By Ian Burley
15th October - 2001
So just what is art? That’s a question that is constantly debated. Personally, I like to think that a great photograph is great art. But some would say art needs to be more than just an accurate representation of reality. If that’s the case, PhotoArtMaster, could be just what you need to churn out art by the truck load - and all of it based on your photos.
The picture above is a before and after demonstration of PhotoArtMaster’s capabilities. On the left is the original photographic view of a Venetian scene and on the right is the rest of the same photo after being processed using PhotoArtMaster.
It has properties that might be associated with an impressionist watercolour painting - minimalist detail and tasteful use of pastel shades. However, PhotoArtMaster couldn’t be further from a painter’s easel, palette and brushes.
Don McCrae, CEO of the Cambridge (England) based company, Fo2Pix, that created PhotoArtMaster, suggests the package can be used to make pictures out of photos that go beyond the photo album and the mantlepiece. PhotoArtMaster pictures will vye with more conventionally produced sketches and paintings for the space on your living room walls. It can also be used to create your own greetings cards, postcards, digital wallpaper, etc.
In all seriousness, the software represents a step beyond some of the fancy effects you can now get in many photo editing packages. As McCrae points out, these apply an effect uniformally across the whole image. PhotoArtMaster is smarter than that; it identifies objects in the picture and processes each independently, resulting in a much more subtle effect.
The software started life as a medical imaging software tool for cancer research. The attractive abstract images it produced were soon exploited commercially in the form of ‘Buzz’ plug-ins for packages like Adobe Photoshop. PhotoArtMaster is the mass-market stand-alone version.
We have to say we are quite impressed with the sample images we have seen so far. The software is in the final stages of being completed and should be on sale early in November, priced £44.95.