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Artograph Flare 450 Digital Art Projector Review

Iva Mikles
Artograph Flare 450 Digital Art Projector Review

💡 Heads up: The Artograph Flare 500 is the new model that took over from the Artograph Flare 450 in late 2023. It’s got some cool upgrades like max. 4K resolution, digital focus controls, a better remote control, and 36 grid patterns.

Hey there, welcome to my Artograph Flare 450 digital art projector review.

I’ve had a chance to use this digital projector for a while and had a lot of fun. Below are the details of my experience! It takes about 10 minutes to read.

I share the unboxing experience, working with the focus, remote control, and connecting it to my devices. I also share how it behaves in different light conditions and how the grids and keystone adjustment feature can help you with your artwork!

Artograph Flare 450 Review Summary

Artograph Flare 450 is a lightweight, portable, and rechargeable mini digital art projector you can carry anywhere. Once you get the hang of the remote control, it is great for scaling up and tracing portraits, landscapes, and murals in the studio, office, or home in good light conditions. I can also imagine using it for live workshops in smaller rooms with audiences of up to 10 people.

ProsCons
➕ Triple RGB LEDs (30k hours lifespan)➖ Remote takes time to get used to
➕ Lightweight and portable➖ Missing USB-C port
➕ Rechargeable battery (2.5h runtime)
➕ 12 built-in grid patterns
➕ Vertical keystone adjustment
FeaturesBenefits
Light (lumens and contrast):
Triple RGB LED Technology with a wide color gamut and high color accuracy
• 420 Lumens
• 1,000:1 Contrast ratio
Excellent for getting vivid details and accurate colors.
Resolution:
• Native Resolution: 1280 x 720 (HD)
• Max Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (FHD)
Ideal for detailed work. Your artwork and photos will be projected sharp and without pixelation.
Projection image size:
From 10″ (A4) up to 120″ (3m)
This is small enough to support projecting on a tabletop easel as well as on the studio/office wall.
Grid patterns:
12 built-in grid patterns
Great for getting composition, perspective, and proportions right and designing unique artwork.
Keystone adjustment:
Yes – vertical
It helps when you work on tilted surfaces and in smaller spaces or can’t get the projector straight.
Throw ratio:
1.2:1
It allows you to project close as well as far from the surface without the need to have a lot of space available.
Connectivity:
Composite A/V, Mini-VGA, Digital Input, HDMI, USB key, micro-SD card slot
These ports will be enough for most artists to connect to their devices (PCs/Macs, USB keys, tablets)

Why Did I Choose To Test Artograph Flare 450?

Office mural - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
Maybe a “Tiger” inspired office mural? – Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

I have been thinking of doing more office murals and scaling up my digital artwork on canvas, so I wanted to try a digital projector. 

Among other things, I considered two main criteria when choosing a digital art projector: features supporting my needs as an artist and portability.

Projector in palm - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
Flare 450 in my palm – Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

Many digital projectors for movies and gaming don’t focus on artists’ needs. You want to get the composition, perspective, and colors right when scaling up your artwork, and standard digital projectors don’t have the features to support artists with that.

I had known Artograph as a company producing quality opaque projectors for traditional art. Studio Designs, Inc purchased the Artograph trademark and know-how a few years ago. They released updated versions of their digital projectors, so I decided to try them!

I had a chance to test Artograph Flare 450, released in 2021, and Artograph Inspire 1200, which they released in early 2023. You can read the Artograph Inspire 1200 digital projector review here.

The opinions in this review are my own, and I did not receive any incentive for testing the projectors.

Who Can Benefit From Using Artograph Flare 450?

Both beginner and professional artists can benefit from using Artograph Flare 450.

Flare 450 is fantastic for the following tasks:

If you are a beginner artist painting large artwork and learning the art fundamentals (composition, perspective, proportions), Flare 450 can be quite helpful to you because of the 12 built-in grid patterns.

If you are a professional landscape or portrait artist painting large canvas paintings and indoor murals, Flare 450 will help you save a lot of time with the 12 built-in grids, too!

I can also imagine using it for live workshops, but due to its limitation, only in smaller rooms for up to 10 people.

And as with any digital projector, you can also use it to project your artwork in galleries and art shows.

Unboxing The Artograph Flare 450

Let’s look at Artograph Flare 450 in detail.

There is a bunch of accessories included with the projector:

Bag - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
Bag – Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

Carrying Case

The box and the case are pretty cute. You get the user manual to learn how to use it or troubleshoot if something goes wrong.

Charger

You can use Flare 450 with a charger or battery when working.

USB Key

You also get a small USB key to transfer your images to the projector. It also has more user manuals, sample images, and other useful resources. 

It is only 1 GB, which is pretty low for modern standards, but you can use your own.

Remote Control

Projector and Remote Control - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
Projector and Remote Control – Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

The remote control is super useful because you don’t have to run back and forth between the canvas and the projector when working with the menu or making the keystone adjustment.

HDMI Cable

There is also an HDMI cable which makes it easy to connect to a computer or a tablet (with an adapter). 

The Projector

Flare 450 is a very light and compact digital projector. You have the touchpad on the top when you don’t want to use the remote. There is also a wheel to adjust the focus.

Front - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

In the back, you have the USB, HDMI, A/V, Headphones, and DC port for the charger. I found it pretty convenient to have all the cables hanging from one side.

Back - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
Back side – Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

And on the right side, you have the micro-SD card slot, mini VGA port, and the on-and-off switch.

Right side - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
Right side – Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

And on the bottom, you have the tripod female thread where you attach your tripod.

Bottom - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
Bottom side with tripod female thread – Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

OK, that’s for unboxing. Let’s turn this cute little art projector on, look at the interface and use it.

Using The Artograph Flare 450

Turning on Flare 450

I was pleasantly surprised that the Flare 450 was instantly easy to use!

Switch it on, wait a few seconds, and it turns on easily. It comes with a precharged battery so that you can use it right out of the box. That’s pretty cool because I wanted to use it right away!

I could use it for about an hour in Standard mode. I then had it on the charger to use the Boost mode.

In Eco mode, it lasted much longer, about two hours. This is fine with me because I like to take regular breaks anyways.

Focus

Manual focus - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
Manual focus – Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

Artograph Flare 450 has a manual focus.

When you first turn the projector on, it is out of focus.

I used the wheel on top of the projector to adjust the focus. I figured out that slowly moving the wheel to find the perfect focus worked the best. When I was scrolling too fast, I couldn’t get the focus right.

Remote Control

Remote control – Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

Some other artists shared that the remote control is not easy to use.

It’s true. It took me some time to get used to it!

It is an infrared remote control, and I’d prefer Studio Designs to include a Bluetooth version, which would be much more precise. I guess that would also make the whole projector more expensive!

Infrared remote controls require a direct line of sight and a particular angle. Otherwise, they don’t work properly. And I felt this is the case with Flare 450’s remote, too.

It took me some time to get used to pointing the remote “just right” to control the projector. While testing, I learned you should direct it about 1/2 inch (1 cm) next to the lens to get it working.

Interface - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
Interface – Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

The main menu is easy to understand and navigate, either with the remote control or the touchpad on the top of the projector.

There are the following menu items:

Brightness and Battery

You can use this projector on the battery or plug it into the wall plug with the charger.

The only difference is that you will have less brightness when on the battery because it obviously has less power.

So you will be able to use the Eco and Standard mode, and when plugged in the power outlet, you can also use the Boost mode, but only for one hour, so it doesn’t burn out.

This is OK because you would normally use the projector in dark spaces, and Standard mode is more than enough.

Below, you will see how the projector performed in different light conditions …

Keystone Adjustment

Artograph Flare 450 comes with the vertical keystone adjustment feature, which you control through the remote.

This is super useful when you can’t position the projector perpendicular to the horizontal line of your canvas or projection surface. For example, in smaller spaces or when projecting on a tilted canvas.

Artograph Flare 450 Key Decision-Making Criteria

Let’s have a look at the main criteria I considered important when choosing a digital art projector:

Light (Lumens and Contrast)

Artograph Flare 450 light uses triple RGB LED technology.

Three individual red, green, and blue LEDs produce your artwork’s or photo’s colors. They deliver a wider color gamut, higher color accuracy, and more vibrant and lifelike images.

The projections of my artwork were very vibrant and accurate. This is essential for me as an artist working with colors and values.

Additionally, the triple RGB LED technology generally lasts longer, consumes less energy, requires less maintenance, and is less noisy.

Lumens

Light condition dark - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
Light condition – Dark – Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

Because it’s a lightweight and portable art projector (it fits into my palm), regarding lumens, Flare 450 is less powerful than big digital projectors for movies and games.

Despite that, it performs very well in a darkened room, even if a bit of daylight is coming through the blinds.

Light condition - Light - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
Light condition – Light – Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

Contrast Ratio

Artograph Flare 450 has a contrast ratio of 1000:1. Technically, it is lower than digital projectors for movies and games, which come with min. 2000:1 contrast ratio.

I feel Flare 450 performed very well in a darkened room, and the images had good contrast, even with a bit of light coming through the blinds. I think the triple RGB LED technology helped to balance the lower contrast ratio!

Resolution

Artograph Flare 450 supports HD and full HD resolution of your images.

I usually work in Procreate, with a canvas size close to 4K resolution, and even then, my artworks were sharp, and I could see many details without too much pixelation.

Projection Image Size

Depending on the distance between the projector and the surface, Artograph Flare 450 can project from 10” (A4) to 120” (3m).

The 120″ or 3m maximum projection size suits smaller artwork and murals. I guess you could also use it for bigger ones when projecting in sections.

Due to space limitations in my studio, I could not go any further away from the wall than about 120″ (3m). But I can imagine it could perform well even a bit further away.

The projection remained quite sharp when I approached the wall, and it only became blurry when I was too close to the wall (under 10″). So if you have limited space and want to use it on the table with your tabletop easel, I think you can do that.

Grid Patterns

12 grid patterns - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
12 grid patterns – Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

Artograph Flare 450 includes 12 built-in grid patterns which you can project on the surface or overlay over your images.

The grids help with tasks such as getting the composition, perspective, and proportions right and designing unique scenes from different images.

The included grids are quite useful when working on portraits and landscapes. I appreciated the “rule of thirds” grids for horizontal and vertical paintings.

I was missing the perspective grids for painting landscapes with more depth and the golden ratio. If you are an experienced painter, you can do without these because the linear, dot, and circular patterns will guide you to a certain extent. However, for beginners, having explicit grids is easier.

Look at my Artograph Inspire 1200 digital art projector review for even more grid patterns. It includes 32 built-in grids.

Keystone Adjustment

Keystone adjustment - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life.webp
Keystone adjustment – Artograph Flare 450 – ©Art Side of Life

The vertical keystone adjustment was easy to control.

I used the keystone adjustment often when projecting my artwork on a tilted canvas and when I couldn’t get my tripod perpendicular to the table.

Throw Ratio

Artograph Flare 450 has a throw ratio of 1.2:1 which is acceptable among digital projectors.

For example, to project 120″ (3m) artwork, the projector needs to be placed 100″ (2.5m) away from the surface. This is quite useful for smaller spaces like a studio or office.

As mentioned in the projection image size section above, I could use the projector to project close and far from the wall.

Connectivity

Artograph Flare 450 has the following ports: composite A/V, mini-VGA, HDMI, micro-SD card slot, and standard USB.

I was missing a USB-C port that would allow me to connect it to my iPad Pro directly. I could connect them with the included HDMI cable, but I don’t have all the different adapters.

To project my artwork, I used the provided USB key. That added an extra step of uploading my artwork to it from my computer. It’s not a biggie, but for comparison, I connected Artograph Inspire 1200 with my iPad Pro in a few minutes.

Using the HDMI adapter, I could also connect the projector to my MacBook with the included HDMI cable.

Should You Get Artograph Flare 450?

To conclude, if you are an artist looking for a mini digital art projector that is lightweight and portable, Artograph Flare 450 could be for you!

Portable Pick
Artograph Flare 450 Digital Art Projector

Best portable projector for artists, tracing, canvas painting, and indoor murals

Easy to carry, weights less than 1lb (~400g) || 2.5 hours rechargeable battery run time || Triple RGB LEDs with 30k hours lifespan || 1920 x 1080 resolution || Throw distance from 10″ (A4) to 120″ (3m) || Throw ratio 1.2:1 || 12 built-in grid patterns || Vertical keystone || Many connectivity options

Artograph Flare 450 and Inspire 1200 are the only digital projectors I found that are made for artists – using RGB LED technology and including built-in grid patterns.

When I first held the Artograph Flare 450, I liked its size and weight. I compared it to my phone, which is almost the same weight. This makes Flare 450 super portable, and I don’t have to think about what kind of tripod I will use or where I will place it.

You could think such size and weight come at a price of lower quality. This is true, but only on the specs sheet.

Once I learned where and how to point the remote control, I could use Flare 450 comfortably. The interface is easy to navigate. I could easily adjust the brightness, find the grid patterns and make the keystone adjustments. My artwork was vibrant and accurate, and I traced it on canvas in no time.

I think Artograph Flare 450 is a wonderful portable digital art projector with which you could have a lot of fun!

Happy tracing!

Iva

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am a full-time self-taught artist behind Art Side of Life® and a Top Teacher on Skillshare. I have 15 years of experience in the creative field as a concept designer, illustrator, art director, and now freelance artist, content creator, and art instructor. My goal is to help you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art through practical classes, tutorials, Procreate brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies and resources. About me »

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