BEST 2008: Product for Graphic Designers
We've tried twenty plug-ins this year, and they all are wonderful tools. But the problem is, crossing from plug-in to plug-in requires new installs, new learning curves, and the challenge of remembering how to use them once you've gathered them up, paid for them and installed them. We were a little skeptical at first, when onOne sent us the review of Plug-in Suite 4, because it costs almost as much as Photoshop itself. But at closer examination, we find the Plug-in Suite 4 package to actually net out as the BEST VALUE in the field. After adding up the costs and learning impact for a dozen or so other plug-ins, you'll invest a lot more for stand-alones -- and won't get the elegant design and transparent usability you'll find in this package.
Plug-In Suite 4 includes 6 Photoshop plugins that help you maximize the power of Photoshop. You get Genuine Fractals 6 Professional Edition for high-quality enlargements, PhotoTools 1 Professional Edition, Mask Pro 4 for removing backgrounds, PhotoFrame 4 Professional Edition for the perfect finishing touch to your photos, PhotoTune 2 for professional quality color correction and FocalPoint 1 for adding selective blur and vignettes to your photos.
The beauty of this collection lies in its cross-package interface and operations. It's really sweet! It eliminates the need to re-learn the workings of new plug-ins. You feel at home in the interface, and so far, through lots of testing, the package has been robust and bug-free. They actually DO what they say they'll do!
Remember, if you enter discount coupon code DTGMM during the checkout process at onOne Software, you'll get an instant 10% discount on all other onOne Software products. This is a special offer exclusively for DTG Magazine visitors.
Genuine Fractals 5 Print Pro
Genuine Fractals 5 Print Pro Photoshop plugin is the image resizing we tested on severely demanding projects -- and gets a 100% successful thumbs up for its performance! We showed you how it works in an earlier article last year : Blow up those JPEGs, where we had the challenge of architectural graphics from small JPG files. If that article doesn't convince you, then you don't need enlargements! With Genuine Fractals 5 Print Pro you can increase image size well over 1000% without the loss of sharpness or detail that you would normally expect. Its patented, fractal based interpolation algorithms work like nothing else and the results speak for themselves. For large format and poster sized prints, utilizing cropped section of an image, or even re-digitizing video still frames to high-definition video quality, this is it. Graphic designers can end the everyday problem of receiving low resolution images from clients for high resolution print work such as magazine publications or tradeshow and billboard graphics. Learn more about Genuine Fractals 6 Professional Edition plugin for Photoshop. (Don't forget your DTGMM discount code!)
PhotoTune 2.2 Plugins
You can futz around for hours using Photoshop's obscure tools for color balance and correction, or you can simply click your way to success by selecting 'suggested' adjustments from PhotoTune's interface. This correction took all of 60 seconds, where I may have fooled around in curves and color adjust in Photoshop for a half hour. Those kinds of savings pay back quickly.
Our Parrot Heads booth at the Summer Fest event had taken a decided curve towards blue, since it was taken near twilight before the artificial lighting kicked in. It needed help, and PhotoTune provided quick, professional level color correction in such an easy click or so.
If you deal with photos of people, the SkinTune, developed after more than two years of in-depth skin color research, will pay YOU to use it! Here's our shot of Jimmy under theatrical lighting that demanded some rather fragile retouching. PhotoTune 2.2 made the tedious and time-consuming task of color correction simple and straightforward.
Learn more about PhotoTune plug-in for Photoshop. (Don't forget your DTGMM discount code!)
FocalPoint 1.0 Photoshop Plugins
This was one of our favorites in the collection. After retouching using the other tools, FocalPoint gives photographers a way to create realistic depth of field control, plane of focus control and selective focus to any image after it is photographed allowing for more control and precision.
The focus bug control in FocalPoint has a tangible, hardware feel much like using a lens. It makes it fast for a photographer to define the "sweet spot" either in a round shape or a plane and then control how much and of what kind of blur they would like to add. This has a huge benefit over hardware tools like auxiliary lenses and filters because it allows the photographer to control the focus after the image is taken, giving them more control and requiring fewer shots in camera. Learn more about FocalPoint plugin for Photoshop. (Don't forget your DTGMM discount code!)
PhotoTools 1.0 Professional Edition Photoshop plug-in
Whether you are new to photography and have never experienced the darkroom or you are an experienced pro who has mastered photography you will appreciate the range of authentic camera, filter and darkroom techniques reproduced with PhotoTools 1.0 Professional Edition plugin for Photoshop. PhotoTools 1.0 Professional Edition contains 250 effects by Jack Davis, Kevin Kubota and onOne Software that faithfully reproduce camera filters like neutral density, color correction and polarization as well as darkroom techniques and alternative processes like solarization, cyanotype and more. You can even simulate the look of different films with the a wide range of grain and contrast effects.
A shot like this, taken just as the band started at twilight, sometimes just can't be helped at all. The ISO was pushed, and camera shake made the shot lacking in sharpness and clarity. What to do? Push it further into a look of grainy night time shot. PhotoTools 1.0 Professional with its unique ability to provide full-screen previews of an effect on your image allowed us to play with a huge selection of effects, previewing them before committing. (We selected Jack Davis's "Grungy Noise" filter!) But it isn't just a single effect, you can stack multiple effects on top of each other just like you would camera filters. You can control the order of each effect and how they blend together for a truly unique look. You can even save your effect stacks so you can repeat them easily and even share them with your friends you have PhotoTools.
Learn more about PhotoTools 1.0 Professional Edition plugin for Photoshop. (Don't forget your DTGMM discount code!)
Participate in your Design CenterLots of fun and information for all... don't forget, any community is only as good as the participation of its members. We invite your tips, tricks, comments, suggestions and camaraderie.
- Ask for the DT&G Monthly: to receive DT&G newsletter each month, happenings in the Design Center and regular columns like the "Mail Bag" and "Cool Sites"
- SUBSCRIBE : to the Designers' CAFE email list
- Link to this site, and then show us the link. We'll send you any of our current door prizes, just for your trouble.
- Help Support The Design Center: with your donation, we say thank you with free books, listings, and even links on the front page!
- SUBMIT: a news link, new font, or product review
- SUBMIT: a link to a Photoshop web site