to add text - but each block has to be the same style and colour.

Read about more comparisons between the features of each version.

Sticker Alphabet by SilentMan
Sticker Alphabet by SilentMan

Adding and Editing Text

An ArtRage Studio Feature

ArtRage is not really designed as a vector program, or a page layout program - it's a painting simulation program that allows you to add text easily, in the third edition. If you want to do text on a path - curved, vectorised, and fancy, you'll probably need to find another way.

Text within ArtRage Studio Pro can be reshaped, stretched, moved, rotated, using the Transform tool, made metallic, and in ArtRage Studio Pro you can have multiple styles and colours in a single text block (rich text).

You can import Photoshop layers (psd files) - complete with groups - into ArtRage. It will retain all path information (unless you edit the text itself with ArtRage) and the text is fully editable. Or, alternatively, export your painting into Photoshop or a vector program of your choice, and add text there.

If you can't add text easily, or want something specific, or need the text there while painting, you can still use the old method of importing stencils or with a bit of practice, you can use text stickers.

Recommended programs for adding and editing text are:

Freehand

Paint Shop Pro

Photoshop

Photoshop Elements

Serif Drawplus

Xara Xtreme

Good Text Editing and Vector Programs - Recommended programs for adding and editing text are:

The following programs have all been recommended by ArtRage artists for adding text. There are a lot of older version around for each, so decide how many options you need.
I've Left Photoshop off the list, as this is just a list of relatively cheap programs, and if you're going to buy Photoshop, you'd want it for more than just adding text!

All except Xara are $100 or less. For a free vector program, try Inkscape

The Select Tool

The new select tool has many uses. One of them is selecting an area in which to paint while the rest of the canvas is masked. You can select many areas at once to create a complex graphic design with many shapes that can then be painted into while the rest of the canvas is masked. It can dramatically speed up creating, for example, an abstract that has a complex grid of forms.

Taking Advantage of the SELECT Tool to Create a Stylized Abstract Painting - A Tutorial from ByronCallas

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Image 1: Use the SELECT tool to start a gridded layout of forms. (You can make squares, rectangles, circles, ovals or any manner of odd shapes.)Image 2: Complete the grid. This can be accomplished in a matter of minutes with the add, subtract and replace features of the select tool.Image 3: Inside the grid area, use the ink pen to quickly color in the grid and make a stencil with the 'create stencil from layer' feature. This is helpful in case you 'deactivate' the live grid at any time.Image 4: For this painting fill the grid area with a 'bump' type paint (glitter and tube paint are best for this) which will be used later to create dimensionality in the forms. I used glitter.Image 5: On a new layer, create a background (Not necessary now, but I have done so here to give me ideas about how I want to lay out color. You'll notice later I change my mind about the background.)Image 6: On a layer on top of the glitter, with the INK PEN, fill in with a color that will act as a base for the forms (I chose a deep red). Then work the glitter on its layer with the palette knife to shape into forms. The blur setting works wonderImage 7:  Create a new top layer and get creative with color and light. Here I've used the ink pen, gloop pen and airbrush to develop design, color, shadow and highlights.Image 8: Continue to work the forms and color refinements, continuing to use the select area (or stencil) as a mask.Image 9: Continue to refine. Here I changed the background to a near solid bright yellow. I felt it made the forms pop better (and my wife made me do it).Image 10: Merge the layers and clean up the painting. I used the palette knife blur feature to help with some bad pixels around the edges of some forms, and continue with color, shadow and highlight refinements. But this is about it.
Image 1: Use the SELECT tool to start a gridded layout of forms. (You can make squares, rectangles, circles, ovals or any manner of odd shapes.)
Image 1: Use the SELECT tool to start a gridded layout of forms. (You can make squares, rectangles, circles, ovals or any manner of odd shapes.)
Image 2: Complete the grid. This can be accomplished in a matter of minutes with the add, subtract and replace features of the select tool.
Image 2: Complete the grid. This can be accomplished in a matter of minutes with the add, subtract and replace features of the select tool.
Image 3: Inside the grid area, use the ink pen to quickly color in the grid and make a stencil with the 'create stencil from layer' feature. This is helpful in case you 'deactivate' the live grid at any time.
Image 3: Inside the grid area, use the ink pen to quickly color in the grid and make a stencil with the 'create stencil from layer' feature. This is helpful in case you 'deactivate' the live grid at any time.
Image 4: For this painting fill the grid area with a 'bump' type paint (glitter and tube paint are best for this) which will be used later to create dimensionality in the forms. I used glitter.
Image 4: For this painting fill the grid area with a 'bump' type paint (glitter and tube paint are best for this) which will be used later to create dimensionality in the forms. I used glitter.
Image 5: On a new layer, create a background (Not necessary now, but I have done so here to give me ideas about how I want to lay out color. You'll notice later I change my mind about the background.)
Image 5: On a new layer, create a background (Not necessary now, but I have done so here to give me ideas about how I want to lay out color. You'll notice later I change my mind about the background.)
Image 6: On a layer on top of the glitter, with the INK PEN, fill in with a color that will act as a base for the forms (I chose a deep red). Then work the glitter on its layer with the palette knife to shape into forms. The blur setting works wonder
Image 6: On a layer on top of the glitter, with the INK PEN, fill in with a color that will act as a base for the forms (I chose a deep red). Then work the glitter on its layer with the palette knife to shape into forms. The blur setting works wonder
Image 7:  Create a new top layer and get creative with color and light. Here I've used the ink pen, gloop pen and airbrush to develop design, color, shadow and highlights.
Image 7: Create a new top layer and get creative with color and light. Here I've used the ink pen, gloop pen and airbrush to develop design, color, shadow and highlights.
Image 8: Continue to work the forms and color refinements, continuing to use the select area (or stencil) as a mask.
Image 8: Continue to work the forms and color refinements, continuing to use the select area (or stencil) as a mask.
Image 9: Continue to refine. Here I changed the background to a near solid bright yellow. I felt it made the forms pop better (and my wife made me do it).
Image 9: Continue to refine. Here I changed the background to a near solid bright yellow. I felt it made the forms pop better (and my wife made me do it).
Image 10: Merge the layers and clean up the painting. I used the palette knife blur feature to help with some bad pixels around the edges of some forms, and continue with color, shadow and highlight refinements. But this is about it.
Image 10: Merge the layers and clean up the painting. I used the palette knife blur feature to help with some bad pixels around the edges of some forms, and continue with color, shadow and highlight refinements. But this is about it.

Image 11: The Final Painting.

Image 11: The Final Painting.  From ByronCallas
Image 11: The Final Painting. From ByronCallas

If you followed the steps, you’ll see AR3 makes it easy to construct a painting like this. Construct them any way you like to suite your style and creative sensibilities. This exercise took about four hours. Normally I’d do considerably more refinements, but hope this gets the idea across.

Sethren was kind enough to make a PDF of the tutorial

Choosing Colours: the Colour Pickers

Tint and Tone Color Picker in ArtRage 3
Tint and Tone Color Picker in ArtRage 3

ArtRage 3 has more than one shape and type of colour picker to choose from.

Colour Theory and Custom Palettes - Palettes and Colour Selection in ArtRage

A Powerpoint about Rendering Colour Palettes from Nature (opens in new window)

Palettes

"Here is how I pixelated a photo in ArtRage 3: I have installed the "Pixelate" plugin from Richard Roseman in the ArtRage Filter folder. After importing the photo to ArtRage I find the Filters under the Edit menu and start the Pixelate effect filter."

from Sweedie on the AR Forums.

Below are some useful links for selecting colour palettes, and explaining colour theory.

ArtRage 2.5 - Still Available - and on sale!

Normally $50, the old version of ArtRage has been $20 for a while now, since the new version was announced - CHEAPER than the $25 download version. (Download version will be $20 as of the release of ArtRage 3)

Very good for a Christmas or birthday present, as it comes in an actual box - and you can upgrade to ArtRage Studio or Studio Pro later. For more ideas and instructions about how to give someone ArtRage (or any other completely digital and intangible program) read this section

ArtRage Deluxe 2.5  [OLD VERSION]
ArtRage Deluxe 2.5 [OLD VERSION]

The old version of ArtRage comes in a deluxe version, which comes as a set of CDs and extras in a box - much easier to wrap up and put under the tree. If you really want something physical, or you'd like to take advantage of the near permanent sale on the old version, now the new one is coming out, then this might be a better bet.

 

Say hello here - and if you have a question about ArtRage, whether general or extremely specific, feel free to ask!

Reader Feedback - Please leave me a comment!

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    • profile image

      pierre-vermersch-31 3 years ago

      HELLO, i like very much the app, I draw mandalas, and I dream to have many more possibility in simetry tool (like the free app inspirArtion), I dream to have your brush, your colors, your tools and the geometry tools of inspiration.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      its really useful for primary students.

    • LewesDE profile image

      LewesDE 5 years ago

      Quality information!

    • knewf lm profile image

      knewf lm 6 years ago

      hey thanks! I just downloaded a 30 trial version of artrage...this lens has been really helpful!

    • Satha profile image

      Satha 6 years ago

      I've always been curious of the details of the ArtRage program. This was really helpful, thanks. :)

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      MisTikkal 6 years ago

      FANTASTIC site, linked it and loved it. :)

    • FlynntheCat1 profile image
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      FlynntheCat1 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Cool, thanks! Added :D

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      This is a free open source Vector art program http://www.inkscape.org/