Optics 2022 - Version History

Optics 2022 - 2/16/22


New Filters

  • Particle Illusion
    Particle Illusion is an easy-to-use, powerful, high-end particle generator that gives photographers and artists instant access to photorealistic particle effects. Particle Illusion is the choice for anyone looking to quickly and easily add amazing particle effects to any image.

  • Beauty Studio
    In the age of cameras equipped with ultra sharp lenses and highly sensitive sensors, we’re seeing more detail than ever before in images on screen. Akin to digital make-up and filters, Beauty Studio was designed to automate the process of eliminating wrinkles, pores and other undesirable blemishes from facial skin tones.

  • Pin Warp
    Pin Warp warps specific image areas using pins, while leaving other areas untouched. Adjustments can range from subtle nip and tucks to something more obvious like repositioning an arm or leg.

  • S_UltraGlow
    Generates a variety of glowing light from bright areas of the image utilizing a primary as well as secondary, after glow.

  • S_UltraZap
    Generates lightning bolts along a spline and renders them over a background with added UltraGlow options.

  • S_EmbossDistort
    Embosses and warps the image using the Bumps input as a relief map and also distorts the result using the Bumps as a lens image.

  • S_EmbossGlass
    The image is embossed and warped using the Bumps input as a relief map and lens image. A chrominance distortion is also performed, separating the spectrum for a prismatic look.

  • S_EmbossShiny
    Embosses the image using the Bumps input as a relief map. A lighting model is used which includes highlights from specular reflections.

  • S_TextureFolded
    Creates an abstract texture resembling folded cloth or liquid.

  • S_TextureTiles
    TextureTiles draws a repeating pattern of tiles. The shapes can be hexagons, triangles, diamonds, stars, or variations on those, depending on the Morph parameters.

  • S_WarpPuddle
    Warps the image using a pattern of concentric waves.

  • S_WarpPuff
    Warps the image based on its gradient. By default, brighter areas are puffed out and darker areas are shrunk.

  • S_WarpWaves2
    Warps the image using two sets of overlapping wave patterns.

Alpha Support

  • Alpha Channel Processing
    Applicable filters, for instance lens flares, glows and blurs, now affect the alpha channel.

  • Layer Mask Transfer from Photoshop
    Photoshop layer masks import to the Optics’ original layer.

  • Layer Mask Transfer To Photoshop
    Masks from a selected layer transfer to the Photoshop layer mask.

Mask Enhancements

  • Mask Output
    Mask export is now enabled using a layer’s Export Masks icon visible to the right of the layer’s masks.
    Requirements for mask export:

    • Photoshop: A layer mask is present.
    • Lightroom: Exporting to PNG or TIFF files.
    • Standalone: Saving to PNG or TIFF files.
  • Mask Reordering
    Masks can be reordered using drag and drop.

Mac Metal GPU Acceleration for Sapphire Filters
Most Sapphire filters are now Metal GPU accelerated. See the complete list of filters featuring Sapphire Metal acceleration.

Native Mac M1 Support
Optics now runs as a native, Mac M1 application.

New Presets

  • Film Stocks
    62 new movie looks presets.

  • Light
    50 new glass presets.

  • Particle Illusion
    1700+ particle effect presets.

  • Sapphire
    270+ new and curated presets.

  • S_LensFlare
    20 new and 65 revitalized lens flares.

  • S_Rays and S_EdgeRays
    S_Rays and S_EdgeRays effects now have blur parameters allowing the rays to be blurred before they are combined with the background.

  • Workspace Creation, Import and Export
    Workspaces can now be loaded and saved.

  • User Interface Redesign
    The new Optics user interface reflects a clean, modern design.


  • Compact sliders
  • New font: Inter-UI
  • Added a font size preference


  • New Layout with Presets on the left, Parameters on right and Layers (previously named Effect) at the top left
  • Effect window renamed to Layers
  • Histogram located at the top right
  • Add Mask icon moved to the Layers window
  • Metadata window displays information entered during preset creation
  • Viewer is now a dock and can be moved

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • R, G, B, A: Toggles the red channel, green channel, blue channel, alpha channel, and alpha overlay on and off
  • D: Toggles enable filter state
  • Shift-D: Toggle enable mask state
  • Ctrl/Cmd-L: Adds a new layer
  • Ctrl/Cmd-R: Reset All


  • Preset Creation: To create a new preset, you can no longer change the preset name in the Name field. Now, pressing the Create Custom Preset icon opens the New Preset window where the desired information is entered before hitting OK to create the preset.


  • A Time parameter which animates the effect forward in time was added to the following filters: Particle Illusion, S_Aurora, S_Clouds, S_CloudsColorSmooth, S_CloudsMultColor, S_CloudsPerspective, S_DigitalDamage, S_FilmDamage, S_TVDamage, S_UltraZap, S_Zap, S_ZapFrom, and S_ZapTo.
  • Position and Corner-Pin controls could only be adjusted using on-screen controls. Now, there are associated controls in the Parameters window.
  • Although layers can have different Layer Opacity and Layer Blend Mode settings, there is now only 1 set of Opacity and Blend Mode controls and are shared between the different layers.
  • While hovering over a numeric field, the Up/Down Arrow keys now make adjustments. Up/Down Arrow changes the value by 1 unit, Shift+Up/Down Arrow moves by 10 units and Ctrl/Cmd+Up/Down Arrow advances by 0.1 unit.
  • Hover over a numeric field and use Alt+mouse wheel to adjust it. Use Alt+Shift for a 10x larger change. Use Alt+Ctrl/Cmd for 10x smaller change.


  • “Apply previous filters/masks?” message was added on start
  • Apply, Cancel, Reset All moved to the lower right


  • A/B Comparison mode: Show Other View always visible but grayed out when not selected
  • Enhanced on-screen controls
  • Overlay icon to toggle the display of overlays
  • Preview Channels icon displays individual channels
  • Preview Over icon includes a variety of display options
  • Updated Viewer icons
  • View menu replaced with Window and Workspace menus
  • Zoom control: Single zoom icon and numeric entry field for zoom percentage

Color Wheel Reset
Double-clicking on a color wheel in Color Correct resets the color wheel.

Bug Fixes
Standalone Color Management - Mac
Some images looked more saturated in the standalone and Lightroom than in the Photoshop plug-in on macOS 11 and later.

GPU Selector
Optics didn’t always choose the best GPU when multiple GPU’s were present.
Light > Displacement

Tiling Artifacts
When Displacement was used with the Shadow parameter, there were tiling artifacts in the rendered result.

Rendered Result Did Not Match
When the Preview Resolution was set to anything but Full, the rendered result in Photoshop did not match what appeared in the Optics viewer.

Paint Mask Inversion Issue
When Paint Mask was inverted, painting was not interactive and produced unexpected results because of the inversion post-process.

Sapphire Flare Designer Didn’t Open - Mac
The Sapphire Flare Designer did not open on some Mac OS’s.

Slow Performance On Some Windows Systems
On some isolated Windows systems, Optics would run slowly as a result of too frequent license checks.


  • Override Edge
    Override Edge was not grayed out once a path had been created.

  • Path > Point Simplification Slider
    The Snap > Path > Point Simplification slider wasn’t simplifying enough on large images.

User Entered EXIF Data Missing In Lightroom
User entered EXIF data was missing after adding an Optics filter in Lightroom.

Known Issues
Sapphire Lens Flare Designer
When you exit the Lens Flare Designer, the flare disappears in the Viewer until you adjust a parameter or move an on-screen control.

Smart Objects and Alpha
When alpha is exported from Optics to a Smart Object containing an embedded layer mask, it is exported as transparency. You can access the Smart Object’s alpha after applying Optics by dragging the Smart Object’s layer thumbnail and releasing on top of the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the layers window.

1 Like

Optics 2022.0.1 - 3/4/22

Bug Fix

Tiling Crash
At some resolutions, a crash occurred in some filters when rendering certain tile sizes. In Photoshop, this would result in the filter not rendering. In the Standalone, there could be horizontal tiling artifacts.

Optics 2022.1 - 6/10/22


A/B Comparison > Show Other View Icon
Instead of changing the A icon to a B icon when the A/B Comparison > Show Other View icon was selected, a white square appeared.

Blur Presets Did Nothing
The Blur presets were for a different version of the filter and were removed.

Color Picker Live Changes
When using a color picker, color changes now update live in the Viewer.

Expired License
Optics did not recognize a working license if an expired one was present.

Font Size Preference Had No Effect
The Font Size preference had no effect.

On-Screen Controls

  • Gradient Lines Extended To Infinity
    Gradient lines extended to infinity instead of clipping at the image bounds.

  • Rotating A Corner-Pinned Gradient
    If the gradient was corner-pinned, the rotation handles didn’t work quite right.

Particle Illusion

  • Large Images
    Certain large image sizes would not open in Particle Illusion resulting in an error.

  • User Created Presets
    User-created Particle Illusion presets did not select correctly.

1 Like

Optics 2022.5 - 9/30/22


Particle Illusion

  • New Version - 2022.5
    Particle Illusion has been updated to 2022.5. New features include 3D model support, UI improvements, and new 2022.5 emitters. For a complete list of features, fixed bugs and changes, see: Release Notes
  • Particle Cinemagraphs
    Particle animations can be rendered over your photos from within Particle Illusion. This is useful when creating cinemagraphs which combine still photography with moving elements.


  • Apply Previous
    Controls Photoshop’s behavior of using the previously applied Optics filters and masks. You can choose from Always, Ask and Never.

  • Default Setup Path Next To Image Preference
    By default, the setup file save location is in the same folder as the source image. When this preference is disabled, the last folder used appears instead.

  • Preview Resolution Is Not Full Resolution
    If the Viewer is not set to Full resolution, this preference displays a warning when entering Particle Illusion that states, “Preview resolution is not full resolution. Rendering from within Particle Illusion will not be full resolution.” If you plan on rendering an animated movie inside Particle Illusion, click Cancel and change the Preview Resolution to Full. Otherwise, the resolution in Particle Illusion will be whatever Optics was set at.

User Interface

  • Alt-S To Save Setup
    Alt-S is now used as the keyboard shortcut to save the setup.

  • EXIF Content Display
    Improved the text content displayed in the EXIF window.

Bug Fixes

16 PNG Displayed As Black In Standalone (Win)
On Windows, some 16 bit PNG files displayed as black in the Standalone.

Blur Preset In Custom
In the Custom tab, there was a Blur preset that should have been in the Blur filter.

Curves Filters Caused Banding (M1 Mac)
On M1 Mac’s, Curves related filters caused banding on some images. This affected Cross Processing, Curves, and Film Stocks.

External Editors Only Used Original Image
Previously, the original image was used in Particle Illusion and the Sapphire Lens Flare > Flare Designer instead of the image and layer effects. Now, the image and applied layer effects are transferred to the external editor.

Particle Illusion Render Movie (Win)
On Windows, the Particle Illusion interface couldn’t render movie files.

Photoshop > Image File Format Not Supported Error (Win)
On Windows, the Photoshop version of Optics had an issue with home user names that included a foreign language character. For instance, if your user folder was: C:\Users\Pät, the ä caused an “Image File Format Not Supported” error when passing the image from Photoshop to Optics.

Sony RX10 IV Raw Image Caused Crash On Load (Mac)
On Mac only, Sony RX10 IV raw image files caused the Optics Standalone to crash on load.

Optics 2022.5.1 - 11/7/22


Particle Illusion

  • Added Preference For Displaying Library Loading Error
    If a newer version of the Particle Illusion plug-in or Standalone than what was used in Optics was installed, a benign emitter library error would appear. There is now a preference to control the display of this error.

  • Added Version # To Launch Particle Illusion Button
    The Particle Illusion version number was added to the Launch Particle Illusion button text. It now says Launch PI [Version #].

Bug Fixes

macOS 13 Crash
All Mac versions of Optics crashed when opening an image in macOS13.

Particle Illusion Crash With Newer Custom Emitter - Mac
On Mac, Particle Illusion would crash on launch if a newer emitter library than the one used by Optics was saved.

RAW File Thumbnail Gets Bright When Using EZ Mask
When using a RAW file in the standalone, the thumbnail became bright when using EZ Mask on the layer.

Sapphire Lens Flare Designer Did Not Open - Mac
On Mac, the Sapphire Lens Flare Designer only opened if the Sapphire OFX plug-in set was also installed.

Optics 2022.5.2 - 11/30/22

Bug Fixes

Additional Image Element Not Appearing - Windows
On some Window’s systems, the additional image element of the following filters was not appearing: Borders, Diffusion, Dot, Eye Light, Flag, Ice Halos, Light, ReLight and Texture.

Sapphire Update Message Popped-Up
An update message popped up in Optics if a newer version of Sapphire was available.

S_InfiniteZoom Displayed Edge Corruption
S_InfiniteZoom displayed corruption on the edges of the image.