Plugins for Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, PSP & others



Plugin Newsletter - July 2013





METARAW FOR WINDOWS: Enhanced functionality for Adobe Camera Raw

ELEMENTSXXL 1.02 FOR WINDOWS: New Camera Raw Feature and Bug Fixes

POLL RESULT: Will you join the Creative Cloud for Photoshop CC? Which features of Photoshop CC would you like to see as a plugin for older Photoshop versions?

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

THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Post your comments, ideas and rants

FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Particle Paint, Equalize Light, SmartDeblur, Unshake

GRAPHICS NEWS: Lightroom 5, Photo-Reactor, Exposure 5






Dear Reader,

According to an article Adobe's Q2 sales dropped by 10% and the profits even more. This could be a transition phenomenon of switching from perpetual licenses to the subscription model, but it may very well persist or even increase. If you look at all the polls (including the one below) that have been conducted on this topic or the petition that has gathered almost 35,000 supporters so far, it is seems to be evident that Adobe is playing blindfolded with fire. Two days after the new CC applications had been released, Adobe's CEO still only spoke of tweaking the cloud offering to attract more customers. At any rate the coming months will tell how this is goin to work out.

The last nine months have been extremely productive at The Plugin Site: Three new products were released and one major upgrade. This is a new record, because previously we only released one new commercial product or major upgrade per year. With the photo enhancement market getting more dense and saturated, we started concentrating on alternative and more innovative plugin products. As a result FilterHub, ElementsXXL and now MetaRaw were released, which prove to be as popular as the PhotoWiz plugins. Developing such products requires less time and effort, but a lot more creative thinking and innovative approaches. Nevertheless, it is planned to keep up support for the PhotoWiz products with new updates and upgrades, but it is unlikely that a totally new PhotoWiz plugin will be developed very soon. We do our best to continue producing new software at this pace and will hopefully be able to release two more major upgrades and a new product this year. As usual we have many more ideas than time to turn them into products, so we try to realize the most useful ones for a large number of people.

Apologies to the people who received the last two newsletter emails at Microsoft's and were not able to read them. does not seem to correctly support CSS anymore, so emails with a <style> tag are not displayed. The problem is circumvented in this issue, but the non-CSS look still needs to be improved in the next issues. You can read the missed newsletter issues in the News section.

Kind regards,
Harald Heim

The Plugin Site






Enhanced functionality for Adobe Camera Raw

MetaRaw for Windows 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.

With MetaRaw you do not have to upgrade to the latest version of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements if you only need support for a new camera raw file type or want to apply Adobe Camera Raw as a filter to image layers. The built-in MetaRaw Converter produces images that are up to 0.3 megapixel larger than those of Adobe Camera Raw. It is able to open camera raw files from unknown future cameras and supports 170 camera models and 13 raw file extensions that are not supported by the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw.

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





New Camera Raw Feature and Bug Fixes

ElementsXXL adds up to 130 powerful features to Photoshop Elements for Windows that were previously only available in Photoshop. These features are included as new menu items, icons, buttons, key shortcuts and dialogs, so they seamlessly integrate into the user interface of Photoshop Elements. ElementsXXL bridges the gap between Photoshop Elements and Photoshop and greatly enhances the image editing experience in Photoshop Elements.

Version 1.02 contains one new feature and various bug fixes. You can now readjust the Camera Raw settings of a raw file that is embedded in a smart object. Previous versions of ElementsXXL did not embed raw data in smart objects, so you have to reopen raw files as a smart objects in order to use this feature. ElementsXXL 1.02 now enables applying smart filters to smart objects that were created by MetaRaw and updating smart objects after editing them in a new document window finally works.

Additionally the conflict that occurred with an Alienskin plugin is resolved, two problems in Quick mode of PSE 11 were fixed and the Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Taiwanese versions of Photoshop Elements have readable menu items now.

Registered customers will get the update within the next 48 hours by email.

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





Will you join the Creative Cloud for Photoshop CC?

405 people voted in the poll with the question "Will you join the Creative Cloud for Photoshop CC?". Here are the results:

1. I plan to use my current Photoshop version for a long time. 75%
2. I plan to "downgrade" to a less expensive application like Photoshop Elements or Paint Shop Pro. 15%
3. I am a member of the Adobe Creative Cloud, so I will get Photoshop CC automatically. 7%
4. I plan to join the Adobe Creative Cloud soon in order to get Photoshop CC. 2%
5. I plan to join the Adobe Creative Cloud next year or later. 1%

There have been several polls with ten thousands of voters and the results were very similar to this poll. 90% of all voters do not want to join the Adobe Creative Cloud and rent Photoshop. 15% of them even consider to look for an alternative application in the near future. 7% already joined the cloud and 3% plan to join the cloud. This result makes strickingly clear that the strategy to only allow renting Photoshop is bound to fail in the long run. Lets hope that Adobe is going to learn their lesson and will avoid such odd marketing strategies in future.

Which features of Photoshop CC would you like to see as a plugin for older Photoshop versions?

In the second poll with the question "Which features of Photoshop CC would you like to see as a plugin for older Photoshop versions?" 976 votes were collected. The highest rated item collected 122 votes and is translated to 100%.

1. Camera Shake Reduction 100%
2. Support for newer camera raw files 97%
3. Improved Smart Sharpen 95%
4. Camera Raw plugin as a filter 81%

5. Intelligent Upsampling 55%
6. Auto-recovery 48%
7. Liquify as smart filter 45%
8. Blur Gallery as smart filters 43%
9. Editable rounded rectangles 37%

10. Multi-shape and path selection 31%
11. Improved type styles 30%
12. Conditional Actions 29%
13. System anti-aliasing for type 27%
Workflow time-savers 27%
14. Improved Min and Max filters 15%
Other 15%
15. Color swatches from HTML/CSS/SVG files 13%
16. Copying of CSS attributes 11%

The most desirable new feature of Photoshop CC seems to be camera shake reduction. To find alternatives look for the old Focus Magic plugin or the new Piccure plugin (which is not beta anymore). For photos with very little camera shake you may also use Photoshop's Smart Sharpen or any sharpening filter. There are also some standalone applications, e.g. Blurity, available for this purpose as well as a Refocus-it GIMP plugin. Below we feature two freeware tools.

Rank 2 and 4 ask for support for new camera raw files and using Camera Raw as a filter. Our latest product MetaRaw meets these needs. See above for more information.

The improved Smart Sharpen filter made it on number 3. Its UI layout was changed and there is a new noise reduction slider. If you are looking for an alternative to the old version of Smart Sharpen have a look at our FocalBlade plugin, which offer even more features. There are various products available for improved image resizing. We recommend the following ones: Alienskin Blow Up, BenVista Zoom Pro and OnOne Perfect Resize.

We are investigating the possibility of offering some of the other features (rank 1 and 5 to 16) in a future plugin product.

For more poll results please visit the
Resources section




Which of these RAW Converters do you use regularly?

It is time to carry out once again a poll about raw converters. The last one was in 2010. This time you can vote for more than one raw converter, which should produce more realistic results. There are 19 popular raw converters plus an Other option to choose from. MetaRaw is not available in the poll because it is not a standalone raw converter.

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




Post your comments, ideas and rants

Things are slow at The Plugin Site forums. So no new posts are featured this time.

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





Particle Paint, Equalize Light, SmartDeblur, Unshake

Richard Rosenman released another freeware Photoshop plugin called Particle Paint (for Windows). It is a particle painting tool that allows you to paint, interact and work with live particles. Although it has little practical use and renders slowly, it can be fun to play with.
Visit website...

Aphtophoto added a new Equalize Light plugin (for Windows) to its collection of plugins. The plugin features a 10-band light equalizer, so 10 different brightness areas can be adjusted. It works only with 8-bit RGB images and can only be used in 32-bit applications. Its preview is very small so it is not very convenient to use.
Visit website...

If you are looking for freeware alternatives to Photoshop CC's new camera shake reduction filter, here are two alternative tools: SmartDeblur (for Windows) offers different deblur methods with a nice UI. Although the preview is relatively fast, the final rendering can take minutes. Another tool called Unshake offers a different deblurring method and also runs under MacOS and Linux though installation is a bit more difficult.
Visit SmartDeblur website...
Visit Unshake website...

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




Lightroom 5, Photo-Reactor, Exposure 5

Adobe released Lightroom 5 (for Win/Mac) with an advanced healing brush, a new upright tool for automatically straightening horizons and buildings in photos as well as a radial gradient tool. The smart previews feature allows editing images without the original raw files and a new video slide show feature is able to combine still images, video and music. Lightroom 5 does not officially support Windows Vista and OS X 10.6 anymore.
Visit website...

Mediachance offers the new Photo-Reactor (for Windows) application. It could be described as a standalone version of FilterForge with a few extras like batch processing and running external programs, but with fewer filter presets. It allows creating filters with a node graph system, but you can also develop additional effects in C++.
Visit website...

Alienskin released version 5 of its Exposure plugin (for Win/Mac). Its UI was redesigned with a dark theme, a visual preset browser was added and there are many new textures for vintage and Lo-Fi looks. Exposure 5 can now also be launched as a standalone application. The plugin only works in Photoshop CS5, Photoshop Elements 10, Lightroom 4 and later.
Visit website...


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