I confess, I’m a hoarder. Sure, it was worse when I paper scrapped, but now I have an ever-larger series of hard drives stuffed with papers, elements, fonts, styles, and more! And just like my closets at home, it can be impossible to find anything. Especially for the preset files: brushes, styles, shapes, patterns, gradients, and swatches. Because these files are sets of files, they don’t show a preview in Windows Explorer… until now.
Meet Argus – the new program from TumaSoft (on sale today and tomorrow for only $7.76!) . Unlike all the preset viewing programs before it, Argus works through Windows Explorer to show you what is in each file, right in the folder! It took me less than 5 minutes to download and install, and it was magic. Now when I open a preset folder and click on a file to select it I see this:
Notice that since I have the view set for Large Icon, I see the files on the icon, but they’re all stacked up. By following the instructions to set the folder to show the preview pane, I can see all the brushes in the set on the right. I still have to install the brushes the usual way, through the program, but this sure makes browsing for the brush set much easier. The other presets work the same way (I didn’t screenshot the Gradients though):
I got to have a little chat with Betsy Tuma I’d love to share with you:
JW: How did you get started developing preset viewers?
BT: Long, long ago in a galaxy far away, I became acquainted with Al Ward and his site, ActionFX. I had worked as a designer for many years and had recently started designing digital scrapbooking products. I found myself with way, way more patterns and shapes than I could possibly keep straight. It just so happened that I had a client who had made a fairly specific request and I knew I had a custom shape that would help meet that clients needs. The only problem was…. the file it was in was named the way all of Al’s products are named: AFX_some-date-or-other-non-descriptive-code.csh. I spent many hours looking for the shape I needed, and spitting and cussing all the while. My husband, John, has been fascinated with programming as long as I have known him. It was these circumstances that became the catalyst for the original Preset Viewer and ultimately, TumaSoft as well.
JW: What makes Argus different than the original Preset Viewer?
BT: Argus and the original version of Preset Viewer actually have very little in common. Traditionally, the Preset Viewer products, first Preset Viewer and subsequently Breeze, have been stand-alone applications that had to be running in order to be of value. Both Preset Viewer and Breeze had some form of file management system for the purpose of organization as well as limited export functionality. These programs had their advantages. But they each had some disadvantages as well. Their primary issue was that the search feature was slow and time consuming.
BT: The beautiful thing about Argus is it is not a program. It doesn’t have to “work” with anything. It simply replaces Photoshop Preset icons with thumbnails. That’s it. And if you choose to, you can use the Windows Preview Pane and see the complete contents of the file. So yes, it does work with any WINDOWS program. We have tested it on Windows Vista, 7 & 8, and although we have not used it on a touchscreen there is no reason it shouldn’t work there too.