Plugin Newsletter - November 2004
THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATES: Plugin Essentials, Plugin Installation Instructions, Resource Section Update, Plugin Galaxy for AE
PHOTOWIZ CONTEST 2004
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES: Noise and Grain Plugins
POLL RESULTS: How many photos have you taken during the last 12 months?
NEW POLL: How many of your photos do you print or present to people?
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Cutting Out Photos, JPG2000, Fixing Overexposure, Chromatic Aberrations, Batch Problem
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Fiddaman Plugins, Wax, WinMorph, NiGulp, FrameFun, Border, CopyRightLeft
GRAPHICS NEWS: Carnival Colors, Unplugged-X, Photo-Light 2, Painter IX, Magical Sketch, Velvia Vision, Machine Wash
PRODUCTS FROM THE PLUGIN SITE
ABOUT THE PLUGIN SITE
I have noticed that some people misuse the term "filter" for commercial Photoshop actions or templates. The term may be true in a wider sense, but people usually understand "filter plugin" when they read "filter". There was a reason that Adobe put filter plugins on the Filter menu and placed actions on the Actions palette.
In other cases the descriptions of some plugins make very attractive promises or sound very convincing. But sometimes reality can't keep up with the promises. So it is even more recommended to evaluate products before you buy them, especially as some vendors don't issue refunds at all. Unfortunately there are also a few companies that don't bother making full-featured demo versions available.
Another issue is the price. Usually bigger companies can't offer a product at the same price as an independent plugin developer, but on the other hand they usually offer more quality for the higher price. Still, there are companies that offer limited quality for a high price and plugin developers who charge too much money. So again you have to see how much quality and features you get for a certain price.
Luckily, these cases are exceptions in the world of Photoshop plugins, but it is still good to have a close look before you spend your money.
Wishing you a Happy Halloween,
THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATES
I have updated my "Plugin Essentials" article from 2002 a bit. Besides several smaller corrections and clarifications, it now includes new section about plugin hosts, FFL conversion, image modes, 16bit plugins, batch processing and plugin creation tools. It is highly recommended to read it if you are new to the world of Photoshop-compatible plugins. But even plugin veterans may learn something new. If you miss anything, please let me know.
The instructions on "How to Install Photoshop-compatible plugins" have been updated, too. You can find instructions on installing Photoshop-compatible plugins in 28 different graphics applications there. If your graphics application isn't mentioned there, you may still find some of the instructions useful, because usually it works very similar in many graphics applications.
The pages in the Resources section about free Photoshop, Filter Factory, After Effects and Illustrator plugins have been updated. If you didn't miss the latest issues of this newsletter, you should already know the additions. Otherwise have a look.
The MacOS X version of Plugin Galaxy for AE, the video edition of our Photoshop plugins with the same name, has been updated for After Effects 6.0 and 6.5. The Windows version didn't need to be updated, because it didn't produce the image distortions in newer After Effects versions.
PHOTOWIZ CONTEST 2004
More than 200 people have submitted their photos to the Photo Wiz Contest. It looks like there will be much more participants in this contest than in the Galaxy Contest 2002. By the end of the month the jury will have decided on the 16 winners. They will be mentioned in the next issue of this newsletter.
There have been a few problems with contest submissions. A lot of people didn't bother to read the contest rules and submitted more than one image, didn't leave their name and email address or sent images with special effects. These images thus had to be deleted. So if you have participated in the PhotoWiz contest so far, please check if your image is still in the contest gallery and resubmit it AFTER carefully reading the Rules page. Please also notice that uploaded images appear at the beginning of the album and not at the end.
The Best Photo contest topic will still be available for submission for the next 24 hours, so hurry if you still want to submit something. Participating in all three contest topics will give you more chances to win a price. The Best Photo Composition topic has already been opened in the Contest Gallery, so you can start submitting to it, too. The definitions of "Photo Composition" was widened a bit, so please reread the Rules page.
Good luck to everyone who participates in the contest!
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES
Issue 8 of the Digital Photography Techniques magazine is dedicated to Halloween. The cover feature reveals how to add fireworks to your images in Photoshop whereas other lessons include adding ghosts to your images, creating shafts of light and adding stars to a night-sky. There is also a tutorial that shows you how to turn someone you don't like into a zombie (sorry, I meant the photo of someone). Other highlights include a guide to high-key portraits, a PSP Halloween-invite special and a lesson on how to transform your abode into a haunted house. The Essential Plugins column reviews five plugins that create film grain and other noise effects.
Please notice that the Digital Photography Techniques magazine changes its name from the next issue on to "Digital Photo Effects". Luckily the new name isn't such a tongue twister as the old one :-) and expresses more clearly what it is all about.
For more information, please visit
More than 300 people voted for the poll asking "How many photos did you take during the last 12 months?". Here are the results:
More than 20,000 7.3%
20,000 or less 7.6%
10,000 or less 15.5%
5,000 or less 22.5%
2,000 or less 16.2%
1,000 or less 12.9%
500 or less 12.3%
100 or less 5.3%
I didn't take any photos. 0.3%
So it seems that digital cameras seduce people to take a lot of photos. 70% of all people took more than 1000 photos during the last 12 months. Only 15% of them took more than 10,000 photos, so these are certainly people who use their camera professionally. Only 30% take fewer than 1000 photos per year.
For more poll results, please visit the Know-How section:
From the result of the recent poll the question is raised whether all of these photos or just a small part of them are really used. So this month's poll asks you "How many of your photos do you print or present to people?".
Please cast your vote at the bottom of
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS
Here are a few interesting posts from The Plugin Site Forums:
triangle_photography wrote: "... I am creating cutout photos for customers ... I need to know if there is a software or plugin that can help me speed this process up and make it worth my time ..."
mhanke asks about the status of JPG2000: "I am very intrigued by the idea of distributing lossless compressed files. However, I understand that not all applications might display this format correctly. ... Do current versions of web browsers show the JP2 files correctly?"
marliz wrote: " ... I have several old photos where part of the picture has badly faded or was over exposed and can't figure out how to correct just that part without effecting the rest of the picture. trying to separate it with selections makes the parts unbalanced. I've tried reading the help but am having a hard time understandint it. "
stevesmail asked: "If possible I would like to know if there is a plug-in that helps clean up the blue tinge that you get around things in digital photos. I have heard that there is but dont know where to start looking for it."
Bobby asked "When I'm using batch (in Photoshop) and saving to folder, every time the file is saved I get a dialogue box asking me to save and then a second jpeg options box... Is there a way of pre-setting the saving function to accept the save and go on to the next file?"
For more interesting discussions please visit
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS
Tom Fiddaman offers six free photo correction plugins (for Windows) that were created with Filter Meister. The SelfToner plugin tones images from their own palette or with tones from other images, PFree reduces purple fringing whereas CAfree reduces blue fringing and NoisePlot visualizes noise. Finally, the Luminosity plugin is meant for highlight and shadow correction and Reluminate performs luminosity adjustments. The plugins aren't that easy to use, because many sliders have very technical names and only a few explanations are offered on the product pages. Additionally many slider settings produce effects that aren't that desirable, so you need to fiddle a lot with the sliders. Nevertheless it is worth trying them.
Wax from Debug Mode (for Windows) is a freeware video compositing software for creating 2D & 3D special effects, e.g. rotoscoping, explosions, fire, smoke, rain, 3D Text and more. It is available as a standalone application and as a plugin for Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas and Pure Motion EditStudio. It can open AVI files and output AVI, MPEG and Flash files. It also supports VirtualDub filters, DirectX plugins and Windows Movie Maker presets.
WinMorph (for Windows) is another freeware tools from DebugMode. It is morphing and warping software delivered as a standalone and as a plugin for Adobe Premiere, Vegas Video and Wax. It offers intuitive shape-based morphing as well as keyframing, blending and distortion tools. It can also do dynamic video morphing.
NiGulp (for Windows) is a freeware image tool for exploring Photoshop filter plugins. With NiGulp 1.5 you can open an image, select a plugin directory and apply a plugin to the whole image or a selection. Some plugins may not work with it, but that will be fixed in a future version.
FrameFun (for Windows) is a freeware application for adding frames to BMP, JPEG or PNG images. You may select an outer frame, a border around the image or a drop shadow effect. A batch conversion option allows you to frame several pictures in one step.
Border (for Mac OS X) is a simple application for designing decorative borders and frames. Border includes more than 150 different patterns, which can be adjusted to various shapes. If you want to keep it, the author asks for a registration.
CopyRightLeft (for Windows) from Lionel P. Allorge helps you to add a copyright bar on or under a picture. There is a batch mode to process several files at once. It can also create a list of the selected images in an HTML file.
Graphicxtras.com Releases Carnival Colors Plugin Set
This new PC Photoshop-compatible plugin set lets you create millions of different gradient color combinations.
UnPlugged-X Plugin Released
Here's a Windows Photoshop-compatible plugin that packs in a lot for a low price, reportedly including over 100 filters and effects.
HumanSoftware Ships Photo-Light 2.0 Plugin for Lighting Effects
For Photoshop-compatible Mac and Windows applications, this plugin makes possible the creation of a variety of lighting effects, such as glows and fog, and light or shadow cast through objects.
Corel Painter IX Now Available
Available for Mac and Windows, the latest version of Corel's natural-media application seems to be making users happy, and not just for its improved Photoshop integration. Demos available.
Curious Labs Releases MagicalSketch 2
Not what you'd expect from Curious Labs, this is an inexpensive, easy-to-use app that lets you quickly create 3D shapes from two-dimensional drawings.
Velvia Vision Color and Tone Enhancement Plugin Released
This Macintosh and Windows Photoshop plugin is designed to enhance photographic color and tone. It works with JPEG files straight from the camera or TIFF/JPEG images converted from RAW files.
Mister Retro Releases Machine Wash II Image Actions
Developed by high-end apparel and typeface designer Brian J. Bonislawsky, this set provides 60 new professional-quality image aging and weathering effects for use in Macintosh or Windows Photoshop CS.
For daily graphics news updates, visit