I’ve been a fan of FotoSketcher for a few years and version 2.0 was recently released. This free application will convert any photo into a hand-drawn or hand-painted masterpiece. Basically, it is a Photoshop type filter that runs as a stand alone application. It does one thing and it does it well.
The installation is simple, and a portable version that doesn’t require installation is also available. The interface is very slick – pleasant to look at and easy to figure out. There are nearly 20 different drawing styles available (pencil drawing, painting, cartoon, etc.). Each of the styles has a ton of adjustments in the Drawing Parameters window. The program offers some very basic photo editing options (crop, resize, rotate), but I prefer to use other software for those operations. Text can be added and batch operations are possible.
I don’t use FotoSketcher often, but when I do, I’m always pleased with the results. Sometimes the default parameters are perfect, sometimes the parameters need to be adjusted. Don’t be afraid to play around with them, and remember that certain photos will look better with different drawing styles. Experimentation is key with this program.
Some of the more complicated filters may render slowly on older, slower computers. One thing that I would like to see changed is the Drawing Parameters window. It is currently a floating window, but I think that integrating it into the main program window would be an improvement. A larger preview window would be nice.
- – The Bottom Line – -
Very few free programs do what FotoSketcher does. It gives excellent results with a minimum of fuss. If you’re feeling creative, give it a shot.