Product Review: Argus Preset Viewer

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. argus horizontal Product Review: Argus Preset ViewerPROGRAM: 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: brushes600 Product Review: Argus Preset Viewer 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): Styles: STYLES600 Product Review: Argus Preset Viewer Shapes: SHAPES600 Product Review: Argus Preset Viewer Patterns: PATTERNS600 Product Review: Argus Preset Viewer and Swatches: SWATCHES600 Product Review: Argus Preset Viewer INTERVIEW: 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.
Argus on the other hand, is not really a program at all.  Once it is installed, there is no program to launch, no shortcut in your Start  menu, nothing.  Once it is installed, Argus is completely transparent.  In short, once it is installed, Argus simply disappears. Like all good magic tricks, you can't see the strings.   What Argus does do however, is nothing short of miraculous....  Argus replaces all of the Photoshop preset icons with thumbnails.  Actual previews of what is in the file... without opening anything other than your Explorer window.  And as far as I am concerned, the best part is that it works within the Photoshop Load dialogues as well... so no longer do I have to guess if I am loading the right file.
[here's a screenshot of how it looks when you load a brush:] photoshop600 Product Review: Argus Preset Viewer
JW: Will it work with PSE? What versions of Windows? Macs? 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.
In my opinion, this is exactly what scrappers have been wanting for years. No need to boot up another program while you're scrapping, install it and you're done! It took a little while to get all the folders I wanted to use set to show the preview pane, but once you've done it once or twice it's very simple. When I come across another folder that's not set right, it's very quick to fix. Combine that with a very reasonable price, and there's no reason NOT to get this program! Thank you Betsy and John for the years of hard work it took to get it to this point. Check it out in their shop here, and if you do it by Sunday July 7, you'll get the sale price!)
Disclosure: we were not provided free product in exchange for this review. The review is solely the opinion of the reviewer.    Send article as PDF   
  • Julie

    i absolutely couldn’t live without the original program, but I will be getting Argus, too.

  • Christina

    I have the original as well…I am a brush hoarder and was so sick of trying to figure out what brush was what!! This is sooo much nicer!!! but i think i like the idea of it just running with my pse!

  • Becky

    Thanks for the sharing this information , I just purchased my copy of Argus.

  • Dorrie

    I have Argus installed and I really like it, however per John of Tumasoft it does not work in all Photoshop versions from within the program as stated above. You must have PS-CS6 or the CC version for it to work within the program. I have CS5 and it does not show the thumbnails from within the programs dialog box, but it’s still a great program. Very easy to find what your looking for and just load the by the filename.

  • Lana Michelson

    Thank you. I bought this product and I couldn’t be happier.

  • Lena Ullén

    This is a little gem, I really love it. It’s so much easier to find the right brush or shape now!

  • Christopher R

    Has anyone had issues with Windows10 with the Preset Viewer ?