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AKVIS ArtWork 7: Photoshop Plug-in Review

AKVIS ArtWork 7 lets you modify your photograph so that it looks like a painting.

Introduction

AKVIS ArtWork 7 is an Adobe Photoshop compatible plug-in that provides seven painting styles for your digital photos. With these painting styles, you can convert your photograph into an oil painting, a gouache painting, a comic style picture, a pen and ink drawing, a watercolor painting, or even a linocut. Additionally, ArtWork also offers a wide choice of canvases and artist's signatures.

ArtWork 7 is from AKVIS, a company based in Russia that specializes in graphic programs. Apart from ArtWork 7, AKVIS also creates other Photoshop compatible plug-ins like ArtWork, Refocus, Retoucher, Chameleon, MultiBrush, Sketch, Enhancer, Decorator 3, Coloriage, MakeUp, etc.

You can download a free 10-day trial version of ArtWork 7 from the AKVIS site.

My contact at AKVIS for this review was Kat Kharina. Thank you, Kat.

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How To Use

Follow these steps to use AKVIS ArtWork 7:

  1. Open the image you want to use inside Adobe Photoshop or a similar program.
  2. Choose the Filter | AKVIS | ArtWork option, as shown in Figure 1, below.

  3. Figure 1: AKVIS ArtWork plug-in within the Filter menu
  4. Doing so opens the image within the AKVIS ArtWork 7 interface, as you can see in Figure 2, below.

  5. Figure 2: AKVIS ArtWork 7 interface
  6. The AKVIS ArtWork 7 interface is explained below. Each area corresponds to an area marked in Figure 2, above:
  7. A. Buttons

  8. The upper part of interface is the Control Panel with buttons on both the left and right sides representing options to undo/redo, show/hide strokes, import and export presets, to start processing the image, and to apply the results to the image. There are also buttons to launch the information dialog, help files, open the AKVIS ArtWork web page, and the Preferences dialog box.
  9. B. Tools

  10. Here you can access the following selection tools:
  11. Preview Window

  12. This tool enables you to show/hide the preview window in a square frame outlined with a dotted line ("marching ants").
  13. Stroke Direction

  14. This is for drawing guiding lines (in Oil and Pastel styles). Note that this tool only works in Home Deluxe/Business licenses of ArtWork, and an explanation of these licenses can be found on the AKVIS site.
  15. Eraser

  16. This is used to erase the guiding lines, either partially or completely.
  17. Smudge Tool

  18. This is a post-processing tool (works within the After tab, under Home Deluxe/Business licenses only). Select this tool to manually refine images by removing paint irregularities (in Oil, Watercolor, Gouache and Pastel styles).
  19. Blur Tool

  20. Select Blur Tool (works only for Watercolor and Gouache styles) to reduces image sharpness by decreasing color contrast.
  21. C. Preview

  22. Preview has two tabs: Before and After, to show the previews of both the original and changed images.
  23. D. Navigator

  24. On the top right, you'll find the Navigator. This also lets you chose the area of the image to be shown in the Preview pane.
  25. E. Style

  26. Click this selection box to bring up a drop-down list, as shown in Figure 3, below. Here you'll find all the seven painting styles. Choose any of them.

  27. Figure 3: Style drop-down list
  28. F. Settings Panel

  29. Settings Panel has three tabs of settings: Painting, Text, and Canvas:
  30. Painting

  31. Within the Painting tab you can adjust the settings for photo-to-paint conversion (refer to Figure 2, above).


  32. Text

  33. Text tab (see Figure 4, below) allows you to add an inscription to your painting.

  34. Figure 4: Text tab within the Settings Panel
  35. Canvas

  36. In the Canvas tab (see Figure 5, below) you can adjust the settings for the canvas, to which the resulting image is applied.

  37. Figure 5: Canvas tab within the Settings Panel
  38. G. Presets

  39. Presets field enables you to save the current settings as a preset to use them in the future. Each Style includes a number of ready-to-use presets.
  40. Play with the parameters, or choose from any of the available style presets -- when you get the result you want, apply the changes to the preview by pressing the Run button that you can see below.
  41. This applies the effect and creates a preview of the changed image in the After tab, as shown in Figure 6.

  42. Figure 6: Preview the changes
  43. Once you’re happy with the preview, apply the result to the image by pressing the Apply button (shown below) to return to the image editor.

Here are some Before and After samples:

  

  

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Specifications

Photoshop Versions: Photoshop 7 and higher
Platforms: Windows, Mac
Site: AKVIS
Price: USD $72 and above
Trial Version: Available for 10 days

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Photoshop: AKVIS Plug-ins (Glossary Page)