At first glance, Buzz Professional is just another Photoshop plug-in. However, it’s actually a few plug-ins held together by a single interface – called the Stack – allowing each of the plug-ins to be added together to make a kind of custom plug-in.
There are also two pre-set Stacks designed to give either a watercolour or oils effect – both are rubbish. The watercolour filter is a mess, though it might work with the right image. The oil effect, meanwhile, turns your image into something a lunatic would draw on the wall of his padded cell if he had an unlimited supply of magic markers.
Of all the parts of the Stack, the most interesting is the Simplifier filter. This removes detail from a photograph, but preserves edges, sharpness and colour. This is an odd thing to want to do, but – with a little tweaking – the results are good. Taking out detail makes a photograph look more artistic, with a watercolour-like effect.
There are problems with the Stack though. For instance, there is a preview window that has a percentage-zoom setting activated by a slider, or you can type the percentage into a box. However, if you attempt to type in the number, it comes up with an error message saying that the minimum value is 10. If you then type 50, because the first digit typed is less than 10, the alert comes up again. It’s easily remedied by using the plus and minus buttons, but it’s a sign of poor design.
There are infinite possibilities available with Buzz Professional, but it does take a little while to understand how to achieve the required effect. However, it’s a great addition to the existing Photoshop filters – offering something genuinely new. You can see the effects it can create by visiting the Segmentis Web site (www.segmentis.com).