Zoner Photo Studio X adds unique retouching features that beat the competition

Zoner Photo Studio X adds unique retouching features that beat the competition

The popular photo editor and manager Zoner Photo Studio X has gained several unique new features just in time for Christmas. With its winter update, it has become the first Windows editor in the world to support the opening and saving of HEIF files. The new Smoothing Brush and Structure Cloning features in its Develop module make it easy to retouch portraits quickly while keeping them natural-looking. The Polarization feature helps users get more detailed clouds, and meanwhile the increased freedom for photo books lets them unlock their imagination.

Perfecting Retouching in Develop

The options for local edits in the Develop module have grown significantly in the last year, and in this respect the developers are still not slowing down. The two latest features are without compare elsewhere: Smoothing Brush and Structure Cloning. “Both of these features use the pro-class frequency separation technique that you may know from Photoshop. But unlike the competition, they’re non-destructive, and above all they turn an otherwise tough and complicated job into one that’s so simple it’s almost unfair,” says product manager Jan Kupcik.

The smoothing brush is an ideal starting point for portrait retouching. It is used for evening out color tones and softening gradients while retaining structure. Structure Cloning is the opposite, repairing problems in skin’s structure without changing its color. It is useful for detail work such as removing a lone hair that has fallen onto a face. Structure Cloning is available as a mode for the Retouching Brush.

Experimental support for the HEIF format

One long-awaited new feature, especially among technology fans, is support for the HEIF format. Zoner Photo Studio X is the first software in the world to offer a solution for reading and writing this format on Windows. This support is currently experimental and thus must be turned on in the program under Options > Advanced.

“Our being first to support HEIF makes us one of the few options for users to work with their photos from the latest iPhones on Windows. But for us it means much more. We’ve been waiting a long time for this successor to the antiquated JPG, not only because, as noted above, this format saves space while retaining quality, but also thanks to other modern abilities such as saving multiple pictures via the difference method, combining photos and video, utilizing depth maps, and making editing less demanding. The new HEIF format will enable truly great things in the future,” said Kupcik.

Save the cost of a polarizing filter with our new feature

The Polarization slider, part of the color-editing tools in Develop and the Editor, can save photos with washed-out skies. It works as a replacement for a polarizing filter, and so it can save photographers up to hundreds of dollars. Polarization draws out details, gives skies a deep blue, and makes clouds look wonderful.

More freedom for photo books

The Create module now gives creators more freedom than ever. Photo books offer several new templates, and you can now freely edit their pages. You can move photos, add more pictures and text, and remove decorations. A recent minor update has also enriched the Create module with the ability to create calendars in landscape orientation.

Work with layers is now markedly better

The winter update also brings a number of improvements to the Editor, both large and small. Users can now set the source layer for the Retouching Brush and for cloning as well. That enables retouching in a new layer, ensuring that you don’t re-use a spot that’s already been retouched.

Users can horizontally or vertically flip layers. Masks are smarter as well: besides new interactions with the selection (e.g. intersecting), they can be merged directly with the picture.

When the user needs a selection with a specific size or ratio of sides, it’s enough to just enter that size or ratio in the side panel. The last new Editor feature is several new line types (dotted+dashed and more) available in Place Line or Place Shape.

Faster work with previews

Faster preview loading is another of the new features. Continually improved speed for Zoner Photo Studio is a priority for the developers. ZPS now fully supports work with the online Microsoft OneDrive files introduced in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

The new features can be tried for free

Zoner Photo Studio X can be purchased as a one-year subscription license for just $49. During their subscriptions, users have the right to ongoing program updates, exclusive guides and other materials, and free priority technical support.

The full version of the program is available for download at It includes a free 30-day trial. Users for whom the ZPS X trial has expired and who have not yet purchased can try the new update free for 10 days. For more details on the winter update see:

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Learn Photography: Brought to you by the team behind Zoner Photo Studio.

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