1. Computing
Segmentis buZZ Turns Digital Photos into Art
Turn your photos into unique works of art with this plug-in filter Dateline: 05/15/01

Segmentis buZZ Professional and buZZ Lite are two versions of a new Photoshop-compatible plug-in filter designed to turn digital photos into works of art. (Continued below...)


More of this Feature
Part 2: BuZZed Examples
Part 3: More Examples
Part 4: Conclusion & Pricing

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"I'm trying to find the ideal software for turning photos into paintings - more of a watercolor effect than, say, the thick impasto look. Can anyone recommend software?" -Salgal3
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Segmentis buZZ Home Page


The Segmentis company name was changed to Fo2Pix after this review was written. As of November 2007, Fo2Pix is out of business and the company assets are in liquidation. Unfortunately, there is no way to purchase buZZ or other Fo2Pix products at this time. [reference]

At the heart of buZZ is the Simplifier effect. The Simplifier effect is based on patented Sieve transform technology, which, according to Segmentis, "allows an image to be segmented into its component parts, in order that they may be identified, understood, labeled, and indexed." In essence, the Simplifier effect removes unimportant detail from a photo while preserving color, focus, shape and edge... leaving you with an improved base image for applying other effects. You control how much or how little detail you wish to remove from the original photo by adjusting the controls within the Simplifier effect.

buZZ Professional comes with a total of 13 effects and buZZ Lite includes 6 effects. Each of these effects was selected to build upon the Simplifier effect for creating a variety of artistic styles. All the the effects are contained in a single interface, referred to as a Stack. The Stack allows you to chose the combination of effects and rearrange their order while previewing the combination and making adjustments before committing to the effects. When you find a combination of effects you like and would like to reuse, a Stack can be saved and reloaded for later use. Here's a summary of the effects included each version of buZZ:

buZZ Lite includes:

  • Simplifier One
  • Edge Detect Mono
  • Edge Detect Color
  • Emboss
  • Radial Blur
  • Radial Simplifier

buZZ Professional includes all of the buZZ Lite effects, plus:

  • Simplifier Two
  • Blur
  • Blur More
  • Radial Screen
  • Spread Black
  • Spread White
  • Unsharp Mask

buZZ should work within any graphics application that uses the Adobe Photoshop standard for plug-in compatibility. Segmentis has tested it within Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, CorelDraw, Corel Photo-Paint, and PhotoDeluxe. It requires Mac OS 8.5 or higher or Windows 95 or higher.

One important thing to understand is that buZZ is intended to be used in combination with the layering and blending features in your graphics software. If you're going to give buZZ a try, you definitely want to download and follow the how-to-use tutorial that comes on the CD and is available for download. If you don't use the tutorial before plunging right into the Stack, you're likely to end up with something not-so-pretty.

So, now that we know what it is and a bit about how it works, let's move on to more important matters... seeing what you can do with it! Truth be told, I had been planning to post this tutorial last week, but was having so much fun playing with the effects, that I had to put it off for a week. Shown below is my current favorite buZZ creation. If your browser is JavaScript capable, you can roll your mouse over the image to see the original photo it was created from.

Click to learn more about how this image was created
Click this image to learn more about how this image was created and to see more examples of what you can do with Segmentis buZZ Professional and buZZ Lite.

Continue to Page 2: Examples -->

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Some images from Nova Development's Art Explosion 600,000.

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