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The Photoshop Blog offers the latest Photoshop news and software updates, Photoshop tips and tutorials, and random thoughts from graphic artist and Photoshop expert Jennifer Apple.
Photoshop Plugin Reviews From Jay Nelson - April 2008
Here are the latest Photoshop Plugin Reviews by Jay Nelson, the editor-in-chief of Design Tools Monthly.
Intuitive Image Fixing
onOne Software's PhotoTune 2.2 ($130, formerly 20/20 Color MD) is an image-enhancing and color-correcting plug-in for Photoshop that's remarkably easy to use. All you do is look at a series of side-by-side images, each time clicking on the one you think looks best. After you complete this 15-second process, it applies the minimum number of adjustments to make your image look like your final choice. You can work on your entire image, one layer, or a selection. In our tests, it increased both detail and color in shadow areas, balanced colors, and toned down glare. You can also save up to four "snapshots" of your adjustments at any point in the process to compare with subsequent adjustments, and include PhotoTune's adjustments in a Photoshop Action for batch processing. Version 2 adds support for 16-bit and Raw images. Version 2.2 lets you apply changes to a selection and includes SkinTune to accurately adjust skin colors.
Color Efex Pro 3
Nik Software's Color Efex Pro 3 adds up to 52 professional-quality photographic filters to Photoshop, with more than 250 unique effects. Amazingly, you can "paint" the filters onto your image with variable strength, using a Wacom pressure-sensitive pen and tablet. The basic filters let you apply traditional color lens effects to enhance skin tones, skies, and foliage, all without damaging the rest of the photograph. One amazing filter is the Sunshine filter, which transforms the dull colors in a picture taken on a cloudy day into the colors you would see on a bright summer day. Other filters include B/W Conversion, Classical Soft Focus, Vignette, Darken/Lighten Center, Fog, Remove Color Cast, Graduated Blue and other colors, Polarize, Silver and Gold Reflectors and White Neutralizer. The Stylizing filters include artistic effects such as Indian Summer, Midnight, Monday Morning, Old Photo (Color & B/W), Pastel, Solarization and many others. Among the new filters are Film Effects, Film Grain, and Glamour Glow. Versions are available priced from $100 to $300, with a 15-day free trial.
Brush On Detail
Pixel Vistas' PhotoLift ($40) is a plug-in for Photoshop that is shockingly effective at increasing detail and contrast in areas of interest. You can use it on a selection, or brush it on interactively. We encourage you to roll your mouse over the samples at their website.
Recolor Fabrics and Products
If you have a project where you need to change the color of many items, such as articles of clothing, products, etc., Clicdesign's ColorVision ($350) can save you hours and hours. This plug-in for Photoshop maintains the original texture and feel of an item or fabric, without losing shading or details. You can use a standard Adobe color Swatches file to assign colors, or even let it generate new colors for you.
Kodak GEM Removes Blemishes
Kodak's Professional GEM Airbrush Plug-in 2.1 ($100) is a remarkable filter for Photoshop that lets you remove blemishes, spots, wrinkles, shadows and film grain from an entire image or from a selection. It works with 8-bit and 16-bit images, and magically preserves details such as hair, eyelashes and eyebrows. The technology is extremely advanced and the results are remarkable. You can download a trial version to test it for yourself.
Amazing Color Adjustments in Illustrator
If Adobe Illustrator is your preferred design tool, you may miss some of the creative capabilities available in Photoshop. Astute Graphics' Phantasm CS is a remarkable plug-in for Adobe Illustrator CS2/CS3 that adds color controls similar to Photoshop's: brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, and levels and curves -- but you can use them on native Illustrator shapes and imported images. It also adds controls for invert, levels, shift to color, and overprint removal. All controls are available as both a Filter and a Live Effect, so that you can later edit or remove your changes. It's available in three versions ranging from $45 to $175. The "Designer" version adds halftone, duotone and other effects, while the "Studio" version adds industrial-strength output features such as previews for separations, overprints and ink coverage, and the ability to edit inline images.
Akvis Enhancer 8 ($69) is a unique plug-in for Photoshop that pulls detail out of shadows and highlights. It can dramatically improve most photos, especially those with strong light behind your subject. Besides enhancing details in shadows and highlights, Enhancer can also improve details in a photo's midtone areas, making it an effective tool for sharpening an otherwise well-exposed photo. It's also extremely effective at removing the haze that sometimes covers a photo, which is usually the result of non-optimal camera settings. A fully functional, 10-day free trial is available.
Image Doctor 2
Alien Skin's Image Doctor 1 was a breakthrough plug-in for Photoshop. Now Image Doctor 2 is here ($199), and it improves the speed and quality of its results, and its interface. Image Doctor comprises several filters: Dust and Scratch Remover, JPEG Repair, Blemish Concealer, Skin Softener, and Smart Fill. These filters do what their names imply: restore rips, scratches, and dust in scans of old photos; repair overly compressed and blocky JPEG images, such as cell phone photos; remove unwanted objects from pictures with a seamless recreation of the nearby background; and retouch and soften skin areas by removing moles, birthmarks, scars, wrinkles, tattoos, pimples, and oily or splotchy skin patches. We've used them and they work beautifully.
A Unique Focus Tool
onOne Software's FocalPoint ($160) is a unique plug-in for Photoshop that lets you apply creative focusing effects to an image. You set the location of a "sweet spot" of focus and then control the amount and kind of blur, and then optionally lighten or darken the edges. Remarkably, you can tilt the plane of focus, much like a tilt-shift lens, or simply lighten or darken the areas outside the sweet spot, for a vignetting effect. Blur choices include a standard defocused look as well as a blur that simulates motion. You can save your favorite effects as presets for easy use later on, even as an Action on an entire folder of images. There's nothing else quite like it.
Photoshop CS5 & Photoshop CS5 Extended - Best Deals From Adobe
Adobe Photoshop CS5 delivers breakthrough capabilities to help you create images with impact. Refine your images with reengineered photography tools for removing noise, adding grain, and creating high dynamic range (HDR) images. Get precise results when making complex selections. Remove any image element and see the space fill in almost magically. Paint with naturally textured brushstrokes and realistic color blends. Learn more about Photoshop CS5.
Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended software helps you create the ultimate images for print, the web, and video. Enjoy all the state-of-the-art editing, compositing, and painting capabilities in industry-standard Photoshop CS5, and experience fast performance thanks to cross-platform 64-bit support. Also create 3D extrusions for logos, artwork, and motion graphics; edit 3D objects with advanced tools; and create and enhance motion-based content. Learn more about Photoshop CS5 Extended.
Find CS5 upgrade options and Creative Suite 5 deals at the Adobe Store. See CS5 pricing in UK currency at the Adobe UK Store. Visit the Adobe Special Offers page to find the latest deals. Save 80% on Adobe Student Editions. Try before you buy — download a free Photoshop CS5 trial.
Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium
Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium software gives you fresh new creative tools, along with the ability to deliver ideas faster in print and create interactive content without writing code. Plus Design Premium integrates with Adobe CS Live online services to maximize your design time by streamlining critical nondesign tasks.
Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium combines Adobe InDesign CS5, Photoshop CS5 Extended, Illustrator CS5, Flash CS5 Professional, Dreamweaver CS5, Fireworks CS5, and Acrobat Pro with additional tools and services. Download a free CS5 Design Premium 30 day trial.
Photoshop CS5 Tutorials & CS5 Resources
See our Photoshop CS5 Resource Center for Free Photoshop CS5 Tutorials, and the Free Photoshop CS5 Trial Download. See our Photoshop CS4 Resource Center for Free Photoshop CS4 Tutorials.
Exclusive onOne Software 15% Instant Discount Coupon
Enter our exclusive discount coupon code - PSSPPT06 - during the checkout process at onOne Software for an instant 15% discount on any onOne product. This includes Genuine Fractals and their amazing Photoshop Plug-In Suite.
OnOne’s new Plug-In Suite solves six of the most frequent problems photographers will encounter in Photoshop. This suite has been granted American Photos Magazine’s Editor’s Choice award for Top Image Editing Software. The Plugin Suite includes:
Genuine Fractals Pro is renowned by both photographers and printers for its finesse at increasing images to more than ten times their original size while maintaining the sharpness and detail you started with. Think of this as the industry standard for image resizing.
Mask Pro is used to remove the tough stuff — such as hair, smoke and glass — while retaining the fine detail. You choose what colors to keep, then paint away what you don’t need.
PhotoTools Pro packs hundreds of high-calibre photographic effects into one user-friendly plug-in. It’s fast and easy to use. Gives your photos that pro quality look.
PhotoFrame Pro lets you enhance your pictures with hundreds of such design effects, or simply drop your image into a pre-fab layout in Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture.
FocalPoint helps to control focus and minimize visual noise. Draw the eye to specific points in your images by using selective focus, depth-of-field and vignette effects.
PhotoTune lets you can compare images side-by-side and easily color correct and enhance them. PhotoTune optimizes the dynamic range, color and sharpness of your image without the need to know all the complicated controls in Photoshop like levels and curves.
Simply enter our exclusive discount coupon code - PSSPPT06 - during the checkout process at onOne Software for an instant 15% discount on any onOne product.
Nik Software 15% Instant Discount - Exclusive 15% Coupon
Enter our exclusive discount coupon code - NIKPSS - during the checkout process at Nik Software for an instant 15% discount on any Nik Software product. This exclusive discount coupon code can be applied to all the latest Nik Software Photoshop plugins, including Silver Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Viveza, Sharpener Pro, and Dfine.
Color Efex Pro
52 photographic filters with over 250 effects for professional quality images. Completely Original. Completely Indispensable.
Nik Software Color Efex Pro filters are the leading photographic filters for digital photography. The award-winning Color Efex Pro filters are widely used by many of today's professional photographers around the world to save time and get professional level results. Whether you choose the Complete Edition, Select Edition, or Standard Edition, you’ll get traditional and stylizing filters that offer virtually endless possibilities to enhance and transform images quickly and easily.
Patented U Point technology provides the ultimate control to selectively apply enhancements without the need for any complicated masks, layers or selections. Control color, light and tonality in your images and create unique enhancements with professional results. With 52 filters and over 250 effects found in Color Efex Pro, you can perform high quality retouching, color correction, and endless creative enhancements to your photographs. Download a free Trial version.
The most powerful tool to selectively control color and light in photographic images without the need for complicated selections or layer masks.
Two of the most important factors in creating great photography are color and light. Mastering the art of selectively correcting or enhancing each of these is now possible for every photographer without the need for complicated masks or selections, or expert-level knowledge of Photoshop. Integrating award-winning U Point technology, Viveza is the most powerful and precise tool available to control light and color in photographic images.
U Point powered Color Control Points, placed directly on colors or objects in an image (such as sky, skin, grass, etc.), reveal easy-to-use controls that photographers can use to quickly adjust brightness, contrast or color in a fraction of the time needed by other tools. With Viveza you’ll spend more time shooting photographs and save hours of image editing. Download a free Trial version.
Silver Efex Pro
Complete power and control to create professional quality black and white images in one convenient tool.
Silver Efex Pro from Nik Software is the most powerful tool for creating professional quality black and white images from your photographs. For the first time, all the advanced power and control required for professional results have been brought together in one convenient tool.
Featuring Nik Software’s patented U Point technology to selectively control the tonality and contrast of the image, Silver Efex Pro includes advanced imaging algorithms to protect against unwanted artifacts, a comprehensive collection of emulated black and white film types, a variable toning selector for adding traditional toning techniques, over 20 one-click preset styles, and a state-of-the-art grain reproduction engine that help produce the highest quality black and white images possible from your color images while providing more freedom to experiment. Download a free Trial version to use Silver Efex Pro.
Enter our exclusive discount coupon code - NIKPSS - during the checkout process at Nik Software for an instant 15% discount. This exclusive discount coupon code can be applied to all the latest Nik Software Photoshop plugins, including Silver Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Viveza, Sharpener Pro, and Dfine.
Exclusive 15% Discount On All Topaz Plugins - Use Coupon Code PHOTOSHOPSUPPORT - Includes Bundles And Upgrades
Enter our exclusive discount coupon code PHOTOSHOPSUPPORT during the checkout process at Topaz Labs for an instant 15% discount on any Topaz product, including bundles and upgrades.
Topaz Labs Photoshop plug-ins are specifically designed to expand a photographer's creative toolbox by harnessing powerful image technology developments. Photographers everywhere are now taking advantage of the creative exposure effects, artistic simplification, unique edge manipulation, and top-of-the-line noise reduction offered in Topaz products. The Topaz Photoshop Plugins Bundle is a super powerful Photoshop plugins package that includes the following Topaz products:
Deliver stunning and dynamic images with this uniquely powerful plug-in that features HDR-like abilities and enhances exposure, color and detail.
A three-level detail adjustment plug-in that specializes in micro-contrast enhancements and sharpening with no artifacts.
The fastest and most effective masking and extraction program with one-click mask refining.
Highest-quality noise reduction plug-in that removes the most noise and color noise while preserving the most image detail.
Provides creative simplification, art effects, and line accentuation for easy one-of-a-kind art.
Take control of the detail depth of your images with extensive smoothing, texture control and edge enhancement tools.
Drastically improves the quality of web images and other compressed photos.
Learn more about the Topaz Photoshop Plugins Bundle. Download a free trial version.
Photoshop Masking Plugin Fluid Mask - Exclusive Instant Discount
The 4 1/2 out of 5 star review of Fluid Mask at MacWorld begins by saying that this "Photoshop plug-in takes the pain out of extracting backgrounds," and goes on to recommend the latest version, stating that "Fluid Mask is a very effective tool for separating objects from their backgrounds. It offers a variety of useful features for tackling almost any difficult image, from wispy hair to complex foliage. Online video tutorials and live training sessions help ease the learning curve."
Our friends at Vertus, the makers of Fluid Mask Photoshop Plugin, have set up a special exclusive discount for PhotoshopSupport.com. Go to our Fluid Mask page for a special, exclusive discount link.
Fluid Mask is designed for photographers, image editors, graphic designers and all those who take digital image editing seriously. In a streamlined interface and workflow, Fluid Mask instantly shows key edges in the image and provides comprehensive easy to use tools that work with difficult-to-see edges and tricky areas like trees & lattices. Fluid Mask will also preserve all-important edge information for a professional quality cut out. Go to our Fluid Mask page for more info.
lynda.com Online Training Library - View Free Video Clips
Subscriptions to the lynda.com Online Training Library provide anytime access to tens of thousands of video tutorials covering Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, web design, digital imaging, 3D, digital video, animation, and many other topics. View free video clips.
For less than a dollar a day, members have the opportunity to stay current and keep skills sharp, learn innovative and productive techniques, and gain confidence and marketability - all at their own pace. Premium subscriptions include instructors’ exercise files so that members can follow along with the exact examples onscreen. Customers learn at their own pace and may stop, rewind, and replay segments as often as necessary. View some free video clips (high resolution).
Did You Know You Could Create An Entire Website In Photoshop?
SiteGrinder Photoshop Plugin - Create Websites Instantly
There often seems to be a strict division of labor within the world of web design and development. Creative professionals tend to stick to the Photoshop domain, while those well-versed in scripting are left to the task of implementing their work. Indeed, the two realms are quite different from each other, to which any of us even vaguely familiar with either can easily attest.
Essentially, Photoshop is a no-holds-barred design studio, offering the artist a seemingly endless array of creative options. On the other hand, HTML, CSS, Java and the like follow strict rules of engagement, requiring the developer to take any number of esoteric concerns into consideration in order to ensure that designs are properly displayed on the web.
Turn Photoshop Into A Complete Web Design Tool
SiteGrinder seeks to bridge this gap between design and development. Basically, SiteGrinder turns Photoshop into an easy-to-use and fully functional web design tool. With SiteGrinder, designers will now have the freedom to totally let their creativity loose and then, without skipping a beat, transfer their designs to the web. Bringing esthetic concerns together with more practical considerations, SiteGrinder is an amazingly powerful tool that would make a fantastic addition to any web designer's bag of tricks. Mac OS X and Windows versions of the SiteGrinder unlockable demo are available now via download.
Photoshop CS4 Essential Skills - By Mark Galer And Philip Andrews
Brimming with beautiful pictures, Photoshop CS4 Essential Skills guides you through a project-based, progressive curriculum so that you can build all the essential skills to enhance photographs creatively and professionally with Photoshop CS4. If you are an aspiring professional or a student learning photography, digital imaging, or design graphics, you'll be amazed at the stunning results you can achieve. A DVD is included free.
The Essential Skills Photography Series from Focal Press uniquely offers a structured learning experience for photographers of all ages, with both the underlying theory and loads of invaluable 'how to' and real-life practice projects - all from the most talented photography practitioners/educators in the world.
Read 2 free sample chapters:
Skin Retouching Tips In Photoshop CS4
Transforming Smart Objects In Photoshop CS4
Find more Photoshop CS4 tutorials on our Photoshop CS4 Tutorials Page.
Read 2 free sample chapters from the Adobe Photoshop CS3 version:
Adjusting Exposure in Adobe Camera Raw CS3
Photoshop CS3 Tutorial High Dynamic Range
Find More Adobe Photoshop Books at Amazon.com
Find all the latest bestselling Photoshop books at discount prices at Amazon.com.