The Mac had and still has something you just don’t find in Windows PCs. Personality. And no single app shared more in growing the Mac’s personality in the early years than MacPaint. Unfortunately, during Apple’s dark years, MacPaint languished and then died a lonely death in 1998. What if MacPaint had lived?
Paint Phoenix Rising
Mac users have a dozen or so painting and drawing apps that are purely entry level and MacPaint-like in capability.
For the sake of argument, what would the Mac’s signature app look like today if, instead of being discarded in 1998, MacPaint had been upgraded every year?
After wading through a dozen or so paint and drawing apps, I’ve concluded that MacPaint in 2014 would look much like ArtRage in 2014.
First and foremost, ArtRage is a painting app which specializes in pencils, felt pens, and oil paints and brushes that actually work much like their cousins (those based in atoms, not bits).
Relative to the extensive list of tools and capabilities, ArtRage isn’t expensive, and actually far less than MacPaint 2.0 (think ‘color‘) back in the day.
Controls and tool palettes in ArtRage live on the edge of the Mac’s screen, out of the way, yet always available. Tools? Think of painting on a Mac’s screen with oils that smear and blend the way real oil does on a canvas.
Pencil and chalk tools react to the screen’s background textures just the way real tools work. That makes ArtRage a useful, professional level tool that’s made for beginners and pros (what’s the difference between oil paints and brushes for neophytes vs. the experienced painter?).
Here’s why I think ArtRage is more like MacPaint for 2014 than just another paint or drawing app. There’s an iPad version. It’s one tenth the price of the Mac version and works similarly– except with finger or stylus.
As much as the Mac version is a great app, and reminiscent of what MacPaint might be like had it lived, the iPad version of ArtRage is the epitome of a 21st century Apple. Incredibly precise, simple to use, affordable, totally mobile– and seemingly ahead of its time. Can you imagine using this painting and drawing tool on a 13-inch iPad screen?