Fun free photo fancifier

Turn photos and images into artistic sketches with this free and easy graphics tool.

Most graphics software can transform photos into artistic "sketches" if you know how or have time to learn. Photo to Sketch Standard (P2S) 4.0 by Thinker Software does that, too, but it's fun, free, and easy to use, something few graphics packages can claim. It hardly breaks new ground, but we found it simple to learn and a lot of fun to play around with, too.

P2S has two parts: a main interface for applying sketch effects to images and a basic but decent image editor/paint program. Sliders control the intensity of pen, pencil, and pastel effects on the main window's Sketch tab, and a Texture tab controls further effects; we recommend just giving them all a try. There's no preview or undo command, which we would have liked to see, but it's easy to start again. The editor has simple brushes and effects that make it easy to add color, shapes, and writing to saved images. You can drag to resize or distort object shapes such as hearts, or add color and effects just as easily. The Help file and other documentation is in poorly translated English that we found alternately puzzling and amusing.

Photo to Sketch Standard 4.0 is freeware that works in all versions of Windows, from 95 to 7. Though it's certainly not a cutting-edge tool, it's fun, it's easy to use, and it'd be a great choice for kids, newbies, busy folks, or anyone who wants a fun free graphics app to play around with.

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