SNAP ART

The new Snap Art from AlienSkin.com creates painterly effects on ordinary photographs. At $149, it’s a bit pricey, but it worked very well.Snap Art

By painterly effects we mean making a photograph look like it was done with a paint brush, or charcoal, crayon, pencil, chalk, etc. You can also get special effects from Microsoft Digital Image Suite, which we found for $30 at Amazon.com, and Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 3 for $86, also at Amazon. The full Photoshop was $580.

Corel’s Painter is the granddaddy of all such programs, but it’s $429 at the Corel.comWeb site. There’s a cut-down version called Corel Painter Essentials 3 for $79, and you can get it for either Mac or Windows. You can also get painterly effects using Ulead’s excellent PhotoImpact, even if you go back to version 5, which we found for $5 at eBay and $10 at Amazon. The latest version, version 12, is a download at TuCows.com for $90.

There are differences in all these programs, however. While they can all add effects that will make any picture look hand-drawn, each one tends to be better at some effects than others. This is unfortunate for the customer, who may have a strong preference for certain of those effects.

Summing it all up, we thought the Snap Art program from Alien Skin was worth the price. You can download trial versions of all but Microsoft’s for free by going to the companies’ Web sites: Adobe at Adobe.com; Corel at Corel.com.

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