capsule review


At a Glance
  • U&I Software ARTMATIC PRO 2.5

If you're looking for an easy way to create compelling abstract images and animations, ArtMatic Pro 2.5, from U&I Software, is a good bet. Like ArtMatic 1.2 (Reviews, June 2000), it uses mathematics to generate remarkable art, and it requires skills no more advanced than the ability to operate a mouse.

With version 1.2, it was difficult to predict results of the program's mathematical operator modules, which generate the images. But this new version lets you fine-tune your creations. It includes more than 3,000 tweakable presets (templates) you can use as the basis for your own compositions. An expanded set of graphics generators and filters and an animation-preview feature for exporting QuickTime movies are just as welcome.

The presets are found in ArtMatic Browser, a separate application that organizes images by type--Skies & Clouds and Botanic, for example. Although it's still easier to click on the interface's large die to generate an image at random, you'll have better luck achieving your desired outcome if you select and modify a preset.

Rendering a high-resolution QuickTime movie can take a long time--a few seconds per frame on a 400MHz PowerBook G4--so knowing in advance how the movie will turn out is worthwhile. This was difficult to discern with the previous version's low-resolution Random Path Animation feature. But ArtMatic's new Preview feature offers a higher-resolution look at your QuickTime movie.

ArtMatic brims with improvements, but it could still benefit from a multiple-undo command for when you've tweaked an image a few times too many.

Macworld's Buying Advice

A digital artist or graphic designer who wants to generate otherworldly art with minimal effort will find that ArtMatic Pro 2.5 is a worthy addition to an artistic arsenal.

At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Includes many templates
    • Helpful animation preview
    • Easy-to-use art generator


    • No multiple undos
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