A few days (weeks?) ago Julie asked me if I would like to try Alien Skin’s new Snap Art plugin for Adobe Photoshop. If you know me, you know I can’t resist cool photography gadgets and software. Julie knows just how to attack my weakest point.
Now you do too!
I have, in the past, ran through various Photoshop tutorials that allowed me to convert a photo into something resembling a painting or drawing. Pretty cool stuff, but I never really added this kind of thing to my regular services as a photographer — too time consuming to get something that looks good enough to print.
Along comes this product from Alien Skin. Now I can convert a photo to one of several different available effects in just a few moments. The filters mimic oil painting, watercolor, comic-like halftoning, pencil, pen and ink, and several others. It also allows you to give your artwork textures like rough canvas, parchment, wood, and many others. All of this in minutes.
You can apply the filters using default settings in two or three mouse clicks. Each filter comes with a fairly extensive set of presets to allow you to quickly make wholesale changes to your artwork. Alternatively you can tweak individual setting to produce a truly custom result. The software also allows you to save your settings so that you may use them on other photos. This plugin works for those that want instant results or for those who gleefully spend hours messing around with the software. Depending upon the day, my mood, etc., I can fall into either category.
The last feature I wanted to mention is Snap Art’s Focus Region. With the click of a button, you can add a Focus Region to your conversion. It comes in as a circle with drag handles that allow you to reposition, resize, and reshape the region to encompass an area on your photo and reduce the distortion of the effect in that area — for example, to maintain a bit more photo realism on a face. You can add multiple Focus Regions to any picture prior to the conversion.
I made a few conversions from Julie’s current photo on the About page here on the-gadgeteer. Although this pic is probably well below the resolution that the plugin was designed to enhance, it still serves to give you look at some of the potential effects. Please note the relatively greater detail preserved in the facial area by using the Focus Region function.
I have used Alien Skin Snap Art for numerous paying clients over the past couple of months. They all seem to love the unique look this handy little Photoshop plugin provides. Now I find myself wondering what other tricks they have have up their sleeves over at Alien Skin…
The plugin is a download available from Alien Skin’s website for $199.00.