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

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

Hey Norton! Vertus software is virus & spyware free!!

We’ve recently had several customers contact us reporting that Norton Internet Security and other Symantec products are blocking or quarantining download or install of Vertus software, after the recent updates to all our products.

Firstly, we’d like to assure all customers that our products are 100% guaranteed free of viruses, spy and malware!

If you’re using Norton or any other Symantec products and are experiencing difficulties, we recommend simply disabling their software whilst downloading and installing Vertus products, or click here for instructions how to restore a file from quarantine.

We’re not the only independent specialist software vendor being affected by this issue, which has arisen since Symantec added another detection system to their products: “WS.Reputation.1.” As the name suggests, this system works based on reputation, or as they call it, the “wisdom of crowds”. Essentially, if enough of their user database has this software installed, then it’s reputation is deemed as ‘good’

Trouble is, in practice, if we release a new update, then nobody has that installed yet, so it can’t be given a good reputation, based on the ‘wisdom’ of the crowd. So Symantec’s anti-virus software blocks it, so nobody can install it, so the reputation stays low which means Symantec keep blocking it, so nobody can install it…

We’re working with Symantec to resolve this problem, and Vertus users can help the process by white flagging our software, releasing from Symantec/Norton quarantine will also help the process.

We thank you for your patience on behalf of Symantec!!



Focus On: Jim LaSala. How Fluid Mask helps him realize his vision

Jim was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and currently resides in Flemington, New Jersey. Inspired by photographers such as George Hurrell (the master of Hollywood glamour photography during the 30’s and 40’s) and Ansel Adams – “his ability to visualize how the final image will come alive, has certainly helped me in understanding how to take what he has done in the darkroom and apply it to my digital darkroom.” You can see this in Jim’s black&white work (below). As well as a Moab Master, Jim is a multi award winning fine art Photographer. His workflow setup sees him using Adobe Lightroom as a primary batch editing and file management tool and for basic correction…

“My next stop is Photoshop, where I spend the rest of my life (so addicting). It is here where I can take my fine art visions to a new level. There are some third party plugins that I have been using for quite sometime and have been an important part of my process.”

“I guess now I can talk about a subject that always comes up when I am doing programs and workshops. Extraction, masking, removing the background or whatever else you want to call it. I have tried them all. They all seem to have there good points and unfortunately they also fail in other areas. Photoshop’s extraction has come a long way and although they want to be able to be the best in everything, it falls short. OnOne’s Perfect Mask is another program that I just have a hard time mastering……(Fluid Mask) is my weapon of choice. I remember being blown away while watching a demonstration on how Fluid Mask was making extractions painless. My fine art photography may call for replacing a sky or photographing a model with a specific background in mind…This is why Fluid Mask has played such an important role in my imagery. It helps me to realize my vision. The power to handle transparent objects is just incredible. I wish I could tell you that all you have to do is push a button and poof it’s gone, but Fluid Mask is the closest thing to just that.”


“One of the questions I’m always asked is why I always use the plugin version and not the standalone application. Well, its very simple. By using the plugin I have the power of using my history brush to make my extractions as perfect as possible. Another thing to remember is after extracting  your image and you are looking to now use a second file (for ex: a new sky), make sure that you bring the sky into your extracted image. If you move your extracted image into the new sky, you lose the ability to use the history brush…… Lastly, have a plan in mind when extracting. Although I use a powerful tool like Fluid Mask, I’m still going to plan on making my life a little easier. I will be thinking about what the final image will look like. What type of background will I be using. It is then I can determine how to photograph my subject.”

As well as Still life and fine art images, Jim has been passionately involved in documenting the people and their lives in Haiti.


I first became involved with documenting Haiti by accident. I was asked to donate one of my pieces of artwork for a benefit. One Heart for Haiti became involved with helping build a school in a place called Grand Vincent. ….. Well, I found out that they were making a trip there in June of 2010 which was just a few months after the earthquake disaster. The rest is history. I am making my fifth trip there this March. The country and people of Haiti have touched my heart and have given me a whole new look on what hope, love and faith is all about. It has been a tough few years trying to keep the needs of the people of Haiti in the news. I continue to have hope that through my images I can help keep the story alive.”

“Let us not forget the unique profession that we are blessed to be part of. With just a click of a shutter we have the power to make a lifelong statement.”

Wise words indeed. Thanks to Jim for taking time out to talk to us, and sharing how Fluid Mask works for him. See more of Jim’s work at jimlasala.com,

We love to hear from Fluid Mask users and share their work and masking tips. Want to be ‘focused on’?? Drop us a line on focus@vertustech.com

All images © Jim LaSala

Posted on: March 17, 2013 Discussion: 2 Comments Posted in: Fluid Mask, Further Tips, How to..., Photoshop, Reviews, Testimonials

Save 25% at the LayerCake Store

If your picture’s missing a little something.. then LayerCake might be the answer. We’re a big fan of their skies collection (see the top of this page!) but their drag and drop elements are what can really rescue an image –

LayerCake are offering Vertus Users 25% of EVERYTHING in their online store                            Use coupon code: VERTUSNEWS (case sensitive), deal ends 04/01

Posted on: March 17, 2013 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Discounts & Promotions, Photoshop

6 of the best (tips for getting the most out of Fluid Mask)

Here’s 6 of the best tips and reminders for getting the most out of Fluid Mask.

These are all in response to questions or feedback thrown up by the Fluid Mask User Questionnaire  – this is an ongoing survey; we’d love to hear your opinions to help us better tailor support and future product development to you, the user.

Responses so far has given us some useful suggestions for future features to be considered, but we’ve also had some requests for features that already exist, or for workflow features that by employing good practice with shortcuts and hotkeys, it’s already possible to achieve.

So without further ado, here are your questions answered.

1. Customising Colors – Did you know you can fully customise the colours for all your masks – keep, delete and blend as well as all other display colors used within the workspace? Bring up your Workspace Settings by going to the Menu Bar -> Fluid Mask 3 -> Preferences…, then click on the Colors tab. Click each individual Color to set to your personal preference………..      2. Saving Settings – Still within your Workspace Settings, a reminder that under the ‘General’ tab, you can choose for Fluid Mask to restore your last used setting for edge finding, blending and workspace resolution, rather than reverting to the default settings. Whilst the defaults are a good place to start when working on a new image, if you’ll be working over multiple sessions on a series of similar images, it would make sense to switch to ‘Restore from Last Session’, rather than ‘Use Defaults’………        3. Shortcuts & Hot Keys – One of the quickest ways to speed up your workflow (in any application, not just Fluid Mask), is to learn the keyboard shortcuts. Hover over any tool in the toolbar to see the shortcut displayed. You’ll quickly pick these up and pretty soon switching between tools using shortcuts becomes a natural part of your workflow – there’s a real efficiency return for working this way……   4. Other useful shortcuts in FluidMask – Switching to any tool (using the key command shortcut of course!) that functions only within the Workspace (which is all of them except the hand(H) and zoom(Z) tools), will take you straight back to your Workspace, but also useful to remember that the number 1 , 2 and 3 keys switch you between Source, Workspace and Cut-out respectively. Our recent update now means that ‘show object edges’ stays in it’s user defined state when switching between tabs, rather than defaulting to ‘on’. If you do want to turn it on or off, then again, learn and use the shortcut:  Fn+F2…….       5. Auto-fill feature – For your first pass, decide which is easier, masking out your background or filling in your keep selection, then use the Auto-Fill with keep/delete function to quickly complete the selection process…Remember the shortcut keys! :  ‘⌘/Shift  K’ = Auto-Fill with keep….. ‘⌘/Shift D’ = Auto-Fill with delete…..    6. Working with the 2D Color Map – Here’s a request we had , that was echoed by several users –    “Can you allow me to cut across the color pallet colors…I can choose vertical parts of the color histogram…but what about letting me paint on the pallet and not just take big vertical bars of color..” You can do this already! Bring up the Color Workspace (shortcut = ‘S’). Selected by default is the ‘show histogram mode’. Bottom left of the color workspace panel is a mini histogram that is the button to select this. Next to this is the ‘show 2d color map’ button-click between the two to switch modes. As well as fulfilling the request above, the 2d color map allows for much finer control selecting colors, either by sampling from the actual image using the pipette, or by selecting from within the color map. As is standard across many applications, you can add / subtract to your selection, in either histogram or color map mode, by holding down the shift / alt key while making a selection.
Of course sometimes when you’re working on an image with less subtle graduation of color, the broader control offered by the histogram is preferable. You can also further control the sensitivity of both the histogram display and 2d color map by using the resolution slider within the color workspace panel.

We hope these insights will help you get the maximum return from Fluid Mask. As well as the Tips (⌘ T) box to learn as you go, view our online tutorials for more detailed instruction and advice on achieving results fast using Fluid Mask 3.

Happy Masking from all at Vertus!

Posted on: February 22, 2013 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Fluid Mask, Further Tips, How to...

Anybody still using Kodachrome..??

If you are, hope your fridge is well stocked with supplies, because Magnum Photographer Steve McCurry has just shot the last roll ever produced!!

Here’s an interesting video on documenting this… we’ll admit to initially scrolling to the end to see the last ever frame.. but worth a watch for insights into McCurry’s shooting methodology

Posted on: January 19, 2013 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Digital Imaging News, Off-Topic

How to win (and lose) a National Geographic Photo Contest

“This is the story of how you can climb to the highest photographic peak and fall in only 72 hours. And why you should carefully read the rules of a contest…”
Seasoned  Travel Photographer Harry Fisch entered this image into the places category of National Geographics 2012 Photo Contest and was delighted to be find out he’d taken 1st palce…only to be disqualified after sending in the original file – for photoshopping out a plastic bag from the far right of frame.

The ‘winning’ image…

and the original capture…

Would leaving the pastic bag in have changed National Geographic’s judgement of the image? Probably not… but rules are rules.. remember to read them carefully when submitting images to competitions!!

Read more about this on Harry’s blog here:  http://harryfisch.blogspot.com.es/ ,  and see more of his work or join him on one of his travel photography expeditions here: http://www.nomadxpedition.com

Posted on: January 17, 2013 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Digital Imaging News, Off-Topic

Fluid Mask 3 Update Released

A free update is available for all Fluid Mask users, version 3.2.5. You can download this here.

This version fixes a CS6 compatibility issue that prevented 64bit PC users from installing Fluid Mask as a Photoshop CS6 plug-in, and automates the process for all users, and ensures Windows8 compatibility.

Show Object Edges. After feedback from our Fluid Mask User Questionnaire, ‘show object edges’ now remains in its user defined state when switching between source/workspace/cutout, rather than defaulting to ‘on’. You can manually switch on or off by ticking or unticking the box, or use the shortcut, Function Key F2. Please note upon initial launch, you may find this box unticked, so you need to turn it on to see your object edges (with current Edge Finding settings). The User Questionnaire is ongoing, and we welcome any feedback from our customers to better understand your needs for future product development.

Aspects of our licencing structure are also updated. Please note that upon the initial install, some customers may need to contact support@vertustech.com for a one time licence reset, or follow the automated update instructions provided by Nalpeiron, our licensing provider. If your computer is not connected to the internet, you will also need to follow the instructions for manual license activation. Go to ‘Help’ -> ‘License..’ -> ‘Advanced Options’ in the Fluid Mask toolbar, click the ‘Manual License Activation’ tab and follow the instructions there.

Should you experience any problems please contact our support department.

A Very Happy Holidays from all at Vertus HQ!!

Fluid Mask User Questionnaire


To help us better understand our customers needs for future product development, we’re inviting all Fluid Mask users to participate in our user questionnaire.
Tell us what’s good and what’s bad about Fluid Mask.  Tell us what your ideal Fluid Mask would do!
There’s 7 short questions and it shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes to complete and your feedback would be invaluable.

You can find the Fluid Mask user questionnaire here ,  and we thank you in advance for participating!!


Posted on: October 24, 2012 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Announcements

Fantastic Fireworks


Sometimes all you need to create unusual images is an understanding of how exposure and focus will affect your capture, and a willingness to experiment. These long exposure pictures were taken by Canadian photographer David Johnson at the Ottowa International Fireworks Show earlier in the year, with the abstract effect achieved totally in camera


He shared with us how he achieved the effect:

“The technique I used was a simple refocus during the long exposure. Each shot was about a second long, sometimes two. I’d start out of focus, and when I heard the explosion I would quickly refocus, so the little stems on these deep sea creature lookalikes would grow into a fine point. The shapes are quite bizarre, some of them I was pleasantly surprised with.”

Davey we applaud your creativity!

Posted on: October 15, 2012 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Reviews

(Re)touching lives through photos

You know how photos and albums are always at the top of any list of ‘what would you grab from your home in the event of a fire?’, well imagine that on a national scale.

Here’s a TED talk worth 10 minutes of anybodys time. Becci Manson is a professional photo retoucher based in NYC. She tells the story of how volunteering in the clean up after the 2011 Japanese earthquake and Tsunami, led to her and local volunteers, together with a global army of over 500 colleagues she recruited online, cleaning and fixing lost and damaged photos found in the wreckage, restoring those memories to their owners.

“[Photos are] our memory-keepers and our histories, the last thing we would grab [in a crisis], and the first thing you’d go back to look for.” (Becci Manson)

Truly inspirational.

Posted on: October 10, 2012 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Digital Imaging News, Reviews


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