New Plug-ins Add Hostlike Functions

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Most Adobe Photoshop plug-ins are relatively simple effects filters or import-export modules that perform a few specialized tasks. But in their never-ending quest to extend Adobe's image-editing software, plug-in developers are trying a new approach: full-fledged graphics applications that run from within Photoshop. Extensis (503/274-2020, ) has introduced a vector drawing plug-in, while Zaxwerks (626/309-9102, ) is offering a new 3-D modeling plug-in. Both sell for $150.

Vectors in Photoshop

Extensis PhotoGraphics 1.0 is essentially a vector drawing program that runs within Photoshop. Drawing tools include line, pen, ellipse, rectangle, polygon, and starburst. Objects, which consist of editable Bézier curves, can include transparent fills. You can also create multiple text blocks on a path with control over baseline shift, kerning, tracking, leading, color, alignment, and vertical and horizontal scaling. The plug-in offers character style sheets and super- and subscript functions.

Once you've created a vector graphic, you can render it in Photoshop as a bitmap with a selected level of antialiasing. However, the graphic remains editable, and you can open it in vector format even after you've flattened the Photoshop file. The software is scheduled to ship on January 25, 1999.

Extensis is also shipping Intellihance Pro 4.0, an upgrade to its $200 image-enhancement plug-in that now lets you view multiple variations of a photo. The new features are designed to challenge Vivid Details' Test Strip, a popular plug-in for color correction.

Deeper Images

Zaxwerks' 3D Invigorator lets you create shaded 3-D models from within Photoshop. You load a vector graphic and then apply one of more than 100 shapes to transform the graphic into a 3-D model. You can modify the model's geometry and add colors, surfaces, and lighting effects. Versions for Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia FreeHand are also available.

Zaxwerks is not the first vendor to offer a 3-D plug-in for Photoshop. The Three-D Filter from Andromeda Software (805/379-4109, ) lets you map images to cones, spheres, cubes, and other 3-D objects. In November, Andromeda shipped Three-D Luxe, an enhanced $99 version of the plug-in that offers new surface-modeling features.

March 1999 page: 29

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