Tuesday, May 25, 2021

FotoSketcher 3.80 for Windows - beta 1 - available for testing

Hi all,

FotoSketcher 3.80 is almost ready and a beta version can be downloaded here for testing purposes: https://www.fotosketcher.com/FotoSketcher_3.80_beta1.exe

This is a Windows only release.

Side-note : I am still working on the future multi-platform version (Windows + Mac to start with), but I've hit some technical difficulties. On MacOS the Painting 4 effect is painfully slow (much more than on Windows) and sometimes crashes. So more debugging work is necessary.

 source image created with www.artbreeder.com

Here are some of the new features in v3.80:

  • Larger preview area (21% larger)
  • Painting 4 can now run without erasing the previous painting. This can be useful to mix effects or to start with broad brushtrokes and then load finer brushes and run the effect again. To run Painting 4 without erasing the previous image, RIGHT-CLICK on the Draw button instead of left-clicking.
  • Painting 4 now has an svg export (once the effect has finished, a SVG button will appear, below the HD button). This exports the basic rectangles, not the brushstrokes.
  • Pencil Sketch 1 has been refined (less blurry)
  • Custom transparent PNG frames are now supported (as shown in the screenshot above). Just drag and drop the PNG frame onto the right-panel image and voila!
  • Custom brush directory for Painting 4 is now "remembered" and you can open an image from one directory and brushes from another without having to navigate your folders back and forth.
  • A new language is now supported, Danish, thanks to the translation by Kenneth TOLLUND (big thanks to him and all other translators!) 

As always, I hope you have fun playing with FotoSketcher and please let me know if you find any bugs in this beta version.

All the best,

David

 

 





Sunday, February 7, 2021

FotoSketcher 2021 roadmap

Hi all,

I have recently been busy on many fronts regarding FotoSketcher and here are some of my goals for the coming months:

Quarter 1:  release of FotoSketcher 3.80 with enhancements, bug fixes, a new painting effect (currently in development) and a new translation in Danish (a big thanks to Kenneth Tollund!). This will probably be the last release with the current interface and will be Windows only.

Quarter 2: release of a complete rewrite, which will run on both Windows and MacOS, with no restrictions (Catalina and Big Sur will be supported). At first only a subset of the current functionality will be available, but I will gradually add more. Most major effects will be supported from the start, but probably not manual brush, batch mode or scripts.

Thanks to the Patreon and PayPal donations of some generous users, I was able to purchase additional development tools to make FotoSketcher multiplatform. It still requires rewriting most of the codebase, but progress is reasonably fast.

Quarter 3: Android and iOS might well be back on the table, if technical feasibility tests are successful.

Here is a sneak peek of the upcoming multiplatform version of FotoSketcher:


Rant mode on: even though my program is freeware, I will have to pay Apple a $99 annual fee to become an official Apple developer. This is mandatory to enable Mac users on Catalina or Big Sur to run FotoSketcher.

I'll keep you posted here, so stay tuned and more importantly, stay safe!

All the best,

David




 

 


Sunday, September 20, 2020

FotoSketcher 3.70 is officially released

Hi all,

FotoSketcher 3.70 is now officially released. Head over to https://fotosketcher.com/download-fotosketcher/ to download.

This release is a bug fix edition which solves a number of small and not so small annoyances. This download is recommended if you are experiencing issues with version 3.60.

Bug fix list:

 - solved the occasional error message in French at startup ("n'est pas une valeur entière")
- solved the issue where on a few machines (on some PCs and Macs using WineHQ), the optimized code for rotating images and brushes did not work correctly (it breaks Pencil Sketch 1 and Painting 4).
- for Linux and MacOS users, FotoSketcher should now run correctly under WineHQ and Crossover
- fixed the drop down menus and icons which did not appear correctly in WineHQ
- in Painting 4, the directory for custom brushes is now saved to avoid unnecessary navigating between folders
- the main window position is now saved between uses
- fixed the dropdown effects menu which sometimes prevented using the vintage or the merge images effect
- fixed the Pencil Sketch 2 preview which was not accurate
- probably added a bunch new bugs. Will fix in v3.80 ;)

Have fun!

David


 


Sunday, August 30, 2020

FotoSketcher 3.70 alpha version available for testing

Hi all,

The upcoming release of FotoSketcher 3.70 will solve quite a few bugs and compatibility issues.

A test version is available for download here: https://www.fotosketcher.com/FotoSketcher_3.70_alpha1.exe

Here is a list of some of the issues being corrected:
- the occasional error message in French at startup ("n'est pas une valeur entière") has been solved
- on some machines (on some PCs and Macs using WineHQ), the optimized code I used in v3.60 for rotating images and brushes does not work correctly (it breaks Pencil Sketch 1 and Painting 4). I have added code to revert to the previous image rotation algorithm if needed.
- for Linux and MacOS users, FotoSketcher should now run correctly under WineHQ and Crossover
- all drop down menus and icons which did not appear correctly in WineHQ have been rewritten
- in Painting 4, the directory for custom brushes is saved to avoid unnecessary navigating between folders
- the main window position is now saved between uses
- a bug in the dropdown effects menu sometimes prevented using the vintage or the merge images effect.

For MacOS users, I have been communicating with the people of Codeweavers, who make CrossOver for Mac, which is a great and inexpensive solution (a one-time purchase is available from $39) to run Windows apps on Macs. Contrary to other solutions, it does not require purchasing and installing a copy of Microsoft Windows.

Should you wish to test run CrossOver for Mac, a free 14-day trial is available:

This is compatible with MacOS10.15, so if you successfully run FotoSketcher on Catalina, I'd be delighted to hear from you :)

Best regards,

David

 

 



 


Saturday, July 11, 2020

FotoSketcher 3.60 is officially released

Hi all,

FotoSketcher 3.60 is now available for download from https://fotosketcher.com/download-fotosketcher/


Change log for version 3.60:

- UI/UX improvements (new splash screen, new material design icons in menus, for both light and dark themes, support for the keyboard right and left keys in the parameters window).

- better brushstroke placement in the Painting 4 algorithm.

- support for High Definition export in Painting 4 (up to 20,000x20,000 pixels).

- possibility of loading and optimizing multiple custom brushes in Painting 4.

- saving of Painting 4 custom brushes in a .fsk parameters file.

- support for a different background color in the Oil Pastel sketch and Painting 4 effects.

- Speed improvement for Pencil Sketch 1.

- bug fix in Painting 7.

- new tool available to reset the .ini file if FotoSketcher crashes on startup.

Should you get an error message at startup, this could be due to a corruption in the FotoSketcher.ini file. Here is a tool which will delete and reset the .ini file automatically: https://www.fotosketcher.com/ResetIni.exe

Have fun!

David





Thursday, July 9, 2020

FotoSketcher 3.60 Release Candidate 1 - available for testing

Hi all,

FotoSketcher 3.60 is almost ready and a release candidate is now available for testing.

Here is a list of changes since version 3.50:

- UI/UX improvements (new splash screen, new material design icons in menus, both for light and dark themes).

- better brushstroke placement in the Painting 4 algorithm.

- support for HD export in Painting 4. After processing in Painting 4, a HD button will appear which allows you to export the painting to sizes up to 20000x20000 pixels. Great for printing at larger sizes.

- also in Painting 4, there is now the possibility to load multiple custom brushes (transparent black & white 32bit .png files). When opening the custom brushes, press CTRL or SHIFT to select multiple images. The loaded brushstroke images can then be automatically optimized for best results.

- if you have loaded custom brushes in Painting 4, you can save this information in a parameters file for later reloading of the same custom brushes.

- In the Oil Pastel sketch and Painting 4 effects, you can now choose the background color of your painting. To do so, choose one of those 2 effects in the drop down list, then right-click on the preview image.

- In the parameters window you can now change the position of the slider simply by pressing the left or right keyboard keys.

- Speed improvement for Pencil Sketch 1 (the oldest effect in FotoSketcher, which dates back to 2007!)

Here is the download link to FotoSketcher 3.60 Release Candidate 1: https://www.fotosketcher.com/FotoSketcher_3.60_RC1.exe

Enjoy :)

David







Saturday, April 11, 2020

FotoSketcher 3.50 for Windows official release

Hi all,

If you haven't already downloaded the latest version of FotoSketcher, you can do so here: https://fotosketcher.com/download-fotosketcher/

The main new features are:
- A new Painting 4 effect, which uses a brand new brushstroke placement algorithm. Custom brushes can be used (transparent black & white .png images). I suggest you check out the very thorough tutorial by power user Steven Friedman here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Meexejr0koU (thanks, Steven!)
- Some minor bug fixes and speed enhancements
- A transparency slider for the text tool, which allows to add subtle signatures or watermarks




Here is an example of the new Painting 4 effect (photo taken a few years back in the beautiful region of Tuscany):


A note to Mac users: I have been unable to get FotoSketcher 3.50 to run successfully using WineHQ, so for the time being, please continue using version 3.40. I'm working on finding a solution.

I hope playing with FotoSketcher will help you pass the time during the lockdown. Enjoy and stay safe!

All the best,

David

Sunday, March 8, 2020

FotoSketcher 3.50 beta available for testing *** updated 15th March ***

Hi all,

I've just uploaded a new beta version of FotoSketcher 3.50. You can download it here: https://www.fotosketcher.com/FotoSketcher_3.50_beta_2.0.exe


The new Painting 4 effect now supports manual brushes. The format for these brushes can be any transparent black & white .png file and for best results should be as rectangular and filled as possible.

Here is an example brush which can be used:


And here is an example made with the new effect (source photo taken yesterday in the French Alps):

The new algorithm is quite computer intensive and still requires some optimizing, so you will need to be patient to get good results :)

Have fun!

David

Monday, December 23, 2019

Early test version of FotoSketcher 3.50

Hi all,

Just in time for the holiday season, I've uploaded an early test version of FotoSketcher 3.50. You can download it here: https://www.fotosketcher.com/FotoSketcher_3.50_alpha_1.0.exe

I have replaced the old Painting 4 effect (which was really dated) by a brand new painting effect. Here is an example (source photo credit Christopher Alvarenga on Unsplash):


The code is not optimized yet, so processing times can be really long. Also, this is still a proof of concept and the final effect might look somewhat different.
In particular, the brushstrokes are still a bit crude and I will try to make them more realistic in a future release.

However, I have had fun testing the new algorithm and on some images the result looked rather good, so I wanted to give you a test version for you to play with.

I wish you all a Merry Xmas and happy holidays!

Best regards,

David


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Update on the upcoming FotoSketcher 3.50

Hi all,

Just a quick word to let you know that it has taken longer than I expected to fine tune the new painting effect for the upcoming version of FotoSketcher.

The proof of concept looked promising, but the rendering times of the new effect were far too long and optimising strategies either did not speed things up enough or lowered the quality too much.
So it's back to the drawing board (pun intended)!

In the meantime, here are 3 examples with the same number of brushtrokes, but with 3 different quality settings (increasingly accurate stroke placement):

- example 1 - low quality (relatively fast):


- example 2 - medium quality (slower):


- example 3 - high quality (slowest):


I'll continue to keep you posted here as I make progress.


All the best,

David