updated 11:20 pm EDT, Wed July 20, 2011
'Completely re-designed' interface, faster preview
Alien Skin have updated their natural media plug-in for Adobe's Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Lightroom programs, Snap Art, to version 3 -- which now features a re-designed user interface, progressively-rendered previews, a new detail mask, additional styles of natural media (now including crayon) and better organization of presets in a single area. Overall, the company says the program now creates more natural results, regardless of skill level.
Snap Art does the actual work of "painting" thousands of brush strokes from presets controlled and customized by the user, including brush length, size, layering, edge enhancements and other painterly techniques. Version 3 further refines the stroke placement and allows users to use a new detail mask to minimize the effects on parts where more realistic detail is needed such as on faces.
The program features hundreds of variations on styles and media, ranging from oil paint and watercolor to pencil sketches and pen. The plug-in can even give a painted look to video, though the company cautions that render times can be lengthy.
Snap Art 3 is only sold as a plug-in and requires either Photoshop CS4 or later, Photoshop Elements 7 or later, or Lightroom 2 or later. For Mac, an Intel processor and OS X 10.5 or later are required, while for Windows at least a Pentium 4 processor and Windows XP SP3 or later is necessary. The program sells for $199, and owners of previous versions can upgrade for $99. Users who bought Snap Art in or after April of this year qualify for a free upgrade.
The example pictures (below) show the original photograph first, then with a style applied.