Plugin Newsletter - July 2005
PHOTO GALAXY 1600 RE-RELEASE
THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATE: Plugins Pages Updated, Polls 2005 Page
PLUG-TALK: Interview and Give-Away with FilterMeister Alex Hunter, nik Give-Away Winners
DIGITAL PHOTO EFFECTS: Color Gradient Plugin Reviews, Rosenman Plugins Tutorials
POLL RESULTS: Number of Used Plugin Products
NEW POLL: Commercial Photo Effects Plugins
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: Skin Paste, Restoring Documents, Pen & Ink FX, Shape Transformation, New CS2 Features, Downsizing
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: Deep Paint, Fine Threshold, SimpelFilters, Gradient Remover, ppLabCor, Picasa 2
GRAPHICS NEWS: MS Acrylic, Eye Candy 5 Impact, Siggraph 2005, SketchBook Pro, Adobe Security Issues, Survey
PRODUCTS FROM THE PLUGIN SITE
ABOUT THE PLUGIN SITE
It was a great pleasure to do an interview with Alex Hunter, who created the FilterMeister tool. Many of the best freeware plugins were created with it and would probably not exist otherwise. The interview shows his great knowledge concerning computers, but he is also a kind, funny and very pleasant person. The way he deals with his chronic illness is admirable. See below for the link to the interview. Next time there will be an interview with Jeff Butterworth, the founder of Alienskin, which promises to be very interesting, too.
It is always surprising to see that at least one or two freeware plugins are released each month. Of course, I need to do some searching to find them, but sometimes I get a helpful hint from someone. So if you find a new and undiscovered star in the plugin universe, keep sending the news to me. As usual you can find information about the latest new plugins below.
PHOTO GALAXY 1600 RE-RELEASE
We have just remodeled our Photo Galaxy product series. The five CD volumes of Photos Galaxy 1600 have been turned into two products called "Themes" and "Textures" with 2000 photos each on 2 CDs. The price was also reduced by 33%. We also discontinued Photo Galaxy 800, but the "Photo Galaxy 2300 Textures" product remains the same.
As a result Photo Galaxy is now a collection of three products with more than 5000 royalty-free digital photos. The photos were taken between 2000 and 2003 in different places in England, Wales, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the USA. The available photos were chosen from a pool of more than 20,000 photos to assure high quality. The photos can be used royalty-free for commercial purposes, e.g. as material for graphics artwork or multimedia projects, as decoration for web sites and e-book covers, for creating greeting cards, brochures, flyers or other print products and many other things.
For more information and for downloading some sample
images please visit:
THE PLUGIN SITE UPDATE
The Free Plugins, Plugins by Category, Commercial Plugins and Filter Factory Plugins pages in the Resources section of The Plugin Site have been updated with new plugins.
The Polls 2005 page was added. It contains the results of the monthly polls that were conducted in 2005 so far.
The third interview in the Plug-Talk series was conducted with Alex Hunter, who created FilterMeister. FilterMeister is a tool for developing Photoshop plugins and without it a lot of cool freeware and commercial plugins would probably not be available now. Alex tells us about his past with Intel, his love for garden gnomes and the future of FilterMeister. If you answer a simple question you will be able to win three copies of FilterMeister.
The winners of nik Give-Away have been chosen. Sheldon Buckman (Florida), Hans Maerker (Germany) and Marie Burton (Texas) have won a copy of nik Color Efex Pro 2 Standard. The answer to the give-away question " How many years ago was nik Multimedia founded?" was 10 years. 30% of all participants had it wrong. Someone even said 85 years. Please also note that a photo of Nils Kokemohr has been added.
DIGITAL PHOTO EFFECTS
Issue 27 of the Digital Photo Effects magazine marks two changes: A new look with a larger font and new layout elements were introduced, which make it more reader-friendly. Additionally support for Paint Shop Pro was dropped, because only 2% of all readers seem to use PSP. This means that Digital Photo Effects will only contain tutorials for Photoshop and Elements from now on.
The main project of issue 27 deals with getting perfect skies with Photoshop. You get to know how to replace skies, create amazing sunsets and transform your landscapes. A new series of beginner guides focuses on specific tools in Photoshop and Elements. Other tutorials show how to enhance macro shots, blend bark and skin to make a wood man, add friends and family to a B-movie poster and produce summer haze and sunny saturation. All in all, Digital Photo Effects contains 34 photo projects, two hours of video guides, more than 60 free pictures and MontagePlus from Serif on the cover CD.
My Essential Plugins column reviews three color gradient plugins and chooses the best plugin for this task. My other Plugin Guide column shows how to create glow, lens correction and surreal effects with the free Rosenman Plugins.
219 people voted in the latest poll about "How many plugin products do you use more or less regularily?". Here are the results:
1. 3 or 4 plugins (51) 23.29%
2. 5 to 10 plugins (50) 22.83%
3. Up to 20 plugins (44) 20.09%
4. Up to 50 plugins (21) 9.59%
5. 1 or 2 plugins (19) 8.68%
6. Too many to count them. (12) 5.48%
7. More than 100 plugins (9) 4.11%
8. My graphics tool doesn't support plugins. (7) 3.20%
9. Up to 100 plugins (4) 1.83%
10. I don't need any plugins. (2) 0.91%
To sum it up almost 46% of all people use 3 to10 plugin products and 66% of all people use 3 to 20 plugins. 20% of all people use 20 or more plugins, almost 9% use only one or two plugins and the rest of 4% use no plugins. The Plugin Site certainly attracts mainly people who are interested in Photoshop plugins, so it is not surprising to have such a result. If the poll would have been conducted on another website, the amount of people using no or only few plugins would have certainly been higher.
For more poll results, please visit the Know-How section at
Our latest poll asks "Which of these commercial photo effects plugins do you like best?" and gives you nine choices plus an "Other" option.
Please vote at the bottom of the page at
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS
Here are the latest interesting posts from The Plugin Site Forums:
Jay wrote: "... I heard there is plugin in market
but i don't know name. ... If someone face has any unwanted mark that
i can remove vith some one else skin (Skin Paste). Please let me know."
David wrote: "I'm searching for plugings working
with scanned images of documents, usually old and with problems of conservation,
that is, that are not easily read because it has lost ink and things like
that. ... Any idea?"
Graham wrote: "I am looking for a free plugin
to Converting Photo's to Pen & Ink Drawing."
Rilo asked: "I'm lookin for a ps-Plugin (not
nessecarily PS) to drag any kind of Picture selection into any kind of
shapes ... E.g. I have a rectangular selection and want do redraw it like
an arc (or anything else). ... In PS I dont even find the easiest Transformations
when it comes to organic shapes."
latinsnake wrote: "About 6 maybe 8 months ago
I downloaded a plugin for PaintShopPro with a 15 day trial. I dont remember
the name of the plugin. I will post a work I did and maybe some one can
tell me what I used to make this?"
Mehdi wrote: "hi, i've just discovered that cs2
has a "smart sharpen" tool. i'm just not convinced by the results
noise is enhanced, halo can still appear ... i may be dumb ... also what do you think about the noize reduction program ?"
hsegel wrote: "I have a large number of photgraphs
that are 2576 X 1932. I need to reduce them to about 250 pixels wide...
What is the best way to reduce these and have the best possible quality
in the end result?"
For more interesting discussions please visit
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS
Right Hemisphere decided to discontinue their DeepPaint 2 product (for Windows) and make it available for free. Deep Paint is a painting tool that offers artistic photo-cloning, fully editable brush and canvas settings. It simulates oil, acrylic and watercolor brushes. Deep Paint works as a Photoshop plugin as well as standalone application.
To download it please go to:
For more information see:
The Mehdi plugin collection has been extended with a new plugin called Fine Threshold. Unlike traditional threshold filters, Fine Threshold achieves nice anti-aliased results. Fortunately, all Mehdi plugins are now delivered in unencrypted zip files, which saves a lot of time.
Ralph Altmann, a German book author, offers four freeware plugins (for Windows) on his web site. At the moment they are only available in German language, but may be translated to English soon. To download them just go to the four pages below and click on the link with the zip file. The "SF Farbanzahl" plugin counts the number of colors in an image, "RGB-Kanalmixer" and "Grauwertmixer" are enhanced versions of the Channel Mixer in Photoshop and finally "Farbraumkonverter" lets you convert an image between various color spaces. All four plugins are easy to use, even if you don't know German.
Rob Miller now also offers a Gradient Remover plugin (for Windows) in addition to his Vignetting Remover. As its name says Gradient Remover helps to remove unwanted background gradients in images. It is meant for astronomical images, but it also works on normal photos. A downloadable tutorial for the plugin is also available. The author requests a donation of at least $5 for his web hosting costs.
ppLabCor (for Windows) is a special purpose plugin to correct a bug in the current version of ColorLab* that causes Lab TIFFs generated from data files to have wrong colors.
Google offers Picasa 2 (for Windows), a free photo management software for organizing, editing and sharing digital pictures. It automatically locates all your pictures and sorts them into visual albums organized by date with logical folder names.
Graphics News from Graphics.com
Microsoft Provides Open Beta of New Windows Graphics
Application Codenamed Acrylic, the new application is an extension of
the Expression application that Microsoft purchased from Creature House
Alien Skin Announces Eye Candy 5: Impact
This collection of ten seamless texture generators for Mac and Win Photoshop-compatible apps is the third in a series of upgrades to EyeCandy 4000.
Special Sessions Announced for SIGGRAPH 2005 Conference
The conference, to be held in Los Angeles July 31 to August 4, is expected to attract nearly 30,000 graphics and interactive technology professionals.
Alias Updates SketchBook Pro for Tablets
The first full-feature release since its introduction in 2001, SketchBook Pro 2 for Mac and Windows adds functionality with creatives in mind.
Adobe Issues Security Update for Windows Creative
Adobe is advising those who are using Photoshop CS, Creative Suite or Premiere Pro 1.5 to download and install a security update.
Surveys Signal Growth in Salaries and Jobs for Creatives
With the economy finally picking up steam, two recent surveys devoted to the creative services sector point to better times ahead.
For daily graphics news updates, visit