Special Cinematic Effects Plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom

Review by Fernando Santos

Boris FX Optics 2022 is not your typical photo-editing/presets pack that you find on the internet, and let me tell you why. BorisFX has been producing special effects software since 1995, and their tools have been used in big productions such as Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and the Harry Potter series, to name just a few. They’ve won two Academy Awards, three Emmys, and have more than 1 million users, including customers such as Netflix, Disney, Marvel, and HBO. So, if you’re like me, when such a company releases a product that you can use with Photoshop and Lightroom, you want to give it a try and see if it works for you, right? That’s what I did, and here’s what I found. 

Optics 2022 works on Windows and MacOS (including Apple M1 chips). You can use it as a standalone application or as a Photoshop or Lightroom plug-in, and it’s available as a perpetual license or subscription, so that you can pick the options that suit you. So far, this isn’t much different from many other tools, but I’ll say this again: Boris FX Optics 2022 is not your typical presets pack.

Many presets on the market are nothing more than a set of sliders that you can adjust some way or another, or recipes of several presets in sequence, that will take you to your final image. Optics 2022, however, looks like a set of several different sophisticated engines that can transform your images into something like you’ve never seen before! Yes, you can fix color problems, soften skin, and sharpen images, but you can also do things that you won’t find anyplace else, and that’s what makes Boris FX Optics 2022 truly unique. 

How is it organized? There are 10 major groups of effects: Color, Diffusion/Blurs, Film Lab, Grads/Tints, Image, Lens/Distort, Light, Particle Illusion, Render, and Stylize; and each group has many different effects, for a total of 198 different effects. For each effect, you have many presets, as well as many parameters that you can adjust to your taste; but those parameters aren’t the typical Lightroom sliders. This is a whole new game. Of course, you can use any of the 2,000+ presets included, but Optics 2022 really shines when you invest time playing with it, experimenting, changing parameters, and getting to know what it can bring to your images. 

My favorite effects are in the Diffusion/Blurs, Light, and Particle Illusion groups, but Render and Stylize have many interesting effects, too. You may find different favorites, because some effects are purely photographic, others clearly fall into special effects. If you’re an experienced Photoshop user, you might be able to create similar images, but it would take an enormous amount of time and wouldn’t be easy to redo the effects in different ways; whereas using Optics 2022, you may just need to adjust some parameters, and you don’t have to be a Photoshop maven! 

Optics 2022 has a built-in technology similar to Photo­shop’s smart objects, which allows you to go back and redo anything you need, even when using it as a Lightroom plug-in. This new version includes a refreshed user interface but also other goodies, including the Beauty Studio, and the amazing Particle Illusion, which is hard to describe and still do justice to its power. You just have to see it in action. 

 Boris FX Optics 2022 is a powerful image-editing tool with which you can create amazing images, but you’ll need to spend some time using it. Try watching some of the many available training videos on the Boris FX website. If you expect to spend only a few quick effortless minutes to get results, you’ll only scratch the surface; however, if you do spend the time to learn to use this tool, it really is something special. Go give it a try (there’s a free trial). I hope you’ll like it as much as I did. ■