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Plugin Newsletter - July 2006




PLUG-TALK #5: Interview with Harald Heim of The Plugin Site

PHOTO ARTICLE: Photographing Dance Shows

POLL RESULTS: Which is your favorite plugin or tool for B/W conversion?

NEW POLL: At what size do you usually print your photos or images?

THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: B/W Drawing plugin, Photoshop Palette problem, FocalBlade Brush Sharpening

FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Pog's Plugins, 8bf Plugins, Dynasty Plugins, Rorohiko InDesign Plugins

GRAPHICS NEWS: Adobe acquires Pixmantec, SymmetryShop, SF TransluSense, Halftone 2, SiteGrinder 2, Lightroom Beta 3






After a break of one year with the Plug-Talk series there is again one interview for it. This time I didn't interview someone, rather I was interviewed myself. The interview is bit longer than the others, because I didn't want to reject some questions, so I hope it isn't too boring. I plan at least one other Plug-Talk interview with someone from Adobe, but that could still take some time.

Additionally I finally published an article with photographic tips for shooting one of my favorite subjects: dance shows. I started working on it more than six months ago and rewrote it several times. I hope it will provide some inspirations even if you prefer shooting other things.

The acquisition of Pixmantec by Adobe (mentioned below) doesn't really come as a surprise. It is certainly sad for many photographers on a small budget seeing RAWShooter vanish, but it also means a big chance. Pixmantec would have never published specifications for a plugin interface whereas Adobe plans to do that for Lightroom. So we may see a lot of nice plugins coming out for Lightroom in the future.

Kind regards,
Harald Heim




PLUG-TALK #5: Interview with Harald Heim of The Plugin Site
The fifth installment in the Plug-Talk series about people from the Photoshop plugin scene is about Harald Heim from The Plugin Site (that's me). The interview was conducted by Sonja Shea who is known for her PSP books and classes.

With more than 21 questions and answers there shouldn't be many things left unspoken. The interview deals with the history of The Plugin Site, known image editing tools, the process of plugin creation and many other topics.

For reading the interview please visit:



PHOTO ARTICLE: Photographing Dance Shows
The "Photographing Dance Shows" article concentrates more on photography techniques and only mentions plugins and Photoshop occasionally. It provides tips for shooting dance shows, but the mentioned techniques can be applied to all kind of low-light photographic situations.

The article discusses the necessary camera equipment, useful camera settings, choosing the right perspective and focal range, how to achieve motion effects and which image elements should be retouched in Photoshop afterwards. There are several photos to illustrate these points.

You can read the article at



POLL RESULTS: Which is your favorite plugin or tool for B/W conversion?
Here are the results of the poll about your favorite B/W plugin or tool with a total of 254 votes:

1. Photoshop's Channel Mixer 25%
2. Other 12%
3. Paint Shop Pro's Channel Mixer 11%
virtualPhotographer 11%

5. The Imaging Factory Convert to B/W 7%
6. nik Color Efex 6%
Powerretouche B/W Studio 6%

8. Photo-Plugins B/W Conversion 4%
9. Cybia Works/Fotomatic 3%
10. Alienskin Exposure 3%
11. Xero Plugins 2%
12.PhotoFreebies/Harry's Filters 2%
Simple Filters 2%
14. Auto FX MTTC 2%
15. SilverOxide 1%
16. DFT 55mm/Digital Film Lab 1%
ChromaSoftware IR Film 1%

As expected the Channel Mixer of Photoshop and PSP are the most favorite tools for B/W conversion and are used by more than one third of all people. The virtualPhotographer freeware is also quite popular and used by more people than the commercial B/W plugins from TIF, nik or PowerRetouche. The last third of people use many different freeware and commercial plugins and tools.

For more poll results, please visit the Know-How section at



NEW POLL: At what size do you usually print your photos or images?
The latest poll asks for the size in which you do your prints. Most digital cameras today have at least 5 or six Megapixel, which allows high quality prints at 8 x 1 inch or 20 x 30 cm. It will be interesting to see if most people really fully use the available image data.

Please cast your vote at the bottom of



THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: B/W Drawing plugin, Photoshop Palette problem, FocalBlade Brush Sharpening
Not many new messages have been posted on the forums during June. Anyway, here are the latest interesting posts:

murtle asked "Can anyone suggest a filter that will transform my color photos into black and white drawings that look like they were made by a pen using a dot technique? The one PS calls pointilize doesn't really do it."

shuggy wrote: "Hi Photoshop gurus. I wanted to copy my effects to each layer, but the link icon in the pallette is greyed out and I can´t get them to appear just to the right of the eye icon in the layers pallette. Also tried the menu commands. What´s happening guys?"

Edh wrote: "I have been trying to sharpen with a brush [using FocalBlade] and when I go to step 5 page 12 of the manual its OK. I place the photo in Focal Blade . Step 6 tells me to click on the layer mask thumbnail but since I have Focal Blade active I cannot click on the layer mask. Where am I going wrong?"

For more interesting discussions please visit



FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Pog's Plugins, 8bf Plugins, Dynasty Plugins, Rorohiko InDesign Plugins

Pog offers three Photoshop plugins on his web site. Pog’s Lab Overlayer plugin performs blending in overlay mode, Variable Blurrinator applies a selective blur effect based on a brightness mask and the Mono Renditionizer plugin is a channel mixer with a few specialties.


The 8bf plugin collection was extended with four new plugins. Good Vibrations creates blended wave effects in the form of rumples, panes, slats and blinds whereas the Tweed Frame plugins adds a textured frame to images. The Transparent Frame and Transparent Vignette plugins produce rectangular and circular frames that are transparent.


Dynasty Software released 15 Filter Factory plugins called Channel Colorizer, Pixel Colorizer, Noise Generater, Silhouette Maker, Radial Strypes, Dynamic Circles, Bright Pinwheels, Fractal Patterns, Intense Fractals, Softener/Enhancer, Detroit, Grads, Shadow, Fader and Ripper.


Rorohiko offers several free plugins for Adobe InDesign (for Win/Mac). The ChatterGoofy plugin automatically generates nonsense placeholder text, Image Library Loader adds library palette filled with images that are retrieved from a folder, StoryParker helps to cope with cluttered pages, History Log allows to maintain an automated log of file changes, Place Auto-Synchronizer automatically updates placed files, Sudoku Generator generate Sudoku puzzles directly in InDesign, Place And Scale automatically scales new images and the Boxed Step And Repeat plugin allows to create a 'smart' step-and repeat system.




GRAPHICS NEWS: Adobe acquires Pixmantec, SymmetryShop, SF TransluSense, Halftone 2, SiteGrinder 2, Lightroom Beta 3

Adobe acquired the technology assets of Pixmantec. Adobe plans to integrate Pixmantec raw processing technologies into Lightroom. As a result the Pixmantec RawShooter Premium product is being discontinued, but the free RawShooter Essentials product will continue to be available until the Lightroom public beta program is completed. Existing Pixmantec customers will continue to be supported by Adobe and will be provided with an upgrade path to Adobe products.


Artlandia SymmetryShop is a new Photoshop plugin for creating repeating patterns. It can make patterns from scanned hand-painted motifs and high-resolution photographs for organic interlocking designs.


SimpelFilter released a commercial Photoshop plugin for Windows for adding and removing transparency. The SF TransluSense plugin creates soft crossings between foreground and background and between different picture elements. You can make a certain color area transparent with a mouse click or with three RGB sliders or you can move the luminance of the colors completely in transparency.


VDL upgraded the Halftone plugin for Windows to Version 2.0. The main enhancement is the ability to use user-customized shapes from .bmp files. The upgrade also includes changes to increase performance and quality of output.


The SiteGrinder 2 plugin (for Win/Mac) lets designers and photographers produce entire web sites with such features as image galleries, slideshows and contact forms. Users have to add one-word hints, such as "rollover" or "menu", to the names of layers in Photoshop, which SiteGrinder then convert into web pages. The plugin can use these hints for the generation of styled text, rollover buttons, popups and multi-level menus.


Adobe announced the public Beta 3 of Adobe Lightroom for Mac. The latest version allows greater control over export size and resolution, refined metadata selection, Before and After preview tools , a History feature, a new Web module, an additional Straighten tool and more.


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Copyright (c) 2000 - 2009 by Harald Heim