Plugin Newsletter - September 2003
THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATES: Commercial Plugins, Poll Results 2003
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE: Color Effects
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Reversing a Mosaic effect, Cropping digital photos, Stills from video captures
POLL RESULTS: Your Favorite Special FX Plugins - Part 2
NEW POLL: Your Favorite Resizing Plugins
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: 3D Shadow, SGI format plugin, IrfanView 3.85
GRAPHICS NEWS: Photoshop CS, Asiva Shift+Gain, Artists Effects, DIGITAL FILM LAB, AutoSelect, Image Styles etc.
PRODUCTS FROM THE PLUGIN SITE
ABOUT THE PLUGIN SITE
Things are going a bit slowly at the moment. We were away in New York and San Francisco for three complete weeks. There are still a lot of emails to answer, but nevertheless I managed to compile this newsletter. This time most newsletter sections are a bit thin, but the poll and news sections are quite extensive.
New updates of ColorWasher and FocalBlade are on the way as well as a Mac version of ColorWasher. As both have been our most successful products so far, we will head further in that direction and offer more photo correction products in future.
Of course there will also be smaller updates of many of our other products by the end of the year.
THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATES
The Commercial Plugins page has been updated with description and links to the latest plugins.
The poll results of the latest six polls have been added to the Polls 2003 page at
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE
Issue 4 of the DPT magazine is now on sale. It features tips and techniques to get perfect color results in your digital images, to improve your photo, to add creative color effects and much more. My Essential Plugins column concentrates on a dozen plugin for creating precision and artistic color effects. For more info please look at
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS
BrynB wrote "I've been sent a picture by a friend that has had a mosaic/pixelation effect applied to it. As a personal challenge, I'd like to try and reverse this and surprise them so I've been looking for a way to do this. So, what I am asking is, does anyone know of a plugin or stand-alone software that is capable of doing this sort of thing?"
trout wrote "I have a 3.2 megapixel camera and like to crop certain parts of my highest resolution pictures. However, I obviously lose quality the smaller down I go. Is there a plugin that can help me with this problem, or do I just need a higher resolution camera?"
aarastas wrote "Does any one know of a plugin that will generate hi resolution stills from video? The only software I can find is VideoFocus but the $4000.00 price tag and workstation requirements are a little to much for me."
For more discussions and comments please visit
Here are the results of part 2 of the Special FX Plugins Poll:
1. ICNET Filters Unlimited 6.1%
2. FM Tile Tools 5.7%
3. NVR Bordermania 5.4%
AVBros Page Curl 5.4%
4. Axion Glow & Sparkle 4.5%
5. AVBros Puzzle Pro 4.3%
Axion Lens Effects 4.3%
6. Panopticum Fire 4.2%
7. HumanSoft Squizz 4%
8. nik ColorEfex 3.8%
Amphisoft Filters 3.8%
9. SapphireInnovations/GraphicXtras Plugins 3.1%
10. Panopticum Lens Pro 2.6%
11. VanDerLee Old Movie 2.4%
Fo2PIX BuzzPro 2.4%
12. Vertigo Hot Text 2.3%
13. VanDerLee Halftone 2.1%
namesuppressed Softener 2.1%
14. Vizros Plugins 1.9%
Lucis Art 1.9%
15. NVR PhotoSwizzle 1.7%
Panopticum Engraver 1.7%
DigitalElement Aurora (10) 1.7%
16. Frischluft flAIR 1.6%
namesuppressed Autochromatic 1.6%
17. namesuppressed Plaid Lite 1.4%
Panopticum Alpha Strip 1.4%
Panopticum Digitalizer 1.4%
HumanSoft PhotoLight 1.4%
Microsoft Impressionist 1.4%
18. Stoik Rubber 1.2%
Cytopia PhotoOptics 1.2%
19. HumanSoft PhotoWeave 1%
HumanSoft PhotoSurface 1%
Filters Unlimited and Tile Tools are at the top of the list. It wasn't surprising to see Filters Unlimited there, because it is a nice way to apply FilterFactory filters. However, I didn't expect Tile Tools to be Nr. 2, but I guess a lot of people liked Fantastic Machines' free Paint Engine, so they bought Tile Tools. I still consider their freeware plugin better than their commercial plugins.
NVR Bordermania has been around for a very long time now, so it seems to have many fans, although button effects have been built into many graphics applications themselves. AVBros Page Curl surely deserves Nr. 3, as it is the best page curl tool available.
More than 570 votes have been collected in part 2 of the poll, which is only one third of the votes from part 1 of this poll. As both polls run for approx. 30 days, we can cautiously assume that these plugin are less popular than those in part 1 of the poll.
So I prepared a list of the Top 45 Special FX plugins on the Polls 2003 page. In this chart Nr. 1 - 21 are from Poll 1, Nr. 22 and 29 are an intersection of Poll 1 and Poll 2 and Nr. 30 - 45 are from Poll 2. To view this chart please visit
This month's poll is about image resizing tools. It asks "Which tool do you use for resizing photos?". The selection is quite small with only 10 tools. These tools can be divided into two categories: 5 resizing tools built into graphics application and 5 resizing tools in the form of plugins. Additionally there is an Other category if you use something else.
Please cast your votes at the bottom of the main page at
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS
Lokas Software offers the free 3D Shadow Photoshop-compatible plugin (for Windows). It creates various types of 3D shadows from a selection. Settings include transparency level, perspective, shadow color, position and X/Y/Z angles. The preview only shows the image at 100% and there is no zoom option. This makes it very hard to adjust the effect if the selection is almost as large or larger as the preview.
Richard Rosenman was again busy to deliver two new free plugins (for Windows). The Squarify plugin produces two types of squared distortion. The Evaluate plugin on the other hand is much more complex.It can perform more than 50 image processing operations ranging from color replacement, color inversion, color swapping, grayscale conversion, clamping, multiplication and division, blurring, pixel grain and much more. Any of these effects can be applied to specific color ranges, specific luma ranges, specific color channels or any combination of these.
This sounds quite complex and it really is. You have to create rules that determine which pixels are affected and choose a function for changing these pixels. So there is a lot of experimenting you can do here. Saving settings as presets would have been really life saving here, but such a feature is unfortunately not supplied.
Telegraphics announced a new SGI file format plugin for Photoshop (Win/Mac), which reads and writes 8-bit and 16-bit SGI (Irix RGB) format files with any number of channels, uncompressed or RLE compressed.
Version 3.85 of IrfanView (for Windows) now supports Photoshop-compatible plugins, also known as 8BF files. To use 8BF plugins run IrfanView and go to Image > Effects > Adobe 8BF filters or simply press Ctrl + K.
To add some filters, press the "Add 8BF filters" button and select a plugin folder. Unfortunately IrfanView doesn't scan sub folders, so if you have your plugins in various folder, it means quite some work to add them to IrfanView.
IrfanView doesn't display the category name of plugins (which is usually used to group them in sub menus) either, so if you have a lot of plugins added, it can be difficult to find the appropriate plugin.
I helped Irfan to add this plugin support to IrfanView, so you can find two of our plugins, Harry's Filters and PopArt, already included with the IrfanView Plugins package. Lets hope the next version of IrfanView will be more comfortable regarding 8BF plugins.
Nevertheless IrfanView is probably the best free application that supports Photoshop-compatible application at the moment.
Adobe Raises the Digital Imaging Standard with Photoshop CS
The big news of the week has to be the announcement of the Adobe Creative Suite. This includes Photoshop CS, which is also available separately. There's some significant new functionality in all the Suite members, which will be available before the end of 2003.
Asiva Shift+Gain Plugin For Photoshop Released
The third plugin from Shapiro Consulting Group, Asiva Shift+Gain Component, lets you make selections based on the Hue, Saturation and Luminance components of a pixel, so you can perform color changes without the hassle of masks. Mac/Win demo available.
Artists Effects Plugin Collection Released
This inexpensive collection of Windows plugins includes Aqua, Chrome, Drop, Ice, Metal and Snow, with the ability to adjust the effects and save them as presets. Demo available.
DIGITAL FILM LAB Plugin Released
This new Win/Mac plugin simulate a variety of film looks, popular glass camera filters, specialized lenses and optical lab processes -- all in a controlled digital environment with either 8 or 16 bits per channel processing. Mac/Win demo available.
AutoSelect 1 Selective Color Correction Plugin
Seemingly take a page from the Asiva book, the prolific Human Software has released its own Win/Mac color correction plugin that doesn't require masking. And, as always from Human Software, no demo is available. Here's an idea -- if every reader of this newsletter sent email to them at email@example.com, politely suggesting they made demos available, perhaps they just might do it.
Image Styles Pack 4.0 Released
This random image generation tool is supplied as a plugin and as a standalone Windows app. Looks handy for generating seamless textures. Demo available.
Genetica Seamless Texture Maker Released
Here's yet another Windows tool for generating seamless textures. Genetica uses a node-based system, comes with 200 presets and is resolution independent. Snag that demo and get texturizing.
Ransen Software Releases "Composite Portrait" Graphics Program
From the folks that brought us Repligator and Gliftic, Archim for Windows lets you create portraits of people using other objects, in the same vein as Giuseppe Arcimboldo's well-known fruit and vegetable portraits. Demo available.
Auto FX Ships Photo/Graphic Edges 6.0
The latest version of this popular plugin comes with three CDs containing 10,000 edge effects, 1,000 matte surface textures, hundreds of color frames, vignettes and other creative content. As a bonus, you can now brush on the frames. Mac/Win demo available.
Pixel Genius LLC Ships PhotoKit SHARPENER
This Win/Mac plugin is designed to provide optimum sharpening for scanned and digital captures sent to continuous-tone, halftone, inkjet and on-screen output, using non-destructive layer-based edits. Win/Mac demo available.
Windows Version of Mask Pro 3 for Creation of Flawless, Real-Life Masks
The latest Windows version of this popular masking plugin provides advanced color-matching and decontamination technology, as well as new Blur, Chisel and Highlighter tools. Win/Mac demos available.
For daily graphics news updates, visit