Buyer's Guide 2008: Software Plug-Ins
Extend your image-processing possibilities with these top plug-ins
Tiffen Dfx Digital Filter Suite
Plug-ins are digital descendants from the optical filters of traditional photography used for saturating color, removing haze, or adding blurs or refracted light. High-quality special-effects filters can be expensive, though, and you may not have the perfect filter with you in the field.
Tiffen, the venerable optical filter manufacturer, offers the Dfx Digital Filter Suite as a solution. With up to 1,000 filters for emulation of everything from infrared to night vision to light streaks, the Dfx Digital Filter Suite features factory presets or custom effects for complete creative and technical control. List Price: $199 (Complete Standalone Edition); $99 (Select Standalone Edition); $299 (Adobe Photoshop Complete Plug-In Set); $159 (Adobe Photoshop Select Plug-In Set).
Twisting Pixels ArtStudioPro Volume 2
If you've ever had a desire to make a painting without all of the mess, fuss and muss, then Twisting Pixels ArtStudioPro Series is for you. The newest ArtStudioPro Volume 2 features painting effects that give your images new lives as fine-art paintings. Experiment by mixing several paint mediums, including oil, pastel, chalk, charcoal and finger painting. A brushstroke slider easily changes strength from subtle smudges to radical abstract strokes. Presets are included for fast and fun templates. List Price: $99.
Digital Anarchy Primatte Chromakey
By using chromakey, popular for compositing subjects over digitally composed backgrounds in the motion-picture industry, subject masking, removal or superimposition is a snap. By shooting subjects, especially portraits, against a uniformly colored background, masking becomes an almost single-click process.
Using a sophisticated interface integrated within Photoshop, Digital Anarchy Primatte Chromakey 3.0 takes foreground images of any resolution and replaces the single-color backgrounds with transparent pixels. Primatte Chromakey's toolset offers simplicity, with click-and-drag setting of tonal values for extraction. The one-click AutoMask works intuitively, even with Photoshop Batch Actions, for removing backgrounds from an entire folder full of images, ideal for school or event photography. Primatte Chromakey maintains detail in transparent objects like smoke, glass and water while still retaining the sophistication to discern and remove color spill, the bounced tint from background colors. List Price: $299.
Andromeda Software Photographic Tools & Lens Effects Digital Imaging Collection
Digital manipulation can be extensive and tedious. Sometimes, though, all you need is the correct tool for the job. The Photographic Tools & Lens Effects Digital Imaging Collection from Andromeda Software combines the programs RedEyePro, ScatterLight Lenses, VariFocus, LensDoc and Perspective for comprehensive, but simple image adjustment. Effects include patterned and diffusion lens effects, depth-of-field alteration, perspective and focus control, and lens distortion repair. RedEyePro corrects for the red eyes that result from flash portrait photography in low-light situations. List Price: $265.