Plugin Newsletter - March 2001
HTML SHRINKER 2.01 RELEASED
NEW POLL: YOUR FAVORITE VECTOR GRAPHICS APPLICATION
REVIEWS: Thumbs+ and buZZ Pro
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS
PRODUCTS FROM THE PLUGIN SITE
THE PLUGIN SITE MAP
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The Plugin Site - Your guide to image and video effects
HTML SHRINKER 2.01 RELEASED
Version 2.0 of HTML Shrinker which was released two months ago was quite
successful, so a lot of work was invested to make it even more effective
and easier to use. For those who don't know it yet HTML Shrinker is a
tool for reducing the size of various web, wap and script files with the
effect that your web or wap pages will load faster, need less web space
and less bandwidth and you will save web hosting fees.
In the new Version 2.01 the folder box behavior has been improved, the
main window became resizable, context menus have been added and a
"Suppress the Backup Dialogs" check box in Options dialog makes the file
processing even quicker. Additionally the removal of unnecessary spaces
has been improved.
The registration and link exchange reminders of the free Light Version
of HTML Shrinker have dramatically been cut down. As a result they will
appear much more seldom now. The Pro Version now features a greatly
improved shrinking efficiency with respect to spaces, end of lines and
VBscript. TCL scripts can be shrunken now and an Analyze command for
getting detailed information about which elements are removed from a
certain file was added. Moreover, dragging and dropping files or folders
from the Explorer will trigger the Shrink command. A lot of other minor
improvements were made and some bugs were removed, too.
NEW POLL: YOUR FAVORITE VECTOR GRAPHICS APPLICATION
Finally there's a new poll after the last one which was conducted in
December. This time you are asked to vote for your favorite vector
graphics application. 19 known and not so well known tools are available
for selection, as well as a "Other" category. The results of this poll
will be shown in the next issue of the Plugin Newsletter. Please cast
your vote at
Previous poll results can be viewed at
Here are the summaries of the software that has been reviewed lately:
Thumbs Plus 4.1: "If you want to organize and process a large amount of
images, you can't get around Thumbs Plus. But even as an occasional user
of graphics software, you will love this software. It offers all
essential functions for working with images as long as no detailed
editing is involved."
buZZ Professional 1.03: "buZZ Professional helps you to turn your images
and photos into paintings within seconds. Even low quality images can be
turned into high quality paintings. Buzz Professional is a tool that
convinces you of its usefulness from the first minute on you use it."
See the full reviews at:
Ever wanted to create your own filter plugins for your graphics
application? Then Filter Factory is an easy and free solution for
beginners. Part 1 of the Filter Factory tutorial series from Digital
Media Designer looks at the basics of Filter Factory, along with a few
examples of color effects. You will find a package with some Macintosh
plugins there, too. Part 2 explains how to use ResEdit on the Macintosh
to customize the interfaces of the created filters. The latest tutorial,
Part 3, is exploring more functions in the Filter Factory plugin.
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS
Namesuppressed Design released three Photoshop-compatible plugins with
simple but useful effects. The AUTOINTERLACE plugin (Win/Mac) is
freeware and creates the interlace effect as seen on television screens.
AUTOCHROMATIC and SOFTENER (Win only) are full-functional shareware
plugins that cost $5 registration fee each. Autochromatic colorizes an
image with two user-definable colors and Softener adds soft, glossy
effects to your images.
Pixia 1.9a (Win) is the English version of a free Japanese painting and
retouching software. It is tablet-sensitive and supports brushes, masks,
layers and many other features. You can use your own customized brush
tips and even use an image file as a brush tip. Additionally it includes
several effect filters. Although an English help file is not available
yet, it shouldn't be that difficult to use if you have experiences with
other graphics applications.
Aldus Type Twister (Win/Mac) is an old freeware tool from 1994 that is
no longer developed or supported. It is easy to use and has many nice
features. You can change different options, e.g. text, color, fill, font
and shape, but you can't simply save the result. You have to copy the
file to the clipboard and paste it then into a graphics application.
Although it doesn't support anti-aliasing either, it is nevertheless a
nice tool to play with.
MyAlbum (Win) is a freeware image program that displays images as
thumbnails. It includes a slide-show utility and options to create HTML
thumbnail pages, contact sheets and to batch process images. The album
option allows you to create collections of images, complete with
keywords and comments, plus searching. The slide-show can be run
automatically or manually, and features zooming, full-screen, and other
options. Nice is the feature for printing posters on several sheets of
paper. Plugins and scripts for MyAlbum can be downloaded from the web
site. It can't fully compete with similar commercial tools and is still
a bit buggy, but it is worth a look if you want such a tool for free or
need one of the mentioned features.
Graffix offers freeware and shareware plugins (Mac/Win) for Adobe
Illustrator. The plugins are called Trackplan Tools, Concatenate, Proof
Block, Nudge Palette, Square-Up, Alien Palette, Select Dashed/Un-dashed
Paths, Select Open/Closed Paths and Rotate Text/Untransform.
The Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1 Update (Win and Mac) was released. It is 6 MB
large and fixes a number of problems e.g.
- The painting tool brush picker has new usability improvements
- Image clipping paths in EPS and TIFF files saved from Photoshop 6.0.1
have been modified so that other software is able to read them.
- ImageReady is able to save and preview animations under constrained
- Batch file naming works correctly.
- Export Paths to Illustrator retains path scaling.
- Using certain tools (such as move, marquee, or lasso) after using the
Open, Save, and Print commands no longer generates a Program Error
- Selecting a single color in Color Range now works correctly.
- Memory usage is better on all Windows operating systems; the network
should no longer become unavailable when Photoshop is running.
- Showing and hiding edges for a selection no longer requires pressing
VDL released a Photoshop-compatible plugin called Halftone. It does
high-quality halftone dithering as seen in black/white newspaper
photographs. Not only does it allow for classic-style dithering but it
also includes different shaped dots and fine-tuned control allowing you
to do much more. The Halftone plug-in automatically scales the color
range for contrast and allows both transparent and opaque background
colors. It supports Grayscale and Duotone color modes as well as the
standard RGB mode and costs $10.
Sapphire Innovations released Filters Volume 1 (Win/Mac), a collection
of 70 Photoshop-compatible filters plugins. The effects include color
effects, inverse/negative effects, displacements, bar/line effects,
warping effects, ringed/radial effects, interference patterns, oddball
color shift effects, light effects and more.
Serif just released PhotoPlus 7 which is faster, better and easier to
use than previous versions and features many user requested
enhancements. Photo Plus 7 includes automatic image extraction, an image
browser, an instant photo frames feature, warping effects, picture
brushes, functions for creating and editing gif animations and other
professional features. Serif offers Version 5 of PhotoPlus for free.
Version 2.3 of PicMaster (reviewed some time ago at
http://thepluginsite.com/reviews/) features enhanced supports for
Photoshop-compatible plugins. It allows the display of 3D objects from
3D Studio and Autocad as wire frame or in realistic 3D look as well as
their conversion. Filters (e.g. Bump Map, 2-colors) can be applied in
real-time to (web cam) videos which can now be upload to multiple FTP
servers and email addresses. Furthermore, PicMaster now lets you make
screenshots even from video played on your monitor.
Pinnacle Systems pre-released Alpha Magic Wizard 1.1, a video plugin for
creating transitions in Adobe Premiere (5.1 and 6.0) and any Avid AVX
compatible application, for purchase as an electronic download. Alpha
Magic Wizard lets you do more with your gradients. Quick selection of
gradients from pages of icons makes it easy to organize and find the
gradient you need. You can create amazing wipes, dissolves and particle
effects with detailed control as well as quickly change gradient
direction and create flash effects by changing the number of gradient
Alpha Magic Wizard will sell for $149, but during the introductory
pre-release, you can purchase and download Wizard for only $99. The
Alpha Magic packaged product including over 400 gradients will be
Adobe recently announced Adobe After Effects 5.0, a motion graphics and
visual effects software. Version 5 offers more than one hundred new
features and productivity enhancements that enable creative
professionals to generate content for film, video, multimedia and the
Web. It includes a true 3D compositing environment. In addition, new
vector paint tools and 16-bit color support expand the Production Bundle
Adobe After Effects 5.0 software is available in two versions. The
Standard version provides the core 2D and 3D compositing and effects
tools that motion graphics professionals and Web-designers need. The
Production Bundle version is designed for visual effects artists and
motion graphics designers who need all of the tools in the Standard
Version, plus additional keying, motion control and distortion tools,
audio effects, 3D channel effects, 16-bit per channel color, vector
paint tools, and support for network rendering.
Right Hemisphere released 3D Exploration, an 3D viewer and translator
with a Explorer-like interface. It supports all popular 3D file formats
and common 2D file types. 3D navigation tools let you explore 3D objects
and scenes from any angle. You can even use 3D Exploration to present a
slide show of a folder's images or create high quality renderings of 3D
objects and scenes for use in any other graphic applications.