Plugins for Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, PSP & others



Plugin Newsletter - May 2006




THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATES: PhotoWiz Installer Update

PLUGIN ARTISTS #1: Featuring Stefan Gesell

POLL RESULTS: Which statements represent your opinion about Photoshop-compatible plugins best?

NEW POLL: Which is your favorite freeware image editing application?

THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: B/W to Color, Glitterato Problem, Postcard Printing, Eye Candy 3.1 Problem, Animation Shop

FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Beautifier, 8bf Plugins, Disable VM Buffering, PaintStar, Posteriza, Dydelf

GRAPHICS NEWS: Photoshop Creative, Photoshop SDK, Aperture 1.1, Capture One 3.7.4, Fog, OpenRAW Survey, PK Color 2, LightZone





Thanks to all people who emailed me for suggesting someone for the new Plugin Artists articles. I was only able to pick up three or four of the suggestions and will feature these artists during the next months. Although I didn't plan to start with it so soon, I already managed to do the first article this month. I will also continue with the Plug-Talk and Plugin Guide articles. I plan to do one article every month for one of these three series.

Harald Heim



Finally the third of our PhotoWiz plugins is now available for MacOS X. It has the same features as the latest Windows version.

LightMachine is a plugin for performing all kinds of light adjustments in photos. It combines shadow/highlight, virtual lighting and color-based correction tools for performing sophisticated corrections without the need for time-consuming selections and layer stacks. Additionally LightMachine can achieve special effects like glows, sunsets, high key and selective b/w effects, replace one color with another and simulate polarizing filters

For more information and a demo version please visit



THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATES: PhotoWiz Installer Update
The installations of the Windows version of ColorWasher, FocalBlade and LightMachine were updated. The Plugin Installer tool that is run during the installation now supports Photoshop Elements 4 and Paint Shop Pro 10. Instead of an error message it now displays instructions if it can't detect any image application.



PLUGIN ARTISTS #1: Featuring Stefan Gesell
In the first Plugin Artists we have a look at the German photographer Stefan Gesell who creates photos that have a very special touch. He usually does portraits and full size photos of half dressed or nude woman that convey a very dark and dramatic mood. Some of his images contain horror elements like screaming mouths, gas masks and decayed rooms while others have a more romantic touch that is emphasized with flower bouquets, glowing skin and gleams of light.

The article features a short interview with Stefan Gesell, a few of his images and demonstrates how he enhanced one of his photos in Photoshop. This example shows nicely that you only need to do very subtle changes to a photo to make it look more interesting.



POLL RESULTS: Which statements represent your opinion about Photoshop-compatible plugins best?
Here are the results of the latest poll which tried to explore people's opinions about Photoshop plugins:

1. Plugins let me do things that I wouldn't be able to do without them. 190 votes
2. Plugins give me new creative ideas. 180 votes
3. It is fun to play with plugins. 178 votes
4. Plugins help me to save time. 154 votes
5. Plugins increase the quality of my images. 151 votes

1. I often don't need plugins, because I can do the same things in my image applications alone. 41 votes
2. Plugins keep me from learning to use my image applications better. 33 votes
3. Learning to use plugins requires too much time. 22 votes
4. I can't achieve better results with plugins. 6 votes
5. Plugins keep me from having new ideas. 2 votes

There were 853 positive votes and 104 negative votes, which isn't surprising if you consider that the poll was conducted on a web site about Photoshop plugins. Most people seem to prefer plugins, because they allow them to achieve results that they would not be able to accomplish without them. This is true for beginners who are not that familiar with their image application, but also more advanced users who use plugin functionality that is not available in their application.

The statement "It is fun to play with plugins" also makes clear that many plugins offer their features in an easier accessible and usable way. This again makes clear why plugins can give their users new creative ideas. The advantage of saving time and increasing image quality seems to be important to fewer plugin users.

On the other hand people who avoid plugins seem to prefer doing certain things in their image application. These people seem to prefer being in control and work on a lower level with the image than to use a plugin shortcut. That also explains why they think that plugins keep them from learning to use their image application better. Another negative point for some people is the big variation in user interface designs among plugins, which can mean a steep learning curve sometimes.

With so many people having different knowledge levels, preferences and task requirements, Photoshop plugins provide valid alternatives to the built-in tools in various image applications. Not everyone needs or wants to use them, but many people benefit from them.

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



NEW POLL: Which is your favorite freeware image editing application?
The latest poll is looking for your favorite free image editing tool. With all the nice commercial applications in the $100 price range and many shareware tools in the $30 to $70 price range, there is certainly a lot of competition for freeware image editing tools. Although freeware tools usually have fewer features than their commercial competitors, they still have the advantage of being completely for free.

We had a poll about freeware image editors six years ago, so it is time to see what has changed. You can choose between 15 different freeware tools and an "Other" option.

Please cast your votes at the bottom of



THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: B/W to Color, Gilitterato Problem, Postcard Printing, Eye Candy 3.1 Problem, Animation Shop
Here are the latest interesting posts from the discussion forums:

Gerald McClaren asked: "What is the best way to make a black and white photo color?"

stevesmail wrote: "Im having problems with Flaming Pears, Gilitterato. It has been on my computer for about 18 months, it’s a fully paid version with activation codes supplied by Flaming Pear but now it won’t activate. When I choose to apply it wont the program just closes."

chaitereye wrote: "I’m new to the printing world & having a lot of trouble making a 4 X 6 post card. I want two rows of four landscape images across ... Is there an uncomplicated way I can do that in Photoshop?"

Tich wrote: "I have installed Eye candy 3.1 in psp9 but its not showing with my other plugins when I access them in psp. But i can find them in my psp folder."

Flagryl wrote: "My AS program [bundled with PSP 8] is not working on my new Dell XP computer. When I load the program, the colors of the icons look distorted, blurred. When I bring up a saved image into AS, it looks blurred too."

For more interesting discussions please visit



FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Beautifier, 8bf Plugins, Disable VM Buffering, PaintStar, Posteriza, Dydelf
Red Paw Media offers a new and free Beautifier plugin (for Windows). It creates soft-focus, high-key and infra-red effects. It is meant for portrait and landscapes photos.

The 8bf plugin collection (for Windows) from Jim Clatefeld was modified. The previous AAA Multi-Filter, Focus Filter, Color Adjustment Filter and Gamma Adjustment Filter plugins were removed whereas The Custom, Foto Fix, Edge Art and Simplifier plugin were kept. Additionally five new plugins were added. The Foto Frame plugin adds a rectangular frame to your image, the Textures plugin overlays the image with a marble texture and the three new Median plugins reduce dust, create daubs of color and simplify the image.

The Disable VM Buffering plugin for Photoshop can be installed to eliminate pauses during painting on MacOS X machines with more than 4GB of physical RAM. However, there are some cost in performance with very large documents. It will have no effect on machines with 4GB or less RAM.

PaintStar 2.7 (for Windows) is an image editing application with an interface similar to that of GIMP. It offers various painting, transformation, gradient, text and selection tools and supports layers, alpha channels and more than 30 file formats. There are more than 100 filter effects.

Posteriza (for Windows) lets you produce huge prints by slicing the image into multiple parts that can be printed at a smaller size with your printer. After printing the pages have to be put together manually. Posteriza lets you add margins and cut marks which are a big help for cutting and gluing the pages.

Dydelf adds an outlined posterization effect to your images. There are options for choosing the number of colors, removing isolated pixels and changing background and outline colors. It can also batch process images.



GRAPHICS NEWS: Photoshop Creative, Photoshop SDK, Aperture 1.1, Capture One 3.7.4, Fog, OpenRAW Survey, PK Color 2, LightZone

The Photoshop Creative paper magazine from Imagine Publishing UK contains tutorials, projects and guides for Adobe Photoshop. Each issue contains a Cool Plugin column with two pages about a Photoshop plugin. The previous issue demonstrated FocalBlade and the current issue 8 features the Depth of Field Pro plugin. Past issues covered e.g. Virtual Photographer, Crease, Genuine Fractals and Puzzle Pro. The forthcoming issue 9 will take a look at PixelCreation.

In 2001 Adobe restricted access to the Photoshop SDK, which contains the specifications for Photoshop plugin among other things. It was only available for people who registered for the ASN for $195. Recently Adobe made the Photoshop SDK available again for free to everyone who registers for an Adobe ID.

Apple Aperture 1.1 offers improved raw conversions with the help of new editing tools, a new color sampler, performance improvements and support for the Mac Intel platform. Additionally its price was cut by $200 to $299.

Capture One 3.7.4 now supports more cameras and RAW formats. It now runs natively on both Intel and PowerPC based Mac computers. It offers a 15% speed increase for the Windows as well as the PowerPC Mac version and renders up to 40% faster on Intel Macs. Version 3.7.4 is a free update for existing users.

Red Paw Media released a photoshop-compatible plugin called Fog. It adds gradient fog effects to your photos.

The OpenRAW initiative released the results of their recent survey, in which more than 19,000 people took part. The results mention photographer's preferences about general photographic topics, which RAW converter they use, what advantages and problems they see in the RAW format and what they think about the policy of the camera manufacturers concerning the RAW format.

PixelGenius released Version 2.0 of PhotoKit Color, a Photoshop automation plugin for color corrections, automatic color balancing and creative coloring effects. It runs in Photoshop CS and Photoshop CS2 under MacOS X and Windows.

LightZone, a photo editing and image processing software for the Mac, is now available for Windows. With LightZone a digital photograph can be developed and edited non-destructively.


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