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IFX-Supreme: Photo Filter and Effects Software
Earlier this year I did an overview of BrainDistrict’s PaintSupreme digital painting software, and a few months later I had the opportunity to interview Richie Lopez, the brain behind Germany-based BrainDistrict. Now that their next product is ready for the market I have the privilege of testing it out and putting it to the test. Just like with PaintSupreme, it’s worth noting and celebrating that software is available to not only Mac and Windows users, but even Linux artists as well!
Usually before suggesting any graphics software to beginners I take a moment to first recommend buying a graphics tablet, but since IFX-Supreme is just a filter and effects package program, there won’t be any need for painting on the screen. For those needs, you should check out BrainDistrict’s other product, PaintSupreme.
IFX-Supreme System Requirements
Other than screen size requirements, IFX-Supreme doesn’t list any actual specs that you’ll need in order to use it, just the operating system requirements, which are:
- Apple Mac OS X 10.6 or later.
- 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2.
- Windows Vista or Windows 7.
- 32-bit and 64-bit Ubuntu Linux 8.04 or later.
- The resolution of your display must be a minimum of 1200 x 800 pixels.
That being said, I would still recommend no less than 2 MB of RAM. As for hard drive space, after being installed it’s just an impressive 51 MB in size.
To reduce the install size and time, when you first open the program you’ll notice that it doesn’t come with a large number of filter and effects packages, and instead searches for them and other updates online and – with your permission – downloads them upon your first startup. To me, this is a perk, but to many I could see it not being a benefit. Just make sure you don’t install it before leaving on a vacation where Internet might not be easy to come by. Once you’ve quickly downloaded the update packages, these are the features you can look forward to:
- Large amount of nodes which can be built into a node graph in many different ways, producing different kinds of filters and effects.
- Large amount of existing templates for filters and effects can be downloaded from within IFX-SupremePowerful selection tools like freehand, ellipse, and lasso.
- Lots of powerful layer based editing options (merge, group, lock, etc.)
- Layer based editing with an unlimited amount of layers.
- The included image browser makes it easy to test the filters and effects on your images.
- Create, edit, and polish images with an easy to use and fun user interface.
- Any number of filters and effects can be grouped and saved together in a project.
- Opacity and blend mode for each effect and filter can be adjusted on the fly, making IFX-Supreme an effective and easy to use effects mixer.
- Individual effects and filters can be enabled and disabled.
- A key-frame based timeline allows you to animate the parameters of projects and nodes and save these animations as picture sequences.
- Real-time preview for any changes to parameters or nodes.
- Import and export of many external image formats.
- PaintSupreme v1.2 will support IFX-Supreme filters and effects.
You’ll quickly notice that the menus look every bit as sleek as BrainDistrict’s other software, and it doesn’t get confused by having dual monitors like the original PaintSupreme version did. A mild warning though: the default image folder that the program targets upon startup is (unsurprisingly) your Pictures folder in your Windows username account folder. If you’re like me, then that means you have thousands upon thousands of images in that folder, which means it will drastically slow down IFX-Supreme’s load time. Certainly not BrainDistrict’s fault since even Windows can chug when opening my unorganized five-year-old picture folder, but I still quickly changed the target folder destination. However, the pictures folder preview tray at the bottom of the screen doesn’t always load image previews, and it seems to be random instead of associated with uncommon image file types.
The blend modes are all as simple and effective as can be. The tabs for Filters and Effects work great, but I wish I didn’t have to drag and drop them and could instead do it all from the Project layers tab. All of these complaints are minor, and I was about to recommend this software to anyone who doesn’t own Photoshop (but does own PaintSupreme), but then a deal breaker emerged.
Not only does the software sometimes forget when you’ve turned a layer on and off, but even when it works properly it literally has a render time bar for when you apply more than a few filters to a single image. Photoshop might be a memory hog, but unless you’re messing with intense processor stuff like Liquify you see your results almost immediately even when dealing with dozens of layers. When I add a Sepia filter, a Sharpen filter, and an Emboss filter, and I’m slapped with 5-15 second render waiting periods depending on the resolution of the image, then I can’t recommend this product to our readers. If you’re just a casual photographer who only wants to edit party photos to post online for your friends and family to see, then go with a free online photo editing site, like BeFunky. If you want to actually get your money’s worth, then skip IFX-Supreme’s $15 price tag and instead look into a cheap version of Adobe Photoshop.