Variants: Create Multiple Versions of a Photo’s Edits

Every photographer wonders from time to time about whether they’ve edited a photo just right, or whether e.g. different colors would suit it better instead. And now with our new Variants, you don’t have to redo your whole edit only to find that your first try was the best. Variants let you create several virtual copies of a single photo and then edit them, and only then choose the best one. Quickly, easily, and without wasting disk space.

Variants: Create Multiple Versions of a Photo’s Edits

A Variant is actually a virtual copy of a photo—one you can only see in Zoner Photo Studio X. Unlike a real copy, it takes up almost no space. It’s stored in the same way as non-destructive edits. If you’ve been maintaining your own “variants” by copying your photos, you don’t have to drown your disk in data anymore. 

Create Multiple Editing Variants of a Single Photo

Start by opening your photo in the Develop module in Zoner Photo Studio  and making whatever “base” edits you’d like. Then create a Variant by right-clicking the photo and using the Create Variant option. You can see your Variants of a photo right beside the original. Although you can work with them as if they were separate files, they’re “only” virtual and don’t take up disk space.

TIP: You can create up to 250 Variants per photo. No more holding yourself back in your edits and your decisions!

Variants: Create Multiple Versions of a Photo’s Edits

You can create multiple Variants for your edits.

Automatic Stacking Keeps Things Organized

When you create Variants of a photo, ZPS generates a Stack containing your original edit and all of these virtual copies. To expand or collapse the stack, click the number icon at the top right. This grouping keeps things much clearer when there’s a large number of photos with variants in a folder.

Variants: Create Multiple Versions of a Photo’s Edits

Use Stacks for better-organized work with variants.

Add Ratings and Metadata

Metadata and ratings can really come in handy when you’re working with Variants. Keep in mind that Variants are all about one single file and virtual copies of it. So if for example you add keywords or star ratings to the main photo, this metadata is then passed on to every Variant you create. Meanwhile adding this information to a Variant doesn’t cause it to be passed on to other Variants. 

Here’s a practical example: When creating black-and-white Variants, you can mark them all with the keyword “black-and-white.” That way, later on when you’re working in the ZPS Catalog, you can use its search box to find all your black-and-whites, including the ones that are Variants. 

Variants: Create Multiple Versions of a Photo’s Edits

Add keywords to your Variants to keep them organized.

Turning Your Best Variants Into “New Originals”

One great use of Variants is for testing which edit actually serves a photo the best. If you decide that, say, your third variant is the best, right-click it and set it as the source variant. 

Variants: Create Multiple Versions of a Photo’s Edits

Turning your best variants into “new originals.”

Your source (main) photo is marked as the first in the stack. This is an easy way to tell it apart.

You Can Export Multiple Variants at Once

During exporting, you have multiple possibilities here, and it all depends on how you work. If for example you’re preparing a series of photos and all of them have a color variant and a black-and-white variant, just leave all of the stacks unstacked, select all the photos in the folder (Ctrl+A), and click the Export button.

If your goal is always to export the best variant in the stack, just always set it as the source and then collapse the stacks. When you select the files and export, only the main variants are exported.

Naturally you can export individual Variants separately as well. Just expand the stack, select your chosen variant, and click Export. 

Variants: Create Multiple Versions of a Photo’s Edits

Select multiple Variants before you export, and they’ll be saved as separate files.

Work With Stacking Even More Efficiently

You can also expand and collapse whole batches of Variant stacks at once. After selecting all the photos in a folder (Ctrl+A), you can expand all the stacks by clicking the unstacking for any one of them. Things work the same when you instead want to collapse stacks or unstack them.

Variants: Create Multiple Versions of a Photo’s Edits

You can expand and collapse groups in batches.

Achieve Perfection With Variants

Download Zoner Photo Studio X and use it 30 days for free, create multiple variants for your photo edits, and then choose the best! If your trial period has run out, don’t despair. We’ll extend it by another 15 days!

Last updated 15. September 2020

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Author: Matej Liska

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