Friday, March 10, 2017

Akvis Sketch to my Digital Toolbox

To be blunt, there are so many programs that "convert photos to sketches" that I consider them to be a dime a dozen (although most hardly charge that little). Photoshop has plenty of tools that all do a decent job of outlining the figure and adding sketchy lines. The problem is, none of them produce production-level work. By that, I mean they all come out looking like a photo that has been run through a filter.

While that's fine for hobbyists, it doesn't fly when you're trying to create something for print that actually looks like a sketch instead of a photo that's been run through a filter.

Anyone who follows my art at all knows that I'm a big fan of the India Ink Photoshop Plug-In by Flaming Pear (I use it to create the woodcut/engraved art used in my Western illustrations), which does a fantastic job once you get a handle on how to use it.

I've spent a long time looking for something that will give me control similar to what is available in the Sketch Render Designer in Poser, where I get a lot of control of edges, angle, density, and all of the little tweaks that make it look more organic and less procedural (in other words, more hand-drawn and less computerized).

With a few tweaks, Poser can turn the crisp line art render
of the Live Comic Book Preview into something
that looks hand sketched... almost.

I'm not bashing the other tools like Filter Forge or any FotoSketch or any of those items. They do a good job – just not the job I need done. 

Anyone who knows me is fully aware of the fact that I do not just jump in and buy new software. I test it... and test it again... and test it again to see if it's going to get the job done. That's why I'm a big fan of free trial software. I need to shake something down before I will spend money on it. One of the tools I've downloaded multiple times (one of the bonuses of having multiple computers) is Akvis Sketch.

This is a commercial tool that includes settings for edges, angles, midtones and things like that. In other words, it offers a degree of control that I need to attempt getting professional results. 

I have used the demo version for a few samples, and have decided that it is worth the $154 business license (I did consider buying the Home License while testing it and then upgrading later, but I think I've seen enough to know that this could wind up in my professional work very soon). 

I will post new artwork, using Akvis Sketch, as soon as I've got something worth looking at.

BY THE WAY: Sketch is just one of the many cool filter packages available. If you're at all interested in taking your digital art to the next level, you really should check out the other fine tools available from

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