Category: Software

Here’s another handy graphics editing program from Soft Orbits, especially useful if you take a lot of portrait photos. It is designed to remove blemishes, smooth skin and even add make up if you want to (I chose not to in the example below – I used a selfie, and if a guy posts pictures of himself around the internet, he’s just asking for trouble). So it is a kind of ‘virtual air brush studio’. It is called ‘SoftSkin Photo Makeup’. Of course, programs such as Photoshop will do most of what Soft Orbits software does, but Soft Orbits applications are much less costly – in terms of money and system resources. The interface in this, as in their other software is fairly simple, uncluttered and inuitive.


This is something I particularly like about Soft Orbits ware is that they have an intuitive ‘standard’ – once you have figured one application out, it pretty much takes the same steps to use any of their others.

Okay – below is my example. I chose myself as someone who needs maximum beautifying. Smile

Photo Compare

Once again, the link (which includes a free trial version) is

Here’s another graphics manipulation program from ‘SoftOrbits’. One of the nice things about the collection of software from this site is that the interfaces for all their programs follows the same basic layout. This makes it a lot easier to learn – once you get the idea of one, you can apply the same basic process to the others.

‘Batch Picture Protector’ is an image watermarking program that is simple to use. You can customizable text or image stamps to your pictures, including copyright symbols, date stamps, digital signatures, etc.

I could waffle on about how great it is and how to use it and so on, but it is probably easier to just include a few screenshots.



The main interface with one image loaded.


Text watermark configuration screen


Text Watermark example


Image watermark configuration


Image example

Another image before…


…and after:



All in all, if you post a lot of images online, and want to give them a measure of protection, this is an easy solution.

Photo doodles

I’ve been exploring one of my favourite graphics programs, Twisted Brush, more extensively recently.  It is well worth checking out (you can try before you buy). These three pictures are photo-based and rely on the Alpha Filter layer to ‘expose’ parts of the image underneath.

Heron Sketch2

Heron in Princes Park (sketch 2)



Clayton Square Jellysketch

Clayton Square, seen from St John’s Beacon, Liverpool – Sketch

SoftOrbits ‘Sketch Drawer’

There are many graphics editors around from freeware to professional software, and most have a plug-in/filter to emulate pencil sketches. Up until recently I found very few that would give an authentic look to sketched pictures – until I tried SoftOrbits ‘Sketch Drawer’.

Simple to use, this software is dedicated to just that – producing pencil, pen, pastel, sketch styled pictures from photos. There are a few options and a handful of presets. You load a picture, or some pictures in, choose a preset, fine tune the settings and hit ‘run’. It really is that simple. And the results are great – here is an original photo and two images done using different presets in Sketch Drawer:


St Botolph’s Chruch, Boston, Lincolnshire – locally known as the Boston Stump. Original photo.


One of the simple pencil sketch presets.


Pastels preset.

I have uploaded an album with more Sketch Drawer images here:

Again the link for the software page is:

Here’s another interesting photo manipulation program from Artensoft. It’s called ‘Tilt Shift Generator’. Here is how Artensoft describe it:

“Re-create the tilt-shift effects by using your PC – no tilt-shift lens required! Make stunning dioramas by using computer-generated tilt-shift effect. Tilt-Shift Generator helps you reproduce the appearance of a miniature scale model in post processing without restricting yourself to a certain angle at the time of shooting – and without investing in expensive tilt-shift glass. “

It does all that, but I find it is also great for emphasising a focal ‘line’ in a picture.  It works best for elevated shots (for example, some of the examples below from the Eiffel Tower and Blackpool Tower), but can be used very effectively for many landscapes and scenic shots.

Blackpool 2010-10#96a_TiltShiftGenerator

Blackpool 2010-10#99_TiltShiftGenerator

The above two photos were taken from the Blackpool Tower

Arc de Triomphe


Two from the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower01

…and the Eiffel Tower as seen from Montmartre.


And this one just demonstrates how playing with focal emphasis can be effective in its own right.

All in all, a good program for adding a particular kind of effect to images, and doing it very well and easily.

Again, the link is:

Check out the gallery on there too. Some great work!

Artensoft Photo Collage Maker

I really enjoy messing around with digital imaging. Right from the act of creating images (photos, abstract, fractals etc.) through to editing and altering the images and combining them into collages and overlays.

A great program for doing the collages, image mosaics and overlays is Artensoft Photo Collage Maker. It is simple to use, with stunningly effective results. You load a master image, followed by one or more folders full of images into the program. Then a set of options for creating the collage. The program then creates a patchwork image from thumbnails from the included folders. Two images that I have run through the program are shown below.


A moonlight shot of the Sacre Coeur in Paris using other photos from a visit to the city.


Liverpool Anglican Cathedral with thumbnails from shots around the cathedral and the city centre.

Image15 Collage - Charcoal

A self-portrait using various snaps of me. The end result was put through a charcoal filter to give the fuzzy monochrome effect.

There are also galleries of collages on the site – the program is a lot of fun and gives opportunity for some real creativity.

Once again the link is: