Plugin Newsletter - May 2003
PLUGIN UNPLUGGED: Plugin Essentials Article
ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Gun Legler
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Motion Blur Removal, Importing CDR files, Best Photoshop plugins, Flaming Pear problem solved, Glare Reduction
POLL RESULTS: Which of these image effects are your favorites?
NEW POLL: Which of these steps do you apply when correcting your photos?
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: MacPaint plugin, Olympus RAW plugins, RedEye Action, Canon RAW Converter, Image Recovery, Rota, Bumy Paint
GRAPHICS NEWS: Canon Competition, Artwork book, Alpha Strip, Photos.com, Painter 8, PhoTags
PRODUCTS FROM THE PLUGIN SITE
ABOUT THE PLUGIN SITE
After publishing two issues of this newsletter in February as well as March, I returned back to a monthly schedule. It was too much effort and stress to publish the newsletter biweekly and kept me from working on other things. While the Plugin Newsletter was previously published at the end or beginning of a month, it will now be send out in the middle of every month.
The "Free Plugins and Tools" section concentrates this time on digital camera tools. Plugins and tools for converting Olympus and Canon RAW files, a tool for lossless JPG rotation and a utility for recovering photos from memory cards are featured. I hope you will find them useful. Please let me know if you come across tools that should be mentioned in this newsletter, too.
As always, I hope that you will enjoy this issue.
You may know the "Introduction to Plugins for Beginners" text that is offered at the top of the main page of The Plugin Site. I extended it, added some images and turned it into an article for my Plugins Unplugged column at graphics.com. The article is called "Plugin Essentials" and gives you a broad overview of Photoshop-compatible plugins. It deals with the different types of plugins, possible incompatibilities, how to install plugins, tips for organizing plugins as well as accessing and managing them. Even if you are familiar with plugins, you might come across some facts of which you were not aware before. Of course this article is also accessible on the top of the main page at The Plugin Site now.
ARTIST OF THE MONTH
In this new section of the newsletter we would like to introduce you to artists who create exceptional artwork and graphics. This time we want to introduce you to the art of Gun Legler. In the Galaxy Contest 2002 she was the 2nd winner in the category "Most Creatively Framed", 3rd winner in the category "Best Greeting Card" and the 4th winner in the category "Best Photo Composition". Gun Legler, who lives in Sweden, even seems to have improved her skills in the meantime. The new images that she shows in her Renderosity gallery have an intense mystical quality and communicate deep emotions very effectively. One means to achieve that quality is defamiliarization with the help of textures effects.
We were delighted to hear that she uses our HyperTyle product to produce these texture effects. Gun wrote: "I write to you again just to tell you how much I love HyperTyle. It has thousands of possibilities for me as a texture freak :-)".
You can view more than 200 of her images at
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS
A lot of rumble has been going on on The Plugin Site Forums. Here are the most interesting topics:
Borgtex asks "Is there any plugin to attenuate movement blur of the entire image? (when the camera moves while shooting, not the object)"
Phil asks "Does anyone know of, or know where I could find a Photoshop plug-in for Mac which would allow me to import PC or Mac CorelDraw files (.cdr files)"
plug-in n00b asks "i know this is probably the most asked question but what are thee best photoshop plug-ins. links too please!"
cfoodmaniac wrote "does anyone have autofx dreamsuite 2. do you guys have problem with the 2 1/4 film frame effect. When using the load image feature to load up another image into each frame i get a blurry image, but i don't get a blurry image in the original photo that was first opened. your help is appreciated."
Cam2 wrote "I`m glad this issue has been sorted because it has been a complete frustration to all registered users of Flaming Pear plugins. My guess is they probably did a clean sweep of all previous serial numbers. So now they can offer registered users the reset executable programs for specific plugins and a new serial to first reset the plugin and then re-register."
CheekyPro wrote "I currently work with pictures of tattoos. I have found it difficult to reduce the glare on the images. If anyone has suggestions or maybe a tutorial they can point me to, that would be amazing."
For more discussions and comments please visit
The poll about your favorite image effects was completed. With almost 2600 votes it can be estimated that several hundreds of people have voted. Here are the Top Ten of almost 50 choices:
1. Glass 3.7%
2. Water, Drops 3.45%
3. Brightness & Contrast Correction 3.4%
4. Sharpening 3.3%
Metal, Chrome 3.3%
5. Color Correction 3.2%
6. Light & Shadow 3.15%
7. Clouds, Fog 3.1%
8. Texture, Surface 3.05%
9. Fire, Smoke 3.0%
10. Painting, Paint-like 2.8%
Although the results are quite closely distributed, the top ten include several items of the field of photo correction and natural effects. I'm not sure if it is a coincidence that half of the effects from the list above are provided by our Plugin Galaxy, Color Washer and HyperTyle plugins. If this isn't a statistical interaction effect, it would mean that it was a good choice developing these products.
For more poll results see
Our latest poll is more or less a subset of the latest poll, but it may yield quite different results. It asks "Which of these steps do you apply when correcting your photos?" and offers a dozen options.
Please cast your vote at
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS
A file format plugin for reading and writing MacPaint format files is now available. It works with Photoshop 3-7 on MacOS (Classic, 9 and earlier, and OS X) and Windows.
Paul Dempsey offers an Olympus RAW File (.ORF) import plugin (for Windows) as well as a standalone application at his web site. The plugin offers options for Color Balance, Gamma Correction, Auto Levels, Inversion and B/W. The standalone ORF.exe program is a much later development than the plugin and therefore includes many more features. ORF.exe offers separate histograms and more scaling (color balance) options. There is also an accompanying ORFDump tool for recreating thumbnail (.THM) files and extracting EXIF information to a text file.
You may also want to try the RAW import plugin (Win/Mac) that is offered by Olympus itself. It allows you to white balance photos by selecting a color from the preview, but you can also automatically apply the camera settings or import the photo without any adjustment. Download the most recent version from the Olympus Web Site at
Mayhemstudios.com offers two sets of Photoshop Actions on their Web site. The "No Red Eye Action" removes red eyes after you created a selection around the eye area. The "Production Actions" are for speeding up your production time in Photoshop by selecting often-used commands from the Action palette instead from the menu. The Production Actions have no key shortcut assigned to them and are not organized in one action folder, so I doubt that they let you save a lot of time.
Canon offers Version 2.0 of its RAW Image Converter (for Win/Mac) now. It still isn't that comfortable to use like the commercial BreezeBrowser or the Adobe RAW plugin, but it has improved a lot and is freeware. The most important new feature is the dialog that appears when you press "List for Development Condition Settings". This dialog offers a thumbnail view and a preview mode. You can also choose between different white balance, contrast, saturation and sharpness presets as well as apply a false color filter and convert to linear. A color picker tool also lets you set the white point.
Zero Assumption Digital Image Recovery is a freeware data recovery tool (for Windows) for recovering digital photos accidentally deleted from digital camera memory or media type (e.g. Compact Flash, Memory Stick, Smart Media). In most cases the necessary direct access may be gained without any complementary devices by just connecting the digital camera to the PC. They claim that card readers also work. However, I didn't manage to make it work with my old CF-Reader, but maybe you have more luck.
Rota (for Windows) is a free lossless rotation utility for JPEG images. After selecting a folder, the contained JPG files are displayed as thumbnails. Clicking on a thumbnail rotates it by 90 degree. After rotating all images you can use the Apply button to apply the changes. Rota still uses an old-fashioned file dialog and may be confusing at first, but it lets you rotate your digital images very quickly and conveniently.
GLab Bumy Paint 0.5 is a free and full-featured paint application (for Windows). It is available in Japanese and English language, but the web site is only Japanese. The specialty of this tool is the drawing of bumped lines and the Warp Paint feature. Bumy Paint uses a lot of palette windows where you can find different options like pens, gradients, textures, selection tools, paths and much more. Unfortunately it only supports uncompressed TIFF and BMP files and no JPG files.
To our great surprise Bumy Paint supports Photoshop filter plugins. To use filter plugins with it, you have to specify a plugin path and press the Search button in the File > Options dialog firstly. Then you have to press the small plug icon located in the middle of the button bar and press the Do button in the Tool Options palette to display a plugin menu. Bumy Paint is really worth a try if you like paint effects.
To download it visit the following URL and use the second link from the top to download the English version:
Graphics News from Graphics.com
Cannon Digital Creators Competition 2003
Professionals, students and amateurs can submit their innovative works to this contest until September 4. The four contest categories are digital photography, graphics / illustration, movie and the Web. 18 prizes worth several thousand dollars can be won.
Exposé - Call for Entries
The folks responsible for the CGTalk site have decided to create a lavish book to showcase the work of digital artists worldwide. They're now accepting submissions of 2D and 3D artwork.
Panopticum Alpha Strip Filters
Now available for Photoshop 7, these filters provide a set of procedures for making alpha-channel image cutting. They are designed to help you process your images using different geometrical effects (thin lines, circles, rectangles, etc). Mac and PC demos are available.
Photos.com Increases Offering to Over 50,000 Stock Photos and Photo Objects
10,000 new stock photos and photo objects have been added to the Photos.com subscription-based stock photography site. The photo objects come complete with clipping paths, so they can be easily used in most design projects.
Corel Painter 8 Now Available
Corel has gone rabbit hunting, and the application formerly known as procreate Painter has now returned to its former moniker of Corel Painter. The latest version is receiving praise, notably for its Photoshop compatibility. Mac and PC demos are available.
Write on your Pictures (Without Ink Smudges)
You can use PhoTags to add labels and messages within JPEG files and then use the search feature to quickly locate them. As well, you can place visible captions, comments, and any other text into a "virtual layer" that doesn't affect the actual image. A Windows demo is available.
For daily graphics news updates, visit