Review of Fo2PiX's buZZ.Pro 2.0

I was totally unfamiliar with this program until an e-mail friend of mine in Tennessee mentioned it to me. I am certainly glad she did for I found that this Photoshop (host) plug-in was not only easy to use, but could be used very creatively. In other word, I liked it a lot and found that it was definately worth its price of under $150.00. As a creative plug-in, I highly recommend it.

BuZZ is an image editing plug-in for Photoshop and compatible hosts. The company calls it a Simplifier because it can simplify an image and reduce it to a few lines or to just fewer lines. I, however, found that it could be used for a lot more purposes. BuZZ comes in four versions. The simplest is one called the Simplifier and contains 3 filters. The version I will be reviewing is their top of the line version, buZZ.Pro 2 which has 19 filters with modifications for all of them. I will give a synopsis of how buZZ works; for a more detailed description, see their web site at . BuZZ is actually a product of a company called Segmentis who has developed a new technology which manifests itself in these early products. For those interested in finding out about this innovative technology, the web site is: .

The requirements are: Mac OS 8.5 or higher or Windows 95 or higher. This program uses a lot of memory. I suggest you download a demo of the version you want to buy and test it on your computer. From reading the manual that I printed from the CD, it seems to be that the amount of memory needed varies with the graphic host.

Since fo2PiX is a British company, the cost of buZZ.Pro 2 is figured in British Pounds and is 89.99 plus shipping and handling or about $133 US currency.

An excellent manual and an excellent tutorial come on the CD. The tutorial and manual are well illustrated and clearly written.

The concept behind buZZ is that most average photographs are too cluttered to be a "picture". The tutorial booklet is entitled: Making Pictures from Photographs. It shows how the various filters can be used step by step to create a picture that is different than the photograph and more like a watercolor, pastel, or oil painting. I decided, however, to take a slightly different approach in this review and show how these filters could be used to change art work that was already created.

The main three filters are the Simplifier filters. These filters will simplify a picture by visually combining similar colors, for example.

A crude example is the Dutch windmill above. I used only the Simplifier One filter on this windmill picture. The filter removed a lot of the detail. The amount is controlled by a sliding bar. The screenshot below shows four filters in the current stack. The stack lists the filters in use.

The filters are located under Available Effects. One, then, selects them and places them in the Current Stack. The right side of the screenshot shows the filters in the stack in action. The 19 filters are:

  • Simplifier One
  • Simplifier Two
  • Simplifier Three
  • Blur
  • More Blur
  • Bright/Contrast


  • Directional Blur
  • Edge Colour
  • Edge Mono
  • Emboss/Reliefxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Gaussian Blur
  • Pure Colour
  • Radial Blur
  • Radial Screen
  • Radial Simplifier
  • Simplifier HSV
  • Spread Black
  • Spread White
  • Unsharp mask



The above illustrations shows a piece of work that was created from multiple photographs in Photoshop. The picture on the left was broken into layers, and then these layers were treated with various buZZ filters to create the picture on the right. A lot more could have been done to these pictures but subtle effects do not show up well at screen resolution so I exaggerated some of the effects. These filters are very easy to use and the preview is in real time. One can work with one filter at a time or with many in combination. The manual gives examples of how to create various types of pictures.

While it might appear that the contrast filter for example is a repetition of one found in Photoshop or another host program, in reality, it behaves differently. Also, residing in buZZ, one can use it in conjunction with other filters.

An interesting feature of the the Simplifier Three filter is its ability to soften areas of a picture using inner, middle, and outer regions. The blur level of these three regions can be manipulated differently. Below is a screen shot of the palette and a picture with the inner Region circled in red. The colors represent the different regions with red being the inner region, green representing the middle region, and blue being the outer region. As can be seen, the blur or softening level is controlled by sliders.

As I stated in the beginning, I decided to deviate a little from a major intent of the program which is Making Pictures from Photographs. However, the last illustrations will involve using a scanned in photograph to create a more simplified version.

Flying Over the Barn

Unfortunately, at this size it is hard to see all of the differences (other than the bird) of the two pictures.

To see a larger version of the above buZZ picture, Flying Over the Barn, click on the title.