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Software Review: PostworkShop Pro 2 From Xycod

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PostworkShop Pro 2 is the latest version of Xycod’s innovative image editing software that gives artists, graphic designers, and photographers new avenues with which to express their digital creativity. It allows creatives to make digital fine artwork and graphics through the use of digital painting.

It is partially through the use of creative filters that PostworkShop Pro gets its power and while these kinds of filters have been available in other programs, they have provided a somewhat restrictive range of possibilities in provide the ability to generate artistic looks to photographs.

PostworkShop Pro 2

PostworkShop Pro changes this with the way that it implements these filters. First there are over 400 filters that are available to you in a wide range of styles from 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. They are added 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 that you choose, there are additional options available for enhanced creativity. These include things like number of brush strokes, length of the brushes, seed values and more which give you a lot of control over the look that you want to give to an image. You also have the ability to control the opacity as well so that if you want to add a pencil drawing feel to a water color, 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 so only a little will show through.

But it doesn’t stop there – you also have the ability to apply brushstrokes in PostworkShop Pro. This means that once you get to a point that you like where your base is, you can then 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 in brushes that are compatible with Adobe Photoshop (.ABR). This all makes this a really a powerful program.

PostworkShop Pro 2

What’s new in PostworkShop Pro 2?

• The ability to switch between auto-painting and manual painting modes. This gives you the ability – especially with the use of pressure-sensitive graphics tablets, for a lot of creativity as well as the ability for creative control when used for masking and generating montages’.

• PostworkShop Pro is now available in both 32-bit and 64-bit modes for both the Apple Mac and Microsoft Windows platforms. This not only means that it will run faster, but it will be able to handle larger files and larger rendering output.

• PostworkShop Pro now runs as a plug-in on the Adobe Photoshop platform giving you the ability to generate your image from right in Photoshop. This really gives you a lot more enhanced creativity. Since you can create multiple layers of the same image. Perform different types of processing in Photoshop – via other filters, plug-ins, etc, process each of the layers individually in PostworkShop Pro, and then perform additional layer blending techniques giving you literally unlimited possibilities.

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. The program itself seems to be very solid, but one improvement I would like to see is more dynamic sliders on the styles options. When you move one to the right or left, it seems to take a while to react. You can enter the values in a text box, but it is not the same. Not a big deal, but rather room for improvement.

While it does take a bit to get use 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.

PostworkShop Pro 2

There are actually three versions of PostworkShop. The Basic Edition which contains a core set of image processing filters so that you can play with it before you pay for it – this one is free. There is the Artist Edition which goes for $49 and contains the 400+ filters and has a maximum render size of 2000x2000px. This comes in only the 32-bit mode. Finally there is the one I reviewed – the PostworkShop Pro Edition, for $99 and comes with everything.

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 Pro Edition.

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About T. Michael Testi

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