If you need to convert existing photos in paintings, drawings or cartoons then you will need to try FotoSketcher. I will try to show you how to use this software. You will need just a couple of minutes or even less.
FotoSketcher review (short version): This is a free program that allows you to create beautiful works of art using you existing digital photos (popular formats such as JPEG, PNG supported). It doesn't require any artistic skills or previous experience with graphic tools. Just open one or more photos or images (bulk mode is supported), add an effect or modify whatever you want and save the picture. That's it.
At the time that I wrote this article, FotoSketcher was available only for Windows BUT the developer (David Thoiron) said that it will soon launch a version for Mac OS X users. Download FotoSketcher (from homepage) and check if a Mac OS X was released. In this example, I used the portable version on Windows 7 but feel free to install FotoSketcher on your computer. Here's how it looks (main software interface) when the program started for the first time (I resized the program window a little bit):
You can perform a lot of actions (batch mode, set a drawing as wallpaper etc.) but the purpose of this article is to show you how to use FotoSketcher. In the following example I will open an image in FotoSketcher main interface. Right-after I will modify the picture using one effect and finally I will save the result. As I said, I will need to open an existing image. From main software interface go to "File" and from there select the first option - Open a picture (Ctrl+O - is the shortcut).
This will allow me to navigate through my computer after an image that I would like to modify. I will open an image with a wonderful cat. Once I opened the image, please note that a window named "Drawing parameters" will open before the main software window.
That's the place where all the magic happens. From here you can choose between multiple drawing styles (the default is named "Pencil sketch 1") and you can perform several other actions such as edge threshold or intensity, color or contrast level, soften edges or adding a frame and many other things. Play with them as much as you wish before you obtain desired results. In a short time frame you will know how to use all of these features.
When you've made your choice and you would like to create a new image with these adjustments click on "Draw" button - I have highlighted this button.
The program will work on applying what you've selected. Depending on the size of the image, number of colors it will take more or less (usually a couple of seconds). There is a "status" loading showing the progress so if you want to interrupt the whole process click on "ESC" keyboard button. I will skip this screenshot as it will increase the size of this page.
Apparently, once you do this, nothing happened because the program will open again the "Drawing parameters" window but feel free to close that window and save the image. This window will keep opening all the time in order to allow you to modify an image as much as you want but in the end you will have to close it if you want to save the results. Whenever you want to save a modified photo, click on "File" and choose second option "Save the drawing as" or use a keyboard shortcut such as Ctrl+S (choose a location on your computer). In my example the result is this:
If you want to use the same drawing style as this one go to "Miscellaneous Effects" and choose "Vintage Photo" and your picture will look like it was made 100 years ago. You can save this style if you want to use it in the future. Remember, FotoSketcher is a wonderful, unique special effects drawing tool and since it's completely free - if you enjoy using it please consider a donation to the author.