Welcome to the Vertus blog; news, reviews and special offers - VertusTech

Welcome to the Vertus blog; news, reviews and special offers

PlayWithPictures and Bling!IT now end of life

PlayWithPictures and Bling!It are now end of life. 😞 

With the ever increasing use of mobile devices, the market for consumer desktop imaging apps’ is shrinking. It’s a trend that sadly makes these products no longer viable.

We’re aware both products have a core of long term users, so both products will continue to be supported for some time. We will not however be releasing 64bit Mac builds, so both products will not be compatible with the forthcoming Mac OS Catalina.

If you have any problems please do continue to reach out to our support team. You can email them via the support portal. 


Posted on: August 9, 2019 Discussion: 1 Comment Posted in: Announcements, Bling! It, Play With Pictures

Fluid Mask, Photoshop and macOS High Sierra

macOS High Sierra IconMost of the changes made when upgrading to High Sierra are under the hood.

MacOS High Sierra introduces APFS (Apple File System) to Mac computers. APFS replaces Mac OS Extended (HFS+) as the default file system for solid-state drives (SSDs) and other all-flash storage devices, and this caused the plugin linking system within Fluid Mask to no longer call Photoshop successfully.

We have a fix that enables Fluid Mask to plug into Photoshop when operating macOS High Sierra. Please update your Fluid Mask with our High Sierra build which you can download here.

You can overwrite (replace) your previous build when installing. To then link to Photoshop, firstly please ensure neither Fluid Mask or Photoshop is running.

Then delete the plug-in aliases Photoshop has previously stored. In your applications folder, click on the Photoshop version(s) folder, then select the ‘Plug-ins’  sub folder. Delete any folder named ‘Vertus’ or Fluid Mask 3.plugin alias you find contained there.

You can now launch Fluid Mask as a free standing application, and go through the process of linking Fluid Mask to Photoshop again. A reminder on the process to do this:
From Fluid Mask’s menu bar, select, ‘Help’ , then ‘Enable Plug-Ins’. The version(s) of Photoshop you have installed and wish to plug into should be listed. Ensure the check box is ticked and hit ‘Enable Photoshop Plug-in’.  When prompted, enter your administrator password. If your version of Phtoshop is not listed, please navigate manually to it’s ‘Plug-ins’ folder, as per the path listed above when you previously deleted old plug-in link.

Quit Fluid Mask and launch Photoshop, Fluid Mask should now be accesible via the Filter menu again.

If you have any problems please contact our support team.


Posted on: October 22, 2017 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Fluid Mask, Photoshop, Technical Issues & Troubleshooting

Make Your Pictures Pop and Move

If you’re a Mac user and like to make your pictures pop (and move!), then check this out. Developed in conjunction with HDR guru Trey Ratcliff, Aurora is one of the better dedicated dynamic range editors on the market. It’s worth watching the HDR for Black & White and HDR for Portraits tutorials and downloading the free trial to try it for yourself. When used subtly, it’s a technique that can be applied to more than just landscapes and interiors.

Sunglasses an optional extra 😎

Our jury’s still out on .gif style animated images. With the rise of video content, isn’t it time photographs (literally) moved with the times.?. Or do you you lose the essence of a photograph, a moment frozen in time, in doing so. A more pragmatic view would be there’s room for both, and if you’re producing images for commercial online content, the combination of an ideal sky (using Fluid Mask of course!), some added zing with Aurora, and then adding movement with Plotagraph is undoubtedly going to win you clients. Decide for yourself – this deal gives you a 3 month membership.

Posted on: May 25, 2017 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Discounts & Promotions, Reviews

New Fluid Mask for Mac build available

We have released a new build of Fluid Mask for Mac, version 3.3.16. This fixes an issue that affected users running Sierra 10.12.2 or later, which caused mask overlay colours not to load correctly. Please launch your current version of Fluid Mask and via the help menu, go to ‘Check for Updates’ to be directed to the download page for this update.

Please do not use any third party software to uninstall your old version, as this may cause you to lose licensing info’ and you’ll need to re-enter your license activation code. Instead,  allow the install process to overwrite your old build, ( Mac OS also gives you the option of keeping both).

If you have experienced this issue, once you have updated to the new build, it may be necessary to restore the color defaults. Please launch v3.3.16 and in the Menu Bar go to ‘Fluid Mask 3’ -> ‘Preferences…’ . This will bring up the Workspace Settings pane. Click on the ‘Colors’ tab, and hit ‘Restore Defaults’. This step is only necessary once, your color preferences will then be retained for subsequent sessions.


Posted on: February 10, 2017 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Announcements, Fluid Mask, Technical Issues & Troubleshooting, Uncategorized

Fluid Mask & Photoshop 2017

Photoshop 2017 Splash Screen


Adobe have just released Photoshop 2017. A full list of what’s new can be found over at the Adobe Blog. Fluid Mask has now been updated to maintain plug-in compatibility, and the previous version, 3.3.15, will also successfully plug into CC 2017, you just need to do so manually. Here’s information on how to do this:

Mac build:

1. Ensure Fluid Mask and Photoshop are not running

2. Launch Fluid Mask, then go to the ‘Enable Plug-ins’ window via the help menu (if you have retained your previous version of Photoshop CC, that should already be showing in the Enable plug-ins showing as linked with a tick in in it’s box). You should also see Photoshop 2017 there, with a white tick in a blue box.

3. Please click the ‘select’ button and then navigate to Photoshop 2017’s plug-ins folder, typically found:   Macintosh HD / Applications / Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 /Plug-ins, then hit ‘choose’.

4.  Then click ‘Enable Photoshop Plug-in’.

You should now have a green tick next to the CC2017 option. Should you have any problems with this please submit a ticket via our support portal. Our support team will be happy to help with any issues you experience.

Windows build:

It’s necessary to re-install Fluid Mask to access the plug in window that’s part of the install process. You can download Fluid Mask 3.315 again here.

1 . After accepting licensing terms and choosing install location for Fluid Mask (by default; C:\Program Files (x86)\Vertus Fluid Mask 3), you’ll come to the Plug-In host location page.  Tick the relevant box(es) for any other locations you wish to plug Fluid Mask into (if you have retianed older versions of Photoshop you also wish to plug into into), then scroll down the window of Plug-in hosts available and last option here is ‘Other (64-bit)’, see image below.  Select this and hit ‘Next > ‘


2.  Then navigate to Photoshop CC 2017’s plug-in folder, located: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CC 2017\Plug-ins\

3.  Hit ‘Next’ and continue the installation process.. You should now have successfully plugged Fluid Mask into Photoshop CC 2017

Should you have any problems with this please submit a ticket via our support portal. Our support team will be happy to help with any issues you experience.


Posted on: November 3, 2016 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Fluid Mask, Photoshop, Technical Issues & Troubleshooting

Vertus Applications & Mac OS Sierra

macos-sierra**UPDATE  – please see our latest blog post regarding OS Sierra 10.12.2 or later. A new version of Fluid Mask for Mac (v3.3.16) is now available. This fixes an issue that caused mask overlay color preferences not to load correctly **

For Mac users who are updating to OS Sierra, no update of your Vertus software is needed, all Vertus applications function as normal in Apple’s latest OS.

If you’re concerned that other applications you rely on may not function correctly in the Sierra environment, here’s an easy to follow Apple Support post with instructions on how to save a backup of your current operating system as a bootable installer to a USB flash drive or other media, just in case you find that you want to revert back to El Capitan, Yosemite, or whatever you’re currently running.


Posted on: October 5, 2016 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Announcements, Technical Issues & Troubleshooting, Uncategorized

Landscape Photography – creative sky replacement using the color picker




Mother nature’s rich color palette at this time of year is a gift for landscape photography, often accompanied by mellow light and artistic skies that further enhance an image.. but not always. If conditions aren’t totally perfect, don’t let that stop you getting the shot.

Photography, of course, is all about light, and no amount of post production can replace the magic that happens in camera. But, if you don’t have the luxury of time, the location on your doorstep, or any of the other factors that mean this is your only chance for an image, then take it! It’s easy to replace flat grey skies using Fluid Mask with just a few clicks. This example was done in less than 3 minutes, utilising the color workspace to pick out the background with just a few clicks. Here’s a step by step explanation:

01–  First up, I selected the color picker and set the resolution to it’s coarsest setting. The sky we’re looking to select is the lightest part of the image, so by selecting just the first band, furthest to the right on the histogram, that’s highlighted most of the sky areas for me.

I then assigned these to my delete mask, by clicking on the red bucket on the left hand side of the color picker pane.

With the blend mode set to ‘thick’, I then hit ‘create cutout’ for an initial first pass at this mask.


– That’s given me a pretty good cutout, but viewing in the Cut-out tab, by setting the background color to something ultra contrasty (black!), you can see that there’s still a few small areas of sky showing though the leaves.

So, going back to the color picker, I zoomed in and manually selected some of these areas sampling directly from the image. Holding down the shift key allowed me to add multiple areas to my selection.

See the image below where I’ve zoomed in even further to show this.



– Using the coarsest setting the color picker offers to get to this point so quickly, I ended up with a few of the highlights in the leaves also added to my delete mask, so tabbing between the original and the workspace, using the keep brush I spent a minute adding these highlights back to my keep mask, keeping the blend mask width to ‘thick’ to avoid any unnatural hard edges.

And that’s the job done. Super easy, super fast!

You can of course work the other way around – use the color picker to select hues for your keep mask, and then use the autofill with delete option, instead of autofill with keep. It would depend on whether it’s your foreground or background that has the easier selection to pick out. For landscape photography, it’s often the sky that an easier selection to make.

Enjoy the magic of fall, whatever the weather, and work smarter with Fluid Mask.

Posted on: September 27, 2016 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Fluid Mask, How to..., Trees & Lattices, Tutorial

Fluid Mask 3 Key Commands and Shortcuts sheet.


Here’s a handy download –   a Fluid Mask 3 shortcuts sheet listing key commands for Fluid Masks’s tools and commonly used actions. You can really speed up your workflow by getting to know and using these shortcuts. Please click on the image to view and download the .pdf version.  Work even smarter with Fluid Mask 3!!

Fluid Mask 3 Shortcuts Sheet


Posted on: September 8, 2016 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Fluid Mask, Further Tips, How to..., Tutorial

Anyone for a game of Supermarket Sweep?!

Both Canon & Nikon gear up a massive support operation at major sporting events.. now you can see just how big, for Photographers at the Rio Olympics, in this video from Canon’s Instagram feed.

Over 950 DSLR bodies and 1,500 lenses in their Canon Professional Services storeroom, ready for action as loan kit. From the stories surfacing about crime at this years Olympics already, we hope they’ve got a good lock on the door!


#CanonCPS keeps professional sports #photographers ready for action. #news

A video posted by @canonusa on

Nikon, they’ve shown you theirs, now you show us yours…

Posted on: August 17, 2016 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Off-Topic

Fluid Mask Training: project file and video tutorial

Here’s a cutout tutorial along you can work along to by downloading a Fluid Mask training project file. After applying a patch to the whole image, you’ll be shown how to easily mask out the sky, without losing any of the fine detail. This utilises the color workspace, one of Fluid Mask’s key tools to help you achieve perfect masks, quickly and easily.

Fluid Mask Training - before/after image

Here’s the original image and the final mask, click for larger image to see the detail

..and here's our image with a new sky added

..and here’s our image with a new sky added.  A definite improvement!

Please download the .vfmp file here, and view the accompanying tutorial on YouTube.

The project (.vfmp) file will download automatically after accepting license conditions, and can then be opened in Fluid Mask, either by launching Fluid Mask, then in the menu bar going to ‘File’ -> ‘load project’ and selecting the downloaded file (FM3_Training_1.vfmp).
Or you can just double click the project file which will launch Fluid Mask and load the project.
Upon first opening, the project shows you how your completed mask will look. You can clear this and apply the mask again, working along to the cutout tutorial, by going to File -> ‘Revert Mask’. Remember when adding to your blend selection, that you must extend your blend by brushing all the way into your keep and your delete selections.. it’s leaving a selection out, however small, that confuses Fluid Mask and results in contamination.

As always, we welcome any feedback.


Posted on: December 1, 2015 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Fluid Mask, How to..., Trees & Lattices, Tutorial


Vertus is a market leader in creating accessible ways for people to work with digital imagery. We are a propriety leader in image segmentation and matting technology.

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