Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Something A Little Different With A Plug-in

I was flipping through some of the galleries over at the NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) site the other day and came across a couple interesting images.  They looked like they had sparks coming off the tips of anything with a pointed edge and gave an heightened edge to any long sweeps.  The maker of the images said it was his first experiment with a plug-in he found and was loving the technique.  It did look kind of unique, I had only seen it a few other times and thought it was worth looking at.  I don't typically use a lot of plug-ins, preferring to figure out what a plug-in might be doing in Adobe Photoshop itself.  I don't know of too many things that plug-ins can do that can't be done in Photoshop, with enough blood, sweat and tears.  The function of plug-ins is to simplify tasks.  You can reduce noise without some of the popular plug-ins by using a Surface Blur (Filters/Blur/Surface Blur) on the individual Channels (Red, Green and Blue) in the Channels Panel.  You can create B&W images without using the popular plug-in by working the image with the tools available.  I have to admit, it is a lot easier to use a preset rather than do the work yourself, but it can be done.  The "sparkie" technique is one that is difficult to figure out and will need considerably more investigation before I figure out the steps needed to duplicate the same effect.  It's such a limited use technique that I don't even know if it's worth breaking it down, but it is still interesting enough to play with.  If you're interested in finding out what the plug-in is called and where to find it, hit the "read more".

The mystery plug-in is called Fractalius and it comes from Redfield Plug-ins. They offer about twenty different plug-ins, but haven't offered anything new or updated any of the plug-ins since 2009. According to their "about us" page, they're located in Moscow. Yep, the real Moscow, the one in Russia. In case you were unaware, Russia is a hotbed of software development, with many companies you'd recognize having facilities there. Personally, I think it's pretty cool it see entrepreneurship alive and well in Russia.

There is one thing that "bothers" me just a little.  According to the forums out on the web, you can't run Fractalius in 64 bit.  Therefore, no Adobe Photoshop CS5.  I had to go to my wife's computer with CS3 on it to be able to play with it at all.  A bit of a pain and it doesn't look like Redfield is updating any of the Plug-ins, so I guess I'll have to roll my chair five feet to the right to play with it.  Oh, the horror.
Well, that's it. Short and sweet. I hope you like today's image and will checkout Redfield Plug-ins.  One things I do have to mention.  If you click on today's image to enlarge it you may see "Demo" peppered all over the image.  I haven't bought the plug-in yet, but I'm thinking about it.