Plugin Newsletter - May 2005
NEW COLORWASHER 2.02b RELEASE: Bug Fixes and RAW Comparison Page
THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATE: New pages called "Plugins by Category" and "Free Photoshop-Compatible Tools"
DIGITAL PHOTO EFFECTS: Motion Plugins + Harry's Filters
POLL RESULTS: Image Enlargement Plugins
NEW POLL: Plugin Management
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Preview Magnifier, Statue Filter, Macworld Plus, AfterEffects 6.5, Bust-Through Effect, PSP Tube Search
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: 2D FFT, Olympus RAW, High Pass Sharpening, DOP, Graham White, DDS Format, Color Space
GRAPHICS NEWS: Creative Suite 2, MyPictureMarc, nik Sharpener, Wacom, Sharptype, Layers
PRODUCTS FROM THE PLUGIN SITE
ABOUT THE PLUGIN SITE
I hope the new page called "Plugins By Category" which was added to the Resource section of The Plugin Site will help you to find certain plugins more easily. It recommends plugins for certain photo correction, photo effects and graphic design tasks as well as links for other plugins for these tasks. During the last two years I have tested all of these plugins, so this list is a compressed version of that experience. It will still be expanded with new categories and products and among others things I plan to add short comments to some plugin. Still, It should already give you some hints when searching for solutions for certain effects and tasks. See below for the URL of the new page.
I also started with a second column for the Digital Photo Effects magazine. My old Essential Plugins column usually deals with commercial Photoshop plugins (which are better suited for certain image processing tasks in 90% of all cases), whereas my new Plugin Guide column is exclusively dedicated to freeware plugins. It contains three tutorials for achieving useful photo effects every month. The series was launched with Harry's Filters 3 and I was surprised that I managed to produce three interesting photo effects with it, which I didn't think of when I created Harry's Filters back in 1997. So hopefully this new column will prove that it is possible to create very useful effects with freeware plugins and show people some effects they wouldn't have thought possible with a certain freeware plugin.
By the way, the current issue of the Plugin Newsletter was sent to 100,063 subscribers. The first issue was only sent to 200-300 people almost seven years ago.
NEW COLORWASHER 2.02b RELEASE
With the new features of ColorWasher 2.02 a few new bugs were introduced that needed to be fixed. ColorWasher 2.02b now doesn't cause any problems anymore when running in Cloak Mode and from the top of the Filter menu in Photoshop. Multiple SplitView correctly displays images with a selection and doesn't produce streaks anymore. A small artifact also doesn't occur anymore for images with a selection. In addition to these bug fixes ColorWasher 2.02b also includes a new Romanian localization and has the Dutch and German localizations slightly updated. The Plugin Installer tool was updated to support PhotoImpact XL and Microsoft DIP. Last, but not least, we couldn't resist adding new tips to the manual for correcting orange color casts as well as images with large bright areas.
After some testing we can now recommend ColorWasher for working with RAW files. Some RAW converters don't produce perfect color correction results in certain situations, so after converting the RAW files you can still apply ColorWasher to enhance the result. We prepared a page which shows some images being enhanced by ColorWasher after they were processed with various RAW converters.
For more detailed information about ColorWasher please
For the ColorWasher/RAW Converter Comparison please
THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATE
The new "Plugins by Category" page lists plugins according to their task and provides up to 3 recommendations for each category. 22 categories and more than 100 plugins are currently mentioned on this page. The list will be expanded with new categories, plugins and information in future.
The new "Free Photoshop-Compatible Tools" page features freeware tools that let you run Photoshop plugins in case you don't own Photoshop, Elements, Paint Shop Pro or any other commercial application that supports plugins. The highest recommended tools for that purpose are currently Serif PhotoPlus 6, Irfan View, XnView and Ultimate FX.
DIGITAL PHOTO EFFECTS
Issue 24 of the Digital Photo Effects magazine shows you how to fake or recreate 12 photography techniques without the need for special lenses, filters and lighting set-ups. You'll also find video tutorials of them on the cover CD-ROM. Other highlights in this issue include a guide to using displacement maps in Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop, a great tutorial on creating a caricature in Photoshop, a night portraits project for Elements, an introduction to blend modes in Photoshop and a host of great digital dark room techniques.
This time the Plugin Essentials column is reviewing four plugins for creating motion effects in photos. Additionally a new Plugin Guide column about freeware plugins shows you how to create Polarizer, Night Color and Golden Summer effects with Harry's Filters 3. The presets for these three effects can be found on the cover CD, too.
POLL RESULTS: Image Enlargement Plugins
180 People took part in the poll asking for your favorite image enlargement plugin. Here are the results:
1. Genuine Fractals (63) 35.00%
2. Other (56) 31.11%
3. PhotoZoom/S-Spline (19) 10.56%
4. SmartScale (15) 8.33%
5. Stair Interpolation Pro (9) 5%
6. X-File (4) 2.22%
6. SizeFixer (4) 2.22%
6. DOP Upsizing (4) 2.22%
6. Resize Magic (4) 2.22%
7. ResizeIT (2) 1.11%
Genuine Fractals is the clear winner. More than one third of all people seem to like its sharp enlargements. Almost another third seems to use none of the mentioned plugins and probably rely on the image sizing feature of graphics applications. PhotoZoom and SmartScale seem be a good solution for almost 20% of all people. Stair Interpolation is still preferred by 5% probably because of its high contrast result.
For more poll results, please visit the Know-How section:
This month we are asking you: "How do you manage your plugins?". There are six possible answers from specialized solutions to total unawareness. It will be interesting to see how you deal with your plugins and if you invest some time to get them in line. Next month we will continue to explore your attitude towards plugins...
Please vote at the bottom of the page at
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS
Here are the latest interesting posts from The Plugin Site Forums:
D_Spider wrote: "I've never seen anyone mention
the use of a screen magnifier to help them see the preview window of Photoshop
filters in particular. (Everyone's always used them, right? --and it's
taken me this long to realize the obvious? ) In case everyone hasn't,
I found "Lens v0.9" at Snapfiles. ..."
chaitereye asked: "Is there a plugin/filter I
can use to make someone look like an ancient or white cement statue?"
Seana wrote: "Macworld Plus ... ON THE COVER
CDS: FREE! 5 FULL PHOTOSHOP PRO PLUGINS WORTH OVER $1,100: StyleDraper
(worth $819), Knoll Light Factory Light Factory ($99), Chameleon (£69),
QuickComp ($99), Golden Section ($32) ..."
meesteric wrote: "why doesn't after effects 6.5
not recognise photoshop plugins. version 5.5, 6.0 did ! Anybody knows
how to make photoshop plugins work in after effects 6.5 or in recent adobe
premiere programmes? "
WallyWorld637 wrote: "I'm a sports photographer
and I'm looking for an effect to make a go kart or motorcycle look like
its bust through my pictures. LIke busting through coming at you ripping
the page back. Can this be done? And if so how or what do I use?"
chaitereye asked: "Does anyone know any PSP tube
sites that have a search bar so I don't have to weed through dozens of
tubes I don't need?"
For more interesting discussions please visit
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS
Alexandre V. Chirokov offers three free plugins (for Windows) under the name 2D Fast Fourier Transform on his web site. They let you perform a fast fourier transformation of an image, edit the generated image and convert it back with the inverse transformation.
The Olympus RAW-Plug-in 2.0 (for Win/Mac) lets you import and process .orf RAW photos captured with an Olympus camera in Photoshop. It offers a preview and several options for adjusting exposure, white balance, contrast, sharpness, saturation and color space. If you already own Photoshop CS or CS2, we recommend that you use the Camera RAW plugin (that is already installed with Photoshop) instead.
George from Photo-Plugins.com released a new free plugin called (for Windows) High Pass Sharpening. It sharpens photos with the classic high pass method. The user can adjust the radius, strength and three blending modes.
Outback Photo offers two automation plugins for Photoshop called DOP Tonality Mask and DOP Upsizing (for Win/Mac). DOP Tonality Mask creates seven selection masks for shadows, midtones and highlights and is limited to images up to 2000x1500 pixel. For larger images you need to buy the commercial version. DOP Upsizing is freeware and implements a special upsizing technique. Both plugins only work in Photoshop CS and CS2.
You can find two sets of up to 9 filters (for Win/Mac) on Graham White's web site. They were created with Filter Factory and are called Bleach Bypass, Blur Threshold, Dual Threshold, RGB to Grayscale, Blur Color, Blur Custom, Channel Noise, Channel Shift and Plain Gradient. The plugins are only for Windows, but if you are a Mac users you can open the included .AFS file in FilterFoundry (www.telegraphics.com.au/sw/) or FilterFactory and compile the plugins yourself. For a reasonable sized preview Windows users should open these filters in FilterMeister (www.filtermeister.com). The most interesting of these filters is probably Blur Threshold.
The Photoshop DDS Plugin (for Windows) allows you to open DDS files in Photoshop. DDS files are skin files from a game from Crytek. You need to create an account to download it.
Color Space and RGB Cube are two color spaces visualization tools. They support color conversion in RGB, XYZ, xyY, I1I2I3, UVW, LSLM, L*a*b*, L*u*v*, LHC, HSV, HSV polar, CMY, HSI, HSI polar, LHS, YUV, YIQ, YCbCr, Spectral, Spectral polar and hybrid color spaces. They represent the colors in 2D and 3D, offer a 3D Histogram and perform a realtime 3D visualization. All color freaks have a look at:
Adobe Creative Suite 2 and Standalone Apps Now Shipping
The latest version of Adobe's Creative Suite is now available, several days ahead of the previously-announced ship date. The CS 2 versions of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, GoLive, Version Cue and InCopy are also available separately.
Digimarc Launches MyPictureMarc 2005 for Digital Image
This plugin adds new digital watermarking technology, enhanced digital rights management tracking, online image backup and free visual watermarking.
nik multimedia Announces nik Sharpener Pro 2.0 Plugin
Enhancements to this image sharpening plugin include support for 16-bit images.
Wacom Ships Wireless Pen Tablet for Photo Editing
The Graphire Bluetooth provides an active area of 6 by 8 inches and is said to communicate reliably over distances of up to 30 feet.
Microworld Releases Sharptype Photoshop Plugin
Microworld claims that its new plugin for the Windows version of Photoshop can create clearer type output at small point sizes.
Mac Design Magazine Relaunched as Layers
KW Media Group, the parent company of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, has decided to devote the relaunched publication to Adobe products.
For daily graphics news updates, visit