Turn Photo into Sketch with AKVIS Sketch: How It Works

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Tutorial: AKVIS Sketch

How it Works


AKVIS Sketch converts photos into pencil sketches, the software allows creating realistic color and black and white drawings. The software can be used independently as a standalone program or as a plugin filter in a photo editor.

In order to turn a photo into a pencil sketch follow the instructions:

  • Step 1. Open an image.

    - If you work with the standalone edition:

    The dialog box Select File to Open appears if you double-click on the empty workspace of the program or if you click on the button on the Control Panel. You can also drag the required image into the workspace of the program.

    The Standalone edition of AKVIS Sketch supports RAW, JPEG, PNG, BMP, and TIFF file formats.

    - If you work with the plugin:

    Open an image in your photo editor by calling the command File -> Open or using the key combination Ctrl+O (or +O on Mac).

    Call the AKVIS Sketch plugin select the menu item Filter -> AKVIS -> Sketch in Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements; in Corel PaintShop Photo Pro select the menu item Effects -> Plugins -> AKVIS -> Sketch; in Corel Photo-Paint select the menu item Effects -> AKVIS -> Sketch.

  • Step 2. The first time the program is opened it will be in Express mode, with a simplified interface and a minimal set of sliders, which help to quickly obtain a satisfactory result.

    AKVIS Sketch Express Mode
    AKVIS Sketch Workspace, Express Mode

    Experienced users who are familiar with the capabilities of AKVIS Sketch can switch to Advanced mode. Switch to this mode by clicking the Advanced button: the interface's appearance will change, granting access to the full functionality of the program.

    Note: All parameters work in Express mode as well; some are hidden and the program uses values of a chosen preset.

    AKVIS Sketch Advanced
    AKVIS Sketch Workspace, Advanced Mode

    Once the program is open, part of the image will be automatically converted to a pencil drawing. The result will be shown in the quick preview area in the Before tab.

    Preview Window
    Quick Preview

    To convert the whole image, click on or on the After tab. After processing it is possible to switch between tabs by pressing the left mouse button on any point of the image.

    Default Settings
    Default Settings
  • Step 3. Select the photo-to-sketch conversion style - Classic or Artistic; and adjust its parameters.
    • Classic style lets you create color and B&W drawings with well-defined contour lines. A characteristic feature of this style is its accuracy: the image looks as if it was primarily created by contour lines with the addition of hatching. Though this mode is versatile and good for many purposes, it is the most suitable for technical illustration, architectural images, and other pictures where you would like to attain good detail.
    • Artistic style is designed to create expressive drawings that look like the handmade work of a real artist. In this style, it is easy to create both a quick sketch and a carefully drawn and shaded pencil drawing. The main advantage of this style is the ability to play with hatching and to vary the number of shadings and shadows to get natural tonal transitions. This style requires a good photograph. The best results can be achieved if the original photo was taken in the right light and has good contrast.

    Classic Style Artistic Style
    Classic Style Artistic Style

  • Step 4. Click on to convert the photo into a pencil drawing with the new settings.

      Note: You can observe the processing in real-time. It's possible to stop photo-to-sketch rendering and save the semi-processed drawing as a result. To interrupt the process, use the Stop button right to the progress bar.

  • Step 5. Optionally, in the Classic Style, you can use a special tool that lets you change the direction of the applied pencil strokes. This Stroke Direction tool gives you full control over how hatching is drawn on an image. Using this technique you can achieve a truly realistic drawing with patterns and textures going in the right direction.

    Automatic Strokes Guiding Lines Reoriented Strokes
    Automatic Strokes Guiding Lines Reoriented Strokes

  • Step 6. You can also adjust the settings on the Background tab and use Decoration options: Canvas, Frame, and Text. Click on the button to start processing the image.

    Sketch Drawing on Canvas with Inscription
    Sketch Drawing + Canvas + Text
  • Step 7. It is possible to save the settings you like as a Preset and use them in the future. A preset contains the settings of the Sketch and Decoration tabs.

    To process an image with the settings of a certain preset, you select it from the drop-down menu and press the button .

  • Step 8. The Timeline feature allows you get variations of your drawing without adjusting the settings. If you like some semi-processed image more than your final result, click on it to choose. The shot will be shown in the After tab.

    If you want to get back to your final result, click on the last shot in the Timeline list.

    Timeline Shots
    Timeline Shots

    You can set the number of the shots in the Preferences dialog box.

  • Step 9. You can edit the result and put the finishing touches to your drawing with the post-processing tools: Pencil , Eraser , and History Brush in the After tab.

      Note: These tools are only available for the Home Deluxe and Business licenses.

      Hint: Use the post-processing tools at the final step! If you run the processing again, the changes made with the tools will be lost.

  • Step 10. In the standalone version, you can cut off unwanted areas of the result and improve its composition with the Crop tool . If you use the plugin, you can do this in your image editor.

    Crop Image in Sketch
    Crop Tool
  • Step 11. Share your sketch by clicking on . This button opens the list of the services where you can publish the image: Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Google+.

    In the standalone version, you can also print your result using .

  • Step 12. Save the processed image.

    - If you work with the standalone program:

    Click on the button to open the Save s dialog box. Enter a name for the file, choose the format (TIFF, BMP, JPEG or PNG) and indicate the target folder.

    - If you work with the plugin:

    Press the button to apply the result and close the plugin window. The AKVIS Sketch plugin will close and the picture will appear in the workspace of the photo editor.

    Call the Save As dialog box using the command File -> Save As, enter a name for the file, choose the format and indicate the target folder.

    Pencil Sketch
    Pencil Sketch
How It Works How It Works
   — Workspace — Workspace
   — Using the Program — Using the Program
   — Classic Style — Classic Style
   — Artistic Style — Artistic Style
   — Timeline — Timeline
   — Toolbar — Toolbar
   — Background Effects — Background Effects
   — Adding a Frame — Adding a Frame
   — Text and Watermark — Text and Watermark
   — Drawing on a Canvas — Drawing on a Canvas
   — Presets — Presets
   — Preferences — Preferences
   — Batch Processing — Batch Processing
Examples Examples
   — Pencil Sketch: Let's Draw a Tulip — Pencil Sketch: Let's Draw a Tulip
   — Convert a Photo to a Color Sketch — Convert a Photo to a Color Sketch
   — Transform a Video into a Cartoon — Transform a Video into a Cartoon
   — Sketch Gallery — Sketch Gallery
   — Pastel Drawing Technique — Pastel Drawing Technique
   — AKVIS Sketch in Architecture — AKVIS Sketch in Architecture
   — Graphite Pencil Portrait — Graphite Pencil Portrait
   — Watercolor Drawing — Watercolor Drawing
   — Artistic Processing — Artistic Processing
   — Watercolor Painting out of Photo — Watercolor Painting out of Photo
   — Winter Dream: Fairy-Tale Forest — Winter Dream: Fairy-Tale Forest
   — A Woman in a Tub: a Real Work of Art — A Woman in a Tub: a Real Work of Art
   — Watercolor Portrait — Watercolor Portrait
   — Pencil Sketch of a Pet — Pencil Sketch of a Pet
   — Postcard Framed in Pencil Drawing — Postcard Framed in Pencil Drawing
   — Baseball Photo to Color Drawing — Baseball Photo to Color Drawing
   — Make a Sketch from a Wolf Photo — Make a Sketch from a Wolf Photo
   — Motorshow: a Pencil Drawing — Motorshow: a Pencil Drawing
   — Wild Beast of Prey: Watercolor — Wild Beast of Prey: Watercolor
   — A Hand Draws a Hand — A Hand Draws a Hand
   — Convert Vector Drawing to Sketch — Convert Vector Drawing to Sketch
   — Portrait out of a Newspaper Clipping — Portrait out of a Newspaper Clipping
   — Quiet Harbor: a Watercolor Painting — Quiet Harbor: a Watercolor Painting
   — A Little Girl: B&W Pencil Sketch — A Little Girl: B&W Pencil Sketch
   — Westmuir Street in Glasgow — Westmuir Street in Glasgow
   — Sweet Couple: Create a Postcard — Sweet Couple: Create a Postcard
   — Black-and-White Image in Photo Frame — Black-and-White Image in Photo Frame
   — Dream to Reality: How to Blend... — Dream to Reality: How to Blend...
   — Christmas Card from a Photo — Christmas Card from a Photo
   — Artist at Work — Artist at Work
   — Friends in a Cafe: Sketch&Blur — Friends in a Cafe: Sketch&Blur
   — Versailles: Traveling to the Past — Versailles: Traveling to the Past
   — Drawing on Aged Paper — Drawing on Aged Paper
   — Self-Expression: Sketch in a Minute — Self-Expression: Sketch in a Minute
   — Two Beloved Dogs — Two Beloved Dogs
   — Orchid: Drawing in Watercolor Pencil — Orchid: Drawing in Watercolor Pencil
   — Shiny Apple: An Artist's Touch — Shiny Apple: An Artist's Touch
   — Cardinal: A Scene From Nature — Cardinal: A Scene From Nature
   — Variations On A Rose — Variations On A Rose
   — Cute Girl: а Pastel Drawing on Paper — Cute Girl: а Pastel Drawing on Paper
   — On a Bright Street (Sketch&Photo) — On a Bright Street (Sketch&Photo)
   — Mount Saint Michel Watercolor — Mount Saint Michel Watercolor
   — Gala Evening — Gala Evening
   — Radiant Girl: a Detailed Color Portrait — Radiant Girl: a Detailed Color Portrait
   — Parisian Chic — Parisian Chic
   — Toy Story: Create Your Own Comics — Toy Story: Create Your Own Comics
   — Video Clip Processing — Video Clip Processing
   — Creation of a Short-Film Storyboard — Creation of a Short-Film Storyboard
   — Smudging Technique on a Sketch — Smudging Technique on a Sketch
   — Making Embroidery Patterns — Making Embroidery Patterns
   — Quicktime Transition — Quicktime Transition
   — Red Oleander (Old Drawing Effect) — Red Oleander (Old Drawing Effect)
   — Seeing Eye Dog (Comic Book) — Seeing Eye Dog (Comic Book)
   — Produce Illustrations for an RPG Article — Produce Illustrations for an RPG Article
   — Student Project: City by Water — Student Project: City by Water
   — Timeline: Stop the moment! — Timeline: Stop the moment!
   — Sunny Sketch — Sunny Sketch
   — Electric Horses: Glowing Drawing — Electric Horses: Glowing Drawing
   — Reflections on the Garry Oak — Reflections on the Garry Oak
   — Creating a 3D Drawing — Creating a 3D Drawing


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