Plugin Newsletter - June 2003
SPECIAL OFFER: Edge & Frame Galaxy for 20% off
UPDATES OF THE PLUGIN SITE: Resource Section updated, Plugin Galaxy for AE 1.5 update
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Star Plugin, AutoFX Problems, Oiled Skin Effect, Pencil Filters
POLL RESULTS: Which of these steps do you apply when correcting your photos?
NEW POLL: Which is your favorite image viewer?
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Rosenman Filters, Sapphire Filters, PSP Format Plugin, RedEye Tool, Kerlin Utilities
GRAPHICS NEWS: HumanSoftware, Auto FX, Andromeda, Sapphire, Reindeer Graphics
PRODUCTS FROM THE PLUGIN SITE
ABOUT THE PLUGIN SITE
Look out for the new Digital Photography Magazine on your newsstand! The first issue will be available soon. I write a two-page column about plugins, including my photo, in this new magazine. I an concentrating in this column on plugins that are relevant for photo correction. The first one is about color correction plugins and will be a more elaborate version of my graphics.com article. For the second issue I will concentrate on brightness and contrast correction plugins.
I hope you will again enjoy this issue of the Plugin Newsletter. It always takes a few days of work to prepare it. So it is always nice to hear what you like about it and what could be improved.
We are now offering the Edge & Frame Galaxy CD for $39.95, 20% off the regular price, until the July 5, 2003. Shipping is already included in the price. This offer is only made to the readers of this newsletter, so don't miss this special offer if you are a fan of edge and frame effects. See below for the order URL.
The Edge & Frame Galaxy CD-ROM (Win/Mac) is a collection of 1450 edges and 150 colored frames in over 120 categories. You can use them to give your photos a personal touch, as backgrounds for titles and credits, to design greeting cards, post cards, CD booklets and labels, to create specially shaped buttons, animations and special video effects and much more.
The CD-ROM also contains tutorials for using them in the following graphics and video applications: Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, PhotoDeluxe, After Effects, Premiere, Auto FX Photo/Graphic Edges, Corel Photo-Paint, Extensis PhotoFrame, Paint Shop Pro, GalleriaSoft FrameMaker, Microsoft PhotoDraw, Fireworks, Painter, Picture Publisher, Ultimate Paint / FX, Serif PhotoPlus, MediaStudio Pro, PhotoImpact, Xara and GraphicConverter.
For more information about the product, please visit
For ordering this special offer, please use the following URL:
UPDATES OF THE PLUGIN SITE
Free Plugins page, Free Tools page and various other pages in the Resource section have been updated with software items mentioned in the previous issues of this newsletter.
Plugin Galaxy for AE 1.5 for Windows has been updated. A bug was fixed in the Feedback plugin that made it crash in After Effects. The update has already been emailed to all registered users.
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS
Here are the latest posts from The Plugin Site Discussion Forums:
paul wrote "I am looking for a star filter plugin to highlight light sources."
Hitchhiker427 wrote "I'm trying out the demo versions of AutoFX's Mystical Lighting and PGE ... . Unfortunately, I'm having installation problems. If I try to install either of them, right after I click "accept" on the terms of agreement, I get an error message stating that the install file performed an illegal operation in VICE32EX.DLL. I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem, and if so, how to fix it. Thank you"
Catalin Braescu wrote "I have a picture of some person and I want to apply such filter on people's flesh so it will look "oiled" (like sweat or like sun-oil or similar). How to do this?"
BIC_STIC asked "ARE THERE ANY REALISTIC HAND PENCIL SKETCH FILTERS AVAILABLE?"
For more discussions and comments please visit
Our latest poll asked "Which of these steps do you apply when correcting your photos?". More than 1800 votes were submitted by several hundred people. Here are the results:
1. Brightness Correction 12%
2. Contrast Correction 11%
3. Color Correction 10.2%
4. Sharpening 9.7%
5. Image Resizing 8.8%
6. Manual Retouching 8.4%
7. Saturation Correction 7%
8. Red Eye Removal 6.8%
9. Special Effects 5.5%
10. Noise Reduction 5.2%
11. Other 4%
12. Artifact Removal 3.8%
13. Perspective Correction 2.8%
14. RAW Conversion 2.4%
15. Lens Correction 2.1%
The most often performed photo correction steps are brightness, contrast, color and sharpness correction. These are of course the most important steps. I was at first surprised to see that noise reduction and artifact removal was done more seldom. But it is clear that only few photos need such processing. It is not surprising to see RAW Conversion at the second last place, because only few professional photographers really need it and take the additional work and resources it takes into account. Sadly, many people seem to underestimate the problem of perspective and lens distortion, which is a common problem of non-SLR cameras.
For more poll results see
This time's poll question is "Which is your favorite image viewer?". Such a poll was already conducted three years ago on The Plugin Site, but in the meantime hundreds of new image viewers have become available. So it would be great to see which ones are people's favorites. The poll lets you choose between 44 products and an "Other" item.
Please cast your vote at the bottom of the main page at
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS
Richard Rosenman released some more free Photoshop-compatible plugins. "Tiler" makes an image tileable, "Pixelate" applies a pixel effect, "Halftone" creates dot patterns, "Diffuse" produces noise diffusion effects, "Lens Distortion Corrector" performs lens corrections, "Spherical Map Corrector" produces texture map correction for spherical texture mapping and "Diffuse Glow" creates what its name suggests.
Sapphire Innovations offer a few packages of free plugins (for Windows) on their web site. "Polka Dots" places dots all over the image while still letting the original image shine through, "Warped" produces a warp effect, "Inverse Time" creates various negative effects, "MinCross Blur" a weird blur effect, "Misty Vertical" a vertical fade effect, "Warp Ripple" is self-explanatory and "Randoms" creates random colored noise. There are also 5 Nightmare plugins that produce some colored mirror effects. Unfortunately some plugins don't show the correct result at the default preview zoom and some don't display a progress bar during final rendering.
Some of these plugins can be downloaded in the Andrew's Plugins section of the page at
Some others can directly be downloaded from
Telegraphics.com.au now offers a free format plugin (Win/Mac) for opening Paint Shop Pro 5-7 image files. It supports uncompressed, RLE and LZ77 compression and 1, 4, 8 and 24 bit depth. Saving in PSP format isn't possible and layer transparency as well as alpha channels aren't supported at the moment. Additionally from multi-layer PSP files only the first image layer is accessible. Nevertheless, this plugin is useful for people who want to open PSP files in Photoshop or other applications and don't own PSP.
The free RedEye tool allows you to remove red eyes in a digital photo. After loading a JPEG photo file into RedEye, you can automatically remove the red eyes by drawing a rectangular selection around an eye. You can also slightly vary the amount of reduction of the red color component. Although this may sound great, this tool has a few drawbacks. It only runs in full screen mode and doesn't let you choose the JPG quality when saving. Secondly, it only works fine for pure red eyes. If the eyes are more pink or yellow, the tool fails. So you can't use it to correct animal eyes or some red eyes. Nevertheless the RedEye tool might be helpful for certain images.
Kerlin Softworks offers a set of "Image Utilities" (for Windows) which look very interesting. "Eleblend" blends textures, bump maps and specularity maps based upon an input grayscale image, "Ripple Rain" creates animated bump and alpha maps for rain and water impact ripples, "Gradient Thief" lets you create gradients by sampling colors from images, "UT Screenshot Assistant" grabs multiple screenshots in row and "Mosaica" adds mosaic effects to images. Some of the tools might require reading the help file until you can use them, but they are quite useful.
Graphics News from Graphics.com
Bump Mapper Plugin for After Effects
Simulate different textures and effects, such as glass, metal, plastic, stone, water or sand on your image or video layer. Currently available from Vivid Visual Effects as a Windows demo only.
As Simple As Photoshop: Animated Tutorials Released
Does learning Photoshop have to be akin to having a root canal? Not according to these folks, who have created a 40MB downloadable ebook containing almost 200 animated screen shots to get you quickly up to speed. The first chapter is available free. Windows only.
HumanSoftware Introduces PhotoSpray v1.5
Possibly the only plugin company to refuse to provide demos, Human Software nevertheless keeps coming up with new products that are worth a look. As its name would indicate, this Mac/Win plugin lets you spray pictures on top of any RGB photo or layer.
Auto FX Software Releases Mystical Tint Tone and Color
This plugin (which also runs as a standalone app) lets you control and manipulate the colors and tonal qualities in your images, using 38 effects. Hard to describe but once you see the example images, all become clear. Mac and Win demos are available.
Andromeda Upgrades its Photographic Tools & Lens Effects for Mac OS X
Good to see all the major plugin firms making their products OS X ready. Andromeda also has a number of bundles and specials available on their site.
Andrew's (Video) Effects Plugins for After Effects Update
This set consists of 12 plugins for After Effects 5.5 (as well as plugins for earlier versions). Included are posterization, color solar effects, inverse and grayscale color effects as well as a selection of color gradient 'op' art plugins. Win and Mac demos available.
Reindeer Graphics Releases Fovea Pro 3.0
Need a Mac/Win image processing, analysis and measurement plugin that provides more than 150 functions? If so, you just found it. Now you too can deconvolve both defocus and motion blurs. Really.
For daily graphics news updates, visit