OmniGraffle 7 Pro makes creating structured graphics precise and fun

OmniGraffle has been and is for creating precise graphics such as website wireframes, electrical systems, family trees, presentation diagrams and maps of software classes. Everyone from professional artists and designers to casual data mappers and beginning diagrammers will find something gratifyingly new in OmniGraffle 7. I had the opportunity to review the Pro version.

Hydra 4, the HDR app, brings Metal support, zonal tone mapping

Hydra, the HDR app by Creaceed, has been upgraded to version 4. It has been optimised for Metal, has a new easy-to-use translucent user interface, and comes with an excellent automatic image alignment system. It offers less brilliant manual image alignment, and removal of ghosting artefacts, both with a region delineation tool. In addition, Hydra 4 works with a highly accurate 128-bit internal format.

Strata Design 3D CX 8 Winter 2015-2016 Release renders faster, better, with stage models

Creating 3D models can be quite challenging. Applications like Cinema 4D and Maya are all-round 3D apps. They allow you to create 3D worlds and animations that can be used just as effectively in a game as in a presentation or blockbuster movie. Strata Design 3D CX 8.1.0, the Winter 2015-2016 release I got to review, is more focused on presenting 3D model design — objects, products, architecture, interior design… — in the most realistic and efficient way. The app has a learning curve, but it sure isn’t as steep as Maya’s or Cinema 4D’s.

Corel Painter 2016: is the new and improved worth it?

I wasn’t aware it was that time of the year again: a new version of Painter. This venerable creative app is now officially called Painter 2016. If you thought after experiencing the last version it would be hard to come up with some new and exciting stuff… well, you were wrong. Painter 2016 has received some much needed interface improvements, but also new brushes and capabilities that once again will enable artists to have more fun and get closer to the analogue experience.

Affinity Designer, the successful Adobe Illustrator challenger

An Adobe Illustrator fan are you? But not really happy with Adobe’s cloud pricing model? Your options to find something at least as powerful as Illustrator CC-whatever are very limited. Finding something that’s equally useful as CS3 is even going to get you a headache. Until you discover and try out Affinity Designer. Then you’ll discover Illustrator is not the only Walhalla in Designer Universe.

Painter 2015 brings Particle Brushes

Painter 2015 has one feature that will make people drool over this new version: Particle Brushes. Other improvements are jitter smoothing, greater speed and better performance, and 64-bit on the Mac. Painter 2015 also has an even more manageable and organised interface and comes with generous libraries of new content.

Astute Graphics Phantasm 3 for Adobe Illustrator

Phantasm was Astute Graphics’s first Illustrator plug-in. It gave Adobe Illustrator users the ability to work with colour settings the way they did in Photoshop. With curves working on transparency, Phantasm today isn’t obsolete. Far from it. The plug-in also gives you the ability to create vector halftones from an illustration both for printing and creative purposes, as well as ink and plate controls.

Astute Graphics Stylism brings back “flow” when working with Illustrator

Stylism is a new Adobe Illustrator plug-in by Astute Graphics, which allows you to create Adobe’s Live Effects using a simple real-time annotation system. Adobe’s dialogue window driven system isn’t bad, but it stops your “flow”. Stylism, on the other hand, makes creating and changing Live Effects extremely easy and incredibly fast — and changes update in real time.