Plugin Creation Tools
Filter Factory (free)
... is a Photoshop-compatible filter plugin that enables you to create your own filter effects. To achieve effects with Filter Factory you have to type C like formulas for processing the Red, Green, Blue and Alpha channel of 24bit images. To get a deep insight please read the Filter Factory Programming Guide.
Filter Factory is available for Windows and
MacOS 8/9. As it hasn't been updated since 1995 it can't be used with
Mac OS X. The Filter Factory plugin is included on the Photoshop 3,
4, 5 or 6 CD-ROMs (for Macintosh and Windows) as well as on the Photoshop
7 and CS for Windows CD-ROM. Filter Factory for Windows needs Msvcrt10.dll
to work. There were two special version of Filter Factory included with
Adobe Premiere 4 and 5 called Filter Factory and Transition Factory.
Unfortunately Adobe doesn't deliver them anymore since Version 6 of
Adobe Premiere. The Filter Factory versions of Premiere 5 works in Premiere
6, but not in Premiere Pro.
Plugin Commander Pro lets you easily convert Filter Factory plugins to Macintosh versions as well as Premiere versions. You can also use it to edit and preview your Filter Factory plugins.
For more information about piogramming with Filter Factory see the Filter Factory Programming Guide.
Filter Factory is recommended for people:
Filter Foundry ($5 donationware)
Filter Foundry is a compatible replacement for Adobe Filter Factory. It may contains a few inconsistencies with Filter Factory that should be reported to the author, so that they can be fixed in the next release. It works with Photoshop 3.0-7.0 on Power Mac (OS X, Classic, OS 9 and earlier), 68K Mac and Windows. Unlike the other tools mentioned here, the filter code is interpreted and not compiled to machine code. However, you won't notice a speed difference if you use an up-to-date processor. Improvements on Filter Factory are a larger preview (which is correct at all zoom rates), relieved expression length limits and OS X support.
Filter Formula ($50)
... is a Photoshop-compatible plugin for Windows. It is similar to Filter Factory for creating your own filter effects. FilterFormula (short: FiFo) supports Filter Factory source code, but has has some advantages over Filter Factory:
1. It doesn't crash when a filter with the cnv command is used on larger images.
2. It doesn't need Msvcrt10.dll or Plugin.dll.
3. It can handle (in many cases) images that don't fit into main memory.
4. It creates stand alone plugins that aren't decompilable.
5. The filter code is entered in only one text box, instead of 3 or 4 as in Filter Factory.
6. It let's you include multiple filters in one plugin (from Version 1.1 on).
7. It has a zoomable and pannable preview box.
8. The range of each slider can de defined by the user.
9. It has 6 color selector buttons and 3 check boxes.
10. The filter code can contain for & while loops and if ... else statements.
11. There are 65535 storage cells, instead of 256 as in Filter Factory.
12. It has a extended programming language with more commands.
13. The source code limit is 16K (in Filter Factory 4K) and the compiled code limit is 8K (in Filter Factory something around 1-2K).
14. It can display Help files for standalone filters (Help button).
Unfortunately the latest Filter Formula release is from 1999 and there are no signs that it will be developed further.
Filter Formula is recommended for people:
Filter Meister ($25)
FilterMeister (FM) is a plugin for Adobe Photoshop and plugin-compatible applications. Although it has a "Beta" added to version name for 10 years now, you should not hesitate to use it. It has been toroughly tested and is still developed further. It lets you create your own Photoshop-compatible plugin filters using a powerful C-like programming language. You also have complete control over the design and layout of the user interface for the filters you create. Here's a feature list:
The FilterMeister programming language:
The FilterMeister user interface:
The FilterMeister compiler:
FilterMeister is recommended for people:
Please subscribe to the FilterMeister Mailing List to get the latest inofficial versions of FilterMeister. FilterMeister is still developed further.
Photoshop SDK for Delphi ($75)
... is a plugin development solution for Borland Delphi 5, 6, 7 and for Borland C++ Builder 6. Basically the software consists of two main parts: the plug-in development wizard and the filter host component.
Some of the features include:
Photoshop SDK for Delphi is recommended for people:
The Photoshop SDK (previously $195, now free again)
... contains instructions and source codes for developing Photoshop-compatible plugins. This is the hardest, but also most flexible way to create your own filter plugins. In recent years you had to become an ASN member for $195/year in order to obtain the SDK, but now you only need to register for a free Adobe ID to get the SDK. Previous version of the SDK can be found on the Photshop 3/4/5/6 CD-ROMs. The older Photoshop SDKs (3/4/5/6) can also be used to create plugins for Photoshop 7, CS, CS2 and CS3. For making your plugins compatible to as many other graphics applications you should better use an older version of the Photoshop SDK and test them with as many applications as possible. In addition to Photoshop you should at least test your plugins with Paint Shop Pro.
The following development systems can be used with the Photoshop SDK:
Copyright (c) 2000 - 2009 by Harald Heim