Snap Art from Alien Skin Software

Review by Mario Georgiou, February 2007
Published by: Alien Skin Software
Requires: Photoshop CS or a Recent Edition of a Plug-in Compliant Host Application
Windows Systems - Intel Pentium 4 processor (or compatible) 512 MB RAM 1024x768 or greater monitor resolution Windows XP or later.
Macintosh Systems - PowerPC G4 or G5 processor 512 MB RAM 1024x768 or greater monitor resolution Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later .
MSRP: $149 US
Snap Art - Box Shot
I'm a big fan of art and luckily I am also able to draw, paint and sculpt. However for many folks creating art is something of a challenge if not impossible to create something which they conceive of as Artistic. For those of you who take photos, and who also enjoy playing with your images, Photoshop and several plug-ins have enabled you to create art-like images.

Snap Art is one of these plug-ins and basically allows you to create images that evoke the feeling and looks of many traditional and real world art styles. This plug in consists of 10 Photoshop compatible plug-in filters, each of which creates a very distinctive effect. Effects include; oil paint, impasto, pastel, pencil sketch, pen and ink, Pointillism, Comics, Watercolour and others. It is very similar in the range of effects it creates, to some of the styles I've found in other artistic effects emulation plug-ins.

Although it won't turn you into an artist, it is very easy to use and the results are much more configurable than most of these other plug-ins.

In addition to the style presets there are several key settings which allow you to modify the factory settings these include; Tone, Canvas, and Lighting. The capability to save your own presets is an excellent feature.

Whilst many of the effects which are cool, they can however be created with Photoshop using its native filters and effects. What Snap Art does, is take all the fuss and time out of looking for and trying to remember what combination of filters to use, by putting all the controls in a powerful interface. It could however, be improved by allowing some kind of quick switching mode so that you can move from style to style more quickly.

I tend to use tools like this in combination with the other features in Photoshop and also with the use of my graphics tablet for line work. I found that I wasn't overly impressed with the pencil sketch and watercolour styles, but found the other styles useful. My favourite styles were oil paint, impasto and comics.

Cons: Some of the presets are not quite evocative of the style being emulated.

Pros: Easy to use. Highly configurable. Ability to save User settings.

Snap Art is aimed and priced at all users of photo based software. Whilst many of the effects this plug-in creates can be achieved using Photoshop, it makes the process of creating your art easy because it places all the necessary controls in an easy to access interface. Recommended.