Akvis (http://www.akvis.com) has released Akvis Sketch 12, an update of the software that converts photos to pencil and watercolor drawings. The new version introduces the new Smudging parameter that creates the effect of smearing hatching in midtone areas without affecting the contour lines of the drawing.
The algorithm handles semi-processed images more effectively. They are now simpler and more exact, according to the folks at Akvis. Also new to version 12 is the ability to view a list of recent images by right-clicking on the Open Image button.
An Akvis Sketch Home License (plug-in or standalone) sells for US$72. Registered users of the previous versions can upgrade to version 9.0 for $39. Or you can buy the Alchemy Bundle (which includes the Sketch, Chameleon, Stamp, Retoucher, Coloriage, Noise Buster, Decorator, Enhancer, LightShop, SmartMask and ArtSuite plug-ins) for $325.
For business licenses consult the Akvis web site. One license key allows activating the software on two computers; for example, on a desktop and a laptop. The company offers free licenses to non-profit organizations. Akvis Sketch 12 is compatible with Mac OS X 10.4 and higher.