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AKVIS ArtWork 7: Photoshop Plug-in Review

AKVIS ArtWork 7 is an Adobe Photoshop compatible plug-in that provides seven painting styles with which you can modify your photograph so that it looks like a painting.



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.


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, as shown in Figure 1.

    AKVIS ArtWork plug-in within the Filter menu
    Figure 1: AKVIS ArtWork plug-in within the Filter menu

  3. This opens the image within the AKVIS ArtWork 7 interface, as you can see in Figure 2.

    AKVIS ArtWork 7 interface
    Figure 2: AKVIS ArtWork 7 interface

    The AKVIS ArtWork 7 interface is explained below -- each area corresponds to an area marked in Figure 2 above:

    1. Buttons: The upper part of interface is the Control Panel with buttons on both the left and right sides representing the 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.
    2. Tools: Here you can access the following selection tools:

      1. Preview Window tool enables you to show/hide the preview window -- a square frame outlined with a dotted line ("marching ants").

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

      3. Eraser is used to erase the guiding lines, either partially or completely.

      4. Smudge Tool 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).

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

    3. Preview has two tabs -- Before and After, to show the previews of both the original and changed images.

    4. 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.

    5. Style: 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.

      Style drop-down list
      Figure 3: Style drop-down list

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

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

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

      Text tab within the Settings Panel
      Figure 4: Text tab within the Settings Panel

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

      Canvas tab within the Settings Panel
      Figure 5: Canvas tab within the Settings Panel

    7. 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.

  4. 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.

    Run Button

  5. This applies the effect and creates a preview of the changed image in the After tab, as shown in Figure 6.

    Preview the changes
    Figure 6: Preview the changes

  6. 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.

     Apply Button

Here are some Before and After samples:

Before   After

Before    After



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


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