Photoshop Plugins are small programmes which will run in Photoshop and can offer a range of useful extras. The right plugins for your working methods can make Photoshop better than it already is.
Fixing camera shake and focus problems.
Some lenses have built-in technology, such as mini gyroscopes, to avoid camera shake at long shutter speeds. Even with this, we might all take a photograph with some camera shake at times. Inevitable it's likely to be the best image in a set, which can be very annoying and embarrassing. This plugin probably means the image can be rescued.
Firstly the image is enlarged to 100% to see the direction of the camera shake. Adjust the settings and the live preview displays the results. The amount of correction is easily adjustable and noise can also be removed.
Out of focus images can be treated as well.
Maybe the automatic focus worked on the wrong part of the image, or the photo was taken too quickly and the auto focus did not have time to work. Perhaps the manual focusing was not as accurate as it should have been.
As the filter does its business, it performs some very effective sharpening.
There are some good tutorials on their web site and they explain how to assess the degree of out of focus.
This Photoshop plugin works well and for its modest price, it's well worth having in Photoshop's Filter menu.
In spite of the range and verstility of Photoshop, there is still an opportunity for third party extras.
Power Retouche make 25 Photoshop plugins covering an impressive number of functions. They work in 8 bit,16 bit, RGB, CMYK, Greyscale, Duotone, Multichannel and Lab mode.
Although they can be bought separately, buying the bundled set offers a massive price discount and is the best option.Tutorials come with each plugin.
Black Definition appears modest but is extremely useful. All image editing should be done in RGB, but this plugin allows you to treat black as a separate channel.
Black strength and definition can be increased without affecting colour tone or density.
Black values can be reduced, making colours more vivid without actually changing their saturation.
I wonder how long it will be before Photoshop go for that one.
Film Grain gives controls over size, contrast and hardness of the grain. There are controls for B/W and colour grain, along with sliders for the levels of grain in light, mid and dark areas.
Dymanic Range Compression. High contrast images can have their dark areas brightened and light areas darkened. Further comprehenisve colour and density control of images comes with the other Photoshop plugins of Contrast, Exposure, Saturation and White Balance Corrector.
The Illumination Editor gives great post-production control over lighting. The emphasis of the light can be moved to a different part of the image. The whole direction of the light can be changed. Also, you can target specific tones or points to adjust their exposure.
Black & White Studio and Toned Photo between them bring great versatility to black and white images.
Filters can be added to create the effects of different films.
In Print mode there are controls which only the best master printers could match in traditional darkrooms.
Many of the main old processes can be reproduced as Presets with the Toned Photo plugin; Cyanotype, Platinum, Kallitype and more.
As all these processes could produce variable results, there is a range of sliders to make further adjustments manually.
For the graphic-minded there is Golden Section. Divine proportions can be drawn over an image to assist with cropping and composition.
There are golden section, golden spirals, golden triangles, rule of thirds and harmonic triangles.
The Noise Filter can filter out unwanted noise from digital images. It will clean out blemishes and smooth textured areas while retaining sharpness and details.
The Soft Filter gives complete control of the spread and strength of the softness without blurring the image.
The White Balance Corrector with correct unwanted lighting casts on an image without having to go through Camera Raw in Photoshop.
Another great aid is the Transparency Editor; one of its features is to combine two versions of the same image. One image with the correct highlights can be merged with another version with the correct midtones.
All 25 of these Photoshop plugins are available as a Demo and the tutorials can be downloaded.
For a full review of all the plugins, their website is worth a look.
Using high ISO settings can result in a lot of unwanted digital noise on an image – except for the lucky few who have the most expensive cameras. Images scanned from film can also have a lot of excessive grain.
Ninja Noise is a very effective Photoshop plugin which can reduce this noise dramatically and sometimes eliminate it altogether. It can also do this without loss of important detail.
Great for photographs taken in low light or with action scenes where fast camera settings are required.
Pixelgenius.com is made up of a small group of programmers and Photoshop Alpha testers. These are the guys who help develop the programme from its earliest stages.
One of the best of the Photoshop plugins they offer is PhotoKit Sharpener. It provides all sharpening needs from digital capture, creative sharpening and sharpening of the final image just before it goes for printing.
Sharpening is not a simple one-click process and this plugin covers every circumstance. Digital capture and scans from film lose some sharpness when they are created.
Captive sharpening is a separate category.
Output sharpening must be adjusted according to the size and resolution of the image, the subject matter and whether it is going to be printed on an inkjet, laser printer, press printing or used on the web.
All options are covered and the resulting sharpening process is more accurate than most people would be able to do manually.
The sharpening is placed on separate layers, which leaves scope for user control. These extra layers can make the files extremely large, although they are likely to be flattened soon after.
It is available as a free trial from www.pixelgenius.com
SiteGrinder will convert a Photoshop page into a website page - instantly.
Photoshop does have its own web-creating function but it is somewhat limited. Now after doing a Photoshop page layout it is not necessary to buy a fully web programme or spend months perfecting its use.
A page is laid out in layers with all the images and text. Every layer is named complete with its function, such as a button for the Home page would be called home-button or home-rollover. When the page is converted by SiteGrinder, that button takes on its new web function.
Text characteristics and styles are retained as CSS formating. Links are made automatically and navigation is created between all the pages.
Flash animations, slideshows, and much more can also be added to your webpages.
Considering how much it can achieve, the price at under $130 seems modest. This is one of the Photoshop plugins which comes in Basic and Pro versions, with training videos and good technical support.