Plugins for Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, PSP & others


JixiPix Pastello

by Kay Michael Kuhnlein


Review Date: June 2016  

Web site:


If I do not forget it, I usually greet my readers with a „Cordial Welcome“. Whoever wants to present one or another photo in a painted version is exactly right here.

You do not need a canvas, no easel, nor a brush or a spatula, even any kind of colors are superfluous, the working or living room remains clean. Today we do it all digitally and for this I recommend to you PASTELLO from JixiPix Software.


The plugin was installed on Windows 7 Professional 64 bit. Photoshop CS6 serves as host program (I cannot afford a newer version), no problems arose. As is right and proper, Pastello was displayed in the Filter menu of Photoshop. NOTE: The program also works as a standalone version without problems.

The UI

Everything is easy to oversee and located correctly, nevertheless you have to learn something.

You load an image of your choice and start the plugin via mouse click. Then it looks similar to the screenshot above. Below you find the presets sorted according to the selected painting styles. Additionally you can save a personal setting as your own preset here if required.

Above on the right-hand side it is getting interesting. Here the program lets you work with any number of layers, each layer can be defined by a different painting style. A duplication of an already existing layer is possible too. Below on the right-hand side you can find a variety of sliders which should help you getting the desired result.

Above on the left-hand side there are some tools, e.g. for reducing painting strokes that were already created.


Example – Painting Style: Charcoal

If you really want to get the most out of the plugin, then it will definitely not work without learning. Alternatively you can of course apply a preset to every image and you may nevertheless be satisfied with the result - in this case only a mouse click is required.

First-class tutorials on the manufacturer´s website -

With many of my previous reviews I mostly described an example with the steps that lead to the target. Here I definitely want to waive that as there are excellent tutorials on the website of Jixipix. Even people who have problems with reading are allowed to watch some films there. Whoever is able to read will find the alternative of a detailed manual in pdf format - that's what I call service.

What lies closer than exactly creating your own image according to the instructions of the corresponding tutorial?

This is my original photo – photographer: Silvia Kuhnlein –

Now I do exactly stick to the instruction of JixiPix in order to present my original image with the painting style Charcoal.
While doing that I can instantly learn a lot about the modus operandi of PASTELLO.

It is quite obvious that I worked orderly according to the tutorial instructions

The example shown here is not a one-click action, but represents 5 superordinate working steps with 18 different settings and the use of all available options. As already indicated it means a bit of work, but it is fun and worth it.


Example - Painting Style: Chalk with Preset and ...

I judge the real performance of a painting software with the help of a portrait photo and its presets. The results are mostly rather disillusioning instead of eliciting me an "Aah" or "Wow". Now please do not expect such examples here - quite often there is nevertheless a way that leads to a presentable result.

Original photo (not edited) for a preset – photographer: Kay Michael Kuhnlein –

Preset: Chalk 05 combined with own layers and other paint styles

As far as the result is concerned the spectator may probably ask himself: Why does he present such an example here where you can hardly notice the use of any painting software? This is certainly a justified question.

I just do not like it if a model´s face is deformed in some areas (mouth, nose, eyes etc.) with too harsh painting strokes or if the painting strokes may be confused with blemishes.

So let us see the image as a „photorealism“ with a slight touch of painting traces. I believe that we can agree on that. Moreover, as a big format on the wall, the overall impression does essentially change.

Now I will give you a short note about the work process in Jixipix. I started with the preset: Chalk 05, then I additionally created further layers with different painting styles and I used the provided options extensively. It does not make much sense to talk about further details as the results turn out rather different for each image.


Example – Mixture of Painting Styles

After several tests with portrait and semi-portrait photos I decided on black & white painting styles. This corresponds to my personal taste and should not be taken as a general recommendation. See for yourself.

This is going to turn into a black & white painting – Photographer: Silvia Kuhnlein –

Similar to the first image in this article I used the layer technique of PASTELLO and thus got to the desired result.

Charcoal, Da Vinci and Pencil hit the target

Example – Preset and Several Own Presets

Welcome again! Oops, sorry, of course you haven´t noticed that I made a break for two days, which is quite stupid of me. As far as a review is concerned you never know quite exactly what kind of scene or painting style my appreciated reader - I mean you personally - actually wants to see. So let us hope the following example reveals to you what PASTELLO is able to perform.

Certainly the scene which is the most photographed one on the Route 66 - photographer: Silvia Kuhnlein –

Preset: Crayon 05 – and an additional layer

Here I worked in a playful manner and clicked through an array of presets, one after the other, until I got stuck with Crayon 05. In order to adjust the result even more to my demands an additional layer-pencil was created. Afterwards I slightly changed a variety of settings of each layer.

The painted version has something - it is effectively presentable

Bottom line: Starting with a preset and shaping the painted artwork afterwards, with the help of a variety of options, is certainly not the wrong road. You can call this method Route 66 if you like.


Example – Only a Preset ...

Of course it is also possible to confront PASTELLO with an image, followed by testing only one preset and there you go! You like the result that much that you just want to keep it like that. Great, I will show you such a photo with my selected painting style.

Las Vegas in the evening – photographer: Silvia Kuhnlein –

You can see, a normal photo, not bad nor is it something special. Probably a painting style of PASTELLO can help in this case?

Well, not bad, isn´t it? Preset: Pastel 06

For a one-click action you can rather be proud of this work. I especially like the increase and the color shifts of the blue tones here, which are strikingly emphasized. You can see, PASTELLO enables you to even create digital art with only one mouse click.


Does Vector Painting Also Work?

I have to admit that I have absolutely no clue how many people enhance a vector painting with a painting software. As far as my reviews are concerned it belongs to my standard repertoire. I can learn here very well which changes are undertaken by the program in relation to a photo.

See for yourself:

Vector painting – graphic: Kay Michael Kuhnlein –

Preset: Conte 11

Let us just express this very conservatively: Other painting programs are probably better suited for this task. To be fair, I should add that PASTELLO does not necessarily have to have such skills, because except for me no normal human being seems to practice such an enhancement anyway.


The end is almost identical with every review. Even for a change I cannot write: „Do never visit the website of the manufacturer“. So a visit at is worthwhile at any rate. Here you can find demo versions of all available programs and a lot of additional information.

As always I wish you good luck and admirable images of your own that turned into a masterwork with the help of a plugin.

Kay Michael Kuhnlein



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