UPDATED: A Warning About AutoFX Software

UPDATED: A Warning About AutoFX Software

Later on in the day from when this original article was published, I finally had a response from AutoFX software. I could be a cynic and say that it only took the actions of publishing this to get a response from them but I will give them the benefit of the doubt. Their response was as follows;

“I’m so sorry that you have not gotten a response to your emails. I’m not sure exactly what might have happened but we are very happy to assist in your issue. When you upgrade, reformat or get a new computer we will need to reactivate a license for you to use on that system. I have generated a new License Key that you can use to activate your software again. I also provided a new download link so you can make sure you have the latest installer with Photoshop CC 2014 added.”

“We just released our new website today and will hopefully have it completed in the next 2 weeks with all the FAQ’s updated and also a new members account with all our customers all merged together. This has been a very long and hard thing to do since our company has been in business for 20 years it does not migrate over very fast. We apologize for all the inconvenience you have experienced through this and we hope to only improve from this point forward. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you.”

I have also received a personal apology from Michelle Burns, Vice President of the company. It appears that my initial emails were filtered out by a spam filter. Anyway, my Mystical Suite is now back up and running, I’m back to being a happy bunny and all is forgiven. Hopefully, their new website and merged accounts will ensure that other customers don’t suffer the same frustration as I did which is described below.


I’ve been a fan of this software for quite some time having used their Mystical Suite bundle. The interface has always been somewhat quirky but the effects are good with a high level of versatility on how they are applied. So, a fine set of effects filters when they work but when they stop working, we have a different story.

I recently had to rebuild my PC because of a hard disk crash. I took the opportunity to upgrade to Microsoft Windows 8.1 from version 8.0 and performed a clean re-installation. After installing Photoshop CC 2014 and a few of my other plugins, I proceeded to re-install my AutoFX Mystical Suite Gen I software. I had purchased an upgrade to the latest version in November 2013. I had noticed that, from February 2014, AutoFX had changed their product structure and the Gen 1 software was on a different licensing system to the legacy software. My first slight concern arose when I noticed that there appeared to be no way of transferring my license details to the new account that had to be created for the new system. However, I could still log in to the old account that held my details so, not to worry (as I thought).

Mystical Suite installed OK but, before I could use it, I had to run through the online activation. This is simply entering the license key and clicking the Activate button. Unfortunately, at this point, the software just closed down. When re-opened, I was once more presented with the online activation screen. Several attempts yielded the same result even with an uninstall/reinstall.

There is precious little on AutoFX’s website when it comes to any online support. The knowledgebase is laughable and there is one US phone number and one email address. The few forum threads I’ve come across regarding any issues with this software suggest that the phone number goes straight to an answering machine and emails are not replied to. So, I decided to see for myself and send an email to them explaining my problem and wait… and wait I did. About 1 day passed with no response so I sent another email politely reminding them. Another day passed and still no response. I sent a third and final email expressing my annoyance at the lack of any acknowledgement and this would be almost certainly followed up by actions I’m taking now. I refuse to ring them up. Why should I spend money on an international phone call when I’m almost certain I know I’ll just get through to an answering machine. I have $20 pieces of software from developers that provide prompt and excellent technical support online or via email and, in general, software that costs in the hundred dollars plus range will be backed up by a comprehensive aftersales support programme.

An interesting fact I’ve since discovered is that the current trial software works fine with online activation using their supplied trial license key. My suspicion is that there is some form of license activation issue going on between the old and new systems. Do they expect me to pay for the software again? If they think that, they’ve got another thing coming!

This is good effects software but it’s also not cheap. What I find quite disturbing is the fact that their aftersales service and support is not just appalling… it appears to be non-existent. What is worse is that purchasers of the Gen 1 software prior to February 2014 would seem to have been well and truly shafted because, if your software no longer activates on a re-installation, the chances are is that you’re going to have to buy it again. On pure principle alone, this is something I will not do and my relationship with AutoFX has sadly come to an end.