Plugin Newsletter - September / October 2009
THE NEW DESIGN OF THE PLUGIN SITE
FREEWARE PANEL FOR PHOTOSHOP CS4: Run our plugins conveniently from a panel
POSTCARD CONTEST 2009: The Winners
PLUGIN REVIEWS: Auto FX MTTC 2
POLL RESULTS: For which of our plugins or tools would you like to see a major upgrade? Which of the following plugins would you like to have developed by The Plugin Site?
NEW POLL: In which versions of Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop Elements do you use plugins?
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: New Look of The Plugin Site, Blacked out options in Mura Meister plugin
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: ASCII-art, Displacement Map, Flatten & MultiFill, Smart Refinement, Plug-In Switch
GRAPHICS NEWS: Photoshop Elements 8, Colour Studio, psdAutoSaver, Graphics.com/Learning, ReMask, Lightroom 2.5 & Camera Raw 5.5
PRODUCTS FROM THE PLUGIN SITE
ABOUT THE PLUGIN SITE
The look of web sites has changed greatly throughout the years. The design of "The Plugin Site" web site dated back to the beginning of the decade. So it was about time to change it. We now updated it with a design that looks more modern and is easier to use. The redesign is an on-going process, so you will still see changes within the next few week or months. More below. Please tell us you opinion at: http://thepluginsite.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3355
Also read below about The Postcard Contest 2009, which ended now, and our latest freeware, a panel for Photoshop CS4.
I was writing a book on fine art nude and portrait photography during the last few months. My co-author was Kay Michael Kuhnlein who has already written 20 books so far. It was an interesting experience and I learned a lot of things in the process. 60% of the book is about photography, the rest is about retouching in Photoshop. but we also demonstrate how to achieve some effects with plugins. The book contains more than 200 images from 15 photographers including 30 of my own.
The book is in German language and will be published in early December. We will try to find a publisher in the US or UK. So hopefully the book will also become available in English language in the future. The German title of the book is "Akt- und Porträtfotografie: Fotostyling mit Photoshop". To have a look at the book cover and some more information in German language see here: http://www.thepluginsite.com/products/book.htm
THE NEW DESIGN OF THE PLUGIN SITE
The look of "The Plugin Site" web site was updated. The page width of all web pages is fixed now, there is a new simplified nav bar at the top and the layout of a few pages has changed. We hope you also like the new search feature at the top, which replaces the old Search section. Additionally, the old Know-How section was merged into the Resources section. Several pages from the Resources section have been removed. We will be adding many of them back after they have been thoroughly updated.
The Download Center was also improved. Once you enter the Download Center, you can always enter it directly from the "Download" link at the top and do not need to use the received email or a favorite anymore. The link in the email that you get after filling out the download form now sets a cookie on your computer that tells our web site to display the Download Center instead of the download form. To activate this feature just use the link to the download center in the email once again.
But we are not finished yet. The redesign of The Plugin Site is still in progress. I hope you like the new layout, especially the one of the new main page. If you encounter any problems when browsing the site, we would appreciate it if you would let us know.
FREEWARE PANEL FOR PHOTOSHOP CS4: Run our plugins
conveniently from a panel
Photoshop CS4 introduced a new feature called flash panel. We now decided to create such a flash panel of our own. It is called "ThePluginSite Panel" and is freeware. It works in Photoshop CS4 under Windows and MacOS X. It allows you to apply all Photoshop plugins created by The Plugin Site in a very convenient way. It is resizable, can be docked to the other palettes in Photoshop and can be collapsed.
ThePluginSite Panel offers two buttons for removing a plugin effect with the help of the brush tool and a button for applying the previous plugin effect without displaying a dialog. Furthermore it lets you run the selected plugin on the selected layer, a duplicated version of it or a layer that is a merged copy of all visible layers. As you see using the panel offers a lot of advantages compared to running our plugins from the menu.
At the moment ThePluginSite Panel supports only the latest versions of our plugins and not older versions and demo versions. It displays a German UI if you run it in the German version of Photoshop CS4.
For more information and an interactive flash demo
of the panel please go to
POSTCARD CONTEST 2009: The Winners
It was fun to receive new and interesting postcards every day. But now the contest has ended. 450 postcards from all over the world were submitted by more than 150 people to the Postcard Contest 2009. A jury of three experts elected the winners. A big thanks to all participants and congratulations to the winners!
The 20 winning postcards and 15 others will be exhibited in the Museum of Communications in Nuremberg, Germany, for six weeks starting October 30, 2009. Photos of the exhibition will be shown on the contest pages.
Have a look at the winning postcards at the contest
PLUGIN REVIEWS: MTTC 2
Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2 by Auto FX has been tested by two of our reviewers.
Robert van de Voort concludes "A very effective program for those who have not access to Photoshop or who do not want to spend lots of time in Photoshop to achieve the multitude of effects that this program gives at the click of a mouse." Roberto Muscia writes: "Without doubt, MTTC 2 is a well performing work-horse for photo retouching... It allows people to gain significant savings in retouching time and efforts without compromising on results." Both also found a few weak points in the software, but the positive aspects prevail by far. You can read both extensive reviews at
If you own a certain plugin, you are welcome to post your own review at the following URL. If you want to read some more reviews from other people please also visit
POLL RESULTS: For which of our plugins or tools would
you like to see a major upgrade? Which of the following plugins would
you like to have developed by The Plugin Site?
This time we ran two related polls. 145 votes were collected in the first poll with the question "For which of our plugins or tools would you like to see a major upgrade?". The results are...
1. FocalBlade 30 votes
2. B/W Styler 22 votes
Plugin Commander 22 votes
3. ContrastMaster 18 votes
4. LightMachine 17 votes
ColorWasher 17 votes
5. Edge & Frame Galaxy 15 votes
Plugin Galaxy 15 votes
6. HyperTyle 11 votes
We are currently working on Version 2 of FocalBlade, so that looks like the right decision. Before doing B/W Styler 2 there will be a color version of it, which will probably also lead to some improvements for B/W Styler. Nice to see that Plugin Commander 2 is also longed for. There will certainly be an update that makes it work more smoothly in Vista and 7. As Plugin Commander is our oldest product, it would need a total redesign instead of just adding new features. HyperTyle 2 will probably never be released. It is more likely that its features will be integrated into Plugin Galaxy. Creating a plugin for Edge & Frame Galaxy would be fun, so it is also a possibility.
And now the 277 votes of the poll that asked "Which of the following plugins would you like to have developed by The Plugin Site?":
1. A masking/cut-out plugin 35 votes
2. A portrait retouching plugin 31 votes
3. A noise reduction plugin 29 votes
4. An image upscaling/downsizing plugin 27 votes
A lighting effects plugin 27 votes
5. A color version of B/W Styler that simulates color films and glass filters 25 votes
6. A lens/perspective correction plugin 23 votes
A painting effects plugin 23 votes
7. A lens blur / bokeh plugin 22 votes
8. A plugin for adding edges and frames to images 21 votes
9. A red eye reduction/removal plugin 14 votes
Masking seems to be one of the most important but least favored tasks in Photoshop. So it is no surprise that people are looking for solutions. Doing masking, portrait retouching, noise reduction and image scaling plugins has been in the back of our mind for quite some time. Several products are already available in these areas. So if we create one of these plugins we would like to be sure that they contributes something new and are not duplicate existing functionality.
For more poll results, please visit the Resources
NEW POLL: In which versions of Photoshop, Paint Shop
Pro and Photoshop Elements do you use plugins?
In our new poll we would like to hear in which versions of Photoshop, PSP and Elements you use third-part plugins. If you use one of the mentioned application releases but do not have plugins installed in it, please do not vote for it.
Please vote at the bottom of the page at
THE DISCUSSION FORUMS: New Look of The Plugin Site,
Blacked out options in Mura Meister plugin
Not much activity at the forums this summer. Here is at least one interesting post:
New Look of The Plugin Site
Harald Heim wrote: "How do you like the new look of The Plugin Site? Please tell us you opinion and help us to improve it that way. Any comments are welcome."
Blacked out options in Mura Meister plugin
capricorncaz wrote: "Can anyone tell me why when a student of mine installs Mura Meister Clouds it works but the Light, FG, BG and Source Base are blacked out? ... Has anyone a solution as to how to get these boxes working properly?"
For more discussions and asking questions see
FREE PLUGINS AND TOOLS: ASCII-art, Displacement Map,
Flatten & MultiFill, Smart Refinement, Plug-In Switch
The ASCII-art Photoshop plugin (for Windows) creates ASCII art pictures. It lets you define your own alphabet and use all ASCII symbols. It is not possible to change the font and its size.
The ImageSkill Displacement Map plugin (for Windows) distorts images in an unusual way while keeping fine details . A set of displacement maps is supplied with the plugin.
Boudewijn Pelt made two Photoshop plugins (for Win/Mac) available called Flatten and MultiFill. Flatten offers a special trapping method that is used in the production of comics. MultiFill automatically fills white areas in a black-and-white image with colors. A tutorial on how to use both plugins resides on the same page at
The Smart Refinement Filter from Aura Labs is a Photoshop plugin (for Windows) that applies sharpening, depth of field (DOF) enhancement and noise reduction. It is a beta version that is free for non-commercial use.
The freeware utility Plug-In Switch (for Windows) has been re-written from scratch and now has a new interface design and comes with a new installer. Plug-In Switch lets you disable Photoshop filters temporarily and re-enable them again later without having to completely uninstall the plugins each time.
GRAPHICS NEWS: Photoshop Elements 8, Colour Studio,
psdAutoSaver, Graphics.com/Learning, ReMask, Lightroom 2.5 & Camera
Adobe released version 8 of Photoshop Elements (for Win/Mac) . New features include Adobe Photomerge Exposure, Recompose and Quick Fix previews. Automated analysis tools can be used to add tags and identify people in your images for easy organization.
Cybia bundled its commercial plugins to a bundle called Colour Studio (for Windows). The filters have all been re-compiled for Vista compatibility and feature an updated interface design. You can save money by purchasing the bundle or get the individual filters.
Electric Iris psdAutoSaver (for Windows) is a Photoshop plugin for doing automatic backups of edited images. You can define where and how often the documents are saved.
Graphics.com/Learning is a comprehensive resource for graphic and web designers offering video tutorials by professional instructors on the topics that matter most to today's creatives. An affordable subscription gets you unlimited access to the entire archive. At the moment, the site's video library houses about 55 hours of material from design experts. New tutorials are added every week, and free samples are available at
Topaz ReMask (for Win/Mac) is a masking plugin that asks you to create a layer mask with three colors: white, black and gray. When you run it, it transforms the gray areas of the layer mask into the edges of the object. That way it keeps small details and removes the background. The plugin does not offer any dialog, so you need to use tools from Photoshop for adjusting the result.
Adobe released Lightroom 2.5 and Camera Raw 5.5 (for Win/Mac). Both provide additional Raw support for Nikon D300S, Nikon D3000, Panasonic DMC-GF1 and Olympus E-P1. Camera Raw also includes support for sensors with non-conventional color filter arrays.