Plugins for Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, PSP & others



Plugin Newsletter - March 2005





THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATE: PhotoWiz Contest, Polls 2004, Plugin Pages

PLUG-TALK: Interview with Andrew Buckle from

DIGITAL PHOTO EFFECTS: Red-Eye Removal Plugins Reviewed

POLL RESULTS: Commercial Sharpening Plugins

NEW POLL: Commercial Color Correction Plugins

THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: SHV Files, Stitches, Removing Plugins, Dot Effect, GIMP, PSP Patterns

FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Photo Plugins, Xero Plugins, Filter Foundry, ConGo Import, PhotoPlus 6, Inkscape

GRAPHICS NEWS: inCamera, Xara3D, Color Theory, Path Styler, Mok3, IconLab





Dear Reader,

Sometimes it is hard to concentrate on important things, because so many other different things come in between and distract you. Nevertheless, we managed to get a lor of things done: We release a new update of LightMachine, got the final PhotoWiz Contest results ready, updated The Plugin Site, conducted an interview for the new Plug-Talk column and some other things.

From time to time get emails from people who thank me for this newsletter. Sometimes I don't have the time to reply, so I want to express my appreciation for those people who take the time for small positive and constructive comment. Often you only get emails if something doesn't work or can't be found, but these few emails in between are always refreshing.

Harald Heim



LightMachine, our latest shadow/highlight and virtual lighting plugin, turned out to be similarly popular like ColorWasher and FocalBlade. So we have just finished the first update after the initial release two months ago. It is primarily meant to be a bug fix release, but also includes two new features.

LightMachine 1.0b lets you view the corrected image and the mask side by side, which makes it easier to tailor the mask to the image. If your mouse has a wheel, you can now adjust sliders with it instead of dragging the slider knob or clicking on the slider bar. LightMachine 1.0b also doesn't cause any problems in Serif PhotoPlus and ACDSystems Canvas anymore. Among several other bugs, some problems concerning the split view have been fixed, too. The updated manual contains new passages about using LightMachine as a masking tool, local contrast and mode changes.

Registered users will receive the update by email within the next 24 hours.

For more information and downloading a demo version, please visit



The winners of the "Best Correction" topic have finally been chosen. There are a lot of amazing corrections among the winning images that impressively demonstrate what is possible with digital image processing. Additionally the overall contest winners have been calculated. These 16 people have been selected because they won in at least two contest topics and demonstrated that they are talented in more than just one area. Especially noteworthy is Mr. Don Roberts, who made it into the Top 6 of all three contest topics. Congratulations to all winners!

Polls 2004 Page has been updated with poll results from last year. Want to know what are people's favorite free plugins, image applications, RAW Converters and noise reduction tools? Want to know about people's photography and image processing habits and equipment? Then have a look at

The Commercial Plugins page was updated with links to new Photoshop plugins and now contains descriptions of hundreds of plugins from more than 130 plugin companies. Freeware plugins that have been announced in the previous Plugin Newsletter issues were also added to the Free Plugins page, which now features almost 100 plugin collections.



PLUG-TALK: Interview with Andrew Buckle from
Plug-Talk is a series of interviews that give you a better idea about the people behind the scenes of the Photoshop plugin business. Plug-Talk kicked off with an interview with Andrew Buckle, the man behind GraphicXtras. Andrew is also well-known for his Andrew's Filters series of more than 1000 freeware plugins and from his former company Sapphire Innovations. Please read what he has to say about his work and the plugin business in general at



As usual Issue 22 of Digital Photo Effects contains dozens of tutorials. It shows you how to transform your photos into oil, sketch, and watercolor paintings in Photoshop, reveals how to turn someone to stone, demonstrates how eye color can be changed in Photoshop, spills romantic lighting secrets and how to cast light through blinds. Other tips focus on things like monitor calibration and setting up your own photography studio. The Plugin Essentials column reviews five plugins and tools for human as well as animal red-eye reduction.



POLL RESULTS: Sharpening Plugins
203 people voted in last month's poll asking for "Which ... commercial sharpening plugins do you use?". Here are the results:

1. The Plugin Site FocalBlade 30.05%
2. Other 23.65%
3. nik Sharpener 13.30%
4. Photokit Sharpener 8.87%

5. Acclaim FocusMagic 5.91%
Extensis Intellihance 5.91%
7. Fred Miranda CSpro 5.42%
8. UltraSharpen 4.43%

9. Powerretouche Sharpness Editor 1.48%
10. The Imaging Factory Unsharp Mask Pro 0.99%

The FocalBlade item is of course not representative, because the poll was conducted on The Plugin Site. The high "Other" item is also not surprising, because there are so many other sharpening solutions available. Still, there is some interesting information retrievable from this poll. nik Sharpener, which is more orientated towards the final output format, is quite popular. PhotoKit Sharpener, which is similar, but has some disadvantages and a few advantages compared to nik, ranges on Nr. 3.

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



In March we are asking you to vote for your favorite commercial color correction plugin. One of nine products or the "Other" item can be chosen. There are certainly a lot of other tools for color correction, but these nine should cover a relatively large field.

Please vote at the bottom of the page at



Here are the latest interesting posts from The Plugin Site Forums:

peterg asks: "Is there a file "viewer" that will allow me to see "thumbnails" of *.shv files from my desktop computer?"

alison wote: "I use Photoshop CS for graphic design of embroideries. I need a plug in that would make it easier for me to do the stitches. At the moment I am just using the line tool, and drawing by hand on the screen. Very tedious and time consuming. Anyone got any tips ?"

Doug Bays wrote: "I would like to know how to safely remove an overabundance of un-needed 8bf filter/plug-ins from PhotoBrush, Adobe 5 and Irfanview. ... so if you know of a tutorial on this subject, or any info... I would be most appreciative."

La Dima wrote: "I like paper-base silk-screen printing ... How to change a picture with gradation into dots which resembles a picture in photoshop, the dots has to be fade from a full solid dots into fewer & fewer dots in the edge of the image so it will make a gradation-like effect. How can i do that ?"

Two_Dawgs wrote: "I've been getting the news letter for some time now and I never see any mention of the Gimp. Doesn't anybody use it? Why not? Sincerely :-{]}"

truthnet wrote: "Hello All, When I put pattern files in the pattern folder, the files don't show up on the pattern list in PSP7. The files are bmp types. ... Any ideas, anyone?"

For more interesting discussions please visit



George Fournaris offers five filter plugins (for Windows) called B/W Conversion, Local Contrast Enhancement, Soft Focus, Contrast Mask and Gradient Blur for free. The most interesting one is probably the B/W Conversion plugin which offers a lot of options for creating B/W images. The author asks for a donation via Paypal if you like and use his plugins.

Xero released three new freeware plugins (for Windows). Caravaggio is a simple oil-painting plugin, Make-a-Flake renders snowflakes as well as mandalas and Sparkles adds sparkles, twinkles, blobs and dings to your image. Additionally set 3 of the Xero Plugins was updated. There is also a poll there, which asks you to vote for the best Xero plugin.

Filter Foundry (for Win/Mac), the plugin development tool in the style of Filter Factory, is now scriptable and can be used conveniently in Photoshop actions and PSP scripts. Standalone plugins made by the user are also scriptable.

The ConGo import/export/filter plugins (for Windows) allow you to open old C64 images in your image application. The C64 was the world's favorite home computer in the mid 80s and had a maximum color resolution of 160x240 pixel, 64K RAM and a 8bit processor.

Serif Photo Plus 6 is yet another free graphics application that lets you run Photoshop plugins. It is certainly a tool that is worth using if you can't afford Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro or similar commercial products. It has some rough edges, but it also offers professional features like layers and layer effects. Serif also offers Version 9 of PhotoPlus for purchase.

Inkscape is an open source vector graphics tool (for Windows/Linux). Features include basic shapes, paths, text, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, node editing, svg-to-png export, grouping and more. A Mac version is in work.



PictoColor inCamera 4.0 ICC Profile Plugin Released
The new version of this Mac/Win plugin, which creates custom ICC profiles for digital cameras and scanners, adds support for a new ColorChecker Chart.

Xara Launches Xara3D 6
Everyone's favorite little Windows 3D app is back, with some compelling new functionality. Demo available.

Digital Anarchy Releases Color Theory 1.5.3 for Windows
Released four years ago for Macintosh, the Windows version of this digital color wheel can run as a Photoshop-compatible plugin or standalone application.

Path Styler Pro Plugin Released for Bevel Creation
Shinycore's plugin for Photoshop and Illustrator uses paths to create images with sharp bevels that can be enhanced with textures, procedural maps and reflections. Mac/Win demos available.

Mok3 Introduces Perspective Clone Brush Plugin
Designed to take the guesswork out of cloning architectural elements in perspective, the Perspective Clone Brush is initially available for Windows. Demo available.

Zonic Releases IconLab 1.0 Icon Creation Plugin
The IconLab 1.0 plugin adds full support for the Mac OS X native icon format to Adobe Photoshop. Free trial available.

For daily graphics news updates, visit


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