Plugins for Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, PSP & others



Plugin Newsletter - January / February 2009




CONTRASTMASTER 1.02 FOR WINDOWS: Scripting Support Added

THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATES: Free Plugins and Commercial Plugins pages were updated

POLL RESULTS: Which is your favorite noise reduction tool?

NEW POLL: Which video editing application do you mainly use?

THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Animation Shop Problem, Reproducing Frame Effect, Red Eye Tutorial, Vista Plugin Problems, Vista Plugin Problems 2

FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: RedEYes, Elements+, Lightroom 2 Presets, Poladroid, Qtpfsgui / FDRTools Basic, RealWorld

GRAPHICS NEWS: PixelBender Contest, FilterOptix, Engraver 2, IPX PaintEngine, Photo/Graphic Edges 7, Lightroom 2.3 / Camera Raw 5.3, ToonIt! Photo





Dear Reader,

Lately it has been hard to find new Photoshop-compatible plugins that were released as freeware. I hope the situation will change soon. The next release of FilterMeister (a plugin development tool) will support the recording of control values in actions or scripts as well as smart filtering in Photoshop CS3/CS4. So we will certainly see many FilterMeister-based plugins offer this feature in the near future.

As I implemented this feature in FilterMeister I also added it to ContrastMaster 1.02, which was just released, in order to test and debug it. See below for more details. The other PhotoWiz plugins will also have scripting and smart filtering added with their next updates.

Kindest regards,
Harald Heim



CONTRASTMASTER 1.02 FOR WINDOWS: Scripting Support Added

We have just released Version 1.02 of ContrastMaster for Windows. ContrastMaster is a Photoshop-compatible plugin for effective contrast enhancement as well as creating dramatic contrast looks, photorealistic paintings and HDR-like effects.

ContrastMaster 1.02 supports scripting. You can now record its settings in actions/scripts in Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro and DeBabelizer. You can also use ContrastMaster as a smart filter in Photoshop CS3/CS4. Scripting does not work in Fireworks yet. Cloak Mode is still available, because it can still be of use, especially in applications, that do not support scripting. As a result the Batch Processing page in the manual was updated. The installer now offers a total of 38 languages (14 new ones) and Plugin Installer finally supports various localized versions of Photoshop.

Registered customers will receive the update with 24 hours by email.

For more information see



THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATES: Free Plugins and Commercial Plugins pages were updated

The Free Plugins and Commercial Plugins pages of the Resources section of The Plugin Site were updated. The Free Plugins page contains the latest plugins mentioned in previous Plugin Newsletter issues. For updating the Commercial Plugins page we had a look at all existing plugin companies, checked if they are still in business and looked out for new products. The number of running plugin companies is still more than 180. Many old companies closed down and several new ones opened up.



POLL RESULTS: Which is your favorite noise reduction tool?

331 people voted for their favorite noise reduction tool. Here are the results:

1. PictureCode Noise Ninja 18%
2. Imagenomic Noiseware 16%
3. Photoshop's Noise Reduction Filter 15%
4. ABSoft Neat Image 14%

5. Other 11%
6. Nik DFine 7%
7. ImageSkill Magic Denoiser 7%
8. Topaz Denoise/Vivacity 4%
9. Kodak DigitalGEM 2%
10. Helicon Filter 2%

11. Hi ISO Noise Reduction Filter 1%
12. Mediachance PureImage/DCE AutoEnhance 1%
12. PowerRetouche Noise Corrector 1%
12. Fixer Labs NoiseFixer 1%
12. PictureCooler 1%
12. Redfield Perfectum 1%
13. Visual Infinity Grain Surgery 0.3%
14. Softwhile DeNoise 0%
14. Camera Bits Quantum Mechanic Pro 0%
14. The Imaging Factory Noise Reduction Pro 0%

In 2004 Neat Image scored almost 29% of all votes, but now it has been overtaken by Noise Ninja, Noiseware and even Photoshop Noise Reduction filter. All four tools have a similar large group of fans. Of course you have to acknowledge that the Photoshop tool would not be among the Top 4 if it was not part of Photoshop. These four tools are used by almost 2/3 of all users. Then there is a group of five plugins that together make up another 22% of users. The large amount of remaining tools are only used by 15% of all users.

For more poll results, please visit the Know-How section at



NEW POLL: Which video editing application do you mainly use?

Our latest poll is asking you which video editing application you are mainly using. The poll concentrates more on professional applications from well-known companies, but also includes lower-priced version of these pro tools. A poll on free or amateur video applications may follow in future.

Please vote at the bottom of the page at



THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Animation Shop Problem, Reproducing Frame Effect, Red Eye Tutorial, Vista Plugin Problems, Vista Plugin Problems 2

Here are some of the latest posts from the discussion forum:

Animation Shop Problem RubberDucky wrote: "When I create an animation in AS it was the funky black outline. Does anyone know how I get rid of this?"

Reproducing Frame Effect juicymt wrote: "Hi, I have a picture that someone else did and I am curious as to how to achieve that look..not the color or anything like that, but I need to know how to do the inside square inside of the picture. I can't get anyone to give me any insight on it, hoping someone here can. Thanks"

Red Eye Tutorial dev123 wrote: "Do you have a tutorial that shows how to remove red eye from photographs? Please reply soon."

Vista Plugin Problems Kazren wrote: "PSX2 shuts down whenever I try the Xero radience, or MuRa's Copies, or several others. I've read this entire thread, and changed the DEP and it still shuts down. Anyone have another idea? FM Patcher hasn't changed anything. It worked fine on the old XP computer..."

Vista Plugin Problems 2 PeggyS wrote: "I have Vista64, paintshop9, I have most of my filters working except I cannot seem to get the Penta dot cross, bio jeans filter to work, it keeps saying that I am missing the 8bf files. I have the dll files in the same folder so I am sure what else do any suggestions for me please."

For more interesting discussion please visit our forums at



FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: RedEYes, Elements+, Lightroom 2 Presets, Poladroid, Qtpfsgui / FDRTools Basic, RealWorld

AlphaPlugins offers a free Photoshop-compatible filter plugin (for Windows) called RedEYes. As its name suggests it is meant for red-eye reduction. It asks you to create a selection around the eye before you run the plugin and offers two sliders to adjust the correction. AlphaPlugins also offers two free plugins for After Effects for Windows called FirTree and NewYearToy.

"Elements+" is a patch that reveals some hidden functions in all versions of Photoshop Elements (for Win/Mac). The free demo version already includes 10 actions for color and tonal adjustments, selecting and layer masking. Even if you do not want to buy the inexpensive full version with 152 actions, the features in the demo version are already worth it. Elements+ adds new items to the Effects palette in Elements so you only need to double click them to use the new functionality that it provides.

600 free presets for Lightroom 2 (for Win/Mac) have been made available on the web site. From the large number you can expect a lot of trashy presets, but there should be at least a few presets that will make this download worthwhile.

Poladroid is an application (for MacOS X) that turns normal photos into polaroid-like ones. It is still a beta version, but includes all features.

Qtpfsgui is an open source application (for Win/Mac/Linux) that provides a workflow for HDR imaging. It supports various HDR and LDR formats and offers several tone mapping operators. Another free HDR tools is FDRTools Basic (for Win/Mac). It offers automatic compensation of slight camera jiggling and vibration, denoising and 2 global tone mapping methods. There is also a commercial Advanced version of FDRTools.

RealWorld is a free image application (for Windows) that also supports Photoshop plugins. It offers layer, various brushes, mouse gestures, various shapes and other image processing features. From the same developer also comes RealWorld Photos (for Windows) for lossless jpeg modifications, batch processing and more. Both tools allow you to write your own plugins with the help of JavaScript.



GRAPHICS NEWS: PixelBender Contest, FilterOptix, Engraver 2, IPX PaintEngine, Photo/Graphic Edges 7, Lightroom 2.3 / Camera Raw 5.3, ToonIt! Photo

NZone is running an PixelBender Contest that asks people to create filter scripts for Adobe's free PixelBender Plugin. Prizes are three an Alienware Area-51 PC and three high-priced NVIDIA graphics cards. The judged categories are: "Best Artistic technique", "Most useful in the Photoshop workflow" and "Most technically compelling". Contest entries are accepted until February 28th 2009. For more details see

VanDerLee released a new plugin called FilterOptix (for Windows). It simulates a large number of photographic lens filters. It lets you quickly select filters by clicking on thumbnails and use controls similar to how real lens filters work. Over a hundred filters are supplied by default, but you can also create your own combining 16 available effects.

AlphaPlugins released Version 2 of Engraver (for Win/Mac) for Adobe Photoshop CS2, CS3 and CS4. It simulates old engravings and lithography by converting images into thin curves. The person behind Alpha Plugins previously worked for Panopticum, but as Panopticum stopped the development of its plugins, the new AlphaPlugins company now continues to enhance and improve them.

The free PaintEngine plugin has been popular for almost a decade. Now there is an advanced commercial version of it available called IPX PaintEngine. It turns photos into paintings by using 6 brush types, 3 brush stroke algorithms and 88 parameters. There is a new user Interface with a large preview and 130 presets are already included. There is also a standalone application included for running IPX Paint Engine in case you do not have a host application. The old free version of PaintEngine is still available at the same web site.

The Photo/Graphic Edges 7.0 Platinum Edition (for Win/Mac) became available from Auto FX. It contains 32 effects, an updated interface, a new content management system and many other new features. It also includes a collection of film frames, darkroom effects, grunge edges, natural media borders and dozens of other new styles with over a thousand pieces of new creative content.

Adobe hasmade available release candidates of Photoshop Lightroom 2.3 and Camera Raw 5.3 (for Win/Mac). They provide Raw support for the Nikon D3X and Olympus E-30 cameras and address possible artifacts that could appear in Canon EOS 5D Mk II sRAW files. Lightroom is now also available in 8 new languages. The final versions should become available soon.

Digital Anarchy released the ToonIt! Photo plugin (for Win/Mac), which create cartoon-like images from photos. It analyzes photographs and then creates flat regions of color and outlines that produce a cel-shaded cartoon look. An Effects palette adds such special effects as outlines, enhanced shadows, color effects and halftone effects, while a Style Creator provides 12 algorithms for creating the underlying cartoon or painterly style.



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