Recently, I’ve bought other imaging software in the form of plugins to
complement the other imaging software that I have.
I have to confess that I’m a Paint Shop Pro devotee, but recently I’ve
discovered that it does have some limitations.
Photoshop Elements 9 fills the gaps and does overlap in some
places. However, this is not the place for an in-depth analysis
During this period of searching and comparing and checking, I
discovered that both of these excellent programs still have their
weaknesses, and often in similar areas.
This is where “plugins” come in to fill the gaps and enhance.
I’ve bought some, and I’ve found some excellent free ones on the
The purpose of this tutorial is to show you how to install and use
plugins in Paint Shop Pro.
No two plugins will install in the same way; and what you don’t want is
to have multiple copies of the same file, one for each of the image
processors you use. What we’ll try to achieve is one copy
accessed by all. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to get both
Paint Shop Pro X3 and Elements 9 to access the files.
Some plugins download as ZIP files to be extracted. Some have
installation routines. What you need to do is to get the files
installed into the Elements 9 file area. When you are prompted by
the download or the installation routine, this is the area to go for.
The installation routines will place the files into something like ...
assuming, of course, that you’ve told it that’s where you want the
files to go if you run Adobe. If that is not the case, then the
files will go straight into the C:/program files area. It is
important to know where the files are since you’ll need to tell Paint
Shop Pro X3 their location.
When Paint Shop Pro X3 is opened you’ll need to open File > Preferences > File Locations
Choose plugins, leave the default choices as set in the displayed
box. When you click onto Add,
a further dialogue box opens to
enable you select the place where the plugins have been placed.
Plugin files usually have an extension of the type .8b? where the
question mark “?” represents another letter.
When you’ve chosen the location of the plugins, click OK to
confirm the location and OK to confirm the file location additions.
With your image loaded, Effects >
Plugins should show the name of the filter/plugin you’ve loaded
and the rest is up to your creativity.
all software, you will need to be wary of its origin. My list is
not exhaustive and carries no guarantees of the plugins working in your
processing software version and in your PC or laptop. Processors and
video cards have idiosyncrasies.
NIK Viveza which allows you to make individual adjustments to specific
areas of an image
TOPAZ ReMask which cuts very accurate masks very quickly
Mehdi have a wide range, including Denoise which enables
you to smooth out digital noise. I’ve used it to smooth out JPEG
pixel noise too.
Beware, some freebies turn out to be limited time pre-purchase trials
or have limited functionality.
Be selective – there really is some rubbish out there. One man’s
filter can be another’s junk.
Will The Plugin Work?
Simply, you don’t know. Some of the plugins I’ve tried, failed
of the Operating System and Video card I run.
The programmers are
aware of the problem; there are some little tricks they suggest that
overcome it; there is still no guarantee of success.
advice I can give is to download a trial version and “suck it and see”
before you purchase. One plugin that I cannot run is NIK
Some clues as to possible success.
If it runs in Photoshop, it probably runs in Elements 9
(unless the instructions say otherwise).
If it runs in Paint Shop Pro X3, it most probably runs in
OnOne software offers some free stuff which is “cut-down” from the
stuff which they sell.
PhotoFrame runs as an Automation from the File menu in
Elements 9 and not as a filter. It will not run in Paint Shop Pro
The Layouts collection is sets of .PSD files. These
are frames and backgrounds. All theoretically can be read by
Paint Shop Pro X3 and Elements 9, but the larger files are in excess of
1GB. My copy of Elements 9 running in Vista will read the files,
but PaintShopPro X3 won’t.
Much of what is on offer, can be created to individual specification by
a skilled worker in Paint Shop Pro; Elements 9; Photoshop.
A Few Examples
This was produced by
Separating the flowers into a layer using Topaz ReMask
Treating the background using Topaz Simplify
Treating the flowers using Cybia Colourworks Solar
This was produced by
Separating the flowers in 6 images using Topaz ReMask
Copying each flower image into a new picture as a
new layer – it’s just like cutting out and gluing in – it’s so simple
The individual flower images were moved into place more
accurately using the WACOM pen and tablet
This was produced by
Separating the abbey from the pale washed out winter sky
using Topaz ReMask
Inserting a new sky as a new layer
The sky layer was positioned more accurately using the
WACOM pen and tablet