Plugins for Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, PSP & others



Plugin Newsletter - August/September 2013





BWSTYLER 2 FOR WINDOWS: 7 New Effects, 60 New Effects Options, 480 New Presets and much more

FILTERHUB 1.03 FOR WIN/MAC: Support for Photoshop CC

METARAW 1.01 FOR WINDOWS: Essential Improvements

CONTRASTMASTER 1.07 FOR WINDOWS: Faster Dynamic Contrast, 64-bit Standalone

COLORSTYLER 1.03 FOR WINDOWS: 64-bit Standalone, Many Fixes

REVIEW: Alienskin Exposure 5

POLL RESULT: Which of these RAW Converters do you use regularly?

NEW POLL: Which is your favorite tool for viewing images?

THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Adobe Subscription Model, Enhancing Old Photo Scans, Texturation 3D Problem

FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Highpass Sharpen, WebP Format Plugin, LightZone 4

GRAPHICS NEWS: Paint Shop Pro X6, Painter X3, GraphicConverter 8.8



Dear Reader,

With Corel Paint Shop Pro X6 becoming a 64-bit application (see below) all major image editing applications (e.g. Photoshop, Photo-Paint, Paint.NET, Photoline, PhotoPlus) are 64-bit now. With one exception: Photoshop Elements. Hopefully Photoshop Elements 12, which is expected to be released within the next 4-5 weeks, will become a 64-bit application too. But I fear that it will still take one or two more years.

In an interview a Corel product manager stated that 5 percent of Photoshop users are professional photographers (compared to 3 percent for PSP). Add another 5 percent of professional designers and you get the 10 percent that embraced Adobe's Creative Cloud. This percentage of professionals may be higher for other Adobe applications, but the largest group of Photoshop users seem to be photo enthusiasts, which were not really amused by the "clouded" price increase.

The installations of all our plugins were updated to support Paint Shop Pro X6 64-bit. As far as our freeware plugins are concerned, just redownload them if you want to install them into Paint Shop Pro X6 64-bit. If you do not receive an update of our commercial plugins with PSP X6 64-bit installation support in the meantime, please contact us.

It is sad to see that most major plugin companies (e.g. Alienskin, AutoFX, DFT, nik, OnOne) do not officially support Paint Shop Pro anymore. We try to keep our plugins compatible with as many applications as possible, even if there are only few users of certain applications using our plugins. At the last count our plugins and their standalone versions supported 90 host applications.

Kind regards,
Harald Heim

The Plugin Site






7 New Effects, 60 New Effects Options, 480 New Presets and much more

Version 2 of BWStyler for Windows is ready. BWStyler 2 performs impressive black and white conversions, creates traditional b&w effects and visually styles b&w photos. It features 25 effect types and 680 presets as well as plenty of masking options for applying the effect to only selected areas of a photo.

The Photoshop Dark skin of BWStyler 2 with preset thumbnails

BWStyler 2 offers seven new effects, e.g. tonal look, dynamic contrast, aging and colorkey. It also features more than 60 new effect options and 470 new presets. The quality and accuracy of the simulation of traditional b&w effects was increased. Many old presets were improved and all presets can now be viewed as thumbnails or icons. Smart filtering and action recording became possible too. BWStyler 2 renders up to four times faster by fully supporting multiple cores and hyperthreading. The Standalone/Lightroom version is now also available as a 64-bit application. The UI was enhanced with many new features including 15 different skin types. Preset files of BWStyler 1 are still supported.

The B&W, Dynamic Contrast and Colorkey effects were applied (Photo: elwynn / pixmac)

For more information and a 14-day trial see the
BWStyler 2 for Windows Product Page





Support for Photoshop CC

Version 1.03 of FilterHub fully supports Photoshop CC. Previous versions of the FilterHub extension had not stored their settings in Photoshop CC, which is fixed now. FilterHub 1.03 now also supports the built-in Camera Raw Filter of Photoshop CC. Additionally FilterHub received a new logo that is more similar to the ElementsXXL and MetaRaw logos.

FilterHub is a powerful replacement for the Filter menu of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements and offers many advantages over it. It supports built-in filters (from the Filter, Adjustments and Enhance menus), filter plugins and third-party automation plugins. The FilterHub panel runs in Photoshop under Windows and MacOS X and in Photoshop Elements under Windows.

Registered users will receive an upgrade email within 48 hours.

For more information and a 14-day trial see
FilterHub Product Page




Essential Improvements

MetaRaw 1.01 supports several new cameras from Sony and one from Olympus. MetaRaw's Camera Raw Filter can now be executed from FilterHub and recorded in actions (without settings). When running Camera Raw Filter, the Camera Raw dialog now has an OK button and a disabled Done button. Furthermore various essential bugs were fixed, e.g. a problem that kept Adobe DNG Converter from being used for raw conversion.

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.

Registered users will receive an upgrade email within 48 hours.

For more information and a demo version see
MetaRaw Product Page




Faster Dynamic Contrast, 64-bit Standalone

The Dynamic Contrast effect of ContrastMaster 1.07 for Windows now renders up to four times faster. A 64-bit Standalone/Lightroom version, which renders up to 30% faster, is now included. Various bugs were fixed concerning e.g. the Sat Mask slider.

Registered users will receive an upgrade email within 48 hours.

For more information and a demo version see
ContrastMaster Product Page




64-bit Standalone, Many Fixes

ColorStyler 1.03 for Windows includes a new 64-bit Standalone/Lightroom version. It now lets you scroll through all preset thumbnails with the cursor left/right keys. There is a new "Elements Light" skin and the eyedropper automatically switches color boxes on the Select tab sheet.

Many bugs that were encountered when working on BWStyler 2 are now fixed in ColorStyler too. These bugs occurred under special circumstances and concern, e.g. a crash, vanishing controls, effect artifacts or a failure to update the preview.

Registered users will receive an upgrade email within 48 hours.

For more information and a 14-day trial see the
ColorStyler Product Page





Alienskin Exposure 5

Kay Michael Kuhnlein reviewed Exposure 5 from Alienskin this time. Although he cannot resist bitching about the Creative Cloud and straying from the rational path of preset clicking, he managed to finish this extensive review that puts Exposure 5 through its paces.

You can read the full review at the
Exposure 5 Review Page




Which of these RAW Converters do you use regularly?

806 votes were collected in the latest poll about raw converters. Here are the results:

1. Adobe Photoshop 25.3%
2. Adobe Lightroom 17.6%

3. Adobe Photoshop Elements 7.6%
4. Adobe DNG Converter 6.5%
5. Corel Paint Shop Pro 6.3%
6. DxO Optics 5.5%
7. Canon Photo Professional 4.8%
8. Nikon Capture (NX) 4.6%
9. Other 4.2%

10. CaptureOne 2.9%
11. Raw Therapee 2.7%
12. Silkypix Developer Studio 2.6%
13. AfterShot Pro / Bibble 2%
      Apple Aperture 2%

14. Photo Ninja 1.2%
15. Corel Photo-Paint 1.1%
16. Breeze Browser 0.9%
      Sigma Photo Pro 0.9%
      Pixmantec RawShooter 0.9%
17. LightZone 0.5%

Compared to a similar poll conducted at the end of 2010 Photoshop and Lightroom still seem to be the most popular raw converters. But Photoshop has lost some popularity. It received 9% fewer votes whereas Adobe DNG Converter gained 6.5% and Photoshop Elements gained 1.2%. It seems that some people did not upgrade to a newer Photoshop version and use DNG Converter (and to a much less extent Photoshop Elements) instead. Nevertheless, the top 4 tools in this poll are from Adobe, which seems to dominate 57% of the raw conversion market - exactly as in 2010.

Unexpectedly Canon Photo Professional, which did not participate in the fromer poll, made it on rank 6. A few raw converters gained considerably compared to 2010, e.g. DxO Optics (+1.5%) and Nikon Capture(+0.5%). Others lost, e.g. Capture One (-1.2%) and Aperture (-1.2%).

Apart from the Adobe tools the most popular raw converters are Paint Shop Pro, Dxo Optics, Canon Photo Pro and Nikon Capture. As MetaRaw was just released it was neglected in this poll, but will be included next time.

For more poll results please visit the
Resources section




Which is your favorite tool for viewing images?

A poll about image viewing tools was last done in 2006 on The Plugin Site. In the meantime a lot has changed. Image viewing functionality was added to many image editing applications as well as operating systems themselves. So it will be interesting to see whether people still prefer a dedicated tool for it. You can choose between 19 tools and an Other option in this poll.

Please participate in this poll by visiting the
Main page...




Adobe Subscription Model, Enhancing Old Photo Scans, Texturation 3D Problem

Here are the latest posts from The Plugin Site Forums:

Adobe Subscription Model
psf372aq3 wrote: "It would appear that your poll about readers reactions to Adobe's subscription scheme does not include too many active designers and artists. I am an active digital artist. For the first year I am paying $31+/month for all of their products and after that, it will be just under $50 per month. In my opinion, this is extremely reasonable for access to all of their products plus all updates and upgrades."

Enhancing Old Photo Scans
paulhurm wrote: "... I have several hundred B/W prints ... taken by my grandfather during his World War One duties. Typical of old prints like this, silver has crept to the surface and when scanned these areas reflect the scanner light and I end up with bright / washed out areas. ... I would like any suggestions for a set of processes to try to fix these prints as much as possible for possible book publication."

Texturation 3D Problem
hollyredhead wrote: "... [Redfield Texturation 3D] worked fine in [Paint Shop Pro] X2 - but in X3 I didn't have the Last Used option and it goes back to the same setting each time you use it, I have the same problem in X5. ... I've tried everything - going to have to do my texturation in X2 I guess."

Feel free to post comments or start a discussion topic at
The Plugin Site Forum





Highpass Sharpen, WebP Format Plugin, LightZone 4

Richard Rosenman released the free Highpass Sharpen plugin (for Windows). The advantage of Highpass sharpening is that it mainly sharpens midtone areas. Unlike the Highpass Sharpen plugin of Photoshop Rosenman's plugin automatically blends the grayish high pass result with Overlay and Hard Light blending options to produce the sharpening effect, so you are spared the extra manual step. Unfortunately, the plugin has a very small preview, which makes it hard to investigate the sharpening result, and the sharpening intensity is limited to 100%. For a commercial alternative see FocalBlade, which also offers a high pass feature and many addditional options.
Visit website...

Telegraphics offers the WebP Format plugin (for Win/Mac), which lets you open and save 24-bit WebP images in Photoshop, Elements and other applications that support format plugins. WebP is an image format proposed by Google for web images, which does not seem to be very known yet.
Visit website...

LightZone 4 (for Win/Mac/Linux), which previously was a commercial raw converter, has become open source. So you can now download and use it for free. Unfortunately, a MacOS installations file for LightZone 3.9 is only available so far. After playing a while with it, I noticed why LightZone did not succeed commercially. It has some nice features, but all in all it is still lacking in several areas.
Visit website...

For more free plugins and tool, please visit the
Resources section




Paint Shop Pro X6, Painter X3, GraphicConverter 8.8

Corel Paint Shop Pro X6 (for Windows) was released. It finally includes a 64-bit version with support for 64-bit Photoshop plugins. The usual 32-bit version of X6 can be installed as well, so you need not worry about using 32-bit-only plugins. The UI appear quite similar to X5 but includes detail refinements. There are new Auto Selection and Smart Selection Brush tools. Other than that various available features were improved.
Visit website...

Corel Painter X3 (for Win/Mac) is a natural media painting application with various other image editing features. Version X3 provides new jitter brushes, perspective guides, stroke preview, reference image support, advanced brush controls, enhanced Wacom multi-touch support, improved Photoshop file import and much more. In the upcoming Painter X3.1 Update users will be able to paint with their hands and access commands with movements and gestures with the help of Leap Motion.
Visit website...

GraphicConverter 8.8 (for Mac) is an image editing application, which now offers an improved support for Photoshop plugins, supports XMP face tags, allows exporting EXIF data to Photoshop files and ZIP compression for TIFF files, features an updated image capture and multi-page support for HTML catalogs.
Visit website...


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