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By Steve Baczewski
Snap Art 3 (USS$199) is Alien Skin’s (http://ww.alienskin.com) latest version of their painting and drawing effects plug-in software for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Elements. And it’s exactly what the name implies -- software for quickly transforming photographic images into stylized art.
There’s a comprehensive collection of preset styles to get you started such as crayon, oil paint, pencil, comics, and watercolor that are further broken down into subgroups for landscapes, portraits, abstracts, etc. You can globally adjust the preset style using sliders to modify brushstroke, surface texture, color, light, etc., or locally use a layer mask to modify your image.
At any point in your exploration you can save and name your modifications. Snap Art processes large files relatively quickly and renders your image in a large preview window. The tools and controls are easy to use and the process is intuitive, but just in case, the interface has mouseover tooltips and there’s a collection of video tutorials on Alien Skin’s website.
For some, Snap Art’s quick results might be a legitimacy issue. Making art is supposed to be a difficult, time-consuming process. However, within minutes of opening one of my pictures in Snap Art 3, I was struck with the effects and couldn’t deny that I liked what I saw: complex brushstrokes, clean edges, delicate pointillism, and more. I made several prints on canvas paper that appeared natural without a manufactured look.
Snap Art is made to order for busy wedding photographers who need to deliver that special moment in a unique artistic manner. Snap Art lets us explore our images and expand our vision. It’s well worth trying out.
Rating: 9 out of 10
(This review is brought to you courtesy of "Layers Magazine": http://layersmagazine.com/ .)