Plugins - Xero Graphics 12/2007 updates [Win]
I'm on the distribution for Pete's e-mail alerts, a copy of which follows.
like the update to Caravaggio
, which renders a look similar to Photoshop's or Element's Dry Brush
filter, only a LOT better and with much more control over the outcome.
Xero Graphics : Christmas Newsletter December 2007
Is it really Christmas again already? Well, not quite - but it's close. And to me, the last twelve months seem to have flown by at an insane speed. I've now been in my "new" job for over a year - I'm still enjoying it enormously, but the downside is that I don't get as much free time as I once did for plugin development. In fact, checking back, this seems to be only the second proper newsletter I've sent out in 2007.
Still, longtime Xero users will know that I have a sort of tradition of releasing some new freeware just before Christmas. This year is no exception, but I'm releasing it earlier than I usually do. This is partly because I'm expecting to have very little free time between now and Christmas, but there's another reason too: I'm hoping that when you visit the site, you might perhaps be tempted to buy one of the Xero commercial offerings as a Christmas present, either for a loved one, or perhaps even for yourself!
Please take a look at what's on offer; every sale helps to keep the site running.
Now, on to this year's Christmas freeware...
Xero / XL - Freeware
Xero / XL is a package containing updated versions of five of the most popular Xero plugins. The "XL" tag was quite trendy a few years back, so I thought "why not a Xero XL too?". Fashionably late, of course...
In this case, it stands for "eXtra Large", just as it would on a piece of clothing here in the UK. The dialog and preview are now in the larger format that I've used for the Conditioner, MetaGrad and Refiner plugins, which gives a much nicer working environment.
The dialogs are also in a neutral gray scheme rather than the pink-and-blue scheme of the older plugins. Those of you with a passion for pink can still click the "About" button...
I've also added a few extra controls here and there; and those plugins that use a Gaussian blur internally have been recoded to use a much faster algorithm. I'm indebted to Tom Fiddaman for drawing my attention to this algorithm, and even more so for his implementation of it, on which my own code was based.
So, what's in the Xero / XL package? Read on...
1. Bad Dream
In addition to the new dialog and faster processing, this one has been given proper exposure, contrast and saturation controls so the effect can be fine-tuned without leaving the plugin.
There's an extra slider called "Sanity" - try adjusting this on the larger, higher resolution images. Earlier versions of Caravaggio didn't work well with those, but this slider should partially overcome that. Even now, this plugin doesn't work as effectively as I'd like it to, so consider this version a work-in-progress; there will probably be an update in the not-too-distant future.
This plugin is a personal favourite, and has had more attention than the others! There's now a "Simplify" slider - moving this to the right causes the plugin to reduce the image colours toward purer, more primary colours. The effect is subtle, but kind of nice... Also, there's a whole new feature: the ability to apply a tint to the unsaturated areas. The tint colour is selected as a hue, either by moving the slider, or by clicking on a colour-swatch bar. A separate slider controls the strength of the tint. You can now make a pleasing sepia tint effect with hints of colour in the more intensely saturated areas. And if you don't like sepia - well, pick a colour you do like!
I couldn't leave this one out, could I? Judging by the emails received, this has always been the single most popular plugin in the Xero collection. It's had the same kind of makeover as Bad Dream - faster processing, and a set of proper exposure, contrast and saturation controls.
5. Soft Mood
The same applies to Soft Mood, another popular favourite. This one's a close cousin to Porcelain and Bad Dream, and has been given the same kind of update - faster processing and exposure controls, in other words!
I hope you enjoy the new versions and find them useful. Now, go grab...
Home page: http://www.xero-graphics.co.uk/index.htm
Xero / XL: http://www.xero-graphics.co.uk/xl/info.htm
The Usual Irrelevant Bit on the End...
I can't think of anything irrelevant, which is pretty unusual for me. Most of the time, almost everything I think or say is irrelevant in some way. So, on this occasion, I'll confine myself to saying something which is, at least, marginally relevant. It's still a little way off, but I'd like to take this opportunity to give my very best wishes to you and your family for the forthcoming holidays. Here in England, the traditional way
of saying it is:
A V e r y M e r r y C h r i s t m a s !
Until next time,
Thank you Pete for all you do so well, for so many.