Remove Defects and Clone Objects in Digital Photographs with AKVIS Stamp V.3.0
Overview of AKVIS Stamp V.3.0
When many people hear the word “cloning”, they think of duplicating an object rather than removing it. In the case of AKVIS Stamp and other photo-editing cloning tools, both definitions are correct. These types of tools actually create a copy of one area of a digital photograph and paste it onto another. So, while they are creating the duplicate of one fragment, they are also hiding or removing the area where this fragment is being pasted. This makes cloning tools highly versatile, assuming that have decent blending capabilities built into them.
Although many of today’s latest photo editors have some type of cloning utility included as part of the application’s standard tools, they don’t always give the quick and easy results that a lot of people want. Stamp is a plugin that is compatible with several photo editing applications, such as Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop Elements, which tries to make the cloning process “cleaner” and easier. This review will take a look at how well it performs this function.
Installation and Setup (5 out of 5)
The installation file for Stamp is automated, so all you have to do is click on the file and let it run to set it up on your machine. Everything went fine during this process when installing the Windows version. The Mac version was not tested. Depending on your host photo editing application, you may have to do a little extra work to make sure that Stamp is recognized as a plugin. If you’re a Paint Shop Pro user and having trouble, you may want to take a look at this article detailing how to install third-party plugins.
Ease of Use (5 out of 5)
When it comes to simple user interfaces, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one more basic than Stamp. Once you’ve selected a size for the circular cloning area, all you have to do is click on the area that you want to duplicate using ALT + (mouse click) on Windows PCs and then click on the portion of the photo that you want to replace.
If you do happen to make a mistake or if you simply don’t like the results of the action, there is an Undo button that will let you back up to the previous step. The Pan and Zoom features make it easy to move around in the Stamp interface and get a closer view of the areas on which you are concentrating.
Continue on to the next page where we discuss the limitations and price of AKVIS Stamp.
Performance (2 out of 5)
Although I found Stamp quite useful and appreciated how easy it was to clone objects and remove items with the tool, there are some specific areas where I think the application could use a little work.
The first thing was the shape of the cloning, or stamp, tool. While a circular shape does work well for many projects, it’s not always the best choice. I know that this is the standard for cloning brushes, but I would like to have the option to freeform select the area that I want to duplicate so as not to clone unwanted areas that surround the object in question. To its credit, Stamp does have an eraser tool that allows you to remove only portions of the cloned area after the tool is applied, but I still would like a wider range of selection choices during initial stages of the process.
A second and larger problem is the limitation imposed on the cloning radius. For example, in the screenshot below, I was hoping to capture the entire area surrounding the girl.
Due to the limitations of the stamp size, this was impossible. Again, there are ways to work around this, but if you’re going to go through all that trouble, you may as well just use the existing tools in your host editor.
Price to Value (2 out of 5)
For those who only plan on using the application for personal projects, a Home license can be purchased for $49. However, commercial users must pay a little extra for a Business license – the current price of which is $62. Once obtaining a license, you are permitted to install and register the software on two different computers.
Overall (2 out of 5)
If you’re using an older photo editor or one without a cloning utility and you don’t want to upgrade, Stamp may be a decent alternative, especially if you’re purchasing it as part of a discounted AKVIS collection. However, I think the money could be better spent investing in an application such as Photoshop Elements 7, PhotoPlus X2, or Paint Shop Pro X2 Ultimate since these programs include very nice cloning tools as part of their standard editing repertoire.
For those who want to try out Stamp and see the plugin’s capabilities for themselves, AKVIS does offer a 10-day trial version of the application that you can download for free.