“Snap Art 2” from AlienSkin does an amazing job of turning a photo into a painting with a

SnapArt turns a photo into a painting

SnapArt turns a photo into a painting

single click. The bad news is it’s a plug-in for Photoshop or Photoshop Elements or PaintShop Pro. So you have to have one of those to use Snap Art 2. Photoshop is expensive but the other two programs are well under $100. Snap Art 2 itself is $199 from


All you do is open a photo and click on the kind of filter you want: oil painting, pencil or whatever. You can also select a style: comic book, for example.

There are 700 presets, all of which can be tweaked to produce the effect you want. The neatest new feature is the “focus region.” Drag a circle around a face in a portrait, for example, and you can isolate that from the effects produced in the rest of the picture. There are great tutorials on the website that show you how to tweak your settings.

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