OK, I admit it. I'm an Adobe girl. When it comes to graphics and illustration, I turn to programs I know, because it's quick and easy. Learning a new graphics program is like crossing the hot sandy beach to get to the ocean. It's painful, sometimes long, but if you want to get there... So imagine my surprise when I started checking out Art Text from BeLight software. I'm not always a fan of the smaller art programs, since I usually find them lacking in power or plug-in wannabes. Art Text might change my mind.
First Impressions:The first thing I noticed, was it's clean, simple intuitive interface. Let's see, type text here, make adjustments here. Except it's more than that. You can edit your text; I don't mean just change the letters, but also the kerning and spacing and all those good text layout tweaks. Then there's the Art part of this program. You can do all those cool Photoshop-like text effects. Add texture, gradients, backgrounds, shadows, glows; all of these things can be added and adjusts to and around the text. You can import your files and turn it into instant logo. It will take your complex file, make it an outline and then let it edit with the cool little tools previously mentioned. It taps into some of Mac OS X's features, using the Font Manager to browse your font choices. It also gives you the variety of color sets OS X lets you choose from. Even the crayons! Now if you're thinking, 'that's great, but I'm no good at designing from scratch', you're in luck. Art Text has about a zillion pre-built styles, that can be adjusted. It also has a cool set of pre-designed glyphs and symbols, that can also be edited. Oh and if you design a style from scratch you like, you can save it. Hey did I mention that I'm a fan of the 'live edit', now that Adobe has spoiled me to it? Well Art Text has that going for it. Move the dot in the angle circle and you get to see it change on your text. The changes you make show up as fast as your computer can render it. On my iBook G4, I didn't find myself tapping my fingers waiting.
Annoyances:Now let's talk about the few annoyances I found using Art Text. You only get a choice between shadow or glow. Sometimes if I'm feeling elaborate, I might like to do both. Neon might be easier to do with both. But Neon might be a little too 90's for today. The next little bug, is that if you have a glyph on your board and then select a pre-made style, you glyph goes away, until you flip your text palette back over. At first I thought I'd done something wrong, until I realized it was a bug. The last thing I'll talk about may or may not be considered a problem. There are two options when you've finished building your Art Text.
- You can copy to the Clipboard. Kudos to whoever thought of building a button for that. Sometimes I forget how easy it is to the OS X Clipboard. Apple has made it that way and I usually spend a few minutes playing with formats and exports and imports before I copy to the Clipboard.
- The second option Art Text gives you when you're down with your work is Export. This is my final complaint, the Export options are scant. It has the basic you need to bring your Art Text to probably any other program, but I might have been wishing hard for Vector options. Still in other programs, when you get to these type of effects you've gone beyond Vector anyway. Still, I was delighted to see when I copied my art to Photoshop, it showed up as a 'Smart Object', in Adobe world that's supposed to be really good.