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Although I am a purist by heart, I cannot forget my early days with a digital camera and a copy of Photoshop. The filters got me … right where I live!
Nowadays, I try to create compelling images right at the moment of exposure and not at the post editing stage. But then a piece of software appears and spoils me rotten.
Snap Art 2 is a Photoshop plug-in that appears in the Filters menu and twists and twiddles with an image to produce something which is far, far from being a photograph.
Nevertheles, these transformed pictures do have their uses: they can be useful in making birthday cards, a poster or to jazz up a school assignment.
They do have their place.
I found in use, Snap Art 2 is surprisingly powerful in its range variations that you can apply.
Here’s an idea of the options available in just one filter that I toyed with.
The original image (the first one above) was that of an Asian shopping centre display, ablaze with Chinese lanterns and the rest. Selecting the Impasto filter I found I could adjust the brush size, the amount of ‘Photorealism’, curvature and length of the brush stroke as well as the thickness of the paint.
Amazingly, I could go further and adjust the saturation, contrast, brightness etc of the colour; canvas characteristics; and the lighting.
By now I was rapidly falling in love with the software and grabbed an image of a country pub. This was an ideal prospect for some comic book treatment, so I selected the Comics filter and the offerings were generous: B&W or colour, with the opportunities to vary the result with additions of vignetting, shading and edge treatment.
Other filters include Color Pencil, Oil Paint, Pastel, Pen and Ink, Pencil Sketch, Pointilism, Stylise and Watercolor.
The software works under Windows XP or later in an Intel Pentium 4 processor as well as PowerPC or Intel Mac and OSX 10.4.11 or later. The plug-ins work in Photoshop CS3, CS4 but not CS5 at present; other host applications: Elements 4.0.1 or later (Mac); Elements 6 or later (Windows); Fireworks CS4 and Corel Paint Shop Pro X2.
There is a demo version on the site.
My summation: pricey but attractive and ideal for some advanced filter work on otherwise mundane images.
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