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Getting Plugged in to Photoshop Plug-ins

Introduction To Plug-InsPhotoshop Plug-Ins are the topic of this post by Chas Elliot.

I remember as a youngin’ I scraped together some cash and purchased my first bona fide copy of Photoshop when it was at a lowly version 3.0. In technology terms, this makes me sound ancient but I find comfort in the words of my old scout master, “I may be an old dog, but I still have a few sharp teeth”. Photoshop’s current version is now leaving version 10 (CS3) and is moving to CS4. It’s difficult to keep up with all the changes but it’s been an exciting ride. There are already some great articles written on DPS about Photoshop for you to sink your teeth into and they can be found here. Today, I’m only discussing a small but important aspect – the power of plug-ins.

What is a Plug-in?

Software companies have long realized that by opening their programs to outside developers they increase the power of their programs without much additional work. Photoshop was one of the pioneers in this concept, but today many applications you use daily allow third party plug-ins, although they may be called by different names. Firefox for example has a huge selection of what they call “Add-ons”, some of which are indispensable. For photographers, it’s not just Photoshop that has opened up for others to further enhance. Most adobe programs allow it, as well as many photo workflow applications like Apple’s Aperture, Bibble or Nikon Capture. Navigating your way through the maze of what’s available can make you feel like you just stuck a paperclip in a socket. That isn’t where the name “plug-in” comes from and I’ll try to make this a more enjoyable experience. As a side note, slightly lower on the evolutionary scale than full-fledged plug-ins, are Photoshop Actions. They lack the nice user interface of some plug-in packages but achieve similar results. For our purposes I have included them in this discussion.


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Chas Elliott
Chas Elliott

is a freelance photographer in the Northern Virginia and DC area. See more of his work at www.chaselliott.com.

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