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AKVIS NatureArt 5.5: Photoshop Plug-in Review

AKVIS NatureArt is a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop that adds natural phenomena on your digital photos.

Introduction

AKVIS NatureArt 5.5 in an Adobe Photoshop-compatible plug-in that contains 9 nature-specific visual effects. It is the newest version of the AKVIS NatureArt 1.0 plug-in that we reviewed earlier. This plug-in allows you to add create natural phenomena on your pictures. You can also add effects directly on a blank background, such as converting a blank background into a sea view, lightning bolt, rain, sun, and snow. Finally, save your effects as presets for future use.

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

You can download a free 10-days trial version of NatureArt from the AKVIS site.

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

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How To Use

Once the NatureArt is installed, follow these steps or just read along to do a quick walkthrough of NatureArt.

  1. Launch an image editor such as Adobe Photoshop (where you installed the NatureArt plug-in) and open any picture.
  2. Choose the Filter | AKVIS | NatureArt option, as shown in Figure 1, below.

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

  5. Figure 2: AKVIS NatureArt interface
  6. The AKVIS NatureArt 5.5 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 located on both the left and right sides. Options are available to show/hide a selection or support lines, to undo/redo, to start processing the image, and to apply the result to the image. There are also buttons to launch the information dialog, help files, open the AKVIS NatureArt web page, and the Preferences dialog box.
  9. B. Preview

  10. Preview has two tabs: Before and After, to show the previews of both the original and changed images.
  11. C. Tools

  12. Here you get tools such as the Selection Brush tool: which is used to highlight areas to which an effect will be applied. The Eraser tool erases selection areas, and the Selection Bucket fills an area outlined with the Selection Brush (helpful for selecting large areas).
  13. Note that there are some tools which only work for a particular effect. For example, the Direction tool appears when Lightning effect is selected. Similarly, the Transform tool appears when the Sun effect is selected and the Move tool appears when the Water effect is selected.
  14. In addition, there are some other tools helpful in post-processing:
  15. The History Brush tool restores areas to their original state. Note that this tool is available for Home Deluxe and Business licenses. An explanation of these licenses can be found on the AKVIS site.
  16. The Hand tool allows you to scroll the image when it does not fit within the Image Window at the desired scale. Double-clicking on this tool makes the image fit the Image Window.
  17. The Zoom tool changes the image's scale. To zoom in, left-click on the image. To zoom out, left-click with the Alt key pressed on the image. Press Z to quickly access this tool. Double-clicking on the tool makes the image scale to 100% (actual size).
  18. D. Navigator

  19. On the top right, you'll find the Navigator. This also lets you choose the area of the image to be shown in the Preview pane.
  20. E. Settings Panel

  21. Settings Panel provides 9 effects under the Effect menu and depending upon the effect selected, you'll get context-sensitive properties that allows customization and fine-tuning of various parameters.


  22. F. Presets

  23. The Presets area enables you to save the current settings as a preset to use them in the future. There are 9 ready-to-use presets.
  24. Play with the parameters, or choose from any of the available presets, when you get the result you want, apply the changes to the preview by clicking the Run button (located within the Control Panel on the top) that you can see below.
  25. This applies the effect and creates a preview of the changed image in the After tab, as shown in Figure 3, below.

  26. Figure 3: Preview the changes
  27. Once you’re happy with the preview, apply the result to the image by clicking the Apply button located within the Control Panel on the top (shown below) to return to the image editor.

Here are some Before and After samples created using AKVIS NatureArt:

  

  

  

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Specifications

Photoshop Versions: Photoshop 6 and higher
Platforms: Windows, Mac
Site: AKVIS
Price: USD $72 and above
Trial Version: Available

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