Plug-In Upgrades: Software Helpers for Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign

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This article courtesy of Design Tools Monthly. For a free sample of the printed newsletter, email info@design-tools.com.

ColorWasher 2
ColorWasher 2 is a plug-in for Photoshop that corrects the color, contrast, exposure, and saturation of 8- and 16-bit images. You can use the automatic tools to adjust your image with a mouse click, or you can manually control the tool settings. ColorWasher's split view mode makes it easy to compare the original to the adjusted image. You can save presets to perform the same adjustments on similar images. ColorWasher is useful for repairing old, faded photos; color-shifted images; and for creating artistic effects in your images. ColorWasher sells for $49.95; the upgrade is $24.95.

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Use ColorWasher 2's split view to compare your edits to the original image.

A Whole Lotta Alien Skin
If you haven't tried Alien Skin's Eye Candy plug-ins before, now's a perfect time. The company released the $199 Eye Candy 5 Bundle, which contains 30 Photoshop-compatible filters. The Impact set of filters creates chrome, bevels, glass buttons, perspective shadows, and more. The Nature set helps you evoke such natural phenomena as fire, smoke, rust, snow, and ice. The 10 Texture filters let you create surfaces that look like snake and lizard skin, fur, brick, stone, and wood. The plug-ins are compatible with Photoshop versions 7 through CS2.

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Eww! How about a number 5 made out of snakeskin? This and much more is possible with the Eye Candy 5 bundle.

Advanced Path-Editing in Illustrator
Xtream Path 1.1.2 ($139) from CValley adds shape-changing features to Adobe Illustrator CS and CS2. Install the plug-in and you can click anywhere on a path and drag it into a new shape. (No need to drag anchor points around!) Xtream Path lets you symmetrically change a shape; for example, pull on one side, and the other side mirrors the change. You can even copy paths and insert them into other paths. A new palette lets you copy and paste position values from one anchor point onto another. This palette also shows the numerical values of the position of anchor points and handles, as well as the length of segments. The Smart Rounding effect changes sharp corners into rounded ones, even on editable type. The Multi-Line tool helps you draw isometric shapes, such as 3D boxes.

Manage Overset Text in InDesign
SoftCare's Overset Manager ($99) is a plug-in for Adobe InDesign CS and CS2 that provides several helpful features for managing text in text frames. Its palette lists all text frames that contain more text than they can display. The plug-in can take you to each text frame for editing. Optionally, it can alert you when printing or exporting a document that contains overset text. It not only counts the number of characters, words, and lines in selected text or linked text frames, but it also can calculate how much text would be necessary to fill a text frame. The plug-in provides a constantly updating display of how many words are in a text frame, so you can write to a predetermined length. It can also create a new text frame for overset text, which deletes itself once the text has been adjusted to eliminate the overset.

InDesign Plug-in Compatibility Chart
The World Wide Power Company has a regularly updated chart on its Web site that lists InDesign plug-ins, which versions of InDesign they are compatible with, and whether an existing plug-in will be upgraded for compatibility with the latest version of InDesign.

This article courtesy of and copyrighted by Design Tools Monthly. For a free sample of the printed newsletter, email info@design-tools.com.

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