Plugin Newsletter - April / May 2010
PLUGINS ESSENTIALS ARTICLE: Updated for Photoshop CS5
POLL RESULTS: From which companies or developers do you regularly use freeware plugins?
NEW POLL: Which of the following features do you consider essential for filter plugins?
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Colormancer plugins, easy Filters, Bleach Bypass Pro, Bluwi Lalala plugin, PhotoPlus 6
GRAPHICS NEWS: Photoshop
CS5, Lightroom 2.7 & Camera Raw 5.7, ACDSee Photo Manager, Machine
We have just released FocalBlade 2. More time was invested in this new version than in Version 1 and all of its 10 updates together. Actually the work already began 2005 and continued with larger breaks until now. A major part of the code was rewritten, which explains the great performance increase and the mass of new features. A survey that was conducted in 2007 with 1000 participants made us understand that FocalBlade is used in very different ways by its users. It also helped to see what people wanted of FocalBlade 2. I think we met the expectations.
If you plan to upgrade to Photoshop CS5 on the Mac, have a look at my Plugin Essentials article mentioned below. It explains why your (32-bit) plugins suddenly do not appear anymore and what you have to do to make them work again. You can also find some other facts about the 64-bit architecture there.
FOCALBLADE 2 FOR WINDOWS
Version 2 of FocalBlade for Windows has been released. FocalBlade 2 renders 10 to 120 times faster than Version 1 (depending on the used settings and CPU). It supports multiple sharpening workflows and various output devices. FocalBlade 2 is now fully scripting aware and supports smart filtering in Photoshop CS4 and CS5.
FocalBlade 2 achieves better sharpening effects with fewer artifacts through improved edge masking and halo reduction. It now allows sharpening radiuses of up to 32 pixels. To further reduce sharpening problems three colors can be chosen to be protected from the sharpening effect. The new Softproof feature, which simulates the sharpness of prints on screen, helps users achieve satisfying sharpening results without test prints.
Lab and CMYK images are processed by FocalBlade 2 without having to switch to RGB mode and back. FocalBlade also reduces color noise, adds grain, zooms the preview up to 3200%, benefits from several UI enhancements, including a Navigator tool for quickly displaying an image area, and contains many other new features.
A Mac version will become available this summer. People who order the Mac version of FocalBlade 1 now, will get Version 2 for the price difference. If you are a FocalBlade user and did not get an upgrade email, please contact us.
For more information and a free demo download visit
FocalBlade 2 product page
PLUGINS ESSENTIALS ARTICLE
Updated for Photoshop CS5
Because of the announcement of Photoshop CS5 I updated the "Plugins Essentials" article. The update mainly deals with the Mac version of Photoshop CS5, which is now available for 64-bit.
The last paragraph of chapter 10 explains how to use 32-bit plugins in Photoshop CS5 for Mac and that PowerPC plugins cannot be used in Photoshop CS5 anymore. In chapter 11 64-bit Mac plugins are mentioned. Chapter 6 contains a note on installing 64-bit Windows plugins.
From which companies or developers
do you regularly use freeware plugins?
942 votes were accepted in the last poll about your favorite freeware plugin developers. Here are the results:
11. Van Der Lee 41 votes
11. OnOne Software 41 votes
12. Mura 40 votes
13. Fantastic Machines 38 votes
14. Photo-Plugins (George Fournaris) 31 votes
15. Imageskill 28 votes
16. Red Paw Media 22 votes
AmphiSoft 22 votes
17. MV (Martin Vicanek) 20 votes
50% of all votes were cast for the Top 5. The number 1 got almost 7 times more votes than the last rank. Otherwise the results speak for itself. As usual "The Plugin Site" item is not representative.
For more poll results, please visit the
Which of the following features do you consider essential for filter plugins?
The new poll asks you to vote for the features that you consider essential for a Photoshop filter plugin. You can choose between 20 items. A similar poll was already done in 2007, but with partially different items. The results of this poll will certainly help us (and other plugin developers who see the poll) to decide which features to give a higher priority when developing plugins. Thanks for your time!
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS
The forum was moved to the main server. As a result
it updates and displays much faster. This time we have no posts with open
For discussions and asking questions please visit
The Plugin Site Forum
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS
Colormancer plugins, easy Filters,
Bleach Bypass Pro, Bluwi Lalala plugin, PhotoPlus 6
Colormancer offers three
free Photoshop plugins (for Win/Mac). The White Balance / Highlight Recovery
plugin applies white balancing and avoids that highlights are lost during
the process. The Tint plugin applies tints, bleach bypass, sepia tone
and B&W conversions. It offers 11sliders for adjusting the effect.
The Light version of the Boundary Noise Reduction plugin removed noise
in digital photos. There is also a commercial version of it available.
easy Filter offers two new plugins (for Windows).
One is for counting the colors of 8-bit and 16-bit/channel images. It
does not need any additional memory, but is quite slow for 16-bit images.
The Fill Frame plugin fills a uniform colored area around the image with
image data. It can copy, mirror, stretch or add a stripe in order to fill
the frame. The description page of Fill Frame is only available in German
language, but the plugin UI is in English.
Red Paw Media now offers the Pro version of the
Bleach Bypass plugin (for Windows) for free. It applies brightness,
saturation, film grain, blur and vignette effects.
The Bluwi Lalala plugin for Photoshop (for
MacOS X 10.5) makes a sound when selecting tools. Not all tools and buttons
make a sound, mostly the shortcuts.
Serif once gave away PhotoPlus 6 (for Windows),
a full-featured image editing application that supports Photoshop plugins,
for free. Somehow they seem to have regretted their decision and now only
offer PhotoPlus SE for free, which does not accept plugins. Luckily PhotoPlus
6 is still available for download on other sites. Here is a link:
For more free plugins and tool, please visit the
Photoshop CS5, Lightroom 2.7 & Camera Raw 5.7, ACDSee
Photo Manager, Machine Wash Deluxe
Adobe Photoshop CS5 has been announced. New features
are content-aware filling, edge refinement, a new brush system, rule-of-thirds
cropping, puppet wrap, Camera Raw enhancements and HDR improvements. One
of the most important new features is automatic lens correction, but it
is still not clear, for which lenses Adobe will provide profiles.
Adobe released Photoshop Lightroom 2.7, Camera
Raw 5.7 and DNG Converter 5.7. They provide support for nine new cameras
including the Canon EOS 550D, Panasonic G2 and Olympus E-PL1.
ACDSee recently released Photo Manager 12,
a software for organizing, sharing and editing images, and Pro Photo
Manager 3, which offers even more pro features and reminds one a bit
of Lightroom. Both are for Windows only.
Machine Wash Deluxe is a plugin (for Win/Mac)
for creating image texture, aging and weathering effects. Improvements
include enhanced previewing, apply effects as new layer and better resampling.
Additional texture sets are also offered.