Alternatives to Adobe Photoshop

OK, the title is a lie.
All things considered there are no alternatives to PS at all.
But for working in RGB there are several options.

I made my last ‘2D graphics apps test ‘ 2 years ago, mainly focused on RAW converting (I choosed and bought ACDSee Pro), but I found a pretty usable app, called Serif PhotoPlus.
It has similar GUI and features like PS has.

Serif offers a free version of the app with limited functionality (which is still pretty usable for retouching).

Unfortunately there is no trial version of the full app, but I had a chance to take a look on it and as far as I know, this is the only 2D app on Win which has comparable  layer functions and operations to PS.
Of course it was slower than PS, but still was more usable than Corel Paint Shop Pro.
It only costs 85 EUR, which is quite acceptable.

By the way, the lack of the full app trial and the stupid way of downloading the free app (you have to register, etc.) deserved to put Serif (as a developer) to the ironic ‘How to develop an app’ posts soon.
On Mac it worth to give a try to Pixelmator (I will check it when I will have access to Macs again; I heard good things about this one), and soon I will try PS Elements again (I have an old one; I’m curious what has changed).

Maybe you are surprised that I don’t consider GIMP as a choice; well, although I use it a lot, I don’t like it at all.
It needs recoding and GUI change, too (in my opinion).

2 in 1: Particle tree in Blender + NeatVideo noise removal test

Some month ago I played with particle-based trees in Max and Unity for a more identical output result (using different vegetation for classic renders and real-time engines is not so ‘nice’).
At the end I went with another method, but it was interesting, so I decided to give a try for particle trees in Blender.
As you see, it is possible.

Continue reading

1 months in Blender – experiences

It is approximately 4-5 weeks since I started to use Blender on daily base. I started with VSE, for now I’m able to build almost any archviz scene I had to build formerly in my life.
This is a great news, I was faster then I expected.

But at the moment I think I will need another 11 months to do everything efficiently in Blender and with a comparable speed and precision i got used to in Max.
The good news is that after finishing some new posts (I have so many posts in my mind) I will show a complete work-flow for Max emigrants.
Because of the fact that I’m a beginner in Blender, I would appreciate any critics on my Blender tips from Blender pros.

Making walls in Blender – 3ds Max style I.

This kind of wall building method is used for exteriors primarily to fullfill some special requirements. It helps to keep the object low-poly (for using it later in real-time engines) and it helps modifying when we are creating draft models and we expect that we have to change windows, doors several times during the design.
It works perfectly with the modifier system in Max; in this video I tried to adapt it to Blender.

I will give more info soon, how with some simple tools it would be as efficient as the toolset Max offers.

Enjoy and write me critiqes; don’t forget, I’m a newbie in Blender!

PS: The floorplan is from the Cad Blocks Exchange Network site, uploaded by B. Goldman, I found it on Yorik’s Blender site, used in this tutorial.

Feeling of success…

Dear Blenderheads and possible Max-emigrants:))),

I have a great news.
With some tricks I guessed the most efficient wall-modeling work-flow for Blender. It is not Max level, but efficient like hell.
If I can get someone to help me with some scripts, together with this it will do the trick almost perfectly.
I will present it soon.


I have to say I far more enjoy this kind of challenges than making visualisations of boring buildings.
Unfortunately I cannot buy food from this.

Reducing render times in Cycles – Noise filtering

I just made a small comparison of rendered images in Cycles with different sample values, then I used NeatImage Standalone demo to remove noise with different settings (you can recognize that I used stronger reduction on the 300 samples image, so details are more ‘washed out’).
Although worrying too much about ‘noise’ is mostly typical for the ‘tech-maniac type’  CGI or photography guys, I think it could show the power of noise-filtering as a post-processing step and it could be useful for everybody.
It doesn’t just saves time; it also saves electricity (it has effects on your budget and on the environment both).


– download the images and compare them in 1:1 ratio (on the native resolution of your screen)
– I didn’t used any filtering on the 500 sample render; I used it as a reference
– removing the noise in NeatImage required about 15-20 sec per image (could be batched).



Filtered with NeatImage

Filtered with NeatImage