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Professional Imaging Tools

(June 2011) posted on Tue Jun 07, 2011

Software for image editing, manipulation, and illustration.

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Snap Art 2 turns photographs into works of art, creating detailed simulations of a variety of painterly styles, including oil paint, watercolor, pencil sketch, comic filter, and more. It applies detailed simulation of individual brushstrokes and canvas textures; users can also customize details, from brush size to paint thickness.

Bokeh 2 adds creative focus effects and lens simulations, allowing users to draw attention to their subject by manipulating focus, vignette, and depth of field.

Ambient Design
ArtRage3 Studio Pro is painting and drawing software designed to simulate real-world painting and drawing tools. It includes an intuitive, scalable, and customizable interface; a "canvas puck" that allows for easy navigation on the canvas; customizable keyboard shortcuts; an autosmoothing inking pen; a text tool that for live text editing on layers; and more. The software provides Photoshop-compatible transparent layers that can be used for advanced compositions and allows photos and images to be easily recreated as paintings. The Pro version adds real color blending, sophisticated color-adjustment options, Photoshop filter support, and an inking pen with opacity, blending, and anti-alias control.

Price: $80. ArtRage supports pen tablets from Wacom and Adesso, and also works with camera-based touch screens.
Apple’s Aperture 3 photo-editing and -management software includes more than 200 new features including: Faces, face detection and recognition to find and organize photos by the people in them; and Places, which allows the user to explore photos based on where they were taken, and automatically reverse geocodes GPS data into user-friendly locations. Users can assign locations by dragging-and-dropping photos onto a map or by using location information from GPS-enabled cameras, tracking devices or iPhone photos. By using the Brushes tool, users can “paint” effects onto images. Aperture 3 includes 15 Quick Brushes that perform popular tasks like dodge, burn, polarize, and blur, without the layers or masks. Brushes can automatically detect edges in images to allow users to apply or remove effects exactly where desired. Dozens of Adjustment Presets are included that apply a specific style or look to the entire image with one click. Users can create their own custom presets or explore the techniques of other photographers by importing theirs. Users can also weave together photos, audio, text, and HD video. Price: $79.99.