Feeling creative, but lack artistic skills? Make your digital photos look as if they were drawn or painted with FotoSketcher
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You might not be able to draw – not many of us are blessed with the talent to actually be able to sketch or paint something that looks good – but you can probably point a camera and take a photo.
And that being the case, FotoSketcher allows you to create your very own masterpiece of artwork with any photo you’ve snapped, as it can convert any snap on your computer into art with just a little thought and a judicious few mouse clicks.
This piece of Windows software is free – even for commercial usage, i.e. if you want to try and sell the resulting artwork – and it’s ad-free, too, offering an expansive range of styles, from cartoons to oil paintings.
Why you need Fotosketcher
Fotosketcher is fast and free, and gives great results in moments. It provides over 20 artistic filters to transform your photos, plus a selection of canvas textures and borders to finish the look.
Fotosketcher's default settings look great, but you can also adjust each filter using a simple set of sliders for options including brush stroke length and accuracy, and save these custom options as a preset for future use.
If your source photo isn’t quite ready to be transformed, FotoSketcher includes a crop tool to improve composition, plus luminosity, contrast, saturation and blur/sharpen options.
Fotosketcher copes with even high-resolution photos admirably, and the finished ‘paintings’ look good enough to be printed on canvas using a service like PhotoBox and mounted on your wall.
The popularity of Instagram led to a new market for apps that do clever things with photos – the likes of Prisma, for instance – and free Windows app FotoSketcher brings very much the same idea to the desktop.
With a few clicks of your mouse, Fotosketcher can transform a mundane photo into something really special. It doesn't matter if you're not comfortable using powerful photo editing software - the program takes care of all the complex processing, letting you create something spectacular.
FotoSketcher is a joy to use from start to finish. The main screen is split into two, with the left side showing the source image and the right providing a preview of the results based on the filters and effects you've selected.
When you're ready to get creative, hit the artist's palette button and take your pick from Fotosketcher's wide range of drawing styles to give your image a unique look. Each effect is ripe for tweaking and tinkering; for example, you can select the minimum size of brush strokes, the precision of oil pastels and the length of pencil lines. You also have the option of adding a frame and choosing a canvas texture. The effects are surprisingly convincing, and even the completely uninitiated will be able to create something impressive very quickly.
If you want to experiment more with Fotosketcher, you can try using a manual brush to apply an effect to just a portion of your photo; this gives you the option of using multiple effects on a single image. If you're particularly enamored with an effect, Fotosketcher's batch processing means you can apply it to a set of photos at once.
If you choose Fotosketcher's watercolor setting you'll see your converted picture being built up using layers of brushstrokes as it's converted - a particularly nice touch that you'll appreciate if your PC is a little slow and conversion takes a while.
The ease of use and range of filters is impressive, but that's not all FotoSketcher has to offer. In addition to its realistic simulation of traditional media, it can also be used as a basic photo editor. All the essential tools you would expect can be found here: rotating, cropping, contrast adjustment, automatic color level tweaking and so on.
If you want to get really adventurous, FotoSketcher even supports scripting, enabling you to apply several effects to an image in one go.
There really isn't very much to complain about with FotoSketcher, but some users might be disappointed by the fairly limited number of image formats that creations can be saved in – JPEG, PNG or BMP only.
We also encountered some strange quirks with FotoSketcher when resizing the program window. This might not be something you do very often – or, indeed, at all – but don't be surprised if the window jumps around randomly during resizing.
FotoSketcher not only creates stunning results, it's also immense fun to use. In minutes, anyone can become a real artist.
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