Plugin Newsletter - June 2004
COLORWASHER 2.0 WAS RELEASED
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES MAGAZINE: Plugin Reviews Summary
POLL RESULTS: Essential Online Shop Features
NEW POLL: Should a graphics application be delivered and installed with plugins?
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Rippling Water, High Pass, Region Growing, Creating Plugins, Rect Distortion, Video Templates
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Adaptive Equalization, 5_6_5, Count Colors, JPEG2000, MS Expression, Puzzler, Van Klee
GRAPHICS NEWS: ActionDex, Brushes, Painter's Picker, Canvangelist, Dogwaffle, Curvemeister, Kelby DVDs, Xara X, Color Swap
PRODUCTS FROM THE PLUGIN SITE
ABOUT THE PLUGIN SITE
We have worked hard on Version 2.0 of our ColorWasher plugin and have just released it. It is a big step forward and offers most of the features that were requested by users and a lot more. Especially professionals will find it more attractive than Version 1.0, but even people who only rely on the automatic features will be surprised how much better ColorWasher 2.0 does its job. ColorWasher is our second most successful product ever after FocalBlade and we are confident that the new version will be even more successful.
Steve Upham from Cybia compiled a list of links and a few comments concerning online security software at http://www.cybia.co.uk/security.htm. I planed to do that, too, because a lot of people still surf very unconcerned on the web. But Steve was faster as he was motivated by a bad experience with a trojan. Having read about the latest generation of viruses, worms and trojans, my conclusion is that this problem will become far worse during the next few years than it already is. I wouldn't have believed it, but if you read about the tactics that future pests could use, you will consider the current ones harmless. We are also think stopping to use Internet Explorer and turn to a more secure browser.
Wishing you all the best,
COLORWASHER 2.0 RELEASED
We have just released Version 2.0 of our popular ColorWasher plugin for correcting the colors, contrast, exposure and saturation of photos. Whereas Version 1.0 of ColorWasher was already highly attractive for amateur and semi-professionals, ColorWasher 2.0 will also become an indispensable tool for professionals.
ColorWasher 2.0 offers a highly improved color and exposure correction and a vast amount of other new features and improvements. Color casts are better removed from the shadows, red and orange casts are treated more effectively and the automatic exposure fixing works much more reliable and effective. ColorWasher now supports 16bit images, processes huge images with little RAM and renders faster. Its dialog is resizable and new tab sheets with many new features were added. The new saturation feature lets you adjust the image with the help of 10 different saturation methods and the new Histo tab displays 10 histogram types in four different styles. Other improvements include Contrast Boost option, highlight and shadow contrast sliders, exposure correction in EV units, a Multiple option for mirroring the split views, color cast statistics, identification of blown highlights and preference settings among many others.
Upgrading to Version 2.0 is highly recommended as it is a big step forward. People who ordered ColorWasher in 2004 will get Version 2.0 for free. Other registered users can purchase Version 2.0 for an upgrade fee of $24.95. If you don't receive an email from us with upgrade details within the next 48 hours, please email us with your order details.
For more information and downloading a demo version please visit
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES MAGAZINE: Plugin Reviews Summary
Apparently issue 13 of the Digital Photography Techniques Magazine hasn't been released yet, but it should become available any day in the UK and probably 30 days later in the rest of the world. My Essential Plugins column in issue 13 is a summary of all my reviews of the previous 12 issues. It mentions the two or three best plugins in the following categories: color correction, brightness/contrast correction, noise reduction, image upsizing, lens/perspective correction, sharpening, B/W conversion, masking, lighting effects, color effects, paint effects and free plugins. Of course, I didn't just summarize my previous reviews, I also mentioned how these tools have been improved during the last 12 months and if competitive products have been released in the meantime. If you haven't grabbed a previous copy of the DPT mag, you should consider doing that now.
Some people asked me where they can buy the mag in the USA. I discovered it at Barnes & Nobles and at Borders. You may have luck in other big book stores, too. If nothing helps, you may only have the choice to subscribe for 13 issues for $60 online at
POLL RESULTS: Essential Online Shop Features
2110 votes from 200 people were received in our latest poll about essential features of an online shop. Unfortunately the poll service that we used recently limited the number of voters to 200 if you don't pay their very high fees. I'm sure there would have been at least 400 voters without that limitation. Anyway, the results were already quite constant after 100 voters, so that wouldn't have changed much. We now switched to another poll service for this months poll, which allows unlimited participants.
Here are the results of the poll:
1. Search by Category 6.8%
2. Immediate delivery of download after ordering 5.9%
3. Tutorials for using products 5.8%
4. Immediate delivery of serial key after ordering 5.7%
5. Secure SSL server 5.7%
6. Trial/Demo Download 5.4%
7. Product Compatibility/Requirement Information 4.5%
8. Special Offers List 4.4%
Product Update Notifications 4.4%
9. Manufacturer Homepage URL 4.2%
10. New Products List 3.8%
Interesting, but not surprising is that people want to get the product they ordered immediately after the order was processed. On The Plugin Site that is only the case for the Element5 order option, because Paypal makes it unnecessarily difficult to do that. But we plan to develop and install an immediate product delivery system for our Paypal payment option within the next few weeks.
Quite surprising is that people voted "Product Tutorials" on Nr. 3. Online shops usually don't feature product tutorials, but as it seems people like to get products and support in one package. Ordering via a secure server is luckily provided by many online shops, although from time to time I stumble across some that don't offer it. Many online shops that sell software don't provide demo/trial downloads, which I always missed, so as I thought it got a high ranking.
For more poll results, please visit the Know-How section which was recently updated with the latest poll results:
NEW POLL: Plugins with or without Standalone Applications?
This month's poll asks you: "Would you like to have a simple graphics application delivered and installed with plugins?". I know this poll will be a bit biased, because most of you use Photoshop, PaintShopPro or another graphic application for running plugins. Still, it may be interesting to hear from you what you think of that idea. You can choose between 5 different answers.
You can cast your vote at the bottom of the main page at
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS
Here are the latest interesting posts from The Plugin Site Forums:
Chuckzoch asks: "I have been searching for a plug ... that would help me create a rippling water effect in a photo. ... Any suggestions ?"
Doug Semon wrote: "I found an interesting web site that describes ... an effect I used to get in the darkroom called "lithographic derivation." The result looks like a line drawing ... The process requires a PhotoShop filter called "high pass." However, I use Jasc PSP, which doesn't include one... Any suggestions?"
wskamoun asks: "I would like to know if there is a free plug for photosop that integrates all the adavces vision methods (from filtering to edge detection and seeded region growing."
Scotness wrote: "I'm intereted in writing some [plugins] for Photoshop but don't know where to begin - is there any online help or tutorials available?"
bloep1957 asks: "I'm looking for a plug-in filter that enables me to distort a rectangular picture by adding and manipulating points from the border of the image."
dud123 wrote: "hi, a friend of mine sent me this images and i was wondering if anyone can tell me if there is a plugin for this or maybe how its done?"
Sam wrote: "hi, i was wondering how you would go about making templates for a video clip in a fassion that would resemble qvc. Sorta like in the infomercials where the description is on the right side and there is a banner on the bottom."
For more discussions and comments please visit
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS
Reindeer Graphics have revised their free Adaptive Equalization plugin (for Win/Mac). Adaptive Equalization, which uses a method for enhancing local contrast in images, has been updated to include a larger preview and an improved blending function.
Telegraphics offer two plugins (for Win/Mac). The 5_6_5 plugin reduces 8bit RGB channels to 5 bits red, 6 bits green, 5 bits blue, which is a total of 16 bits or 65536 colors. This may be useful for converting images for mobile devices. The Count Color plugin counts distinct RGB colors in an image or selection.
LEAD Technologies released a free JPEG2000 file format plugin (for Windows) for Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. The J2K and JP2 formats are supported for 8bit and 24bit images, there are lossless and lossy compression options and the file size can be controlled precisely. To get this plugin you have to place it in the order cart and carry out an order without paying anything.
Microsoft Expression 3.3 is a free vector, drawing and illustration tool (for Macintosh). It was formerly available from Creature House. A Windows version is not available yet.
Ransen Software offer two free applications (for Windows) for download: Puzzler, for creating puzzles with square pieces, and Van Klee, for turning images into paintings. Both tools are limited versions of Ransen's commercial Repligator tool.
PicsToBits Releases ActionDex 1.0 for Photoshop
Having trouble organizing all those Photoshop Actions? This Windows utility attempts to bring order to chaos by letting you create a hierarchy of Actions categorizations. Demo available.
Graphicxtras.com Releases Update to Photoshop Brushes
This collection of nearly 900 Mac Photoshop brushes now also contains gel pens, markers, felt pen and pencil sketch brushes. A tryout set is available.
Old Jewel Software Releases Painter's Picker 2.0
Functioning as an extension to the color picker panel in Mac OS X, this shareware utility puts an interactive color wheel inside almost any Mac OS X application, simplifying complex color selection.
Issue 15 of the Free Canvangelist Ezine Available
While it has a focus on the Canvas illustration application, each issue also contains lots of info about Photoshop-compatible plugins.
Project Dogwaffle Paint and Animation Software Updated to 2.1
The latest version of this modestly-priced paint and animation program for Windows adds quite a few new features. Demo available.
Curvemeister Plugin for Windows Photoshop
Need help selecting a shadow, highlight, neutral point, overall brightness, and the final color space within Photosop? Then snag the demo and see if this will do the trick.
Two Scott Kelby Photoshop DVDs Released
The prolific Mr. Kelby is at it again, this time releasing Photoshop CS Down & Dirty Tricks and Photoshop CS Power Sessions. I've never quite understood the "down and dirty" moniker, but the content is a crowd-pleaser.
Xara X?, the New, Fast Illustration Software Set to Outpace the Brand Leaders
Hell apparently froze over, since just when we had all given up hope of ever seeing an update of this fast, extremely capable Windows vector illustration application, along it comes. Huzzah. Demo available.
Kinnetic FX Releases Color Swap Deluxe Plugin Filter
This Windows plugin provides 26 levels of color swapping plus three levels of grayscale conversion with an interactive preview. Demo available.
For daily graphics news updates, please visit