ArtRage 4.5 is a painting program that's worth checking out. It has so many natural-feeling brushes and options that you'll love. The interface is clean and customizable so you can put everything you don't need out of the way and just paint. It handles layers and blending like a champ and the ability to add shadowing to certain strokes is very nice. One of the neat features is that you can use reference images or other imagery for your paintings. I can't believe the program is so cheap for what it offers, and there are versions for iPad and iPhone.
There are a couple of little things that keep me from giving it a five-star rating. The brush preview and settings sometimes make it hard to see the subtle nuances that you may be trying to dial in to your brush. I wish it were bigger. Another item on my wish list is to be able to create my own brush tip shapes and add some randomness to the strokes so they don't look so uniform. This can be seen with the oil paints that are thicker, especially in the corners where I wish the transitions were a bit smoother.
Don't let those things turn you off. You can tell the value of a product when it keeps surprising you with all the extra things it can do. I'm like a kid in a candy store trying to figure out which brushes and settings to use next. The limitations of this program are almost entirely due to my talent level and not any shortcoming of the product. ArtRage 4.5 is highly recommended!
Company: Ambient Design Ltd.
Hot: Realistic look and feel; loaded with options; value
Not: Brush/tip preview; custom tips; randomness