This window appears at application first run. It’s default start-up action, however, You can change this behavior and start app with blank or recent documents. Presets Library is the easiest way to find a new look for Your digital photo, just drop an image into the window area or user “Load Image” thumbnail in the toolbar, and app pre-renders every presets in the library with selected image. The window itself is split into the few sections.
First is presets area:
- Presets area is located in the center of the window, it shows rendered thumbnails for all selected presets.
- Drop an image into the area to re-calculate the presets, You can also use “Load Image” button in the toolbar and menu.
- Use Quick Search filed in the toolbar to filter the presets.
- There is thumbnails size slider in the right-bottom part of the area.
- Hit Spacebar or “Full Preview” button in the toolbar to see the preview in a bigger size.
- Double-click on a thumbnail to open new document with this specific image and this preset applied. Multi-selection is also supported, choose few thumbnails and hit Return to load few documents.
In the left part of the window there is filtering and sorting control:
- Choose whatever filter or order You like to update the presets area.
- Combine this filter with Quick Search field for faster presets search.
- Rate Your presets to filter those You dislike and put on top the favorites.
Presets management control in the toolbar:
- Pencil segment opens a document with selected preset.
- “+” segment open new blank document (an empty preset).
- “-” segment erases the preset. This can’t be undone.
- Double-clik on preset title to rename it.
- System presets can not be erased or renamed! System presets are marked with light-blue title, user presets have white title.
- Use “Save as Preset…” in the Document window to add new preset into the library. The library will update immediately.
Document is the main working area in the app. It represents selected photo processed with number of filters and provides controls to adjust the effects. Center part of the document shows the photo in a scrollable and zoomable area:
- Scrolling is applied as usual, with two scrollbar in the right and bottom part of the area
- In the right-bottom part of the area there is Zoom control, it contains the slider for manual zoom adjustment, a “Quad” button that drops zoom to 100% and “Arrows” toggler that switches automatic zoom mode. This mode is turned on by default and automatically zooms the photo to fit the window size.
- This area is also used by in-place editors such as masking tool or inscription tool.
Tip: You can jump to 100% zoom to see the accurate preview since strong zoom out can “was out” preview a bit – this is result of performance optimization trick.
Right part of the window contains frames and filters list:
- “+” button in the bottom of the list shows filters library and allows You to choose a frame to be added.
- You can interpret this list as a “layers” list applied one after another from bottom to top. It’s similar to PhotoShop and other graphics apps.
- Each frame has number of params hided in the panel. To see this params You must click on the filter panel, params will expand.
- Some filters contain auxiliary input images such as texture masks, scratches maps etc. You can drop any external file or use our built-in Textures Library. To get the library, click on “Library” icon in the toolbar or press cmd+L.
- You can drag-n-drop filters to change the order or drag any filter out to remove it from the list.
At the first look LightFrame may seem a bit complicated, but I assure You: it’s really simple. Every frame is represented by 3 parts:
- Frame type defines main framing mode, it can be a background-frame such as a surface of some kind, it can be a border frame than tiles specific texture to build the border, there is also an unique path frame that can make tattered surfaces, fill some area with sprites or shaders etc.
- Frame material is an object that “fills” the frame. It’s usually some image, but LF also supports colors, gradients, shader materials, bump-mapper and “random” aggregator material. For instance, You can put a simple wood texture to a border frame and get some good-looking results. But this frame could be even better with bump-mapping material and the same wood texture as source. Bump-mapping will add some volume to the border, specular lighting and shadows. Looks really great especially since You can use some other texture as a bump-source.
- Shadows settings define shadows from a single frame.
There are five main framer types in the application:
- Filled frame is used to build a kind of “surface” under the photo or extend photo area with some filled space. The simplest example could be Filled frame with black color as material and no shadows – it’s “Motivator” frame. However, You can user wood texture instead of color, turn the shadow on and get wood-covered desk with a photo over it. Also, this frame is good for building matts.
- Border frame is a representation of real-world frame just like any museum frame. It takes border part texture and tiles is to build the frame, there are lots of built-in textures for wooden, metallic and other frames, You can also stack few frames of that kind together. Bump-mapping works great with that kind of frames.
- Image border is the simplest border in the set. It simply overlays some image over the photo and use defined blend mode to combine then. Default mode “cuts” some part of the photo and there are lots of Patchy images in the library to apply.
- Path frame is the most complicated frame in the app. It defines a path that is used to build the frame, there are lots of options here. Here are the main few:
- Define a path, set “out” blend mode and choose a brush stroke image. This will generate a “tattered” photo.
- Use “Random” material filled with few flower images with “over” blend mode – this will fill the path with different flowers. It’s usually better to allows clipping and “cut” the area outside of the path.
- Use “Shader” material and turn “Process whole path” mode to generate a liquid- or glass-like frame. Looks quite interesting, however, this is best in combinations with abstract images.
Overall, Path frame make it possible to cut a heart-like are from the photo and fill it with flowers, “break” the photo a little or simple clip some area.
- Tiled field is not a direct frame, it’s a kind of surface chaotically filled with the chosen material. It is intended to be filled by different sprites, You can use “Random” material to push any number of textures to this tiler. Notes! This is the only heavy frame that is not GPU-accelerated, so it’s not recommended to use this kind of frame with other frames, especially on top stack positions.
Every frame contains some material, it’s usually texture by default. Here are all materials:
- Solid color is the simplest material, this can be used to define mats.
- Gradient. Yes, it’s gradient :)
- Texture – this material is widely used in the app. Almost every framer uses it as a default material, texture can handle different image formats, it’s editor accepts drop from built-in Textures library and any external image source. Plus there is optional HSB editor! You can re-map the colors without third-party app right in place.
- Bump-mapping is a complex material. It takes two sources (usually textures) to generate a volume surface. Secular and diffuse lighting are adjustable, You can also use self-bumping with a single source. This material is good in combination with Border frames.
- Shader material is another complex materials with two sources. It’s usually used with Path frame and “Process whole path” mode turned on to fill the path with liquid metal, glass or something like that. Build-in Textures Library contains lots of material textures acceptable by this material.
- Path material is a two-color mask generator. It’s main application is to build brush stroke samples for the Path frame and tatter mode.
- Random material is just an aggregator that can handle any number of other materials. Great to use with Path frame as a set of sprites.
LightFrame includes few auxiliary filters that can make Your life easier when working with digital photos:
- Crop filter is the proper way to crop inputs with LF.
- Sprite filter can place any kind of supported images over the photo. “Keep aspect” option is very useful here plus this filter supports PDF image with on-the-fly re-sampling. Built-in Textures Library contains some PDF objects to be used with this filter.
- Resize is the best friend for any web-designer here. Smart resize to any pre-defined size, with or without borders.
- Caption adds some text.
Overall all PhotoStyler users should be familiar with this set of filters.
Every framer has inner and outer shadows. Inner frame is dropped from the frame (or it’s object) to the photo, outer is dropped from the framed image to the “surface”. By default shadows mode is set to “inherited”, that means the frame will use root “Scene” object shadows. However, You can toggle each frame independently, good point here could be a composite frame. Imagine You’ve build 3-steps frame with two borders and some mat between them. With full shadows turned on Your frame will be over-shadowed from each part to another, it’s better to turn of shadows for the middle part, leave inner shadows for the inner part and outer shadow for the outer part. This kind of shadows setting will look way better.
Built-in Textures Library is a good way to styles Your photos without much hand-work. There are lots of images of all types in the library: wood, gold, bronze, marble materials, sprites of different kinds, brush strokes etc.. The library looks quite simple and familiar to other windows in the app: there is a thumbnail size slider in the right-bottom part of the windows, a Quick Search field to filter the images easily, regular “+” and “-” to manage the textures. You can extend the library Yourself just dropping the image sin there or hitting the “+” button.
Tip: Drag is performed a bit unusual here, You must hold down the left mouse button over a texture to start dragging.
Batch processing is dead simple in PhotoStyler. Use “Batch Process…” button in either Document toolbar or presets Library toolbar to open the Batch processor. Currently selected preset will be used to process any number of images, You can add new photos to process dropping them into the window or with “Load Images” button in the toolbar. To remove mistakenly added photos You must select them and hit “Delete” key, it’s also available in the “Edit” menu. After that, You must simply choose target folder, pre- and postfix, output format (and compression, if applicable) and hit “Export” button. Quick and simple.
There is also a Screencast available, take a look. If something is yet unclear, if You see any mistakes, misspells or “sharp” English in the text – feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com. I will be glad to fix the manual. Thanks for reading this!