Akvis has released Akvis Artwork, a special effect tool that applies
different painting techniques to common digital pictures. Available
in Mac and PC versions stand-alone or as a plug-in for Adobe
Photoshop, it’s designed to make digital photos look as if they were
real oil paintings.

ArtWork allows creating an oil portrait, a landscape painting or a
still life picture in a fully automatic or assisted mode. You can use
the software to create paintings out of pictures taken with any kind
of digital cameras, including digital SLRs and compacts. ArtWork
applies sophisticated image transformation algorithms to produce
realistic results coming very close to hand-painted works, and
tweaking the options unleashes access to a variety of oil painting
styles, according to the folks at Akvis.

The Stroke Direction tool is a semi-automatic tool that gives you
control over the strokes, allowing the use of a special brush to
define the guiding lines. The virtual painter then converts the image
into a painting directing the strokes to follow the drawn guiding

The initial release of ArtWork converts photographs into oil
paintings. In the future, the virtual artist will learn additional
painting techniques, according to the folks at Akvis.

The software offers the choice between a flat background and a rough
surface (canvas, paper, etc.). You can also add a signature or an
inscription to the picture with a custom font and color.

A fully featured, free evaluation download of Akvis ArtWork is
available at the Akvis web site (http://akvis.com/en/index.php).
Registration is US$72.