Plugins for Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, PSP & others



Plugin Creation Tools



Filter Factory (free)

... is a Photoshop-compatible filter plugin that enables you to create your own filter effects. To achieve effects with Filter Factory you have to type C like formulas for processing the Red, Green, Blue and Alpha channel of 24bit images. To get a deep insight please read the Filter Factory Programming Guide.

Filter Factory is available for Windows and MacOS 8/9. As it hasn't been updated since 1995 it can't be used with Mac OS X. The Filter Factory plugin is included on the Photoshop 3, 4, 5 or 6 CD-ROMs (for Macintosh and Windows) as well as on the Photoshop 7 and CS for Windows CD-ROM. Filter Factory for Windows needs Msvcrt10.dll to work. There were two special version of Filter Factory included with Adobe Premiere 4 and 5 called Filter Factory and Transition Factory. Unfortunately Adobe doesn't deliver them anymore since Version 6 of Adobe Premiere. The Filter Factory versions of Premiere 5 works in Premiere 6, but not in Premiere Pro.

Plugin Commander Pro lets you easily convert Filter Factory plugins to Macintosh versions as well as Premiere versions. You can also use it to edit and preview your Filter Factory plugins.

For more information about piogramming with Filter Factory see the Filter Factory Programming Guide.

Filter Factory is recommended for people:

  • Who don't want to invest any money
  • Who have little programming knowledge
  • Who want to make their filters available for MacOS 8 and 9 without much additional work
  • Who want to make their filters available for Premiere without much additional work


Filter Foundry ($5 donationware)

Filter Foundry is a compatible replacement for Adobe Filter Factory. It may contains a few inconsistencies with Filter Factory that should be reported to the author, so that they can be fixed in the next release. It works with Photoshop 3.0-7.0 on Power Mac (OS X, Classic, OS 9 and earlier), 68K Mac and Windows. Unlike the other tools mentioned here, the filter code is interpreted and not compiled to machine code. However, you won't notice a speed difference if you use an up-to-date processor. Improvements on Filter Factory are a larger preview (which is correct at all zoom rates), relieved expression length limits and OS X support.

Filter Foundry is recommended for people:

  • Who don't want to invest much money
  • Who have little programming knowledge
  • Who want to make their filters available for 68K Mac and PowerMac (MacOS 8, 9 and X) without much additional work


Filter Formula  (free, $50 previously)

... is a Photoshop-compatible plugin for Windows. It is similar to Filter Factory for creating your own filter effects. FilterFormula (short: FiFo) supports Filter Factory source code, but has has some advantages over Filter Factory:

1. It doesn't crash when a filter with the cnv command is used on larger images.
2. It doesn't need Msvcrt10.dll or Plugin.dll.
3. It can handle (in many cases) images that don't fit into main memory.
4. It creates stand alone plugins that aren't decompilable.
5. The filter code is entered in only one text box, instead of 3 or 4 as in Filter Factory.
6. It let's you include multiple filters in one plugin (from Version 1.1 on).
7. It has a zoomable and pannable preview box.
8. The range of each slider can de defined by the user.
9. It has 6 color selector buttons and 3 check boxes.
10. The filter code can contain for & while loops and if ... else statements.
11. There are 65535 storage cells, instead of 256 as in Filter Factory.
12. It has a extended programming language with more commands.
13. The source code limit is 16K (in Filter Factory 4K) and the compiled code limit is 8K (in Filter Factory something around 1-2K).
14. It can display Help files for standalone filters (Help button).

Unfortunately the latest Filter Formula release is from 1999 and there are no signs that it will be developed further.

Filter Formula is recommended for people:

  • Who are familiar with Filter Factory or have a bit of programming knowledge
  • Who want to improve their Filter Factory plugins without much work
  • Who don't need Macintosh versions of their plugins


Filter Meister ($25)

FilterMeister (FM) is a plugin for Adobe Photoshop and plugin-compatible applications. Although it has a "Beta" added to version name for 10 years now, you should not hesitate to use it. It has been toroughly tested and is still developed further. It lets you create your own Photoshop-compatible plugin filters using a powerful C-like programming language. You also have complete control over the design and layout of the user interface for the filters you create. Here's a feature list:

The FilterMeister programming language:
  • Is backward compatible with the Filter Factory programming language. You can import your old Filter Factory code and convert it to an FM filter with the click of a few buttons. Filter Formula code can also easily adapted to FilterMeister. For example the ForEveryPixel handler work similar to Filter Formula.
  • Implements a large subset of the C programming language.
  • Has the complete set of C-language control constructs (such as for-loops, while-loops, and switch statements), allowing you to code advanced algorithms that can't be expressed in Filter Factory.
  • Supports all the basic C-language data types, including floating-point data types. You are no longer restricted to integer arithmetic as in Filter Factory.
  • Contains hundreds of built-in functions and variables, giving you fast and powerful access to all the features needed to access and manipulate images.
  • Gives you instant access to most of the standard C run-time routines, including memory allocation, string manipulation, math functions, and file input/output.

The FilterMeister user interface:

  • Is fully programmable, giving you complete control over the appearance and function of the filters you create.
  • Supports an ever-growing list of user controls:
    • sliders (scrollbars and trackbars)
    • pushbuttons, radio buttons, and checkboxes
    • group boxes, frames, and rectangles
    • bitmaps, icons, and metafiles
    • edit boxes and static text boxes
    • list boxes and dropdown combo boxes
    • progress bars
    • zoomable and pannable proxy image previews
    • owner-drawn controls for unlimited special effects
  • Lets you create tool tips for all user controls.
  • Allows you to specify the dialog background as a solid color, a gradient, or a graphic image.
  • Gives you control over the size and configuration of the dialog box, and even lets you specify a nonrectangular shape for the dialog.
  • The plugin dialog can be made resizable.

The FilterMeister compiler:

  • Emits native x86 machine code for fast execution.
  • Generates in-line code for many of the basic Filter Factory functions.
  • Imposes no practical limit on source code and object code size, allowing you to write very complex filter algorithms.
  • Generates code that links only to the standard Win95/98/NT dynamic link libraries, so no special DLL files are required.
  • Encrypts the generated x86 code in standalone filters, which protects your code from simple reverse engineering.

FilterMeister is recommended for people:

  • Who don't want to spend much money
  • Who are familiar with Filter Factory or have some C programming knowledge
  • Who want to create sophisticated or complex plugins
  • Who want to design their own plugin dialog
  • Who don't need Macintosh versions of their plugins

Please subscribe to the FilterMeister Mailing List to get the latest inofficial versions of FilterMeister. FilterMeister is still developed further.


Photoshop SDK for Delphi ($75)

... is a plugin development solution for Borland Delphi 5, 6, 7 and for Borland C++ Builder 6. Basically the software consists of two main parts: the plug-in development wizard and the filter host component.

Some of the features include:

  • Contains pascal conversion of parts of the Photoshop API
  • Support for several different kinds of plug-in modules: Filter, Import, Export, Color picker, Format
  • IDE expert for managing PiPL (Plug-in Property List) resources
  • Lets you add, remove or modify plug-in specific properties
  • Filter host component for executing plug-in filters
  • Create your own Photoshop host applications within minutes
  • Lets you load all plug-ins in a directory tree
  • Delphi conversion of the Wintab API
  • Support for tablet devices within plug-ins
  • Lets you develop filter plug-in modules with ease
  • Use a patched version of the Graphics32 controls for displaying intermediate filter output to the screen
  • Automatic conversion of indata to the TBitmap32 ARGB format
  • Lets you debug plug-ins from the Dephi IDE
  • Includes demo examples
  • Includes symbol reference documentation

Photoshop SDK for Delphi is recommended for people:

  • Who have Delphi or C++ Builder programming experience
  • Who want to create unique plugins without many limitations
  • Who don't need Macintosh versions of their plugins (Out of Business)


The Photoshop SDK (previously $195, now free again)

... contains instructions and source codes for developing Photoshop-compatible plugins. This is the hardest, but also most flexible way to create your own filter plugins. In recent years you had to become an ASN member for $195/year in order to obtain the SDK, but now you only need to register for a free Adobe ID to get the SDK. Previous version of the SDK can be found on the Photshop 3/4/5/6 CD-ROMs. The older Photoshop SDKs (3/4/5/6) can also be used to create plugins for Photoshop 7, CS, CS2 and CS3. For making your plugins compatible to as many other graphics applications you should better use an older version of the Photoshop SDK and test them with as many applications as possible. In addition to Photoshop you should at least test your plugins with Paint Shop Pro.

The following development systems can be used with the Photoshop SDK:

  • Apple XCode (Officially supported by Adobe)
  • C++ Builder Compiler for Windows plugins only (not officially supported by Adobe)
  • MinGW (free GNU development system for building Win32 software) for Windows plugins only (not officially supported by Adobe)

The Photoshop SDK is recommended for people:

  • Who have good C programming knowledge
  • Who are motivated to invest a great deal of time
  • Who want to create unique plugins without any limitations
  • Who want to create Macintosh versions of their plugins



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