Akvis Software has announced Akvis Sketch v.8.0, the program that converts your photos into pencil and watercolour drawings.

The latest version of the software includes a Quick Preview window that saves you time when fine-tuning your settings, and also has added Exif and IPTC data support.

The program converts your photos into your choice of drawing or watercolour in real time so you can watch as it does it. You can also choose to add special effects such as swirling the background for a "time machine effect", or accent certain parts of the image by blurring the rest artistically.

Such looks are achieved by using the keep/drop pencils, that allow you to single out people or objects to either apply the effect to, or to remove from the effect.

You're also able to adjust settings after you've finished to add more colour, make hatching finer or changing the pitch angle of strokes.

If you're using the plug-in version of the software, you can even use batch processing in a program like Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro to convert films into cartoons.

You can try Akvis for free for ten days. Afterwards it is available as a stand-alone application or a photo editor plug-in for 55€ (around £44).

To see what the software can do, head over to the Akvis website to have a look at some examples, where you can also download the trial too.