Archive for the ‘Digital Photography’ Category

What Is Chromatic Aberration

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Chromatic aberration sounds difficult, but it is really quite simple. It is seen in photos as magenta and blue-green fringes produced by the lenses. Chromatic aberration can be created in two ways: 1. The different colors do not focus on the same sensor plane. 2. The individual colors produce images of different size. Here we will take a deeper look at what chromatic aberration is and how to avoid or solve it.

The first thing to grasp is refractive index, so let us briefly explain what that is. Light changes its direction when it passes through a medium like the glass of the lenses. For example light may hit the lens at a 90 degree angle, but leave the lens at an 80 degree angle. Chromatic aberration arises because the different colors of light have different refractive indexes. For example blue might leave the lens at 79 degrees while red might leave at 81 degrees. This difference will create thin magenta fringes known as longitudinal chromatic aberration. Since green is in-between red and blue it is used to focus the lens. Thus the red and blue are slightly out of focus which creates the magenta (red+blue) fringes.

Transverse chromatic aberration arises when light does not reach the lens at 90 degrees, but from a different angle. In this case the different colors focus evenly, but not at the same spot. This causes the red image to be larger than the green and blue, and the blue the smallest of them all.This also creates colored fringes, but now both a magenta and a blue-green one. It is in the interest of lens manufacturers to avoid chromatic aberration, but since it is in the nature of light, it is hard to eliminate.

You get different kinds of fringes for each kind of chromatic aberration. Longitudinal aberration creates magenta fringes around objects and is spread uniformly throughout the image. Transverse aberration is absent at the center of the image, but grows in intensity towards the image corners. Longitudinal chromatic aberration is most pronounced in wide aperture lenses. It can be minimized by using a small aperture. Transverse chromatic aberration is most pronounced in telephoto lenses. However, lenses can be designed in many ways. The so called achromatic lenses are by far the most popular with minimal chromatic aberration. Superacromatic and apochromatic lenses almost eliminate color errors, but they are not common. Chromatic aberration can be seen on film, but is most pronounced on digital images. One explanation is that the sensors are more sensitive to ultraviolet and infrared light, which are at the outer edge of the spectrum where aberration is most pronounced.

Software can correct chromatic aberration. Longitudinal chromatic aberration is somewhat corrected by sharpening the red and blue channels; the green channel is used to focus the image and should be sharp. Transverse chromatic aberration is satisfactorily corrected by radially enlarging the blue channel image and radially reducing the red channel image.

Purple fringing is a special kind of chromatic error. It appears along hard contrast edges when photographing something against a hard back light, or when photographing a light source against a dark background.The purple fringe invades the dark area. Purple fringes are sensor errors, whilst chromatic aberrations are lens errors. It is very difficult to correct purple fringes with software since it is really an overflow of light from one sensor to the surrounding ones, and is not a simple geometric error like transverse chromatic aberration. Also the original color is usually eradicated. Software can thus reduce the color of the purple fringe to a grayish tone. At best the local color is not completely eradicated by the purple fringe and can be reconstructed.

Sources: arrowheadandrelichuntersrus and techandtherest

A Closer Look At Photoshop Plugins

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Photoshop plugins load into Photoshop\’s Filter menu when Photoshop launches. They add all sorts of extra functions to Photoshop. In the old days Photoshop plugins were just a bunch of weird effects.. Today, however, some very sophisticated plugins have been produced that aim at complicated image retouching that would otherwise have been impossible or very time consuming in Photoshop. More recent versions of Photoshop has been inspired by some old plugins and does similar things, like lens correction and proper black-white conversion.

It is easy to install plugins into Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop installs with a folder called Plug-Ins inside the Photoshop folder. All you have to do is place the plugins inside the Plug-Ins folder. Next time you launch Photoshop, the menu Filters will have your new plugins as an entry. The new plugins will show up the next time you launch Photoshop. So if it was running when you installed the plugins, you will have to quit and relaunch Photoshop. The plugins can in fact be installed in any folder you want, not just Photoshop\’s Plug-Ins folder. This is how to set Photoshop up to load plugins from any folder you like:

1. First make sure you have an alternative plugins folder. Create it where ever you like and call it what you will.. 2. Start Photoshop. 3. Open the menu Edit. At the bottom you will find Preferences; go there. This opens the Preferences sub menu. 4. Plug-Ins might be called \”Plug-Ins and Scratch Disk\” depending on your Photoshop version. Go there. 5. Check Additional Plug-Ins Folder to activate it. 6. Now locate your alternative plugins folder by clicking the Browse button.

That\’s it! You can now store all your plugins in this alternative plugins folder. Exit the preferences and relaunch Photoshop. When you relaunch Photoshop, the menu Filters will have the plugins in your alternative plugins folder listed at the bottom of the menu.

Plugins generally fall into two categories: 1. Plugins for photo retouching. 2. Effects plugins. Retouching plugins don\’t add anything new to the photograph, but rather manipulate what is already there. On the other hand, effects plugins add, well, effects to the picture. Sharpening, exposure or saturation would be examples of retouching. Lens flare, bokeh or raster would be examples of effects. Of course there are cross overs. What about lens correction? Is that a retouch or an effect? If you correct barreling or pincushion, it is a retouch, but if you use it to create the look of a fish eye lens, it is an effect.

Third party plugin were made possible in 1991 when Photoshop introduced the possibility in Photoshop 2. In 1994 Joe Ternasky released Filter Factory for writing third party plugins. Three years after Filter Factory appeared, Alex Hunter released Filter Meister as an improvement over Filter Factory. Many of today\’s plugins are written in Filter Meister. In 2007 a novel approach to plugin development was released as Filter Forge. Filter Forge plugins require Filter Forge to run and they are not stand alone. Currently Filter Meister plugins only support 32bit Photoshop. But Alex Hunter says 64 bit support will come some time in 2013. Filter Meister is only available for the Windows platform.

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Introducing Photoshop Plugins

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Photoshop plugins load into Photoshop\’s Filter menu when Photoshop launches. They add all sorts of extra functions to Photoshop. In the old days Photoshop plugins were just a bunch of weird effects.. Recently a number of plugins have been produced, that do sophisticated image retouching that would otherwise be impossible or very time consuming in Photoshop. More recent versions of Photoshop has been inspired by some old plugins and does similar things, like lens correction and proper black-white conversion.

Installing plugins into Photoshop is pretty easy. Inside the Adobe Photoshop folder, there is a folder called Plug-Ins. All you have to do is place the plugins inside the Plug-Ins folder. Next time you launch Photoshop, the menu Filters will have your new plugins as an entry. The new plugins will show up the next time you launch Photoshop. So if it was running when you installed the plugins, you will have to quit and relaunch Photoshop. Actually you don\’t have to install the plugin into Photoshop\’s Plug-Ins folder. Follow these guidelines to install plugins in any folder you like:

1. First make sure you have an alternative plugins folder. Create it where ever you like and call it what you will.. 2. Launch Photoshop. 3. Go to the menu Edit and open it. At the bottom you will find Preferences; go there. This opens the Preferences sub menu. 4. Go to the Plug-Ins Preferences. It may be called Plug-Ins and Scratch Disk, depending on your Photoshop version. 5. Activate Additional Plug-Ins Folder by checking it. 6. Click the button Choose to browse to your desired alternative Plug-Ins folder.

As simple as that! You now have an alternative plugins folder where you can store all your personal plugins. Exit the preferences and relaunch Photoshop. When you relaunch Photoshop, the menu Filters will have the plugins in your alternative plugins folder listed at the bottom of the menu.

There are generally two types of plugins: 1. Plugins for photo retouching. 2. Effects plugins. Retouching plugins tend to manipulate what is already in the photo without adding anything new. On the other hand, effects plugins add, well, effects to the picture. Examples of retouching could be sharpening, exposure or saturation. Effects examples could be lens flare, bokeh or raster. Of course there are cross overs. Is lens correction a retouch or an effect, for example? If you correct barreling or pincushion, it is a retouch, but if you use it to create the look of a fish eye lens, it is an effect.

Third party plugin were made possible in 1991 when Photoshop introduced the possibility in Photoshop 2. Three years later Joe Ternasky released Filter Factory for writing third party plugins. In 1997 Alex Hunter released Filter Meister as an improvement over Filter Factory and many of today\’s plugins are written in Filter Meister. Ten years after Filter Meister was released, a novel approach to filter development was released as Filter Forge. Filter Forge plugins require Filter Forge to run and they are not stand alone. Currently Filter Meister plugins only support 32bit Photoshop. But Alex Hunter says 64 bit support will come some time in 2013. Filter Meister is only for Windows.

Based upon: Photoshop plugins and Photoshop plugins

Introduction to colortheory

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Colorfulness is a non-technical term for the measure of how intense a specific color appears. Similar, but technically correct terms, are saturation and chroma (Munsell). Colorfulness can simply be said to be the degree of difference between a color and gray. But what gray? Saturation on the other hand takes into account that all colors are not equally bright when fully saturated: A blue is darker than a yellow for example. This means saturation is the colorfulness of a color relative to its own brightness. In general, terms such as saturation, chroma and colorfulness are used as synonyms. The more colorful a color is, the more vivid and intense it seems, while less colorful colors appear muted and closer to gray. When all color has been removed and saturation is 0, the image is called a gray scale image. There is an overlap between lightness and saturation in that a more saturated color appears lighter.

Lightness, or what is termed \”value\” in the Munsell color space, is defined as a given colors placement on a scale ranging from black to white. In the Munsell color space this scale is divided into ten equidistant steps. The term \”lightness\” has been incorporated into the HSL (Hue, Saturation, Lightness) and Lab color spaces. The HSV (Hue, Saturation, Value) color space speaks not of lightness but of value and uses the word value differently than Munsell does. Value in HSV does not range from black to white, but from black to the fully saturated color. Paints can be made lighter or darker by adding white or black, but that also reduces saturation. \”Tone\” is an obsolete term that stems from darkroom photography to denote the lightness of a specific area of the print. Yet \”tone\” is still used in art where light and dark \”tones\” are built up with charcoal or similar drawing medium.

When working with digital images, you can simply calculate lightness as (r+g+b+)/3. That, however, does not take into consideration that green is the brightest color and blue the darkest. The relative brightness of the color channels is taken into consideration in the IUV color space, that calculates lightness like this: i=(76*r+150*g+29*b)/256. The formula reflects the fact that green is about twice as bright as red and red about 2 times brighter than blue.

The term \”tone\” is used in painting where it denotes an intermediate between gray and pure color. A mixture of pure color and white is called a \”tint\” while a mixture of pure color and black is called a \”shade\”. In reality tint and tone are not as simple a it sounds, because though white and black do not have color in themselves, when white or black are mixed with a color, the color changes hue. In other words, black in mixtures behaves like a blueish color. For example if you mix yellow and black you don\’t just get a darker yellow, but you get a darker and greenish yellow. Similarly will an addition of white make a color appear colder.

In software you can digitally create tints and shades by converting from the RGB color space to IUV or Lab color space and alter the L (lightness) channel as described above. This will not alter the hue of the color as when you mix pigments with black or white.

Sources: Colortheory I and Colortheory I

Introducing Power Retouche Photoshop Plugins

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Power Retouche markets 27 Photoshop plugins for photo retouching. The flagships are the sharpener and the Black & White Studio. The sharpness plugin is the first and only sharpening tool on the market that does not create the negative fringes regular unsharp mask creates. It lets you sharpen surfaces and edges separately. The BW Studio converts color to black and white with a full set of professional films to select from, as well as traditional multigrade. It also includes exposure correction and contrast editing. The BW conversion can be controlled with seven sliders representing how the colors of the spectrum are converted to grayscale.

The Golden Section plugins is another popular plugin. It draws the golden sections, the golden spiral and other harmonic divisions on an empty Photoshop layer as an aid in composing and cropping. Another plugin is the White Balance Corrector. The plugin automatically scans the image for the color of the light and then corrects the color of the light to white. The White Balance plugin lets you use common gray-cards for correction, such as WhiBal, Gretag, etc. There is also a new plugin: The Ansel Adams Zone System for Digital. It divides the photo into ten zones, that can be edited individually for exposure, contrast and color.

The Toned Photos plugin lets you tone your photo like a traditional toned print. There are presets for Sepia, Van Dyck, Kalitype, Silver Gelatin, Palladium, Platinum, Cyanotype and Silver. The plugin copies the pigment distribution of the traditional prints. You can adjust the preset tone or create your own tone. The conversion from color to grayscale includes traditional colored lens filters (yellow, orange, etc.). Another set of plugins deal with problem solving: Chromatic Aberration and Color Fringes. The Chromatic Aberration plugin deals with transverse CA and longitudinal CA. The Color Fringe plugin deals with all other types of color fringes, in particular the dreaded purple fringe, but all color fringes can be removed. The purple fringe is a special fringe that appears at high contrast edges, where the light overlaps the dark as a purple fringe.

The Lens Corrector plugin corrects barreling, pincushion and panorama photos. The plugin can correct both symmetric as well as asymmetric distortions. Asymmetric distortion come if you crop a distorted image. Symmetric distortion can be corrected in the later versions of Photoshop, but not asymmetric or panorama. The plugin differs from other similar distortion correction tools in that it does not explode the corners. Another plugin worth mentioning is the Soft Filter. It is a digital equivalent of a traditional lens soft filter. You can adjust the strength and the spread of the softening effect.

The suite also contains a plugin for creating realistic film grain; both black and white and color. It uses fractal technology to generate the grain. Other film grain emulators use either noise or an image to create grain; neither is very convincing. Power Retouche lets you control the size of the grain as well as its hardness.

Camera lenses create vignetting in photos. Power Retouche offers a plugins to fix this. Not only can the plugin fix the dark corners, but it can also adjust radial exposure and brightness. The hot spot has a special control to set its radius and contrast. Finally we should mention the Black Definition plugin. It gives you control over the black content of colors as if it were a separate color channel like R, G and B. The suite contains more plugins than can be mentioned here.

For more information about this suite of plugins, please click here: Photoshop plugins

Vignetting in Photography

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Vignetting (V) is a widespread photographic problem. Most lenses and certainly all compact cameras show it. It is most visible at the corners as a radial loss of brightness, due to lowered exposure.Vignetting can be used as an effect to draw attention to the central subject of a picture, but in general it is undesirable. Vignetting actually has two aspects: The common underexposed corners and the bright center, called the hot spot.

There are several causes of vignetting: 1. Mechanical. 2. Optical. 3. Natural. 4. Pixel.

Mechanical vignetting can be caused by three things: too many filters stacked on the lens, too small a lens hood attached to the lens; or secondary lenses. This will reduce the light at the corners and darken them. Depending on the lens aperture, the darkening will be abrupt or gradual. The smaller the aperture, the more abrupt the vignetting.

Optical vignetting is inseparable from the lens itself and is caused partly by the combination of several lens elements, partly by the fact that the lens itself has a considerable length. Optical vignetting is also called artificial vignetting.The length of the lens is a problem because when the lenses are used with a wide open aperture, the edges of the lens will occlude part of the aperture from oblique incoming light, thus shading the edges. Zoom lenses and wide angle lenses are particularly prone to this kind of V. The rear elements of the lens are shaded by the elements in front of them reducing the light radially and causing vignetting. One can often cure optical V by reducing the aperture two or three stops. This kind of vignetting can be reduced by using very large front lens elements and this is often done in wide angle lenses. Lastly, the contrast of the film or sensor plays a part: the stronger the contrast, the more pronounced the vignetting.

Natural vignetting (also called natural light falloff) is a natural light falloff proportional to the angle the light reaches the sensor or film; it is not caused by the lens. Technically the falloff is proportional to the fourth power of the cosine of the angle of the in-falling light on the film or sensor. Lenses in compact cameras are particularly prone to such falloff. So are wide angle lenses. Telephoto lenses show the least falloff. At large apertures both optical and natural vignetting are present. The combined effect is often called illumination falloff or radial density.

Pixel vignetting is of course not relevant for film, but only for digital cameras. It is created because most sensors have an angle dependency of the in-falling light.Light hitting the sensor at a right angle produces a stronger impression than light hitting at an oblique angle, thus the corners become underexposed. Digital cameras often have a built-in compensation for this, used when converting the RAW image data to tiff or jpg. If one works with RAW images, one will have to do post-processing to remove pixel V.

This article is based on this one Vignetting in Photos.

The Golden Ratio in Art and Music

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Throughout modern history artists and mathematicians have been fascinated by a special proportion known as the golden ratio, or golden section as it is also called. It has the special feature that if you divide a line into two sections, a larger A and a smaller B, according to the golden ratio, then A is to B as A+B is to A. Numerically it is about 1: 1.618. Artists and architects, even musicians, have used the golden ratio as a basis for their paintings and buildings, or music.

No other number in the history of mathematics has inspired thinkers of all disciplines like the golden ratio. It has inspired men for at least 2.400 years since Pythagoras and Euklid in ancient Greece. Other outstanding thinkers, who have pondered the golden ratio, are Leonardo of Pisa, Johannes Kepler and present day physicist Roger Penrose. It has fascinated biologists, artists, musicians, architects, psychologists and occultists alike. The 12\’th century mathematician Fibonacci came upon what is today known as the Fibonacci sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc. in which each new number is the sum of the two preceding. The further you take this sequence, the closer it comes to the golden ratio. The pentagram is a peculiar figure in that all its line segments stand in a golden ratio relationship with some other segment of the pentagram.

In honor of Phidias, the great Greek sculptor from about 400 BC who used the golden proportion extensively in his sculptures, the golden proportion is now commonly known as Phi, the first letter of Phidias\’ name. The golden ratio has also been known as the divine proportion since 1509, when Luca Pacioli published a three volume book on the golden ratio entitled \”De Divina Proportione\”. Pacioli saw religious significance in the proportion, hence the title of his book. The book was a major influence on artists and architects for hundreds of years.

The modern Swiss architect Le Corbusier is famous for his use of the golden ratio. He saw the ratio and the Fibonacci sequence as representing a mathematical order of the universe, and he described them as: \”rhythms apparent to the eye and clear in their relations with one another. And these rhythms are at the very root of human activities. They resound in man by an organic inevitability, the same fine inevitability which causes the tracing out of the Golden Section by children, old men, savages and the learned.\”

Painters, such as the 17\’th century master Vermeer, have used the golden ratio extensively, so did a modern master like Salvador Dali. Dali adored Vermeer, by the way. The golden ratio and the Fibonacci sequence have also been used by composers. The modern composer Bartok, for example, based the xylophone progression in \”Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste\” on the Fibonacci sequence 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 5, 3, 2, 1. Similarly Satie and Debussy are known to have used the golden ratio as a basis for some of their compositions.

One also finds the golden ratio in nature. The arrangement of branches along the stems of plants, for instance, often follows the golden ratio.

The company Power Retouche has a dedicated Photoshop plugin for drawing the Golden Section, Golden Spiral, etc. in Photoshop.

Whitebalance in Photography

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

White balance adjustment means to adjust the light in a photo to white. In order to do this you must have a neutral in the image like a gray card or a white sheet of paper. Software can correct white balance, but not all software is equally good.

The first thing you might like to work on, when you begin to edit your images, is white balance. White balance refers to the color of the light and assumes that the best light color is white. Some shots, like sunset or candlelight, do not have white light, but in general an impression of white light is desirable. Some use Photoshop\’s auto levels to set white balance, but that is not the best, since auto levels only sets the darkest areas to black and the brightest to white without considering the mid tones. But what if the lightest pixel in your photo is not white? Or what if you do not have pure black in the photo? (Most pictures have black areas, but the lightest pixels are rarely pure white).

When correcting white balance, the mid tones are the most important and to help set the mid tones correctly one adds a grey card to the photo when taking the picture. A grey card is a sheet of cardboard or plastic of an exact mid tone neutral gray. Ideally one has three cards: a black, a gray and a white. Photoshop\’s levels adjustment panel has three color pickers for picking color: one for white, one for gray and one for black. By clicking the gray color picker on the gray card, one can adjust the mid tones to neutral gray. One can of course only include a gray card in the image if one intends later to crop the photo.

If one does not want a gray card in the image, or if one doesn\’t have a gray card at hand, one can later use dedicated software that analyzes the image and calculates the color of the light and sets it to white. There are draw backs with such software: what if there are no neutral areas in the image to calculate the color of the light from? Some applications do not need a neutral in the picture, but most do to get a good result.

If you work with RAW images, you will have found that RAW converters normally come with a slider for color temperature, which means a slider to adjust the picture cool or warm. But what if the color of the light is greenish as when you have taken a picture in neon light? The cool-warm control is good for regular incandescent light, but not for fluorescent.

Color adjustment controls are rarely good for correcting white balance, because the color correction will not just neutralize the gray card, but will also tone the picture in an undesirable way: usually the blacks become toned or the whites or both. In short one needs some neutrals in an image to set white balance. A white wall or a sheet of white paper will do well; preferably add a gray card for the mid tones.

Source: Whitebalance in Photography.

What is Chromatic Aberration

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Chromatic aberration may sound difficult, but it is actually quite easy. Imperfections in the camera lenses create the unwanted colors, that are seen as magenta and blue-green fringes. Chromatic aberration can be created in two ways: 1. The lens does not focus the different colors on the same sensor plane. 2. The different colors produce images of different size. Here we will take an in-depth look at what chromatic aberration is and how to avoid or solve it.

The first thing to grasp is refractive index, so let us briefly explain what that is. Light changes its direction when it passes through a medium like the glass of the lenses. For example light may hit the lens at a 90 degree angle, but leave the lens at an 80 degree angle. Unfortunately different wavelengths of light have different refractive indexes. For example blue might leave the lens at 79 degrees while red might leave at 81 degrees. This difference will create thin magenta fringes known as longitudinal chromatic aberration. Since green is in-between red and blue it is used to focus the lens. Thus the red and blue are slightly out of focus which creates the magenta (red+blue) fringes.

Transverse chromatic aberration arises when light does not reach the lens at 90 degrees, but from a different angle. Here the different colors focus on the same sensor plane, but not at the same spot, thus the red image will be larger than the green and blue image, and blue smaller than red and green.This also creates colored fringes, but now both a magenta and a blue-green one. Chromatic aberration is hard to avoid, since it is in the nature of light, but of course lens manufacturers do their best to eliminate it.

Both types of chromatic aberration produce color fringes, but of a different sort. Longitudinal aberration produces magenta fringes around objects and is distributed uniformly throughout the image. Transverse aberration is absent at the center of the image, but grows in intensity towards the corners. Longitudinal chromatic aberration is most pronounced in wide aperture lenses. It can be minimized by using a small aperture. Transverse chromatic aberration is most pronounced in telephoto lenses. However, lenses can be designed in many ways. So called achromatic lenses have minimal chromatic aberration and are very popular. So called superacromatic and apochromatic lenses virtually eliminate color errors, but they are not common. Chromatic aberration can be observed on film, but is most pronounced on digital images. One explanation is that the sensors are more sensitive to ultraviolet and infrared light, which are at the outer edge of the spectrum where aberration is most pronounced.

Chromatic aberration can be corrected with software. Longitudinal chromatic aberration is somewhat corrected by sharpening the red and blue channels; the green channel is used to focus the image and should be sharp. Transverse chromatic aberration can be satisfactorily corrected by radially enlarging the blue channel image and radially reducing the red channel image.

Purple finging is a different kind of chromatic error. It appears along hard contrast edges when photographing something against a hard back light, or when photographing a light source against a dark background.The purple fringe invades the dark area. We saw that chromatic aberration is a lens error; purple fringes on the other hand are sensor errors. Purple fringing is not a simple geometric error like transverse chromatic aberration, but is an overflow of light from the brightly illuminated sensor to its neighbors; hence it is very difficult to correct with software. Also the original color is usually lost. Software can reduce the color of the purple fringe to a grayish tone. At best the local color is not completely eradicated by the purple fringe and can be reconstructed.

Source: Chromatic aberration 1 and Chromatic aberration 2

What are Photoshop Plugins?

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Photoshop plugins load into Photoshops Filter menu when Photoshop launches. They add all sorts of extra functions to Photoshop. In the old days Photoshop plugins were just a bunch of weird effects. Recently a number of plugins have been produced, that do sophisticated image retouching that would otherwise be impossible or very time consuming in Photoshop. Photoshop has since begun to offer functions similar to some of the old plugins, like lens correction and proper black-white conversion.

But how does one install plugins into Photoshop, you may ask? Inside the Adobe Photoshop folder, there is a folder called Plug-Ins. All you have to do is place the plugins inside the Plug-Ins folder. Launch Photoshop and the menu Filters will have your plugins listed. If Photoshop was already running, when you installed the plugins, you will have to quit Photoshop and launch Photoshop anew. You can actually install the plugins in a different folder than Photoshop\’s Plug-Ins folder. This is how to set Photoshop up to load plugins from any folder you like:

1. First create the alternative plugins folder where ever you like and call it what ever you want.. 2. Run Photoshop. 3. Open the menu Edit. Move the mouse to the bottom of the Edit menu, to Preferences. Open Preferences. 4. Plug-Ins might be called \”Plug-Ins and Scratch Disk\” depending on your Photoshop version. Go there. 5. Activate Additional Plug-Ins Folder by checking it. 6. Click the button Choose to browse to your desired alternative Plug-Ins folder.

That\’s all there is to it! You can now store all your plugins in this alternative plugins folder. Close the Preferences and quit Photoshop. The plugins in your alternative location will be listed at the bottom of the Filter menu next time you run Photoshop.

In general there are two kinds of plugins: 1. Retouching plugins. 2. Effects plugins. Retouching plugins tend to manipulate what is already in the photo without adding anything new. On the other hand, effects plugins add, well, effects to the photograph. Sharpening, exposure or saturation would be examples of retouching. Effects examples could be lens flare, bokeh or raster. The distinction is not always so easy. What about lens correction? Is that a retouch or an effect? It is a retouch if you correct barreling or pincushion, but if you make a regular image look like a fish eye photo, it is an effect.

Third party plugin were made possible in 1991 when Photoshop introduced the possibility in Photoshop 2. Three years later Joe Ternasky released Filter Factory for writing third party plugins. In 1997 Alex Hunter released Filter Meister as an improvement over Filter Factory and many of today\’s plugins are written in Filter Meister. Ten years after Filter Meister was released, a novel approach to filter development was released as Filter Forge. Filter Forge plugins require Filter Forge to run and they are not stand alone. Currently Filter Meister plugins only support 32bit Photoshop. But Alex Hunter says 64 bit support will come some time in 2013. Filter Meister is only available for the Windows platform.

This article is based on these articles about Photoshop plugins and this Photoshop plugins


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