Plugins for Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, PSP & others



Plugin Newsletter - December 2003



THE PLUGIN SITE NEWS: Temporary Unavailability of The Plugin Site, Free Plugins page updated

FOCALBLADE 1.02 UPDATE: Several new features and fixes



POLL RESULTS: Plugin Dialog Design

NEW POLL: Useful Free Plugins

THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Increasing Resolution, Fantasy Painting, Barrel effect, Custom Shapes, RAW plugin

FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Dust & Scratch Removal, Wide Histogram, AutoCrop, Gothic, UnDistort, hugin, AVIPreview

GRAPHICS NEWS: Asiva, Mask Pro Course, CA Contest,, Andrew's Plugins, PhotoStory




Dear Reader,

I hope that the last year was as great and successful for you as it was for us. Our ColorWasher and FocalBlade products are used by more users than we ever expected. So we hope that we helped to make photo correction easier and more effective for many people. We will continue to produce new products of similar or better quality in the new year 2004 and update our available products to make them even better.

The Plugin Site will also continue to be a source for free plugins. We already offer three packages with free plugins, but there will certainly be some more free plugins available in 2004 from us. It was nice to see that many free plugins that have been released in 2003 were created with FilterMeister ( Several of these plugins use features that I added to FilterMeister myself. As one of its developers I will add even more features to FilterMeister in 2004 that will make features possible in freeware plugins that you probably only knew from commercial plugins.

Wishing you a Great and Happy New Year,

Harald Heim


We will switch our web hosting provider during January and upgrade to a faster and larger server. So it can happen that the URL is temporarily not available. However, we will provide a mirrored copy of the web site at another location. If you aren't able to access during January, please go to

to find a link to a working version of The Plugin Site. Thanks for your patience!

The Free Plugins page has been updated again. Several new plugins, which were featured in recent issues of the Plugin Newsletter, were added and some old expired links were fixed. Additionally several other pages of the Resources section of The Plugin Site have been updated.


Again there is a new update for FocalBlade, our multi-functional sharpening plugin that is about to get our most successful product. Version 1.02 of FocalBlade makes stronger sharpening possible by extending the range of the Sharpen sliders to 1000% and in the Deblur Modes even to 2000%. The resizable window, a feature that many people have waited for, has been added, too. The same feature now makes it possible to use FocalBlade at a minimum screen resolution of 640x480 pixel. Other highlights in this release are the new Antialias feature for reducing artifacts and grain as well as a memory usage optimization that allows a 100% preview for images of any size without using any additional RAM. 15 new preset files for creating artistic effects have been included and Cloak Mode has been improved considerably. Registered users of FocalBlade will receive the 1.02 update by email within the next 24 hours.

For more information and for downloading a demo version please go to


Issue 7 of the DPT magazine has become available this month. It contains 60 creative card designs and shows you how to create your own cards. There is an exclusive feature about the new tools in Adobe Photoshop CS and the cover disk offers Photoshop learning material. Further tutorials demonstrate how to produce cross-processed poster and an Art Nouveau look, how to switch hair styles in portraits and how to create underwater scenes. The Paint Shop Pro Tips section explains how to create stunning borders for any picture. Finally, in my Essential Plugins column, I compare several noise reduction plugins and choose the best tool.


Want to see dozens of galleries of cool fractal images? Then you should visit the Fractalus web site. offers various galleries with more than 14,000 images from thousands of artists. The image categories include Abstract/Surreal, Cartoons/Illustrations, Dark Art, Fan Art, Fantasy, Nature, Photo Manipulations, Portraits and Science Fiction. is a web site for graphical artists to display their creations for feedback and exposure. Currently there are more than 3 million submissions ranging from application skins, contests, flash, fonts, icons to interfaces, photos, poetry, textures, tutorials and wallpapers.


The latest poll asked you for your preference of a certain plugin dialog design. 170 people have cast their vote with the following result:

1. It doesn't matter: 36%
2. Preview on the Left of the Dialog (as most plugins have): 34%
3. Preview on the Right of the Dialog (e.g. AlienSkin, FlamingPear): 25%
4. Preview at the Top of the Dialog: 5%

Obviously most people don't mind where the preview is located on a plugin dialog. Still there is a small preference of having it on the left-hand side of the dialog. But I don't think that would keep them from using a plugin with another dialog design.

For more poll results please visit


Our latest poll asks you to vote for the free plugins that you use regularly. Among 41 plugin collections can be chosen. Multiple votes are allowed, although your vote has the best effect if you choose not too many items.

To vote please visit the bottom of the page at

Here are some interesting posts from The Plugin Site Discussion Forums during the last four weeks:

Forrest asked "I am lookling for a plug-in that would allow (or more) digital photos to be added (imported) together to for the purpose of increasing the resolution."

Marc wrote "I have been tring to figure out how to make a photograph into a fantasy painting for a year now. I DONT GET IT! Can someone PLEASE help me"

JDR asks "Does anyone know of an inexpensive or free plugin for Photoshop that can get rid of the barreling effect produced by wide angle lens shots?"

rachnasingh asks "can some one please guide me how i can save my desired "shapes" in adobe "custome shape tool" and later on use this tool with my saved shapes. there are already some shapes that are there but need to put in more shapes"

Guest wrote "I'm looking for the RAW plug-in for PS7, so I can use the .CRW files from my canon digital camera . It used to be on the adobe site but not any more."

For more discussions and comments please visit


The Polaroid Dust & Scratch Removal Utility (for Win/Mac) consists of a standalone application and a plugin. The application offers various tools for creating selections whereas the plugin offers an interactive preview which makes it easier to create the desired effect. Although it sometimes renders quite slowly, it is a nice addition to the Dust & Scratch Removal tool in some graphics applications.

Reindeer Graphics offer the free Wide Histogram plugin (for Win/Mac) for viewing an enhanced histogram of 16-bit images. The plugin provides a 512, 768, or 1024 pixel wide histogram, giving between 2 and 4 times the resolution of Photoshop's built-in histogram tool. Eight modes for the histogram, including RGB, Red, Green, Blue, Colors, Hue, Saturation, and Luminance are available. The plug-in can be used with Adobe Photoshop 5.5, 6, 7, or CS for both 8-bit and 16-bit RGB and grayscale images and with many other Photoshop-compatible programs for 8-bit images.

AutoCrop is a selection plugin for Photoshop 5 and higher (for Windows). It creates a selection on images with an uniform border. This selection can then be used to crop the image with Photoshop's own Crop function. offers the free Gothic 1 plugin (for Windows), which adds a dark gloomy gothic effect.

Flo's UnDistort filter (for Windows) is a plugin for correcting deformations of photographic images, e.g. barrel and pincushion deformations, perspective deformations and chromatic aberrations. The demo version is completely functional for images smaller than about 800*600 pixels. For processing bigger images, you have to purchase the full version for $15.

hugin (for Windows/Linux) is a free GUI for Helmut Dersch's Panorama Tools. With hugin you can correct lens distortions, stitch together overlapping images and assemble photos into a panorama. There are some tutorials on the website that explain how to use it.

AVIPreview is a free video player (for Windows) that can play back video files which are only partially downloaded. It doesn't need to create a copy of the video file to display it, so you can even watch the video file without interrupting the download process. There is an option for full screen viewing and an option for saving the partial video files in order to repair them.


Asiva Selection Plugin for Photoshop Now Available
The latest Win/Mac plugin from Shapiro Consulting lets you create precise selections by adjusting Hue, Saturation and Luminance curves. Demo available.

Masking in Photoshop and Extensis Mask Pro 3 Course for PC
The latest online course from teaches the fundamentals of masking using Photoshop and Extensis MaskPro 3. Strangely, for Windows users only.

Communication Arts Magazine Tenth Interactive Design Competition
You have until January 15 to enter this prestigious competition. Any interactive project created for digital distribution on the World Wide Web, CD-ROM, interactive kiosk or handheld device is eligible.

Agfa Monotype Adds Over 600 Products to
They've added new collections from Cape Arcona, International TypeFounders and Martin Wait to the already large number on This remains a good place to start when you're hunting for a new font.

Andrew's (vector) Plugins 1 for Illustrator Released
This updated plugin set for Win/Mac illustrator includes 24 plugins that can create such effects as duplications, color effects, patterns, spirals and warping effects. Demo available.

Magix Ships PhotoStory on CD & DVD 2004
If you're looking for a modestly priced, simple way to round up your sound, image and video files and create CD and DVD slideshows for viewing on a TV, this Windows app is worth a look. Demo available.

For daily graphics news updates, visit


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