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Step by Step Instructions


This page contains some step by step instructions for helping you to get started with Plugin Commander.


Navigating in File View


Choosing a pane to work with

When opening Plugin Commander you will see a main window with two large tabbed panes, one on the left and one on the right. One pane, the source pane, is always active while the other pane, the destination pane, is always partially grayed out. It doesn't matter with which pane you are working, both let you do the same things.

To choose a pane as the active pane simply click somewhere in the file list of the pane. The other pane will automatically become the passive one and will become partially gray.


Choosing a specific drive

1. To choose the drive, e.g. where your plugins are located, click on the arrow down sign of the drive box which is located at the left top of a pane.

2. From the appearing list select the drive you want to switch to.


Choosing a specific folder

When opening Plugin Commander for the first time the File View will be set to the folder in which Plugin Commander is located. To choose another folder, e.g. your plugin folder, it is recommended to switch to the root folder of your hard drive.

1. If the root folder of your hard drive isn't displayed in the active pane, press the Del key several time until the file list doesn't change anymore. As an alternative you can also click the symbol (located in the first line of the file list) several times.

2. In the root folder of the drive, you can switch to one of the folders by double clicking it.

3. To reach a specific sub folder simply make your way through the folder hierarchy by double clicking the folders.

The current folder path is always displayed, sometimes truncated, at the left bottom of the pane.


Switching View Modes

By default the Details File View mode is displayed. This mode corresponds to the Details View of the Internet Explorer. If you don't like this mode, you can also switch to a different mode.

1. To switch to a different File View mode, click on the symbol at the right top of the pane.

2. A context menu will appear which lets you choose between different modes.

3. After clicking on the mode you would like to be displayed, the File View appearance will change.

4. To switch back to the recent mode, simply repeat step 1 to 3.

 

Displaying only certain file types

By default all available file types will be displayed in the file list. If you only want to see certain file types, e.g. only Photoshop-compatible plugins, you can use the File Type box.

1. To display a list of predefined file types click on the arrow down handle of the box located at the right bottom of the pane.

2. From the appearing list choose the file types you would like to see displayed. Alternatively you can also enter a file pattern in the box. For example entering *.8bf will display all file with the .8bf file extension.

 

Sorting the file list

By default the file list is sorted by file name in alphabetically ascending order. But sometimes it is quite useful to have the file list sorted, e.g. by file creation date, to find recently saved or modified files faster.

1a. To sort the file list by file date, click on the Date column header at the right top of the file list. Clicking again sorts the list in the opposite direction.

1b. To sort the file list by file size, click on the Size column header at the middle top of the file list. Clicking again sorts the list in the opposite direction.

1c. To switch back to alphabetical sort order, click on the Name column header at the left top of the file list.

 

General Tasks

Opening your own preview image

Plugin Commander needs an image to be able to calculate and display plugins effects. This preview image can be changed by the user at any time. By default Plugin Commander uses Test.bmp, which is located in the Plugin Commander folder, as a preview image.

1. To open your own preview image, choose Open Preview Image from the File menu.

2. In the appearing file dialog choose an image and press the Open button.

3. The selected image will now be used as a preview image when previewing or executing plugins. To display it select Picture Editor from the View menu.

All opened images will automatically be added to the image list directly on the File Menu. The next time you want to open a certain preview image, you just need to click the appropriate image on the File menu.

 

Previewing and applying Filter Factory plugins

The Light Version of Plugin Commander can only preview and apply the effects of Filter Factory plugins with the help of the FF Editor. Filter Factory plugins are a special kind of Photoshop-compatible plugins which also have the .8bf file extension, but are usually only 49.152 bytes or 57.344 bytes large.

1. If you want to apply a plugin effect to a certain image, open the image by choosing Open Preview Image from the file menu.

2. To see the effect of a Filter Factory plugin simply double click one (in File View, Plugin View or FFL View).

3. The FF Editor will appear with the current preview image in the preview box.

4. After setting all parameters press the Apply or Big View button to apply the plugin effect to the current preview image. If you just wanted to take a look at the plugin effect without applying it, please switch back to the main window of Plugin Commander.

5. The image with the effect applied to it will finally appear in the Picture Editor window where you can save it if you like.

 

Previewing images, plugin effects and PSP files (Pro Version only)

1. To preview an image, plugin or PSP file, select it by clicking on it (in the file list of the File View, the plugin list in the Plugin View or the ffl list in the FFL View).

2. Choose Preview from the View menu or press the button which is located at the left bottom of the main window.

3. The Preview window will pop up and display the image, plugin effect or PSP image.

4. The size of the Preview window can be changed by clicking and and dragging the borders of the Preview window.

5. As long as the Preview window is displayed, selecting any other image, plugin or PSP file will instantly display it.

6. To close the Preview window choose Preview from the View menu or press the button again.

 

Executing or Applying plugins (Pro Version only)

Plugin Commander can execute and apply the effects of Photoshop-compatible plugin to images. Photoshop-compatible filter plugins can be recognized by the file extension .8bf. The Light Version of Plugin Commander can only run FilterFactory plugins with in the FF Editor.

1. If you want to apply a plugin effect to a certain image, open the image by choosing Open Preview Image from the file menu.

2. To execute a plugin, simply double click it (in File View, Plugin View or FFL View).

3. The plugin's dialog will appear with the current preview image in the preview box.

4. After setting all parameters press the OK button to apply the plugin effect to the current preview image. If you just wanted to take a look at the plugin without applying, simply press the Cancel button.

5. The image with the plugin effect will finally appear in the Picture Editor window where you can save it if you like.


Browsing
(Pro Version only)

1. To preview certain images or plugin effects as thumbnails in the Browser, select the appropriate images or plugins (in the File Plugin or Plugin View). If you want to browse all files in the current folder or plugin list, make sure that only one image or plugin is selected.

2. To run the Browser simply press the Browse button at the bottom of the main window or choose Browser from the View menu.

 

Using Plugin View

Switching to Plugin View and Using it

Before you switch to Plugin View, please make sure that a folder with your plugins is displayed in the active pane. To activate Plugin View please click on the tab button with the same name. It may takes some time until all plugins are displayed, because Plugin Commander will now scan through the current folder and its sub folder for plugins.

At the left side of the plugin view is a list with all categories that have been found in the scanned plugins. Clicking on one of the items will display the names of the plugins with that category in the right list box. For Photoshop-compatible plugins the categories are identical with the sub menus that are displayed on the Filter or Effects menu of Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. You can also select more than one category in the left list box if you like.

 

Enabling and disabling plugins

If you disable plugins, these plugins won't be recognized by the host application, e.g. Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, and won't be displayed on the Filter or Effects menu. This can help if the Filter or Effects menu got too crowded because of a large amount of plugins. Disabling the less useful plugins, lets you remove them from your host application without the need to uninstall them. When you need them again, you can enable them again in Plugin Commander.

You can enable or disable plugins in the File View as well as the Plugin View. The Light Version of Plugin Commander only lets you disable Filter Factory plugins in the Plugin View, but you can still disable other plugin types in File View. In Plugin View enabled plugins are displayed with + in front of their name and disabled plugin have a - in front of their name. In File View the file extension of disabled plugins is usually altered with an underscore or minus letter.

Here are the instructions:

1. Select the plugin(s) that should be enabled or disabled.

2. Click on the En/Disable button at the bottom or choose Enable/Disable from the Commands menu.

3. All plugins that are enabled will now be disabled and all plugins that are disabled are now enabled.

 

Changing the category of plugins

As mentioned before the categories of Photoshop-compatible plugins are identical with the sub menus that are displayed on the Filter or Effects menu of Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro or other image editing applications. So changing the category of a plugin makes is display in a different sub menu.

1. Select the plugins whose category you want to change in the right list box of the Plugin View.

2. Click on the Change Cat button at the bottom of the window or select Change Category from the Commands menu.

3. In the appearing dialog you can enter a new category name or choose and existing category from the the drop down list.

4. After clicking OK, the changes will be made to the plugins.

 

Using Photoshop Mode

Activating the Photoshop Mode check box at the top of Plugin View displays the additional sub menus that are available on Photoshop's Filter Menu. Some of these categories include virtual plugin entries which represent the items that are displayed in Photoshop, but are actually built into Photoshop and not real plugins. You can't do anything with these virtual items, they are just there for the completeness.

The Old Photoshop Mode check box cuts off the number of categories that are displayed in the left list box of Plugin View and places the rest of the plugins in the Other category. By doing so it almost exactly simulates what Photoshop 3, 4 and 5 did with its Filter menu.


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    Copyright (c) 2000 - 2009 by Harald Heim