The Cybia.co.uk website offers a total of 16 freeware plugins under the names "Works" and "Fotomatic". The Works plugins were first released in 1998 as dozens of Filter Factory plugins and have now been merged into eight plugins. The newer Fotomatic plugins are more dedicated to certain effects and offer only one effect per plugin. Additionally there are also three low-priced commercial plugins available.
Cybia is the pseudonym of Steve Upham from South Wales, who developed these plugins. Although he studied graphics design, he earns his living by manufacturing furniture in his craft workshop. He creates great sci-fi and fantasy artwork, which he exhibited e.g. on the World Science Fiction Convention 2005 in Glasgow. Some of his images and his fanzine Estronomicon can also be viewed at www.screamingdreams.com
All Cybia plugins have a nice graphical dialog with a small preview and a few controls. The Works plugins let you select several filter effects from a combo box at the top, but have no feature for opening and saving settings like the Fotomatic plugins. All plugins let you adjust the effect with sliders only and are very easy to use. The Works plugins require a lot of experimenting to achieve certain effects whereas the Fotomatic plugins are more straightforward.
The Works plugins achieve various transparency, colorization, grain, emboss, and mesh pattern effects. The EmbossWorks, EdgeWorks, Mezzy and ScreenWorks plugins are quite experimental and more useful for graphical results whereas the ColorWorks, MasterShop and SwapShop plugins are nice for achieving unusual colour effects. AlphaWorks can be a useful tool for blending images by making certain areas transparent. Unfortunately a button for producing random settings is missing and it isn't possible to quickly browse the effects by only using the cursor keys in the filter combo box. Some of the Works effects could be even combined into one filter, which would make them even more convenient to use.
Five of the Fotomatic plugins concentrate on B&W effects by simulating BW filters, Infra-Red film, film grain, film contrast and coloured BW effects. Having them in one plugin would have been nicer, but as their features overlap it isn't such a big problem. The remaining plugins produce colour gradient, night vision and photo correction effects.
The Cybia plugins create rather simple, but often useful effects and are certainly attractive for beginners. More advanced users are probably missing further options. Although this can partially be compensated by applying various of these filters one after another, it isn't very convenient. For that purpose Cybia offers a few commercial plugins which allow more complex effects.
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