Plug-Ins and XTensions: Helpers for Photoshop, QuarkXPress, Dreamweaver, Acrobat, and InDesign
Fix Focus, Noise
FixerLabs' FocusFixer 1.4 ($57) is a plug-in for Photoshop that removes focus blur from digital camera pictures and also reveals detail in areas of glare. It uses the EXIF information from the camera that took the picture.
FocusFixer sharpens the gaze of this little fella.
NoiseFixer 1.2 ($27) is a plug-in for Photoshop that removes noise and graininess from images, without softening them. It's easy to use: while viewing a preview of only the color content in an image, you drag a slider until its noise is reduced or removed. Then you do the same for gray noise. A composite preview lets you see the result before committing to it. NoiseFixer works with both 8-bit and 16-bit images.
Curl & Bend Images, Select in Circles, and Collect Multiple Files
Page Curl Pro 2.1 ($50) is a plug-in for Photoshop from AV Bros. that makes it easy to apply several special effects to an image, but its main use is to bend, curl, and fold images. The plug-in gives you control over texture, 3D perspective, and up to 25 different light sources, making it possible to simulate almost any situation. You can even apply multiple bends to one image, as if it were a magic carpet. A less-advanced version is also available for $30.
Just one example of Page Curl Pro in action.
AV Bros. is also offering two free scripts for Photoshop CS and CS2. Circumscriber 1.1 is lets you easily create a circular selection around either two or three specified points. Collector 1.0 collects multiple image files into one Photoshop document, each on its own layer.
Enlarge Without Losing Details
onOne Software's Genuine Fractals 4.1 ($159) is a plug-in for Photoshop CS and CS2 that lets you enlarge a high-quality original up to 700% of its original size without blurring details. In addition, you can reduce the file size of your enlarged images by about 90% without losing detail. The new version eliminates previous versions' requirement that you save your image in the program's proprietary STN format before enlarging, and it adds batch processing, presets for popular image sizes, and other improvements. The regular version supports RGB, multichannel, and grayscale images, while the Print Pro version ($299) also supports CMYK images.
If you like the sounds of these products, you'd better hurry. During the month of December 2005, you can get either plug-in for 50% off the prices listed above.
Flash Animations from Photoshop Layers
Media Lab's PSD2FLA ($89) is a plug-in for Photoshop that lets you convert a layered Photoshop document into a layered Flash movie, optionally ignoring hidden layers. It supports Flash 5 and later, and Photoshop 4 and higher on Mac OS X.
Better Zooming in QuarkXPress
Dacons' $39 ObjectZoom is an XTension for QuarkXPress 6 that lets you click to zoom your currently selected object to fill the available window area. ObjectZoom makes sure that no part of your zoomed object is obscured by any open palettes. To use ObjectZoom, you click icons on a small floating palette. Each icon represents a different way to zoom; for example, a whole page, a whole spread, the left or right side of the current object, its top or bottom, its upper left or right corner, its lower left or right corner, etc. You can also save and recall zooms for quick access.
Automatic RSS Feeds from Dreamweaver
RSSDreamFeeder 1.2 ($59) from RNSoft is a plug-in for Dreamweaver MX, MX2004, and Dreamweaver 8 that builds RSS feeds for Internet news search applications. The plug-in creates the RSS feeds based on the content in Dreamweaver files, and it supports pages built with PHP, JSP, and ASP.
The Professional PDF Editor
Quite Software's Quite a Box of Tricks 1.7 ($204) is a plug-in for Acrobat 4, 5, 6 or 7 that can convert embedded images to CMYK or grayscale using ICC profiles, downsample images to reduce PDF file size or prepare them for the Web, thicken hairlines, scale and mirror pages, rotate items, merge form fields into the document so they can't be modified or lost, remove all form fields to shrink files, merge annotations into the document or remove them, get information on fonts and images, show exact image dimensions and compression, and change all text to black. It also supports batch processing.
See Through InDesign's Palettes
DTP Tools' X-ray ($19) is a plug-in for InDesign CS and CS2 that lets you reduce the opacity of all of InDesign's palettes, panels and toolbars, making it possible to see through them. When you find yourself running out of display space to see your project, but you need to keep these panels accessible, X-ray may be the answer. For a full review of X-ray, see the December 2005/January 2006 issue of InDesign Magazine.
Convert QuarkXPress 3, 4, 5, or 6 to InDesign
Markzware has released a plug-in for InDesign CS and CS2 that converts QuarkXPress 3.3, 4.x, 5.x and 6.x documents to native InDesign format. Markzware says that Q2ID ("QuarkXPress to InDesign") ($199) "will convert all elements of a QuarkXPress document including, but not limited to: page size, style sheets, fonts, text, images, layers, lines, tables, etc., provided Adobe InDesign supports the converted item." Q2ID is Macintosh-only, but converts QuarkXPress documents from either Macintosh or Windows. For a review of Q2ID, see the upcoming February/March 2006 issue of InDesign Magazine.
Make Barcodes in InDesign
Teacup Software's BarcodeMaker ($149) lets you create barcodes within InDesign CS or CS2. It supports 19 barcode types, including Barcode 39, 93, 2 of 5, 128 and UCC-EAN-128, EAN-13, EAN-2, EAN-5, EAN-8, ISBN, Interleaved 2 of 5 and ITF-14, MSI, Plessey, Postnet, Rationalized Codabar, RoyalMail, UPC-A and UPC-E. You can control the barcode's height, the appearance of the font, and whether to include human-readable text. BarcodeMaker is a module for Teacup Software's free PatternMaker plug-in, and is fully scriptable.
A History Palette for InDesign
History 2.1 ($39), from DTP Tools, is a plug-in for Adobe InDesign/InCopy CS and CS2 that adds a feature similar to Photoshop's History palette: it tracks changes you make to a document, then lets you undo and redo your changes by choosing them from a history list. When you think a particular version of your document is worth saving, you can save it as a "State" to easily recall at any time. It remembers your changes from session to session, and you can export states for archiving purposes. You can jump to a specific state even if it is no longer on the history list and create a new document from the current state. History now compresses its list of changes, resulting in smaller file sizes than previous versions of History.
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