ArtMaster/ArtMaster Pro™ available from Fo2Pix

ArtMaster/ArtMaster Pro™ available from Fo2Pix

Stanley B. Ashbrook

ArtMaster/ArtMaster Pro[TM] Available from Fo2Pix http://www.fo2pix.com/index.php System requirements: Windows 98, ME, 2000, or XP; processor is P2 at 450 MHz. Price: ArtMaster–$372 and ArtMaster Pro–$919.

(* Note the prices on the website are in English pounds, and the US prices quoted above are as of the time of writing.)

ArtMaster and ArtMasterPro are two new creative software programs by Fo2Pix. According to Fo2Pix, ArtMasterPro and ArtMaster are next-generation fine art software tools that utilize powerful cutting-edge technologies unlike anything previously seen in the creative software market. If you want to make fine art creations from your photographs, then this is the best product I’ve seen.

There are two versions: ArtMaster has been designed for semi-professionals and imaging enthusiasts. Fo2Pix says that it is exceptionally versatile, enabling the creation of a vast array of artistic styles. They also say that ArtMaster is unique as you will not need previous art or graphic design training to use the software to its full potential and produce stunning works of art. The second version ArtMasterPro is designed/’or professional photographers, commercial artists, illustrators, graphic designers, and anyone who makes imaging their business. It is a creative tool that enables you to produce original fine art automatically, semi-automatically or interactively. It has a very smooth workflow and highly intuitive studio environment powered by the world’s first digital picture engine. Fo2Pix claims that it is this advanced technology that unlocks the artistic elements of a photo to create the Sources (explained later in this article) that are essential in the production of digital fine art.

The illustrations show an original and two ArtMasterPro creations of a general store in our local Heritage Park. One is a toned image, and the other a watercolor effect. The other illustration shows a pencil sketch that was created in ArtMasterPro of a model.

ArtWizards

What makes both ArtMaster and ArtMasterPro function are plug-ins called ArtWizards. The main function of an ArtWizard is to automatically produce a fine art style, but they are more than just plug-ins: they are an art class in themselves. Guiding you seamlessly through each step to producing a finished work of art, you have the opportunity to paint manually or simply let the ArtWizard paint for you. As you go through the steps, there is a drop-down panel that gives tips, not just on the machinations of the process but on the art-making process itself: good places to put highlights, how to maximize the effect that you’re going for, etc. These tips are essentially an education in themselves.

ArtMaster includes 7 ArtWizards, which give you access to approximately 300 Sources, and ArtMasterPro has 15 ArtWizards and access to all the Sources (over 700). Other ArtWizards are available to collect and download from www.fo2pix.com, and more will be added to the site on a regular basis.

Sources are different images presented in thumbnail format, which ArtMaster and ArtMasterPro automatically prepare from your photo/scan and from which you build your picture. The way it works is that it analyzes your photo to identify regions of interest by a process called segmentation, and then they remove detail from an image through a process called simplification. Fo2Pix says that the nearest artistic equivalent are the sketches, rough drawings, and color trials which an artist uses to build up his/her artwork. By applying these and other techniques in differing degrees, ArtMasterPro presents you with a variety of black and white drawings, light and dark tonal renderings, and colored studies–all of which are derived from your original photo/scan.

Included is a manual that will give you a comprehensive guide in the form of a tutorial to the use of ArtWizards and how to experiment by mixing steps from a combination of ArtWizards. In addition, ArtMaster and ArtMasterPro’s powerful picture engine doesn’t need to work in layers and create enormous files, and it doesn’t use tiling, which potentially blurs the finer points in your picture.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Stanley B. Ashbrook, FPSA

Review Editor

COPYRIGHT 2005 Photographic Society of America, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group