Plugin Newsletter - April/May 2016
ACTIONSXXL FOR WINDOWS: Record actions in Photoshop Elements and use them for batch processing
ELEMENTSXXL 3.50 / LAYERSXXL 1.50 / FILTERHUB 1.05: Support for ActionsXXL and bug fixes
METARAW 2.02 FOR WINDOWS: Bad Color Fix feature, Support for 36 new cameras
PHOTOWIZ STANDALONES FOR WINDOWS: Using MetaRaw Converter for opening raw files
REVIEWS: Alienskin Exposure X, Filter Forge 5
POLL RESULTS: Which tool(s) do you regularly use for raw conversion?
NEW POLL: Which versions of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro do you use?
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Halftone Effect, Filters Unlimited Import Problem
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: nik Collection, Filters for Photos, Olympus High Res Shot, KompoZer
GRAPHICS NEWS: Rebelle, Photoshop Feature Guide, Ultraflares
Photoshop Elements missed two integral features which are essential for professional image editing: Recording actions and using them for batch processing. Our new ActionsXXL plugin fills this gap thus saving users a lot of time when repetitive image processing tasks are involved. Development of ActionsXXL took six months altogether (1.5 months back in 2013 and 4.5 months recently). Making the 400+ features of ElementsXXL support recording and playback via ActionsXXL was also a huge effort, so that's why the version number of ElementsXXL was bumped up to 3.50. So ElementsXXL, ActionsXXL and also LayersXXL make a great team now and interact with each other to make working with Photoshop Elements more productive.
Google acquired nik Software in 2012 mainly for using their image effects in mobile apps, so it was only a question of time until the nik plugins were dropped. This has happened now by making them available for free and stopping their development. In the short run this is certainly great for many people, but it essentially means that the nik plugins have no future. Some people already complain about incompatibilities with the latest OS X version. Such problems will certainly multiply in future. Additionally the nik plugins do not support HiDPI screens, which will become the standard soon, so they are not very conveniently to use with 4K screens. With the arrival of 8K screens they will definitely become obsolete. On the other hand the free nik Collection will drive away many sales from the competition, because it is quite hard to compete with a high quality product that is free. So Google did not do the Photoshop plugin industry a favor by giving it away for free.
ACTIONSXXL FOR WINDOWS
Record actions in Photoshop Elements and use them for batch processing
ActionsXXL empowers Photoshop Elements users to create, record, play and save Photoshop actions. ActionsXXL also offers a Batch feature for automatically processing multiple document or image files with actions, scripts and other features. ActionsXXL plays actions 30% faster than Photoshop Elements itself and plays actions created for Photoshop, which would otherwise not work in Photoshop Elements, with the help of ElementsXXL.
ActionsXXL saves users a lot of time when repetitive image processing tasks are involved. Thus ActionsXXL is an indispensable tool for making image editing work with Photoshop Elements much more productive.
For more information and a trial version visit the
ActionsXXL Product Page
ELEMENTSXXL 3.50 / LAYERSXXL 1.50 / FILTERHUB 1.05
Support for ActionsXXL and bug fixes
The latest updates of ElementsXXL, LayersXXL and FilterHub for Windows mainly provide support for our latest ActionsXXL plugin. They let you record their image editing commands with ActionsXXL. LayersXXL and mainly ElementsXXL also allow playing back action steps that are not supported by Photoshop Elements itself.
Apart from bug fixes ElementsXXL 3.50 also offers new menu items on the Window menu for displaying the ActionsXXL and FilterHub panels as well as improved Split Layer > RGB / CMY features.
METARAW 2.02 FOR WINDOWS
Bad Color Fix feature, Support for 36 new cameras
Version 2.02 of MetaRaw includes a new "Bad Color Fix" feature for correcting color problems of unknown future raw file formats. Apart from important bug fixes there is support for 36 new cameras and DNG Converter 9.5.
MetaRaw extends the functionality of the Adobe Camera Raw plugin in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. It lets you open camera raw files with Adobe Camera Raw, which are normally not supported by it, and allows applying Adobe Camera Raw as a filter to image layers. In Photoshop Elements MetaRaw provides automatic lens correction and chromatic aberration removal features for Adobe Camera Raw. Additionally MetaRaw includes its own raw converter, which has several advantages over Adobe Camera Raw.
For more information and a trial version visit the
MetaRaw Product Page
PHOTOWIZ STANDALONES FOR WINDOWS
Using MetaRaw Converter for opening camera raw files
All six PhotoWiz standalones (ColorWasher, FocalBlade, LightMachine, ContrastMaster, BWStyler and ColorStyler) now use MetaRaw Converter for opening camera raw files. This has the advantage that more than 285 new raw file types are supported, the images have a higher quality by default, full-size raw files are opened at least 20% faster and support for new raw file types can be added much faster in future. MetaRaw Converter is also part of our MetaRaw plugin, which is updated regularly with support for new camera raw file formats.
For more information and demo versions visit the
PhotoWiz Product Pages
Alienskin Exposure X, Filter Forge 5
Kay Michael Kuhnlein had a look at Exposure X and FilterForge 5 and wrote a review about them. This time he even abused three of my own photos in the reviews and made some jokes at my expense.
Have fun reading the reviews at
Which tool(s) do you regularly use for raw conversion?
More than 230 people have cast 459 votes in the latest poll about raw conversion tools. Here are the results:
1. Adobe Photoshop (Camera Raw) 39.1%
2. Adobe Lightroom 30.4%
3. DxO Optics Pro 12.1%
4. Adobe Photoshop Elements (Camera Raw) 11.3%
5. Corel Paint Shop Pro 10.8%
6. Canon Digital Photo Professional 9.5%
7. Other 8.7%
8. Irfanview 8.3%
9. Capture One 7.4%
Adobe DNG Converter 7.4%
10. Nikon Capture (NX) 6.5%
11. GIMP 4.4%
12. MetaRaw 3.9%
Raw Therapee 3.9%
13. Photo Ninja 3.5%
14. Corel Photo-Paint 3%
15. AfterShot Pro / Bibble 1.7%
16. Silkypix Developer Studio 1.3%
Helicon Filter 1.3%
17. Apple Aperture 0.9%
Apple Photos 0.9%
Breeze Browser 0.9%
Sigma Photo Pro 0.9%
Sony Image Data Converter 0.9%
18. Pixmantec RawShooter 0.4%
In average every voter uses two raw conversion tools, which is surprising. But as some general image editing tools are in the top 5, this may explain it. But it also indicates that certain raw conversion tools have advantages over other tool depending on the task or image. Compared to 2013 DxO Optics became more popular whereas Adobe DNG Converter is less used. The Top 5 tools are used by almost 52% of all voters whereas they were embraced by 63% in 2013. So it seems that they lost a bit ground to other less popular tools.
For more poll results please visit the
Which versions of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro do you use?
As almost every year here is again our poll about which versions of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro you use.
Please participate in this poll by visiting the
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS
Here are the latest interesting posts from The Plugin Site Forums:
Colonius wrote: "I'm looking for a plugin for Photoshop
Elements11 which can create grid-type pictures. As don't know the exact
English translation, see this example. (in German we call them "gerasterte
Filters Unlimited Import Problem
Blues Wolf wrote: "Mine just stopped letting me
import filters into my Filters unlimted two. I tried reloading it but
it didn't work. Is something wring with the filter?"
Feel free to post comments or start a discussion topic at
The Plugin Site Forum
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS
nik Collection, Filters for Photos, Olympus High Res Shot, KompoZer
The nik Collection (for Win/Mac) has
been made available for free by Google. It consists of 7 Photoshop plugins,
Lightroom editors and standalones for creating old film effects, color
effects, b&w effects and HDR compositions as well as applying sharpening
and noise reduction.
MacPhun Filters for Photos (for OS
X) offers 30 free photo effects and can be used as a plugin with Apple’s
Photos program or as a standalone program. Among the effects are sketch,
oil painting, color tones, black & white and grain styles. The effects
can be adjusted with up to three sliders and there is also a brush tool.
Olympus High Res Shot Raw File Plugin
(for Win/Mac) lets you open Olympus .orf files that were shot with the
High Res Shot setting. It is an import plugin so it has to be accessed
from the File > Import menu. It works in the 64-bit versions of Photoshop
CS5 and newer and displays a simple dialog with a preview and some basic
white balance, exposure, contrast, sharpness, saturation and color profile
KompoZer (for Win/Mac/Linux) is a free
web authoring system that combines web file management and WYSIWYG web
page editing. KompoZer was designed for non-technical computer users who
want to create an attractive, professional-looking web site without needing
to know HTML or web coding. KompoZer is based on Netscape Composer, which
was probably the first WYSIWYG html editor back in the 90s.
For more free plugins and tools, please visit the
Rebelle, Photoshop Feature Guide, Ultraflares
Escape Motions released Rebelle (for
Win/Mac), a digital painting application which simulates real-world color
mixing, blending, wet-diffusion and drying. It offers watercolor, acrylic,
ink and pastel tools as well as Pencil, Pastel, Marker and Eraser tools.
There are 10 paper and canvas presets. Escape Motions also develops Flame
Painter, another painting program, and Ambilight, which produces computer
generated images and animations.
James Wamser offers an 88-page online guide
which lists all new features of Photoshop versions from CS to CC 2015.
It does not include many images of the features, but nevertheless provides
a quick and easy way to see if you missed any new useful features in newer
versions. There is also an index for looking up features alphabetically.
It can be downloaded as a PDF for offline use.
Ultraflares (for Windows) from Richard Rosenman
is a powerful lens flare plugin for Photoshop-compatible applications.
It claims to feature some of the most advanced and realistic
lens flare effects available today. Ultraflares offers hundreds of presets,
e.g. 65 natural flares, 60 stylized flares, 35 glints and 40 light leaks.