Snap Art Ad – Mom and Daughter

We are making many different full page magazine ads for Snap Art 3. Here I’ll walk you through how Tom Welsh made the art for one of them. Tom is the creator of Snap Art and remains the lead programmer.

Tom started with a stock photo that is a pretty typical portrait situation. Full disclosure, he tweaked it in Photoshop first to make the dress more blue. He also tweaked the mom’s nose and daughter’s eye so they would stand out better after brush strokes were applied.

Before applying Snap Art

I’m guessing that Tom started with a preset in the Oil Paint folder like Landscape – Bristle Brush. That made the background rough and abstract. To add depth and make the subjects stand out from the background, he made a mask layer as shown below.

Mask layer in Snap Art 3 used to give the subjects more detail

Note that mask layers are usually very quick to make. You aren’t drawing paint strokes or making a precise selection. You are just showing Snap Art where to apply more detail. Tom spent less than one minute making the mask above.

After making the mask, Tom switched to the Layers Tab and chose the Detail preset which decreases brush size and increases photorealism relative to the background. He then tweaked the sliders a little more, which is why there is an asterisk on the word Detail.

That made the subjects a little clearer, but the faces were still too rough. With portraits we almost always use a mask layer on the faces or just the eyes. Below is the second layer. It took Tom about 10 seconds to make it. Just make sure you cover the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Mask layer used to make the faces crystal clear

Below are the settings used for the face layer. The brush size is even smaller and photorealism is even higher. Tom clicked the disclosure triangle on the right to expose more sliders. He decreased Paint Thickness to decrease rough surface texture. That is usually good to do for faces so you don’t have a lot of distracting bumps and highlights.

Here is the final result. Make it at high resolution, print it on canvas, and your client will think you are a genius.


We have videos on these techniques that I highly recommend. Grab Snap Art and run it in trial mode to see for yourself how easy this is!

About the Author:

Jeff Butterworth is the founder of Alien Skin Software. He used to create the products, but now he does marketing and gets coffee for the programmers.


  1. David Salahi August 13, 2011 at 1:26 am

    Very cool example. Quick and easy to do with gorgeous results. Thanks!

  2. Susan Easley August 17, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I’ve been spending too much time on masks! Thank you.

  3. […] mask on his eyes, nose, and mouth to make those crystal clear. You can see how this works in the article I wrote on the previous ad. There are also great videos on these […]

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