The Wait Is Over

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An OS X version of Photoshop means that graphics and prepress professionals can, for the first time, seriously consider moving to Apple's new operating system. The only question is: Will their favorite Photoshop plug-ins move with them?

Many Photoshop users depend on plug-ins for everything from high-end color correction to unusual image effects. But although most Photoshop 6 plug-ins should work fine with Photoshop 7 running in OS 9 or in OS X's Classic mode, they do not yet run natively in OS X.

Many plug-in developers say they're already working to convert their products to OS X; however, the process--rewriting hundreds, if not thousands, of lines of code--takes time. As a result, many companies are taking a selective approach to Carbonizing their software. Instead of trying to rewrite code for every program it offers, Alien Skin Software (888/921-7546, www.alienskin.com), maker of the popular Eye Candy plug-in series, says it will focus on having OS X versions of its newest products, such as Eye Candy 4000, available when Photoshop 7 is finally ready to ship. As a result, anyone who depends on Alien Skin's older plug-ins, such as Xenofex, will have to wait for the next versions to get OS X compatibility.

Andromeda Software (800/547-0055, www.andromeda.com), which offers more than a dozen Photoshop filters and plug-ins, is taking the slow and steady approach to OS X compatibility. "We're definitely planning to Carbonize everything," says Product Manager Louann Barbeau. "But it'll be gradual. We'd love to see them all at once, but our engineers are swamped." According to Barbeau, Andromeda will Carbonize each of its plug-ins as it updates them--usually within a year of the last release.

Of course, if you aren't the patient type and are looking for some instant OS X satisfaction, there are a number of OS X options already available. For example, Procreate (800/772-6735, www.procreate.com) began shipping its masking tool, KnockOut 2, and its suite of image filters, KPT Effects, last year. Likewise, Auto FX Software (205/980-0056, www.autofx.com) has released OS X versions of two of its plug-in suites--Dreamsuite 1.10, and Photo/Graphic Edges 5.0--with its color-correction software, AutoEye, soon to follow.

With Adobe at last making a full commitment to Apple's new operating system, more and more third-party plug-in developers will begin making the switch as well. Until then, if there's a particular Photoshop plug-in you just can't work without, you'll need to backtrack to OS 9.

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