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Plugin Newsletter - October / November 2007





POLL RESULTS: Which is your favorite RAW Converter?

NEW POLL: Which of the following features do you consider essential for filter plugins?

THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Article on Free Software vs Commercial, Harrys Filters Error Message, Photoshop Plugins in Fireworks, Plugin Problems in PSP X2, Plugins Not Showing up in Photoshop

FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Vicanek Plugins, Aphtophoto Plugins, POV-Ray Export Plugin, Xtreme Photo Designer 6, Andy Warhol Replicator, Free Lens Hoods

GRAPHICS NEWS: Pixelmator, Adobe OS X 10.5 Compatibility, Knoll Light Factory 3, DxO Optics Pro 5, Exposure 2, Painter Essentials 4




Dear Reader,

As promised a major update of Plugin Galaxy is available now. Version 2 now offers features from Harrys Filters 3 and much more. The new effect layers feature makes it possible to create much more complex effects which can be saved as presets. It is quite surprising what you can produce by combining the basic effects and it is quite fun to construct new effects variations by combining and blending existing presets. See below for more information.

By the way, the Free Photoshop Plugin page (www.thepluginsite.com/resources/freeps.htm) has been updated. Thanks, Rolf, for checking out all the links and reporting discrepancies.

Wishing you a Happy Halloween
Harald Heim




More than five years after the last release of Plugin Galaxy for Windows, it has now been rewritten from ground up. Version 2 for Windows now offers the feature-rich dialog of the PhotoWiz plugins and several features known from Harrys Filters 3.

Plugin Galaxy 2 is a plugin for creating special effects and enhancing images with the help of more than 160 basic effects, which are accessible from a single dialog. Thousands of potential effects can be created with the help of various controls and blend modes. The new Play button generates random animations and the new Layers feature lets you apply multiple effects without leaving the plugin dialog.

Version 2 renders more than two times faster, additionally it supports 16bit RGB and grayscaled images and lets you batch process images. 400 presets, e.g. for creating fire, rain, snow, water surface, metallic text, contrast and frame effects as well as rendering cosmic scenes, are already included.

Like the previous version the Plugin Galaxy 2 demo version contains the free Fusion-Popart and Zoom effects. If you do not combine them with the other effects, no watermarks will be rendered to the final image.

If you are a registered user and did not get a upgrade notification, please let us know.

For more information, example images and a free demo version please visit:



POLL RESULTS: Do you prefer skinned or standard dialogs for Photoshop plugins?
Thanks for participating in our recent poll. Here are the results of 437 votes about peoples' favorite RAW Converter:

1. Adobe Photoshop 28% 121
2. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 22% 94

3. Capture One 7% 30
4. Pixmantec RawShooter 7% 29
5. Nikon Capture 6% 27

6. Bibble 5% 22
7. Canon Digital Photo Pro 4% 19
8. DxO Optics 4% 17
9. Adobe Photoshop Elements 4% 16
10 Other 3% 12
11. Paint Shop Pro 3% 12
12. Apple Aperture 3% 11

13. Silkypix Developer Studio 2% 8
14. Raw Therapee 1% 6
15. LightZone 1% 4
16. RAW Developer 1% 3
17. Breeze Browser 1% 3
18. SilverFast DCPro/DCVLT 0% 2
19. Raw Magick 0% 1
20. RAW PhotoDesk 0% 0

Photoshop and Lightroom are doing a close race for the most popular RAW converter and are together used by half of all users. A bit behind are Capture One, Raw Shooter and Nikon Capture. RawShooter is still popular, although it was discontinued, so we can expect that it will loose most of its users in future. At the end of the range are a dozen of different RAW converters which are used by 1/3 of all users.

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



NEW POLL: Which of the following features do you consider essential for filter plugins?
The new poll wants to find out which feature you want to see in most filter plugins. You can vote for up to 20 items starting with "Large Preview" and ending with "Brush tool for selectively drawing effects". Please vote for as few items as possible to make the results more meaningful.

You can cast your vote at the bottom of the page at



THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Article on Free Software vs Commercial, Harrys Filters Error Message, Photoshop Plugins in 2, Plugins Not Showing in Photoshop
Here are some of the latest interesting posts on The Plugin Site Discussion Forums:

Article on Free Software vs Commercial
libigo wrote: "I wrote this article some time ago, and I hope it can be of some use to someone! Also, I'd love some comments to improve it! ... ARTICLE: Working With Graphics – Popular Software Packages Vs. Freeware Alternatives"

Harrys Filters Error Message
khk wrote: "... when I start Harry´s Filter (or virtual Photographer) I got the following Error Messages: FilterMeister Run-Time Exception, Memory access violation. The same Filter is working with CS2 absolutly correct. Has someony any suggestions ?"

Photoshop Plugins in Fireworks
ewanski wrote: "Can photoshop plugins work in Fireworks? i have fireworks 7 and i also use photochop CS".. can i use the plugins i find on the net in my copy of fireworks as well as in photoshop? many thanks for any and all guidance...."

Plugin Problems in PSP X2
daydreamer wrote: "I can get some of my plug-ins to work with PSP X in Vista, but some, like Neology, won't. I've saved the four required drivers to my Windows/System32 folder, I've rebooted, what else can I try? Will they work with PSPX2???"

Plugins Not Showing in Photoshop
justieb wrote: "I have Photoshop CS3 and a gazillon (well a lot) of plug-ins. However, they would only show up from the A's thru the S's. ... So, Adobe had me move the file Adope Photoshop CS3 Settings to my desktop and that fixed some of it. It now shows up thru the U's. PLEASE can someone tell me how to fix this? ... "

For more interesting discussions and posting your own comments or questions please visit



FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Vicanek Plugins, Aphtophoto Plugins, POV-Ray Export Plugin, Xtreme Photo Designer 6, Andy Warhol Replicator, Free Lens Hoods

The Vicanek plugin collection has been extended with three new plugins. The Contrast Mask plugin enhances images with too much contrast and also suppresses halos. Pinocchio is a plugin for doing image distortions by using multiple mouse strokes. The Sliding Tile Puzzle plugin lets you play this well known game. Unfortunately you can not apply the effect to the image.


The Aphtophoto collection consists of three free plugins (for Windows). The Exposure plugin simulates photographic exposure and lets you change the contrast. The Fix Focus filter is for rescuing oversharpened images by smoothing the edges. Finally, the Auto White Balance plugin tries to color correct an image without any user input.


Ilya Razmanov released AmphiSoft POV Sphere Mosaic, a Photoshop-compatible plugin (for Windows) for exporting an image to POV-Ray format. It converts the image pixels into 3D spheres, which need to be rendered with the POV-Ray freeware too from www.povray.org.


Magix Xtreme Photo Designer 6 is a full-featured freeware graphics application for enhancing photos and applying image effects. It also offers image objects, which work similar to Photoshop layers, selections, many filter effects and even supports Photoshop plugins.


Andy Warhol Replicator is an application for adding pop-art effects to your photos. It is not available anymore on the website of the developer at www.fotoview.nl (and replaced with the commercial PopArt Studio software there), but you can download it from


Paul Mutton offers PDF documents on his website for creating paper lens hood. There are lens hood templates for many lenses from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Sigma, Tamron and Tokina. If you need custom lens hoods, you can get them for a subscription fee.




GRAPHICS NEWS: Pixelmator, Adobe OS X 10.5 Compatibility, Knoll Light Factory 3, DxO Optics Pro 5, Exposure 2, Painter Essentials 4

Pixelmator is an easy-to-use and powerful image editor for Mac OS X and appears to be a cost effective alternative to Photoshop.

Adobe announced that some CS3 applications, e.g. Photoshop CS3, work fine on MacOS X 10.5 Leopard. Others require available or future updates, e.g Lightroom. CS2 applications will not be updated to support Leopard, so it can be expected that problems may occur. For more details see:


Version 3.0 Knoll Light Factory offers an improved interface, a real-time preview and support for Intel Mac and 64-bit Windows Vista. Knoll Light Factory was originally written by John Knoll, the co-creator of Photoshop, to create the photon torpedoes in Star Trek First Contact. It provides 19 different flare elements that can be layered.


DxO Optics Pro, an automatic image enhancement plugin and standalone program (for Win/Mac), was updated to Version 5. It includes a new RAW converter, a new noise removal technology for RAW images; a dust removal tool and a new user interface.


Alien Skin updated their Exposure plugin (for Win/Mac) to version 2. The update provides more than 300 presets for film simulation and a range of photo lab and darkroom effects. Version 2 doubles the previous number of settings, adds color print films and various Polaroid looks, as well as discontinued film stocks. The price was raised, too.


Corel released Painter Essentials 4 (for Win/Mac), the light version of Corel Painter, a natural media painting application. It now supports Windows Vista and Intel Macs, offers many new brushes, a revamped interface and an improved Brush Ghost, which provides visual feedback of brush stroke behavior.


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Copyright (c) 2000 - 2009 by Harald Heim