updated 06:05 pm EDT, Thu July 28, 2011
Adds support for RAW files, Lion compatibility
Plug-in and standalone graphics app maker Akvis today unveiled version 6.0 of Akvis Artwork, a program that turns photos into paintings using various styles, available as either a standalone program or plug-in for Mac and Windows. Changes in v6 include the introduction of the pastel style -- soft strokes of muted color similar to the effect of drawing with pastel crayons. The update also adds RAW file support and other minor changes.
The program offers to turn photos into digital paintings using oil, watercolor, linocut, pen and ink or comics style, in addition to the new pastel technique. Users can fine-tune controls such as stroke direction, stroke size, underpainting, smudging, glazing, and other subtle changes to make each work unique. Turning photos into paintings works well on most kinds of digital photography but is especially effective for traditional painting subjects like landscapes, still lifes, nudes and portraits. The painting process can even salvage an imperfect photograph (slightly out of focus, askew or over/under-exposed) and turn it into a stylized work of art.
When printed out, especially on larger plotters, the results can closely mimic the results one might get from lithographic prints of genuine paintings. The new v6 introduces the batch-processing mode of the plug-in version to the standalone version of the program -- and can be useful for creating cartoon or comic "animations" of a series of photos.
The update also now supports RAW files, and adopts the OS file dialog for loading and saving files as well as providing a list of recent files. The program is compatible with Mac OS X Lion.
The update to v6 is free for existing owners of Akvis Artwork, and the program sells for $72 for the home version (either plug-in or standalone) without the new pastel option, or $129 with pastel included. A Business version that allows commercial use of the artwork created with the program sells for $189.
The program works with both PPC and Intel-based Macs, though a G5 or later is recommended; 2GB of RAM and a monitor capable of at least 1280x1024 resolution are also suggested. Users must be running Mac OS X 10.4 or later. The plug-in version of Akvis' programs are compatible with Adode Photoshop versions 6.0 to CS5.5, and all versions of Photoshop Elements.
Akvis Artwork is also available as part of the company's Alchemy Bundle, which includes all of the company's various products at a discounted price, and the Artistic Bundle, which also includes ArtSuite and Sketch. The latter sells for $149 (plug-in version) or $169 (standalone). Free trials of Artwork and the other offerings are available.