PhotoStyler 6: In progress

August 1st 2011 :: No comments :: PhotoStyler, Sketcher, Smoke, Vidiary

Hello all!
We haven’t published any news for a long period of time, so I decided to reveal some features of the PhotoStyler 6. We believe PhotoStyler is quite good app, however, it definitely misses some features and some features it already has are implemented… Well, worse than you can expect. So, we are trying to tune the application up, so it will meet and even exceed the expectations.

First of all, I’ve spend a week fighting with the presets library. Those old one from the PhotoStyler 5 was acceptable, but that’s all. There was no simple way to find, let’s say, all monochromatic presets or exclude all abstract presets from the search. The best option there was to sort the presets by rating or search by name. Since version 6 we have pushed the tags in front of the search:
Presets Library

The look is not yet final, however, the main idea will be the same in the release: in the left pane there are all the tags represented in a form of a list. Each tag can have one of the following states:

  • A preset must HAVE this tag
  • Don’t care
  • A preset must NOT HAVE the tag

So, on the image above all the presets with “Polaroid” tag and without “Monochrome” tag are shown. On the right side of the tags list there is a marker showing count of the presets that have the tag.

In addition to some slight changes in the look, we are going to add huge number of the pre-built presets since this new tagging system allows to search over the library effectively. The old system was a bit clumsy, that’s why we tried to keep the presets number below 100.

PhotoStyler has a good number of effects, however, in the 5th version it still lacks some low-level and really useful filters. Also, the old filters browser was pretty weak and we have re-designed it a bit to be more modern and give some additional tips to the user:

By the way, have you noticed what effect is applied on the screenshot above? The “Curves”, I believe every photography enthusiast knows what is it. This new filter supports mixed RGB curve and per-channel {r, g, b} independed curves in a manner similar to the Photoshop’s one. However, our curves are a bit different in the curve definition. Photoshop and similar software usually define bezier (or cubic) curves, we use Cardinal spline. It might be less smooth, however, it’s usually easier to control. Anyway, the basic idea is the same and the results are same two!

Here is another filter:
Lens Flare

It’s “Lens Flare” simulation taken from the “Animix” app. I have received some feedback from Animix users who use the app to render the “Lens Flare”, so I decided to extend the PhotoStyler app with the same filter.

Another complex filter:

It’s “Bokeh”. The filters produces the proper blur and can add some “lens blur” circles over the photo to simulate the lens imperfectness. The image on the screenshot has some mask-work to cut the building from the blur area, the circles are generated in 100 sectors, each can be turned off individually. Overall, this filter is pretty heavy in computations, however, it produces really cool results and looks like the true bokeh.


This new filter is called “Flare” since in burst the colors, shadows and highlights. It’s somewhere close to the popular “fake HDR” that has been spread all over the Internet. In addition to the filter, this screenshot contain the new compare renderer available in the scene object. It allows to compare the original photo and the result easily and effectively and on the screenshot above you can see the divider: the top part is rendered with original photo and the bottom part – bursted with the “Flare” effect.

The last filter in the review, “Dynamic Light”:
Dynamic Light

I was working on the math solution for a “fake HDR” when this was born. It’s definitely not HDR. And it’s not a fake – for sure. This filter reduces the total light range of the photo, making the highlights darker and shadows – brighter. During my tests, it wasn’t brilliant on over-exposed photos, but under-exposed areas were fixed perfectly! It’s really fast, it works almost perfect on every under-exposed photo and in gneral – it produces good results with the default parameters. You can treat this filter as a one-click fix from your shadows. If there is anything to fix – it will fix it.

Here is another sample of the “Dynamic Light”:
Dynamic Light 2

The left side is the original photo, and the right one – fixed. No work at all, just a single filter applied!

What is planned
All above is good, but there are more things planned. First of all, the Textures Library will be improved. Today with all those dozens textures it is almost unusable and the search is awful… However, we are planning to improve both the look and the feel of the library. Texture-based filters UI with be improved to offer some specific subset of the textures and overall the Library will be re-born as a friend, not a punishment (as it is in the PS5).

Integration is the second thing we are going to add. Flickr, Facebook and others are widely spread all over the world and PhotoStyler still can’t offer any help with them. Well, we hope – it will. We are going to add web-services support as well as improve the iPhoto & Aperture integration to make your workflow simpler and straight.

Pfooh, I guess, that’s all for now. Oh, the last important thing regarding the PhotoStyler app: the 6th release will support MacOS 10.6 and it will be free of charge for all existing users.


P.S. Almost forgot! The Smoke app will get a small update shortly and will be renamed. Sketcher 1.1 is almost ready and we have fixed all the issues with preview precision and few other issues, some improvements are already here too. And the last one: Vidiary app is in the garage, we are trying to fix it’s compatibility with the MacOS 10.7 Lion right now. Hope we’ll release an update shortly.

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