FotoSketcher is an interesting graphics tool that can turn your digital photos into works of art, all in a few seconds. This isn't exactly a new idea - just about every graphics editor has a "water colour" or "oil painting" filter - but FotoSketcher takes it further than most, with more effects and a great deal of control over the finished results.

There's support for many different drawing styles, for instance: pencil sketches (black and white, and colour), pen and ink, nine different painting effects, pixellation, coloured dots, and more.

Whatever style you pick can be customised in many different ways. When creating a watercolour, say, you're able to tweak colour intensity, image simplification (the level of detail in the picture), brushstrokes intensity and the overall strength of the effect. You can also darken or lighten the image to taste, soften edges, change the texture, even add a frame.

Of course it's hard to tell in advance what these settings should be, but that doesn't really matter. Just pick an option, drag its slider to the left or right, watch the effect in the preview window and stop tweaking when you're happy.

If you've found a group of settings that you really like then they can be saved for easy recall later. And a batch processing option then lets you convert entire folders of images to classy works of art in just a few minutes, as long as they're JPEGs, PNGs or BMP files (unfortunately the program doesn't support other formats).

FotoSketcher 3.10 brings:
the DPI default value has been set to 300 for better printing quality.
although transparency in PNG images (alpha channel) is not supported by FotoSketcher, transparent pixels will no longer appear black. They will now be converted to white pixels (much prettier!). 
the donation screen (coffee cup icon) has been simplified and will lead to a unified PayPal screen.
when using JPG images, the compression quality has been improved for fewer artifacts (save to PNG or BMP if you want maximum image quality).
a visual bug with the Emergence 2 effect has been corrected. Sometimes the preview image would be pasted to the main result image in the top left corner.
some z-order problems have been solved.
a memory leak has been hunted down and solved.
when running a script (F5), FotoSketcher will be automatically minimized until the end of the process. If you wish to see the script running, just click on the FotoSketcher icon in the Windows task bar. 

Verdict

A powerful program with plenty of ways to enhance your favourite digital photos