Often when people ask me what software I use, and I mention Oloneo Photoengine, the next question is, if it also works on a Mac. Regrettably, there is no Mac version, but there are ways how you can use it on MacOS quite easily. And today I will show you how to do it :)

As I don’t own a Mac computer, I did all my testing under a virtual machine, running on my PC. Suprisingly, even under this limited conditions, the Oloneo Photoengine works really nicely, and all the changes on the photos are done almost instantly, almost as quickly as running it directly under windows. So how to run it? Let’s take a look:

1. Download needed files

You will need two files for this. The first is the WineBottler (I used the latest stable release), an application that makes it possible to run windows programs on a Mac. You can get it from WineBottler webpage and it’s a free application.

The second thing you will need is the instalation package of Oloneo Photoengine, which can be found on the Oloneo webpage.

Just download both of those files to you Mac.

2. Setup WineBottler

Open the WineBottler Combo you just downloaded, and in that open up WineBottler. Here we will create the Mac application. Choose Advanced tab on the top.

How to use Oloneo Photoengine on a Mac
How to use Oloneo Photoengine on a Mac

The options you have to change here are:

– select the file that needs to be installed – PhotoEngineSetup.exe
– choose – This is an installer, execute it
– under Winetricks select – dotnet20 MS .NET 2.0
– mark the Bundle checker, as this will create a self containing application that does not require wine installation

When this is done, hit Install and choose the name for the new application and where it will be saved. Choose anything you want, I selected desktop here.

How to use Oloneo Photoengine on a Mac
How to use Oloneo Photoengine on a Mac


3. Go through the installation

You now have to go through two installations. First MS .NET 2.0 will be installed, as that is needed for Photoengine to run. Just click next and finish the installation. After that is done, a second installation start, this time for Photoengine. Again, just click next and normally install the program.

How to use Oloneo Photoengine on a Mac
How to use Oloneo Photoengine on a Mac

When the installation finishes, you have to choose which program starts from the ones that have been installed. Choose here PhotoEngine.exe and confirm. And also confirm the next popup about that prefix has been created.

How to use Oloneo Photoengine on a Mac
How to use Oloneo Photoengine on a Mac


4. Run Photoengine

In the location you specified, you will now have a new App, called Photoengine. It’s around 640Mb big, as it includes everything you just installed, plus few more things :) You can now open it.

How to use Oloneo Photoengine on a Mac
How to use Oloneo Photoengine on a Mac

And now you are running Oloneo Photoengine on your Mac. I would suggest using Desktop as the place to store the results, as that is the easies accessible folder that is shared between Win and Mac. If you save it to a different place from inside Photoengine, you may not find the file so easily, as it uses a different structure of folders, that is not accessible from the system.


There is only one limitation I found, and it can cause problems to some of you. The problem is, that Photoengine here runs only as a 32bit application, not as a 64bit. This may prevent you from saving bigger files as the program will just run out of memory. The max you can do is around 25Mpix images, 36Mpix from the Sony a7r will not work.

This will be probably fixed over time, when a version of Winebottler that support 64bit is released. If I find other way to run it, so it supports 64bit, I will do a new guide.

Even so, I think you should give it a try, as you can get a 30day trial of Photoengine for free.

One of the rules in composition, which I think one should follow, is to let the subject space to breath. In that I mean, that if you have your subject, don’t let it touch the edge of the photo. Rather zoom out or move a little back, and leave a little space around the subject.

Especially, if you do landscapes as I do, it’s easy to have the subject (bridge, building) touching the edge of the photo, just because you don’t have a wide enough lens, or you just can’t move further back. It most often happens on top, as when you shoot, and don’t want to have a perspective distortion, you just can’t tilt you camera up.

But thanks to Photoshop, you can correct this very easily and very quickly. And since I used this on the photo I posted yesterday, today I will show you how to do it in few steps.

1. So let’s look at this photo. I liked the composition, but the top part was very tight, with the lamp almost touching the edge. And this is what needs to be corrected.
2. To start, we need to expand the canvas of the photo first. Choose the crop tool, with no ratio entered, than click on the top center of the border, and drag it up. When you have enough, let go and confirm with Enter.

Expanding the photo
Expanding the photo

3. Now choose the wand tool, and select the new created area.
4. As we want the fill, we will add here to blend nicely, we need to expand the selection a little, so it overlaps the photo. Choose Select/Modify/Expand and choose a value of around 1-3 pixels. This will grow the selection.

Expanding the photo
Expanding the photo

5. Now we need to fill this area. Hit Shift + Backspace to open the Fill dialog. Here chose the Content-Aware fill and hit OK. After few seconds (can be minutes on slower systems) the area will be filled with the sky.
6. And thats it. This small change makes the photo better, with the subject no longer being suffocated by the photos border.

Expanding the photo
Expanding the photo

This of course works best if you are just filling in a clear blue or black sky. But the Content aware fill can crate also very nice clouds and other objects, so you can experiment even on photos that are not as easy as this one.

You can also think about this already when taking the photo. Instead of trying to include more sky, just include more of the scenery, and just add the sky later in Photoshop. I will looks almost exactly the same as if you would capture it in the camera.

One thing I do over and over when blending photos, is to blend light trails created by cars, to create one big light trail. And today I will show you how to do it using luminance masks. So let’s get started.

1+2. Here I have two photos. One darker, one lighter. Let’s say I want to blend the light trails from the lighter one into the darker one. The first step is of course to load both files into Photoshop layers (you can check my guide on how to do that here) and arrange them, so the layer that we need to work with (the brighter here) is on the top.

Blending light trails
Blending light trails

3. Once we have them loaded, we need to hide the top layer with a layer mask. IT will be needed a little later, but it’s easier to add it now. To add a black layer mask, hold down the ALT key and click on the Add layer mask button in the bottom right.
4. After that, hold down the SHIFT key and click on the new mask, to turn it off for now. We do it this way, because, once we create a selection, and then try to add a mask, that mask will have that selection applied, and we don’t want that.

Blending light trails
Blending light trails

5. Now we need to select the light trails. Open your channels window (if you can’t find it, go under Windows/Channels in the top left menu). Now hold down CTRL and click on the RGB channel. This will crate the first selection. You will see the marching ants around the area that is selected.
6. If the first selection selects too much, not just the lights, we need to refine it. Hold down CTRL, ALT and SHIFT (yes, all at the same time :)) and click on the RGB channel again. The selection will get more precise towards the lights. It can happen that that is still not enough, so keep clicking the layer until the selection is just around the light streaks (don’t forget to hold the keys down).

Blending light trails
Blending light trails

7. Now we need to hide the top layer again. Hold down SHIFT and click on the mask. Click on the mask once more (without SHIFT) to select it.
8. Now choose a soft brush, it can stay at 100% opacity, choose white color and start painting on the mask, in the areas where you want to blend in the light trails. Continue doing so until they are all visible.

Blending light trails
Blending light trails

And thats it, that’s how you blend in light trails using Luminance masks. If there are questions, or something is not explained enough, feel free to ask in the comments.

When one takes and edits photos, one has to look at them from many different sides. Even it its the use of HDR, composition, sharpness, color, and much more. But a lot of times, one forgets to take into account, the human brain. The think I have in mind, is, that the human brain works in relatives, not absolutes.

This is simple. You never looks at anything on it’s own. Your brain always compares it with something else. A simple example would be money. If you have to spend 10 more on something that costs 1000, you perceive it as a small amount. If it’s 10 on something that casts 50, it looks quite a lot. But if you think about it, the 10 is same in both instances.

Another typical, more visual example is this. Look at this image, and think about which square looks white? Of course it’s the second one.

But let’s add another square next to them. Which one looks white now? The third one. How can this be, when the first two haven’t changed? Simply. You brain compares the square with the ones next to it, and when it finds something brighter, it declares that to be white.

(it’s not so visible if you look at both images at once, as the brain takes both into account :))

So how this applies to photo? Creating contrast between two areas, will exaggerate what you want to show. Let’s look at few situations:

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug1. More sharpness – Just think about, when does something looks sharp? When there is something less sharp next to it. You can see this especially in photos with bokeh background. Just by having the background blurred, makes the the foreground pop up more, makes it look much sharper. If you make everything sharp, this contrast effect get’s lost, and everything looks less sharp.

You don’t even have to go the way of a blurred background. Just having parts of the photo sharpened a little less, is enough. Or even just having less detail. Your brain will see the difference.

2. More color – Same as with sharpness, you can make something look more colorful without adding saturation. If you lover the saturation of the surrounding area, it will just look colorful on its own. This is actually also the reason, why sometimes part of a photo may look over-saturated when they are not. You just compare them with other parts of the photo, and it may seem that way.

3. More brightness – This is why most pages view photos on a black background. The photos just look brighter compared with it and more vibrant. But you can see the same effect directly int he photos, where parts may look bright even if they aren’t.

And I could continue like this. The main point is, that if you want make something more dominant, try having it next to something that’s completely opposite to it :)

Today I will show you a program I like to use when I quickly need to compress my photos. I don’t use it for the photos I post daily, as those are compressed very little, but I use it all the time for the blog parts, like the slide-show, or thumbnails, or when I need to send a lot of previews at once.

So here is the program I use. It’s called Caesium Image Compressor. It’s a free program, that even includes a portable version, so you don’t even have to install it. It can be downloaded from Caesium’s site here.

The interface gives you a lot of buttons, but I actually use only three things. I set the quality in the bottom left, choose same folder as input in the bottom right and hit compress. It will automatically add _compressed to the new file name, so this makes it were quick to work with.


And here are two comparisons of the results (view full size by clicking on them). Both are compressed from a 100% jpg to a 80% quality in Caesium. You can see the respective file sizes under them.

Caesium1.36 MB
Caesium284 KB
Caesium1.12 MB
Caesium239 KB

Btw. to get the same file size when using the Photoshop save for web dialog, I had to lower the quality to 45-50%.

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