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I have always been a bit of purist. I like to see real details and real colors, and I try to recreate things exactly as I saw them or recall seeing them. However, I have noticed that maybe I should think of photography more as oil painting. Instead of being so scientific about an image, allow the image to become something more. In oil painting, the colors we choose when painting may seem awkward or unusual for the subject, but in reality, they are almost necessary. A painting needs yellow to bring out the blue, and orange to contrast the green. Every color choice and value makes an impact. There are no lights without darks. When I look at a lot of the more popular, or well liked photographs, the photographs certainly have left the realm of scientifically recorded to very artistic.

I have wanted to be more creative work with my photographs for quite some time. I have always been disturbed by the idea that the only tool available for artistic effects is Photoshop. One truth holds true for me, if there is software specialized at doing something, then it is most likely confusing, difficult, and expensive. Well, Photoshop is nothing less than a nightmare that holds to that truth. If you have to take a class to figure out how to open a program, somethings wrong. I really did not want to spend endless hours learning and attempting to take photographs and make them into something other than what they were. I like to take photographs, not spend hours behind a computer creating them.

This is the original image that I started with.

This is the original image that I started with.

Yesterday I ventured out into cyberspace again to see which tools are now available for applying artistic effects to photographs. I found FX Photo Studio Pro. I downloaded the App from the App Store for $20. To use the application, I exported a JPEG image from Aperture, and dropped it into FX Studio. FX Studio has 173 different predesigned effects that can be applied to a photo. Since this was my first time, I did not use any customization options, except the occasional turning the dial up and down on an effect to tweak the effect to my taste. There are ways to edit the mask to apply to different areas of the photograph, and apply a combination of effects, etc., but this was again something I did not want to start to get involved in, at least not yet. Although I am not certain, there does appear to be a way to save any customization I may make for later use. FX Studio has a lot of filters that are not as artistic as others. Many filters are just that, a filter such as blue, green, and some combinations thereof. Other effects do more, such as give a charcoal or painted effect. There are also combinations of effects that apply a special look and feel to the photograph.

I used a photograph I took a couple years ago from Austin Texas. Using the photograph, I tried on a all the filters by clicking the thumbnail image for each filter. The filter is then applied to the photograph and I can review or turn the dials to tweak. There really is no work for the user at all, other than to sit back and watch the photograph transform. Unlike Photoshop, which I did try, I could easily apply a full range of effects in a single click with FX Studio. Also, I figured out how to use FX Studio without a book or a class. With Photoshop I spent a couple hours the first sitting to figure out how to add one color to a section of a photograph. I spent several days with PhotoShop and YouTube How-To sessions, until I got tired, frustrated, and annoyed. Well, my results with FX Studio Pro were quite different. I am going to explore to see what some of the other available software can do, since FX Studio is not the only option.


I chose 33 different effects from the FX Studio library that I felt were the most unique, and suited the photograph. I do not like all of the effect filters, some definitely did not work well with the photograph at all. I really did not see the point in doing a green filter, and then a greenish filter, or so it seemed as part of the images I have included. Color filters will probably have some use. In any case, I am very excited to at least be able to create some unique and artistic images. I cannot wait to see how these print out on paper.

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