Plugin Newsletter - September 2004
THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATES: Plugin Articles about Freeware and Enlargement Plugins
GIVE-AWAY: The Winners of The Plugin Books
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES: RAW Converters Reviewed
POLL RESULTS: Your Favorite RAW Converter
NEW POLL: How many megapixel does your digital camera have?
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Convert B/W to Color, Separate RGB, Monet look, Batch resizing
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: virtualPhotographer, Gothic, Little Ink Pot, Select Edges, De-Interlacer, Photo Image, Jordi, Sloshifiers, Photoshop SpeedUp, Plug-In Switch, Art Rage
GRAPHICS NEWS: Vue 5 Esprit, Dosch Design, Helicon Filter, Autumn Color, EditLab Pro, Deep Paint
PRODUCTS FROM THE PLUGIN SITE
ABOUT THE PLUGIN SITE
Welcome back! I hope you all had nice summer holidays. Things have been going slowly here, but nevertheless this newsletter offers some interesting stuff. I have updated and posted two of my magazine articles on The Plugin Site, you'll get to know people's favorite RAW converters, there are 8 new freeware plugin collections mentioned and many more.
Have a nice time,
THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATES
I have updated two of my previous articles from my Essential Plugins column in the Digital Photography Techniques magazine and posted them in the Reviews section of The Plugin Site. One recommends several freeware plugins for editing photos and the other compares plugins for image enlarging and reveals the two best ones. More updated versions of my older Essential Plugins articles will be available soon.
We selected two winners randomly from more than 430 people who registered for the Plugin Book Give-Away. And the winners are:
Igor Vaganov (from Russia)
Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone for participating!
By the way, Jack and Sue Drafahl offer their "Plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop" book on their web site at a reduced price of $25. As you probably know, book authors don't earn very much money with book copies that are sold in book stores and online shops. So you can show them your appreciation by purchasing their book on their web site at
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES
Issue 16 of the Digital Photography Techniques magazine has a new and improved look that makes it appear even more professional. On the cover CD you will find the panoramic photo creator REALVIZ Stitcher 3.1, worth more than $500. Inside the magazine you can find out how to produce the perfect landscape in a 10-page special, discover how to reduce the signs of aging with Adobe Elements and learn how to make family-photo stationery with Paint Shop Pro 8. UK people may also like the coupon inside the magazine for developing 20 photo prints for free.
My Essential Plugins column has also changed. Now I focus on reviewing only the five best plugins for a special task. Additionally I will try to provide URLs for other plugins that were not reviewed. The five reviews are separated and have a more sophisticated rating which includes a Features, Performance, Ease of use, Value for money and Overall rating. One plugin is also rated as "Plugin of the Month" and another one as "Best Buy". For Issue 16 I had a close look at five RAW conversion tools: Camera RAW, Capture One, DC Pro, RAWSharp and DCRAW. I also wrote about the advantages and disadvantages of shooting RAW instead of JPEG.
The August 2004 poll asked you "Which of these tools do you use for RAW conversion?". 200 people contributed to the following result:
1. Adobe Camera RAW (Photoshop CS) 52%
2. The RAW converter supplied with my digital camera 13%
3. PhaseOne CaptureOne 12.5%
4. Nikon Capture 10%
5. Other 5%
6. BreezeBrowser 4%
7. SharpRAW 1.5%
8. SilverFast DCPro 1%
9. Bibble 0.5%
10. QImage 0.5%
So the big players in the RAW Conversion field are Photoshop CS, Capture One and Nikon Capture. The last two only support a small selection of cameras, so they could certainly gain more popularity by supporting more camera models. From the other tools I quite like DCPro, but its high price doesn't make it very attractive.
For more poll results, please visit the Know-How section which was recently updated with the latest poll results:
The number of megapixel of a camera is often used to persuade people to buy a new camera. But normal people don'tbenefit that much from using a camera with more than 2 megapixel if they only want to do normal prints or view the photos on a screen. Although more megapixel can compensate for a stronger zoom lens, because you can crop a certain part of the photo, that is only needed rarely. Of course if you want to do large prints or use the photos for special purposes, you don't come around a camera with more megapixel.
So the September poll asks you "How many megapixel does your digital camera have?". It lets you choose between one and 9 or more megapixel.
Please cast your vote at the bottom of
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS
Unfortunately there has been as good as no activity on The Plugin Site Discussion Forums in August. Seems that a lot of people were on holiday. Anyway, here are a few posts from The Plugin Site Forums:
unknown asked: "can anyone help me converting my old greyscale photos into color photos."
rachnasingh wrote: "I have created a design in adobe photoshop for fabric. this design has to be printed on the fabric . the image is in RGB and i want to know how can i save each colour individually as a separate file. so that latter on the tranparencies can be made from the same . if it will help then i can even email the image to anyone who could explain"
Michael the scannerman wrote: "Can anyone suggest what filter or combo of filters will create a Monet impressionism look. Photoshop 6 printing with an Epson 1270".
bluefish60657 asked: "Ok, Newbie question. . . I want to automate a task like taking 100 photos and resizing and output jpgs (from hi to low res to post on a site). Is there a plug-in that will do this while retaining most (or without sacrificing too much quality)."
Please post your questions and comments about computer graphics issue at
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS
virtualPhotographer is a Photoshop-compatible plugin (for Windows) that allows you to create a variety of photographic styles. Effects like film grain, soft focus, B/W, B/W tinting and high contrast can be applied to the image in one step. It also offers many presets which can be fine tuned for your requirements.
GraphicXtras updated their Gothic plugin (for Windows) for creating dark and gothic like grainy image effects. It now includes 42 different output modes, right-click preview settings, quicker effects, new experimentation buttons, a bigger preview, an updated dialog and many new gothic/dark film noirish effects.
Little Ink Pot now offers two free plugins (for Windows). Xpose is a simple exposure adjustment plugin and Thredgeholder provides an edge detection algorithm that turns photos into line drawings.
Select Edges is a free Optipix plugin (for Win/Mac) that will create a selection from the contours of the edges in the image. As a selection plugin it only works in Photoshop and Elements. With the help of that selection you can selectively process the image with other filters like Gaussian Blur or Unsharp Mask.
Rosenman's new Smart De-Interlacer (for Windows) performs various de-interlacing procedures.
Photo Image is a collection of four simple Filter Factory plugins (for Windows) for retouching photographs. The collection consists of the Chrome, Enhance, Expose and Temperature plugins.
Jordi Gonzalez Boada offers a very simple Filter Factory plugin (for Windows) that turns a color image into B/W with the help of red, green and blue sliders. So this filter is very similar to the Channel Mixer filter of Photoshop. There is also a Spanish version of the plugin available.
Sloshifiers is a collection of 12 plugins (for Windows), created with FilterMeister, with strange negative and color effects. Their nickname "Photo Killers" is well deserved.
Photoshop SpeedUp is a freeware tool (for Windows) that helps you decrease the time it takes to load Adobe Photoshop. This can e.g. be done by letting you disable plugins that you may not be needed. There are also options for disabling the loading of Adobe fonts and presets as well as an option for setting Photoshop's memory usage. The original settings can be restored at any time. It works with Adobe Photoshop versions 3 to CS.
Plug-In Switch is a freeware tool (for Windows) for disabling Photoshop, Premier and After Effects plugins and re-enabling them again when needed without having to uninstall the plugins each time. It only displays the plugins of a certain folder and of a certain type at once.
ArtRage, a free painting software (for Windows), was updated to Version 1.1. It features some bug fixes and new features.
E-on Software Unveils Vue 5 Esprit
A "video preview" and product details on the upcoming new version of this popular Win/Mac scenery rendering and animation software are now available.
Dosch Design Releases Three CDs
Electronics and Shop Design both contain 3D models, while Carpets provides 228 seamless carpet and rug textures, as well as 25 bump maps for creating your own.
Helicon Filter 1.61 Plugin Released
This PC Photoshop plugin is available in Pro and Home flavors, supplying a variety of noise reduction and image adjustment functionality. Demo available.
Realworld Imagery Releases Autumn Color CD
Autumn Color is a collection of 52 images of deciduous trees and shrubs in peak Fall foliage supplied in 32-bit TIFF file format, on a black background with an 8-bit alpha channel mask.
PictoColor Releases iCorrect EditLab Pro
This color correction and color management software can be used as a plugin or standalone app and provides batch processing abilities. Windows/Mac demos available.
Right Hemisphere Introduces New Versions of Deep Paint 3D and Deep UV Software
If you need to paint and texture 3D models interactively, then Deep Paint 3D should be on your radar screen. Windows only.
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