2021.2 Boris FX Optics

Boris FX Optics


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Boris FX Optics

Lighting Effects, Film Stocks, Color Grades, and More!

Boris FX Optics is the definitive digital toolbox for photos. Created by professional feature film VFX artists, Optics is designed to simulate optical camera filters, specialized lenses, film stocks and grain, lens flares, optical lab processes, color correction as well as natural light and photographic effects. Take your images to the next level, try Optics.

Available now as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, as well as a standalone application for macOS and Windows. Purchase a new license or choose a subscription option.


The Plug-in for Photoshop Pros

optics mist beforeboris fx optics mist after

Apply Optics and choose from 160 filters and thousands of presets. Optics provides everything you need to creatively enhance and improve photos using a staggering amount of filters and presets. Color grade your image using film-style controls or go from reality to sci-fi with incredible lighting effects.

Limit any filter c to a portion of the image using sophisticated but simple to use masking controls. A layering system to apply multiple filters, a built-in paint system for touch-ups, and the standalone’s batch processing system round out Optics’ robust set of tools.

Filters are grouped into 9 categories:

Color, Diffusion/Blurs, Film Lab, Grads/Tints. Image, Lens, Light, Render, and Stylize

Award-winning Feature Film Effects


Create stunningly beautiful and realistic lens flares, subtle soft glows, photorealistic lightning effects, stylized looks and treatments, and more. Optics features 75 of the Emmy Award-winning Sapphire filters from Boris FX. Used by top visual effects artists on the world’s most famous television and films, Sapphire’s superior image quality and on-screen controls offer massive time-savings and creative options.

Top effects included with Optics:

  • Light filters. Flawlessly simulate natural and synthetic lights with the legendary Sapphire lighting effects. Included are S_Glow, S_LensFlare, S_Glint, S_LightLeaks, S_Rays, and more.
  • Render filters. Enhance your work with textures, lighting, and advanced gradients. Not to mention, clouds and sky generators, and grunge effects with Sapphire Render. Furthermore,  enhance your skies with filters, including S_NightSky, S_Clouds, S_Luna, S_MuzzleFlash, S_Zap, and more
  • Blur and Defocus filters. Create fast and realistic in-camera blurs and digital beauty treatments with Sapphire blur and defocus effects. Included are S_Blur, S_Beauty, S_RackDefocus, S_FreeLens, S_BlurMotion, S_EdgeAwareBlur, and more.
  • Stylize filters. Build color grades, the damage looks, and other high-quality video treatments. These are Sapphire stylize effects, including S_FilmLook, S_DigitalDamage, S_TvDamage, S_Kaliedo, S_Cartoon, and more.

Optical Glass Filter Simulation

optics fog beforeoptics fog after

Boris FX Optics is the only Photoshop filter set that specifically simulates optical camera filters. This includes diffusion filters such as Fog, Frost, Mist, Net, and Silk filters as well as color filters such as Color Gradient, Color Spot, ND Gradient, Photographic, Skin Tone, and Sunset filters.

Diffusion filters were created based on real-world optical diffusion filters. Color filters were created by converting the spectral transmission curves to RGB values.

Film Stocks and Classic Looks

optics film stock beforeoptics film stocks after

Recreate analog photography and classic film looks with ease. Match vintage film stocks and grain, then customize looks to add lustre and polish to your images. Uniquely, add film damage, scratches, and borders for an artfully decayed aesthetic.

  • Get 294 color and black and white still photographic film stocks, motion picture films stocks, and historical photographic processes
  • 89 color grading presets from Academy Award-nominated movies, including 2001 A Space Odyssey, Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner, and Back to the Future. Additionally, get Frankenstein, Gone with the Wind, King Kong, Saving Private Ryan and Titanic grading presets.
  • Furthermore, 159 stylized color and black and white looks.

Isolate effects with masking tools

optics mattes 2optics mattesw 1

Optics features powerful masking tools to replace backgrounds and isolate effects based on a variety of user-defined parameters.

  • Sophisticated but easy to use masking tools
  • Gestural stroke based masking
  • Gradient, Spot, Path, Snap, EZ Mask, Selection, and Paint mask types
  • Additionally, combine multiple masks using blend modes

Designed for creativity and exploration

boris fx optics creativity
The Optics user interface was designed for creative decision making. Not only that, Boris optimized Optics to produce responsive visual results. For example, GPU acceleration provides fast, interactive effects editing and image adjustments.

  • Viewer resolution preview controls allow fast preview of effects on highest resolution projects.
  • Variation and seed generators on effect parameters produce limitless variations.
  • Non-destructive workflow for ultimate flexibility. Furthermore, apply it as a Photoshop Smart Filter to make unlimited changes.
  • Equally important, apply effects and looks to large image libraries using Batch operations.

Photo Plugin User Guide Standalone User Guide


Host Compatibility

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Optics Standalone Application



  • macOS: 10.13 or higher
  • Windows: Windows 10 or higher on x64


Recommended Hardware:

  • Processor: Intel or AMD processor
  • Memory: 2GB of RAM (8GB or more recommended)
  • Disk: High-speed disk array or SSD storage. 1GB of available disk space for caching and temporary files

Graphics Card:

  • NVIDIA GTX 460 or better
  • AMD Radeon 57xx series or better
  • OpenGL 2.1 capable graphics card
  • OpenCL 1.1 capable graphic card
  • 1GB of graphics memory

Licensing options:

Nodelocked license

  • Licenses both the Photoshop/Lightroom plug-in and standalone

Host Applications:

  • Adobe Photoshop CC and up (64 Bit Only)
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018 and up (Non-app store version)
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic


  • Color management using ICC profiles
  • Exchangeable Image File Format (Exif)
  • Camera RAW, TIFF, JPEG as well as Kodak Cineon and DPX file formats
  • Mac Retina Display Support
  • 8, 16, 32 bit image processing
  • Multi-processor acceleration
  • GPU acceleration
  • Multi-processor support


Optics 2021.2 – 10/21/2020


Busy Cursor
A busy cursor now appears when processing filters and presets. Even though the busy cursor is displayed, the user interface is still responsive.

Duplicate Layer
Layers can now be duplicated by selecting Edit > Duplicate or right-clicking on the layer and selecting Duplicate Layer. The duplicated layer is added above the selected layer and becomes the new active layer.

GPU Rendering Preference
The GPU Rendering preference now affects the Sapphire filters as well.

Layer Context Menu
Previously, only Delete Layer and Delete Filter appeared when right-clicking over the layer thumbnail and Delete Mask when right-clicking over the mask thumbnail. Now, right-clicking over a layer, except directly over a mask, nows displays both Delete Layer, Delete Filter and Delete Masks (all masks). Right-clicking over a mask thumbnail still displays Delete Mask (single mask).

License Window
“Run in Demo Mode” was moved after “Request a Trial” in the license window.

Moving Layers
The click-able area to move a layer could be small depending on the width of the layer menu. You can now click in any open space within a layer to drag and move it.

S_LensFlare Presets > Flare Position
In S_LensFlare, if you moved the flare position and then selected another lens flare preset, the lens flare position was reset. Now, selecting another lens flare preset will not reset the flare position.

Bug Fixes

Delete Top Layer With Three Layers
Previously, when there were three layers, the top layer could not be deleted. Note: There is a two-layer minimum requirement–the original layer and the current layer.

Exiting While In Search Mode Crash
If you closed Optics while still in Search mode, and there was an active filter, a crash occurred.

Film Stocks – 3 Preset Misspellings

  • The Kodak Porta® 160NC and Kodak Porta® 160VC presets were misspelled. “Porta” was renamed to “Portra”.
  • “Fuji Externa 8573 35mm” was renamed to “Fuji Eterna 8573 35mm”.

Paint Crash
Optics crashed if you painted a stroke without a brush selected. The Color brush is now selected by default.

Paint > Invert Mask Had No Effect
If there were no paint strokes when a Paint mask was inverted, the effect did not appear in the Viewer as expected.

S_LensFlare > Flare Designer > Show Background
In the S_LensFlare > Flare Designer with Show Background enabled, background images larger than 1920×1080 did not fill the screen.

Special Character Filenames Didn’t Open
Optics did not open files or files in folders named with special characters.

Spot and Selection Mask Icons Too Small
The Spot and Selection mask icons were too small.

Star Filter Had No Effect With GPU Disabled
On Windows, the Star filter had no effect when the GPU preference was disabled.

Known Issues

AMD System With 128 Cores Crashing Certain Presets
Unless SMT (Simultaneous Multithreading) is disabled in the BIOS of AMD machines with 128 cores, a number of Film Stocks presets crash Optics.

Zap Crash – Windows
When using a portrait image, Zap crashes if it is the first filter selected.

Procedural Photo Editing & Effects with Boris Optics

Ross Shain dives deep into procedural photo editing and effect with Boris Optics. Learn color correction, masking, optics, and more.


Battle of the Bens: Live Photo Manipulation w Photoshop + Boris Optics

Battle of the Bens: Ben Eshagpoor & Ben Brownlee show how two different creatives approach the same task with wildly different results.


How to Add Stunning Lens Flares in Photoshop with Boris FX Optics

Ben Brownlee walks you through creating gorgeous realistic and stylistic lens flares in Photoshop using Boris FX Optics, based on the Sapphire LensFlare!


How to Create EZ Masks in Photoshop with Boris FX Optics

Ben Brownlee shows you the process of creating complex-looking masks with EZ Masks using Boris FX Optics in Photoshop. Try a free demo today!


Boris FX Optics: Quick Start Guide #gettingstarted

Watch this Optics tutorial to learn how to add Lens Flares, Glows and other Hollywood-style feature film visual effects elements to your photos.