Plugins for Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, PSP & others



Plugin Newsletter - April 2004



THE PLUGIN SITE NEWS: Illustrator Plugins, Tubes, Plugins Tutorials



PRODUCT REVIEWS: Scatterlight Lenses, Xenofex 2

POLL RESULTS: Your Most Used Image Applications

NEW POLL: Essential Online Shop Features

THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Underwater Effect, Circular Distortion, PhotoMosaic, Wedding Effects, PSP8 Books

FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Mehdi Plugins, GIMP 2, Patchwork Maker, CoffeeCup

GRAPHICS NEWS: Andrews Plugins, Asiva, Flaming Pear, Dynamic Graphics, Human Software, Kinnetic FX



Dear Reader,

As you have probably noticed from previous issues of this newsletter, we are working on an online shop for selling Photoshop-compatible plugins from various companies. There is still a lot to be done until it will be ready, but we are making sufficient progress. This month's poll (see below) refers to important features of online shops, so it would be nice if you cast your vote. Additionally if you have some suggestions, ideas or other comments concerning The Plugin Shop, please let us know.

As usually you will find a lot of information concerning plugins in this newsletter. We have collected tutorial links for popular plugins, produced two new plugin reviews, completed the poll about the most popular graphics applications and hunted for more free plugins and tools. This and much more can be found below.

Wishing you all the best,

Harald Heim

The Commercial Illustrator Plugins page and the Free PSP Tubes page of the Resources section of The Plugin Site have been updated with dozens of new links.

A new Plugin Tutorials page has been added to the KnowHow section of The Plugin Site. It currently contains links to tutorials for plugins from Alienskin, Corel, Flaming Pear, The Plugin Site and DragonFly. The Graphics Newsletters page has been updated, too.

Digital Element has partnered with three other top Adobe Photoshop plugin developers to create The Essential Plug-ins Bundle.

The Essential Plugin Bundle contains seven professional Photoshop plugins for Macintosh and Windows:

* Digital Element Aurora 2
* Andromeda Series 3 Screens
* Andromeda EtchTone
* Alien Skin Image Doctor
* Alien Skin Splat
* nik Color Efex Pro! Photo Classic/Design Bundle
* nik Color Efex Pro! 2.0

The Essential Plug-ins Bundle, normally over $900 is offered for only $199.00 (US). Each of the products included are the latest full versions of the most creative and technical tools used by digital artists, designers & photographers.

Some weeks ago issue 11 of the DPT magazine was published. My Plugins Essentials column reviewed a dozen plugins turning photos into paintings and contained 4 image examples that were created with four of the plugins. A few days ago issue 12 of the DPT magazine became available. In this new issue I reviewed several plugins that convert color photos into B/W images. in the same issue you can also read tutorials about creating family photo albums, producing caricatures with Photoshop, sharpening with PSP and transforming photos into work of art.

Robert T. and Andrew Bockelman reviewed plugins from Alienskin and Andromeda. Here are their summaries:

"Xenofex 2 is easy to use, with lots of variations within each effect as well as presets to use. It can be for a professional as well as someone who wants to "Jazz Up" a dull photo. The results are professional looking whether you are a pro or an amateur. The only limitation is your imagination as to what you can create with this plugin and each of the fourteen different effects."

"ScatterLight Lenses creates soft focus, diffused glow, and star-like glint highlights on images. There are other plugins that can do diffusion and glow, but none of them offer the variety and quality that ScatterLight Lenses brings to the table. It is also a plugin with some problems, such as awkward menus, very little keyboard control, slowness with some effects, and some features that do not work as expected. But during my testing, none of the shortcomings interfered with achieving good results. And the results are so strong and so unique that ScatterLight Lenses is a standout among plugins."

For reading the full reviews and viewing other review please visit

Our latest poll asked you to vote for image editing applications that you use regularly. More than 1700 votes were cast by more than 800 people. That means that, on average, people are using two or more applications regularly. Most people are probably using both Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. Here are the results:

1. Photoshop 27% (CS: 10%, Version 7: 13%)
2. Paint Shop Pro 20% (Version 8: 11.5%, Version 7: 6.5 %)

3. IrfanView 8.9%
4. Photoshop Elements 6.9%
5. PhotoImpact 5.3%
6. Photo-Paint 5.1%
7. Other ... 4.9%
8. Fireworks 3.7%
9. Painter 3.3%
10. GIMP 2.4%

11. MGI Photo Suite 1.8%
12. Serif PhotoPlus 1.7%
13. Ulead PhotoExpress 1.5%
14. PhotoDeluxe 1.4%
Picture Publisher 1.4%
15. Mediachance PhotoBrush 1.1%
16. Digital Image Pro 1%
17. Corel PhotoHouse 0.9%
18. PhotoDraw 0.7%
19. Ultimate Paint 0.6%
20. Photoline 0.3%

The same poll in 2002 resulted in 34% for Photoshop and 22% for PSP. So the 2004 results indicate that PSP has caught up with Photoshop again. It is interesting to see that more people still use Photoshop 7 and haven't updated to Photoshop CS. So the question is whether CS doesn't offer enough new features or whether the new activation procedure is the cause. Additionally Photoshop Elements has overtaken PhotoImpact and Photo-Paint. The free IrfanView made it to number three, but do most people use it for image editing or just for viewing images?

For more poll results, please visit the KnowHow section which was recently updated with the latest poll results:

NEW POLL: Essential Online Shop Features
The latest poll asks you to answer the question "Which of these features do you consider VERY important for an online shop?" by choosing between 39 items. Please vote only for the items you consider most important. Please don't choose all items, because then your vote will be useless. Thanks for your participation!

You can cast your vote(s) at the bottom of the main page at

Here are the latest interesting posts from The Plugin Site Forums:

lue-lue asked "i want to do a photoshoot using models and a blue screen ... and then submerge the image so it looks like it was taken underwater. do you know of any plugins... that give you professional underwater effects."

brabander wrote "I'm looking for a plug-in filter that enables me to distort a rectangular picture into a round picture."

slowbyte wrote "I am looking for a program or a plug-in which can create a new image out of lots of small images. Made up just like the pixels in a normal picture these small images creates a new image..."

Norman Donnell asked"I do a bit of wedding photography. Does anyone know of plug-ins that are especially designed to enhance photographs, e.g. borders, misty effects, montages within flower... That type of thing."

carlton99 asked "Anyone see a review on these... HowTo books on Jasc PaintShopPro 8?"

For more discussions and comments please visit

Mr. Medhi from France offers 24 free Photoshop-compatible plugins (for Windows) that were created with Filter Meister. Two new plugins have recently been addedand two were updated. The plugin effects range from color effects, photo correction, transparency manipulation, distortion to grain and fractals. Unfortunately each plugin is delivered in its own zip file that is protected by the password "mehdi" (without the quotes). So it will take quite some time to download and unzip them. Nevertheless this plugin set is highly recommended.

Version 2 of GIMP, the most popular open source image editing application, has been released. GIMP 2 is available for Unix-based systems, Windows and MacOS X. The user interface is now easier to use and the dialog boxes are grouped together in a tabbed interface. Additionally the Windows Version finally seems to work relatively stable now. Previous versions more or less supported Photoshop plugins. Looks as if this feature has been removed in the new version. Or am I too stupid to find that feature?

Patchwork Maker (for Windows) is a tool for combining many photos into a composite image known as a photo mosaic. It allows you to set contrast and transparency of composites pictures and the maximum number of time you want to use one picture. The created image can be saved as a BMP or JPG.

CoffeeCup Software offers a few freeware tools (for Windows) for web design purposes. They offer an Image Viewer, Zip Wizard, Scrollbar Wizard, Image Slicer, Icon Studio and Browser Skinner. Especially recommended are their DHTML Menu Builder and Flash Text Wizard for creating menus and Flash text effects for your web site.

Andrew's Plugins Collection Has Been Updated
Originally known as Innovations, this set of 16 plugins for PC Photoshop and compatible applications has been updated to include a variety of new features and improved performance. Demo available.

Version 2.0 of Asiva Shift+Gain Plugin Released
The new version of this Win/Mac plugin provides a significant number of new features to make color correction easier, using Asiva's unique approach. Demos available.

Polymerge Filter Now Available from Flaming Pear Software
Here's a new Win/Mac plugin that is designed to let you make "ghastly portraits and unusual still-lifes", by combining groups of images. Er, okay. You can have some fun with the demo.

Dynamic Graphics Group Launches Photoshop Publication
Do we need another publication devoted to Photoshop? The folks who bring us Dynamic Graphics think so, and have launched Photoshop Fix. It's "designed with you, the Photoshop junkie, in mind".

Human Software Shipping PhotoSurface Version 2.0
The latest version of this Win/Mac Photoshop-compatible plugin lets you add more than 200 textures to your images. By using its layers feature, you can combine them to create a wide variety of texture effects. No demo available.

HumanSoftware Shipping PhotoWeave Version 1.6
Designed to let you quickly create striped fabrics and pattern effects, the latest version of this Win/Mac plugin comes with 130 fabric simulations, 120 weaves and no demo.

Kinnetic FX Releases Orbytool for Corel Photo-Paint
This add-on for Corel Photo-Paint makes it easy to create buttons, orbs, and other round objects, complete with shading and shadows. No demo.

For daily graphics news updates, please visit



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