Review of Alien Skin's Snap Art filter

December 18, 2006 12:39 am

Snap Art by Alien Skin Software L.L.C. is a set of 10 filters; these filters are really fun to use and allow for a great deal of creativity, as well as allowing the novice user to create effects such as oil painting, watercolor, etc. The filter set works with:

  • Adobe CS or later
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 4 or later
  • Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI or later.

While I said Snap Art is a set of 10 filters, in actuality there are almost an infinite number that can be created. The Snap Art filters are used to take an image and change its style. Thus, a regular image can be changed to one that has the look of an oil painting or one that has the look of a pastel work on thick paper.

The key settings are: Factory Setting, Basic, Tone, Canvas, and Lighting. There is also the ability to save ones own settings in addition to the Factory Settings.

Each one of the settings will change the feel and look of the image, so the same image can look unique by just using different settings.

Lighting seemed to change the final image the least.

I took a number of images that I had created in the past to illustrate the various filters. As I have already stated, each final image could have looked differently than what I created for this review.

Comic Filter

Oil and Impasto Filters

Pastel Filter

Pen and Ink and Pencil Filters

Pointillism Filter

Stylize Filter

Colored Pencil and Watercolor Filters

One does not have to work with the same image. I broke one image down into layers and used the Impasto filter on each layer using a different setting. I, also, can then use other filters to soften, exaggerate, smooth, etc. these same layers.

The image was layered in the following manner:

The requirements for Snap Art are:

Macintosh Systems:

  • PowerPC G4 or G5 processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1024x768 or greater monitor resolution
  • Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later

Windows Systems:
  • Intel Pentium 4 processor (or compatible)
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1024x768 or greater monitor resolution
  • Windows XP or later

The cost of Snap Art is $149. If one owns another Alien Skin product and orders directly from Alien Skin, the cost is $99. For more information about this product and Alien Skins other great filters, go to their web site at:

Also, for reviews of their other great filters, go to the index page of my web site of

I really enjoyed using this set of filters and found, as I stated in the beginning of the review, that one could use them to just mimic a type of artistic effect or use them creatively through working with layers and other filters as well.

All supporting images are copyright, and cannot be
copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the artist.

The Paula Sanders Report is a regular Renderosity Front Page featured column, where Paula investigates and comments on graphic software, techniques, and other relevant material through her reviews, tutorials, and general articles.

December 18, 2006

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Article Comments

deemarie ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 18 December 2006

Wow, I really like this filter. The pen and ink filter is something I have been looking for. Just one question ... how do the other filters differ from the basic filters in Photoshop? Right now I am running Photoshop 7. Not sure how the special effects of the newer Photoshop version compare. Thanks again for another great product review. Dee-Marie

Paula Sanders ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 18 December 2006

The Alien Skin filters have many many more settings than do the Photoshop filters so they give you more control of the image and allow for more variation.

Wolfkazzy ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 18 December 2006

Thank you for your review, I really enjoyed it. I plan on getting it after I recover from the Holidays LOL.

newangels ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 19 December 2006

I am sorry but there are free plugins online that are way better than this product and free to boot. 99 dollars is way to steep to pay and its not compatible with older versions of graphics programs.

nickcharles ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 22 December 2006

Thanks for this review, Paula! The examples you show look fantastic.

TSHamby ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 23 December 2006

The Alien Skin filters are definitely on my MUST HAVE list. Thank you for the fine review. - Tony

drawbridgep ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 24 October 2007

I've downloaded the 30 day demo of the filter and it's my new favourite toy/tool. I say toy since it's just so much fun! I'm not sure what free filters newangels has, but I'd like to see if they can produce brush strokes, canvas texture and highlights that Alien Skin can. Check out my website gallery for my playings.

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