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Software Review: PostworkShop 3 from Xycod

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PostworkShop Pro 3 is the latest version of Xycod’s innovative image editing software that gives artists, graphic designers, and photographers new tools with which to express their digital creativity. It also allows creatives to create digital fine artwork and graphics through the use of digital painting.

 

PostworkShop 3

 

First, there are over 400 filters in a wide range of styles including drawing, painting, graphic arts and more. These are further defined into subcategories giving you more possibilities to apply to your photos.

The next thing that really makes PostworkShop Pro fun is the way you can apply these filters by adding them to the photograph using a layer system. As with most layer systems, you can add them above or below any particular layer and they will blend with the existing photograph and any other layer with which they interact. What is unique here is that you can also chain them with a particular layer so if you want to place a watercolor layer chained to a pencil drawing layer, they will blend together to form a unique style. Any style can be placed before or after another style or through chaining for differing looks.

Depending on the style you choose, there are additional options available for enhanced creativity. These include number of brush strokes, length of the brushes, seed values, and more, which give you a lot of control over the look you can give to an image. You also have the ability to control the opacity so that if you want to add a pencil drawing feel to a watercolor, but you only want to let a little of it through, you can add the pencil drawing below the watercolor and set it to 20% opacity.

 

PostworkShop 3

 

But it doesn’t stop there – you also have the ability to apply brushstrokes in PostworkShop Pro. This means that once you like where your base is, you can add additional touches to complete your artwork. Even better, you are not limited to the brushes that come with PostworkShop Pro. You can also import brushes that are compatible with Adobe Photoshop (.ABR). This all makes this a really a powerful program.

What’s new in PostworkShop Pro 3?

Simple Layout has been added to the system for those who want to drop an image in and then just use a preset first to get a style applied to it without any messing with it. Of course you can use it as a starting point and manipulate it from there, but if it works for you can also just stop with the preset.

 

PostworkShop 3

 

Accelerated styles: When you apply a style, it renders much faster than it did before. This means more productivity when you are creating your masterpiece.

Style Presets in the property editor give you over 300 pre-created styles that you can work with right away. That along with over 100 presets means there is a lot you can do right out of the box. From there you can create your own styles as well as share styles with others.

Full-Screen image viewing option and before-and-after comparison modes give you a lot of flexibility to see your creation as you work so you can tell exactly how a particular filter is affecting your image.

Use as an external editor for Adobe Lightroom: You can work with Lightroom and jump right into PostworkShop now along with working with Adobe Photoshop, Corel PaintShop, Photo Pro, and even Painter.

 

PostworkShop 3

 

Color management gives you the ability to extract color palettes from images, import palettes, delete, add, view, or save colors within the flexible Color Palette Editor.

Presets in freehand painting  and cloning modes give you a lot more flexibility when working with your art, and your creativity expands when you are painting whole images, small sections, or retouching a style by hand with the Paint Module.

Tablet support gives you more flexibility to use a tablet to create your work of art. This can be especially important when you are working with brushes, to give your images that natural look that only a tablet can provide.

Project and style browser tabs are hidden when you switch to freehand painting, letting you paint more naturally and providing the space you need on the screen.

Not only did I find PostworkShop Pro to be easy to work with, unlimited in its capabilities, and a lot of fun, but I found it to be incredibly addictive. In the last go-round I wanted to see more dynamic sliders on the styles options. I can gladly say that they are very dynamic. They react immediately as you move them.

 

PostworkShop 3

 

While it does take a bit of time to get used to how things work, the PostworkShop site has a series of tutorials that will help get you up to speed. I really like the layering capabilities and how the system as a whole works. I like the fact that once you get a style that you like, you can save it for future use or even to share it with others.

Previously there were three versions of PostworkShop: the Basic Edition, the Artist Edition, and the Pro Edition. Now there is just one, PostworkShop 3. The Basic Edition has been replaced with a Demo version. For an upgrade from the Artist version the cost is $60 and an upgrade from the Pro is $30. For a new purchase it is $120 and can be found at the online store.

If you are looking for something new to inspire your creative juices, if you want to easily turn your photos into works of art, or if you just want to have fun creating paintings from photographs, then I very highly recommend PostworkShop 3.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.