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 http://www.fo2pix.com
. 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: http://www.segmentis.com
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
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:
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 outerregions. 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
Over the Barn
Unfortunately, at this size it is hard to see all of the
differences (other than the bird) of the two pictures.