Customizable Brush Tools

User Guides > Customizable Brush Tools

ArtRage’s Customizable Brushes: Custom Brush & Sticker Spray

ArtRage 5 offers two entirely different types of customizable brushes, the Sticker Spray and the Custom Brush. While you can create similar brushes in both tools, they have very different properties.

Use the Custom Brush and the Sticker Spray to create any effect you need, whether for professional digital art or just for fun. You can work with the wide range of included presets, download new brushes from other users, or use our online manuals and tutorials to experiment with creating entirely new digital brushes.

About the Tools

The Custom Brush is the closest to the standard digital art brush in other programs, like Procreate or Photoshop. It lets you add a single head shape and grain pattern and then customize the various color, stroke, and dab properties. It is useful for repeating patterns, texturing, and art brushes, and for creating custom blenders.

custom brush steve goad tree artrage 5
Custom Brush

Experiment with an almost infinite variety of digital brushes that can blend and pick up canvas texture.

custom brush designer artrage 5
Custom Brush Designer

Recreate your favourite digital brushes from other programs and invent new ones in the Brush Designer.

custom brush blending artrage 5'
Custom Brush Blenders

Editing the color properties of the Custom Brushes allows them to be used as customizable blenders.

The Sticker Spray is unique to ArtRage and sprays out solid images (stickers). The Sticker Spray stroke settings allow you to customize the size, color, density, randomness, image order, and more, based on everything from stylus pressure to position on the canvas. Individual sticker ‘dabs’ can be added as their own separate editable layer within each stroke, or selected one by one from the Stickers panel. The Sticker Spray is useful for very specific results, like spraying a school of fish composed of multiple fish images that gets larger as towards one side of the canvas, or spraying leaf patterns around.

artrage 5 sticker tycho fish
Stickers

Add images to the canvas from premade sticker sheets and edit each one individually.

custom brush sticker spray fish school artrage 5
Sticker Spray

Spray images across the canvas and edit the advanced properties to customize the pattern for your image.

ArtRage Editions

Both these tools are only available in the desktop editions of ArtRage. You can only create new brushes in the full editions, but you can import custom brushes from other users.

EditionSticker SprayCustom BrushAllows Editing
ArtRage 5YesYesYes
ArtRage LiteYesNoNo
ArtRage 4YesNoYes
ArtRage 3 Studio ProYesNoYes
ArtRage 3 StudioYesNoNo


Overview of Painting Behaviour

Sticker Spray presets use one or more images from a single sticker sheet in a customizable sequence and stroke pattern. You can also choose to add them as separate sticker layers instead of directly onto existing paint, and right click on individual stickers to adjust size, shape, shadows, and opacity.

Custom Brush presets use the same repeating dab and grain for the entire stroke. Strokes are a single pixel deep and do not have any paint depth or interact with any of ArtRage’s custom paint properties (like a normal digital brush in another program), but can respond to canvas texture.

Tool Settings

The Settings panel for the Sticker Spray lets you adjust autoflow, auto-flatten (whether it’s on a separate layer or not) and whether it responds to Symmetry or not. These options control how the stroke acts relative to your existing paint and layers, and are not the same as the more advanced settings in the Spray Variations, which controls what the stroke will look like.

The Settings panel for the Custom Brush allows you to adjust stroke properties like opacity, canvas grain, smoothing, and the minimum size (to control size variation). These are all available in the Brush Designer as well, but are listed in Settings for quick access.

Blending

The Custom Brush can pick up paint color from the canvas and be used as a blender (with or without any actual color on the Custom Brush, see the Color Settings page for help, but it does not affect texture.

The Sticker Spray does not react to existing paint in any way, so it cannot be used as a blender.

Tracing Color Sampling

Both tools will pick up color from a tracing image. The Custom Brush can be adjusted to pick up color per stroke or per dab (on a sliding scale). The Sticker Spray always picks up color per individual dab but the individual color values can be adjusted (e.g. hue, saturation).

Stylus Properties

The Custom Brush uses stylus pressure to vary opacity and size. You can adjust the range in the Stroke Settings. It uses stylus tilt for rotation by default. You can adjust this or customize properties for advanced styluses (airbrush wheel, barrel rotation) from the Stylus Properties menu at the top of Settings or the Brush Designer.

The Sticker Spray stylus properties are all set in the Spray Variations panel, but it allows you to customize the response to pressure, tilt, rotation, airbrush wheel and pen (barrel) twist for the properties that your stylus supports.


Creating New Brush Presets (Advanced Settings)

Adding a New Dab/Sticker Image

The Custom Brush uses a specific shape for the head and another image for the grain. These are both used for the entire stroke, but the relative size, rotation, and position can be adjusted. Customize or create a custom brush preset in the Brush Designer (from the Settings or under Tools). Here you can edit the global properties for that brush, so it will always act the same way whenever you use it. Reset the custom brush settings to default for a very simple brush, then adjust it if needed.

Create a new sticker spray preset by adding a new sticker sheet in the Stickers menu, then loading it and going to the Spray Variations panel to adjust the behavior.

You can load a single image file as a sheet of multiple images and divide them into different sticker images. You can also add separate image files for different channels (top and bottom color, textures, lighting, metallics) to allow mixed and matched images (e.g. gift boxes with different ribbon options) or more customized results.In the Spray Variations panel, you select the values (e.g. size, hue, order of stickers, opacity) and then set how you want them to respond to specific properties (for example, a base or random value, pen pressure, canvas position). The different properties will multiply, so setting a base and a random value will limit the randomness around the base value.

You don’t need to use all the different options, as long as your sticker spray has an alpha (opacity) and a size (scale).

Stroke Color

Both tools allow more advanced color customization. The Custom Brush dab colors can be randomized by hue and luminance and can pick up color from existing paint.

The Sticker Spray color can be randomized or controlled using any of the different options in the Spray Variations panel like stylus pressure, randomness, tilt, or canvas position.

The Sticker Spray color is adjusted using a percentage value to the left (negative) or right (positive) on the color picker. This means that it will offset original sticker color based on your currently selected color and the value entered into the Spray Variations. If no value is entered, it will use the original sticker colors at all times.

If you want your sticker to always use the exact selected color, the original image needs to be red (RGB: Red 255, Green 0, Blue 0). Pure red is the starting value on the color picker, so sticker images should be pure red to match color changes accurately.

Tips:
  • Both tools support various image formats, but PNG and JPEG are recommended.
  • The Sticker Spray can be a multicolor image and use multiple color layers, but the Custom Brush only uses grayscale images and uses the selected color from the color picker. The Sticker Spray can also respond to the color picker color, but it is a little less intuitive.
  • The Sticker Spray supports transparency. The Custom Brush converts black into transparency, but does not support transparent source images.
  • Custom Brush images should be small files to improve performance, as they are loaded with every stroke. Sticker Spray images can be larger, as they use a single existing sticker.
  • Load an existing preset to copy the settings and then change the images and individual settings, rather than trying to input everythingfrom scratch.
  • The Sticker Spray includes defaults for Image Brushes and Object Sprays in the menu inside the Spray Variations panel, or you can clear everything and just enter 100% into the Base Value column for Alpha and Scale.
  • Test sticker sprays on the main canvas while you adjust settings, and test custom brushes on the included test canvas.


Presets and Sharing

Presets can be shared freely with any user via Package Files or simply by copying the preset itself. ArtRage Lite and Studio users can install premade Sticker Spray presets but cannot create new ones. The Custom Brush is only in ArtRage 5, so cannot be used in any other edition.

Both tools store their different brushes as individual presets. The Custom Brush saves the head and grain data as part of the preset properties, but includes a collection of default and customizable images that can be used for the head and grain.

The Sticker Spray refers to an existing Sticker image and only saves the individual stroke properties (so you need to install that Sticker Sheet as well as the preset).