As a non-artist, I’m always a sucker for programs that let me create interesting graphical effects – especially with text – without requiring Photoshop. So BeLight Software’s new Art Text is a dangerous program for me to launch, since I can waste way too much time playing with its many built-in and user-configurable options for turning text and simple vector graphics into cool logotypes. A few minutes of fiddling with various options produced this graphic of the word “TidBITS” in the Ransom font, along with an arrow dingbat pointing at a penguin, each in different styles. In the just-released Art Text 1.2, BeLight added new transformation types for squeezing text into particular shapes, additional shading materials, many new pictograms, and a set of styles for Web 2.0-like graphics, making it easy to generate those ray-traced logotypes that have become so popular on hip new Web sites. Personally, I like playing with the variables that control the color, light direction, depth, shadow, and glow, and Art Text can even import existing images as backgrounds, textures, or materials. Art Text requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and there’s a free demo available as an 8 MB download; be sure to watch BeLight’s screencast for a good overview of Art Text’s features.