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Photo-art Applications and Plugins

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  • Photo-art Applications and Plugins

    Most of us know about the old standbys...
    * ArtMasterPRO -
    * Buzz -
    * Corel Photo-Paint -
    * Corel Painter -
    * Corel Painter Essentials -
    * Corel Paint Shop Pro -
    * Deep Paint - (discontinued, but still available for download here) FREE!
    * Paint Engine - FREE!
    * PhotoArtMaster -
    * Photo-Brush
    * Photoshop -
    * Photoshop Elements
    * Virtual Painter (use Google to find link(s))

    What other applications, plugins, add-ons, etc. do you use (or wish you had) to generate photo-art? I could list more, but I'd rather leave it open for forum members to post their ideas. I'll probably add to the thread after it gets going.

    What do they do that you especially like, find useful and/or you consider unique?

    = = = = = =

    If possible, please include links for the item(s) you mention.

    So, what-cha got?

    Last edited by DannyRaphael; 08-18-2006, 08:15 PM. Reason: Updated links

  • #2
    This is a tough one for me to answer...for the most part I only use Photoshop and basic filters (unsharp, noise, blur, etc...). My approach towards digital art emphasizes source material over software (it's cheaper!). My scanner, digital camera and tablet are the three most important tools. I'll pretty much scan anything (literally!) - dead bugs, plants, food, artwork, photos, found objects, etc...

    The best advice I can give, beyond any application or plug-in, is to build up a library of original images and scans. Traditional artists do this by keeping sketchbooks, which invariably get filled with everything from grocery lists to ink drawings. As you build up a "digital sketchbook", interesting images and projects will begin to suggest themselves! Plus, they are YOUR images, so you never have any fear of copywrite problems.

    I feel like a moron for not having any good software suggestions...I guess I'm not a big fan of filters. There is a lot of software suggested here that intrigues me, but I'm of a mind to be a master of one rather than dabble in many,


    • #3
      I like Bryce . I have version 4, and am nowhere near knowing all that can be done with it. I like it for quick landscapes, but it will do much more than that.


      • #4
        Extra Photoshop filters: Eye Candy 3.1 and Paint Engine.

        Other applications: Macromedia Fireworks and IrfanView.

        Fireworks has some features that I can't duplicate in Photoshop. At least not yet. The problem with Fireworks is that it's primarily intended for web graphics. There is no memory allocation feature like Photoshop so when the file sizes get a little large, the program slows down quite a bit.

        I found IrfanView from a link on this board. I have some folders on my computer with 50-60 images in them. With that many images I sometimes forget what they all are. IrfanView will make thumbnails for the entire folder in a very short time. I use the same technique for my image CD's.


        • #5
          I use Photoshop 7.0. I have Alien skin plug-ins but I don't use them much anymore because I find them to be one trick ponies. Besides there are a lot of built in plug-ins/filters in Photoshop that I have not yet learned to use effectively.

          I also have Painter Classic which came with Graphire 2 drawing tablet. I have yet to learn what i can do (It has something to do with old dogs and new tricks) with it.

          I got started in Paint Shop Pro because it was and still is cost effective. I honestly believe it is as good as Photoshop.

          I use actions that I find on the web only to disect how it was done.

          I don't feel I am experienced enough to recommend a particular plug-in or software. I recommend though, that you keep looking at websites like RetouchPRO where you learn more than any book can teach.



          • #6
            Don't forget about the good products at Extensis I personally have Intellihance Pro, Photo Tools ad Photo Frame.

            Another great bunch of filters is the Flaming Pear filters You can create outer space scenes with Lunar Cell or add water to an existing scene with Flood. There's some very cool filters there.

            Here's another one. I don't have it but it looks cool. It's called Photo Light by
            Human Software If you check out their other products you will find some fantastic Photo art Plug ins. Like Photo Surface, Classic Frame and more.

            Here's an interesting plugin I like and the price it right. It's called Art Texture by Ulead It's free and a it creates these fantastic colorful designs with infinate designs. You can't go wrong with this one. It's free and worth checking out.

            Finally, I found this great Software that is absolutely free and is simular to Bryce. It can be a bit tricky to use and it's a stand alone program but the skys you can create are absolutely breathtaking. It's called
            Terragen It's free and it's unlimited in what you can do with it. There are available plugins for it as well if you search them out. If you would like to see some images created in Terragen check out this thread and scroll down to the various attachments. I think you'll see the potential in combining the realistic looking effects in this program with your work in Photoshop etc.

            Those are a few of the cool ones I've been able to find. Hope you like them.


            • #7
              For those of you who would like to get software like Painter or Paint Shop Pro but the price is prohibitive, you might want to check out this software. Or even if you have those programs and would like to check out other features that they might not have check this out. It's fantastic and it's free and there are tutorials and forums and art groups that are available to help you learn it. It's called Pixia and you can find it here.

              It's originally written in Japanese so when you download it make sure you get the one in your language. I think you'll be amazed at the power of this program.


              • #8
                Thanks for the links DJ. It's amazing what you can get for nothing.


                • #9
                  The newest plugin I have purchased is Image Doctor from Alien Skin Software....
                  I am finding I am relying on it more and more for restoration and retouching, for adding textures I turn to Splat also from Alien Skin.
                  I love the NIK Color fx filters and I purchased PenPalette from them just a week or so ago, which has its own set of filters and also will utilize all the other NIK filters.



                  • #10
                    Here's another bunch of Plug-ins

                    Others that may be of interest:

                    Andomeda - Etchtone, Screens, Cutline:
                    * Interesting effects, albeit somewhat on the spendy side.

                    AV Brothers - PuzzlePro:
                    * Converts an image into puzzle pieces, (optionally) one piece per layer = ability to move, rotate pieces, selectively apply effects, etc. Number of pieces (L-R, up and down) can be specified as well as shape of pieces, characteristics of spaces between pieces, e.g., shadow, width, bevel, etc.
                    * Parents seem to really like the results.

                    Flaming Pear - India Ink, Mr. Contrast:
                    * Flaming Pear has many popular plugins that can be used for Photo-based Art

                    Jasc - Virtual Painter:
                    * Not much control over output, but definitely a unique set of effects -- some actually pretty good.

                    Panopticum - Engraver:
                    * Similar to Andromeda Cutline, but a lot less expensive

                    TheImagingFactory - Convert to Black and White PRO:
                    * One of my favorites for converting a color image to grayscale. It's like a combination of Channel Mixer (monochrome) + a bunch of adjustment layers to simulate filters -- all in one.

                    AutoF/X - Dreamsuite:
                    * Kind of spendy for individual effects, but in some cases the results are extremely impressive.

                    XaosTools - Paint Alchemy, Segmation:
                    * Paint Alchemy is similar to Paint Engine. Has the potential to do amazing things, but interface is pretty non-intuitive.
                    * Segmation: Converts images to lineart, sometimes very well and sometimes, EEEK!

                    Free! Eliminate Black, Eliminate White, Whitewash:
                    * Free and sometimes very convenient
                    * The last two are very similar. Check the comparison.



                    • #11
                      GIMP is what i use for all of my photo art and other manipulations. Its not quite as powerful as photoshop, and finding out how to do things is a little harder due to lack of tutorials, but its free, and i enjoy the challenge. It can be found here


                      • #12
                        You are the second member I know of to use the Gimp program. David Kendal also uses that with great results. If you have a good idea for a thread on the subject of Gimp or even a tutorial or some good tips you found along the way in your learning process that would be great. I would imagine there are alot more members out there that use Gimp because it is such an excellent image editing program and the value is unbeatable. But as you pointed out, there needs to be better resources for it. No pressure, just a thought.


                        • #13
                          Revival of the plug-ins!

                          I love my plug-ins and I just discovered this old thread! There are so many approaches one can take to photo art now. I recently put out an ezine issue dealing specificially with photo art (with emphasis on natural media applications).

                          An earlier issue focused on terrain-generating apps such as Terragen (mentioned above) and several others. It's also a fun challenge to take blah images and make art out of them using additional apps and techniques. I tend to start with Lucis Art, which offers various takes on otherworldly effects or provides just simple image "popping", and add other plug-ins from there.

                          GIMP has a few cool filters I haven't noticed elsewhere, and you can't beat the price!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by plugsnpixels

                            GIMP has a few cool filters I haven't noticed elsewhere, and you can't beat the price!
                            and you can't beat the user's right to copy, share and modify this great program !!


                            • #15
                              free PhotoFiltre by Antonio Da Cruz :

                              " PhotoFiltre is a complete image retouching program. It allows you to do simple or advanced adjustments to an image and apply a vast range of filters on it. It is simple and intuitive to use, and has an easy learning curve. The toolbar, giving you access to the standard filters with just a few clicks, gives PhotoFiltre a robust look."


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