Last month’s lead article didn’t really address the main point about Snow Leopard. The key issue is that you should deactivate Blow Up, Bokeh, or Snap Art before upgrading to Snow Leopard.
Blow Up 2.0.3
We just released a free update that packs a bunch of new features into Blow Up 2. Don’t be fooled by the tiny version number 2.0.3 because there is juicy stuff in there.
Blow Up now appears in the Filter menu. An even easier way to start it is through the slick new Photoshop CS4 Startup Panel. The panel resizes your image to standard paper sizes with a single click, including ISO sizes like A4. There is a new performance slider in the preferences panel for optimizing Blow Up for processing speed or memory use.
Blow Up 2.0.3 also installs a Gallery Wrap Panel for Photoshop CS4. This tool extends your image in preparation for printing and stretching around a wood frame, which is a slick service provided by companies like APC (use code ALIENSKIN0900 for 10% off). Although this panel is installed with Blow Up, it does not rely on Blow Up to work. So, even if you don’t intend to use Blow Up, you can install it and then just use the free Gallery Wrap Panel.
Snap Art Creative Detail Video
Tom Welsh, the author of Snap Art, just created a great new video that shows how to creatively control detail. This tutorial contains the best advice we have for advanced use of Snap Art. It demonstrates a powerful feature for making arbitrary shaped focus regions. Many people have asked for this feature, not realizing that it is already in Snap Art 2. You just make a selection before starting the filter. Easy! The final result of the tutorial is the Thai island shown at the top of this newsletter.
A very useful feature of our products that you may not know about is that they use many of the same shortcut keys that Photoshop uses. For instance, zooming out of the preview is Command-Minus on Mac and Control-Minus on Windows. One that I use all the time in our photography products is Spacebar which shows the original image while it is held down. For a complete list of shortcut keys, check the manual for your product. The manual can be found in the Help menu or you can use the shortcut key Help on Mac or F1 on Windows.
Snap Art Reviews
Tired of reading glowing Snap Art 2 reviews? I’m not! Here are a few of the best brand new ones.
Howard Millard of Shutterbug Magazine wrote, “Snap Art 2 (SA2) from Alien Skin Software can quickly make your images look like professional oil paint, pastel, pen and ink, watercolor, or even pop art. Whether you want to augment your own artistic expression or expand the services you offer to clients, SA2 makes it strikingly easy and quick.”
On About.com, Sue Chastain gave 4.5 stars to Snap Art 2 in her review. Sue said, “I've reviewed a lot of ‘photo art’ plug-ins and software over the years -- some provide instant results but often have a distinctly computer generated quality to them, while others require more fine tuning but produce very realistic natural media effects. Snap Art seems to provide a nice balance between instant results and artistic realism.” Sue also included a large gallery of attractive examples she made with Snap Art.
Julie Strietelmeier wrote a short but sweet review of Snap Art 2 on the-gadgeteer.com. She concludes with, “I have used Alien Skin Snap Art for numerous paying clients over the past couple of months. They all seem to love the unique look this handy little Photoshop plug-in provides.”