• Price When Reviewed: 136

  • Pros: Unique function; lots of ways to edit generation parameters and select chunks manually.

  • Cons: Prone to crashing; no way to quickly mask out areas to be ignored.

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

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This review is taken from our group test of Photoshop CS4 plug-ins.

ImageSynth 2 generates seamless textures from lower-resolution images.

So it allows the user take one or more small images of grass and ferns and turn it into a much larger texture, as we’ve done here. It’s developed by Luxology, which is best known for its 3D modelling and artwork creation suite Modo – but ImageSynth will appeal as much to graphic designers who want to create backgrounds for magazines, brochures and ads as much as it does to 3D pros looking to add high-res textures to models.

Essentially what ImageSynth does is chop your original image (or images) into chunks and then randomly scatter them across your final image space, blending them where they overlap to create a seamless pattern. It runs as a Photoshop plug-in applied to a new output-sized image, or as a standalone application. The workflow is the same for both, and the standalone version is great if you’re creating massive textures and want all of your processing power for ImageSynth.

ImageSynth can run automatically, but for the best results you must tweak its parameters. There are many options, ranging from controlling the priority of each original image, and the size and number of chunks taken from each, to the full-on manual controls.

These include drawing tools for creating and editing your own chunks, and a way to force image elements to be used in their entirety. All that’s missing is a quick way to get the generator to avoid a certain part of an image – such as an element that stands out and would be obvious if replicated.

Luxology’s plug-in supports both 16-bit and CMYK images, but doesn’t work as a Smart Filter. Its main flaw is
a tendency to crash, especially when undoing automatic chunk generation.

Supported hosts: Photoshop CS3/CS4