Plugin Newsletter - December 2005
PLUGIN GUIDE #1: Harry's Filters 3
THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATES: Forum Reworked, Polls 2005 Updated
POLL RESULTS: Your Favorite RAW Conversion Tools
NEW POLL: Your Favorite Image Viewer
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: SE 4 Plugin Problems, Plugin Output Copyrights, Calendar Templates, Cutout effect
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Vivida, GF Reader, True-Pro-Converter, ExifPro Image Viewer, Microsoft RAW, TwistedBrush
GRAPHICS NEWS: Plugs 'N Pixels ezine, Zoom Engine, PluginMaster, Photo Sharpen, 55mm 6, Genuine Fractals 4.1, Ultimate Paint 2.88
PRODUCTS FROM THE PLUGIN SITE
ABOUT THE PLUGIN SITE
Unlike previous month a lot of freeware and commercial Photoshop plugins have been released recently. With more than 200 developers and companies that produce Photoshop plugins, there is a more or less steady stream of new plugin products. More and more companies that previously only developed standalone program are also offering plugin versions of their software. We hope that this trend will continue in 2006. We will continue to do our best to give you some direction in this plugin jungle. For example with our new Plugin Guide series which picks up recommended freeware plugins and shows how to achieve useful effects with them.
Our ColorWasher and LightMachine products have recently received several rave reviews. It is hard to keep track of them, so if you come across a review that is not mentioned at http://thepluginsite.com/products/photowiz/reviews.htm, it would be nice if you let us know. We already have a lot of ideas for new PhotoWiz plugins and upgrades of the current products, so 2006 will certainly be an interesting year.
Wishing you a Nice Christmas Season and a Happy New Year,
PLUGIN GUIDE #1: Harry's Filters 3
This new series of articles will review free Photoshop plugins and offer three small tutorials for achieving interesting effects with them. Five of these articles were already published in the Photo Effects magazine early this year, but there is also a sixth one, which was never published before.
The Plugin Guide series starts off with Harry's Filters. It shows you how to achieve a polarizer effect, colorize night shots and add golden colors to dull shots. There are also installation instructions, two tips and downloadable presets of the mentioned effects.
THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATES
The Plugin Site Forum has been renovated a bit. A few less popular forums were combined and three new ones were added. The new forums are called Photo Enhancement, Graphic & Web Design and Image Editing. These forums are meant for asking questions and discussing tasks and techniques that relate to these topics.
The Polls 2005 page was updated with the poll results of the previous months. You can now see which is people's favorite lens correction plugin, selective brightness tool, photo effects plugin and how many plugins people use.
POLL RESULTS: Your Favorite RAW Conversion Tools
Our latest poll asked: Which is your favorite RAW Converter? 377 people voted, which resulted as follows:
1. Photoshop CS 2 27%
2. RAWShooter Premium 19%
3. Photoshop CS 10.3%
4. RAWShooter Essentials 9.8%
5. Capture One Pro 6%
6. Canon Digital Photo Pro 5%
7. Nikon Capture 4%
8. Other 4%
9. Paint Shop Pro 9 3%
10. Capture One LE 3%
11. Paint Shop Pro X 2%
12. Photoshop 7 + Camera RAW 1.0 2%
13. BreezeBrowser 2%
13. The Software supplied with my Camera 2%
14. Power Shovell 1%
15. Apple Aperture 0%
15. Bibble 0%
15. QImage 0%
16. SharpRAW 0%
16. Silverfast DCPro 0%
As in last year's poll Photoshop managed to keep its top position with its new CS 2 release. But its lead has shrunk because of RAWShooter. Photoshop CS 2 offers nice auto features which means less work when converting a lot of different photos, while RAWShooter Premium only saves time when converting series of very similar photos. Additionally it is more convenient to convert RAW files directly in Photoshop if you plan to extensively edit them anyway.
Although the Essentials version of RAWShooter is freeware, more people prefer the commercial version. Probably because some essential features like Levels are missing, which sometimes requires postprocessing in Photoshop. Photoshop CS on the other hand is less convenient for editing a batch of RAW files than CS2.
It is also interesting to see that more people use PSP 9 than PSP X, probably because the RAW feature was not really improved in the new version. Most other RAW converters lost ground compared with last year, because of RAW Shooter.
For more poll results, please visit the Know-How section at
NEW POLL: Your favorite image viewer
A similar poll was conducted two and a half years ago, so it is time to see if popularity has shifted in this market. This time we left out the less known viewers, but added image viewers that are part of applications like Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. In total you can choose between 18 image viewers and an "Other" item.
Please vote at the bottom of the page at
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS
Here are the latest interesting posts from The Plugin Site Forums:
Col 3:17 wrote: "I, too, am experiencing difficulties with plug-ins and PhotoShop Elements 4. It appears as if PSE4 has a maximum number of plug-ins that it will install in any one session ... I've never seen this before in any of my other graphics apps and I cannot find any confirmation anywhere from Adobe, etc."
dragonglow wrote: "What I've read about the copyrights seem to be about the plugins themselves, not to be used for commercial purposes. What about the images produced. I guess that would mean they also cannot be used if you wanted to sell your artwor... Does anyone have any information on this issue because I'm really confused about it????"
shagger1 asked: "How would I find a program or a template to do this... I want to make monthly calendar wallpaper to give to my website visitors - any Ideas??"
cronic2050 wrote: "Hi, does anyone know where I can get hold of the cutout effect for photoshop cs? I have had problems and lost a lot of my filters but can't find anywhere to download the original filters that came with the program. I would be very grateful if someone could help."
For more interesting discussions please visit
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS
Cybia created a new freeware plugin called Vivida (for Windows). It is meant for adding impact to underexposed and dull photos by boosting the brightness, contrast and saturation in individual color channels. The Vivida plugin will be available later on the Cybia website, but at the moment you can only download it from the "5th Annual Holiday Giveaway" page at Renderosity. You need to scroll down the page a bit to find it. There is also a lot of 3D related stuff for free download there.
OnOne Software made the Genuine Fractals Reader Plugin for Photoshop CS and CS2 (Win/Mac) available. It is a format plugin that lets you open images in the Genuine Fractals .STN format, which were saved by the commercial Genuine Fractals product. It uses a unique fractal-based algorithm to increase the size of images by creating artificial details that are relatively similar to the original details. So you can now send people your photos as small .STN files, because these people just need the free Genuine Fractals Reader Plugin and don't need to buy the commercial product. For downloading it look under "General Downloads" on the following page:
The True-Pro-Converter plugin (for Windows) offers a few B&W and sepia variations. It is commercial, but the demo version lets you apply its effects to 8 bit images. For using it on 16bit images, you need to buy the full version.
ExifPro Image Viewer (for Windows) is a nice alternative to the market leader ACDSee. It is used very similar, but sometimes works a bit faster, especially when viewing RAW files. It also offers many nice features for photographers. ExifPro costs $20, but the unregistered version is fully functional and only displays a startup screen which makes you wait a few seconds. Under "Utilities" on the same website you can also find the Raw Image Extractor Shell Extension, which lets you preview Canon and Nikon RAW files in Windows Explorer.
Microsoft RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer (for Windows XP) displays thumbnails and previews of RAW images directly in the Windows Explorer.
Twistedbrush 3.5 is a free painting application (for Windows). It contains dozens of brush styles and paper types, many filters as well as masking and scripting options. More recent versions of TwistedBrush are commercial.
The Plugs 'N Pixels website of 'Canvangelist' Mike Bedford published the first issue of its ezine which mainly presents Photoshop plugins. It is in PDF format and consists of 20 pages. Issue 1 also includes a tutorial about using plugins to create the firey cover image.
Mehdi released Zoom Engine, a Windows Photoshop plugin for doing high-quality image enlargements. ZoomEngine is the successor of Quick Enlarger and offers an improved interpolation method called CZ2 as well as a more convenient interface.
Plugin Master LLC released their first product called Plugin Master. It consists of a Photoshop plugin that executes a standalone image editor and transfers the image to it. In the Plugin Master image editor you can organize your Photoshop plugins, apply them to the image and transfer the result back to Photoshop or any other image application. The Plugin Master image editor can also be used on its own.
Amphisoft released a Photoshop plugin for Windows called Photo Sharpen. It promises haloless sharpening, but removes the anti-aliasing from image edges, which gives photos a drawing or painting-like look. It appearrs to be best suited for web graphics.
Digital Film Tools released Version 6 of its 55mm plugin collection for Photoshop, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Motion and
Avid. It lets you apply dozens of known photographic effects. Additionally Version 3 of the Light! Photoshop plugin is now available. It allows you to add lighting and shadow to photos using a pattern/gobo library.
With Version 4.1 of Genuine Fractals you no longer need to save files in the .STN file format for scaling images. It also supports batch processing using Photoshop actions. Genuine Fractals offers superior quality enlargements of medium or high-resolution images and digital photos.
J-T-L Development released Version 2.88 of Ultimate Paint for Windows. The highlights of this release are a new symmetry tool, a new Photo/Gaussian Blur filter, new circle and ellipse shape selector / brush cut tools and a new dialog to manage effect settings. Most of these improvements are also included in the freeware version of Ultimate Paint.