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Plugin Guide #2 - Cybia Plugins

by Harald Heim

 

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.

 Info & Download
 www.cybia.co.uk
  
 Installation
 Create a sub folder called "Cybia" in the Plug-Ins folder of Photoshop or Elements and copy the unzipped Cybia plugins into it. After restarting your application, you can find them on the "Cybia" and "Fotomatic" sub menus of the Filter menu.

For information on installing plugins in other applications see here.
 

 

Old Film
01 Choose An Image
Use a photo without any elements of modern life that would be suitable as an ancient B/W photo.

02 Run Hi-Spot
Run the Hi-Spot plugin from the Fotomatic sub menu. Hi-Spot lets you create a high-contrast B/W version of your photo which is typical for old photos. If the image gets too dark, use the EC slider to brighten it up again. It even contributes to the effect if some highlight areas get blown out.
03 Run G-Force
As a last step run the G-Force plugin from the Fotomatic sub menu to add some grain to the photo. Switching to 100% zoom lets you see the effect better. If you want it even more extreme, run Hi-Spot again and add a sepia effect with the Colour sliders.

 
Crazy Colors
01 Choose An Image
Open a photo that has a large uniformly coloured background, e.g. sky or a wall.
02 Pop-Art Effects
To produce some pop-art effects run the ColorWorks plugin from the Cybia sub menu. Choose "GMmix" or "RCmix" from the combo box at the top. Play a bit with the four sliders to adjust the effect. Applying the plugin again will produce even more extreme pop-art effects.
03 False Color Effects
False Color effects can be easily created with the SwapShop plugin from the Cybia sub menu. The first nine items of the combo box are especially nice for playing with colours. Using the sliders is usually not necessary. For this example the "Red to Green" effect was used.
 
Better Sunsets
01 Choose An Image
Open a photo of a sunset that needs to be improved. If you don't have one just use a photo with a lot of sky.
02 Apply SkyGrad
Run the SkyGrad plugin from the Fotomatic sub menu. To bring out silhouettes move the EC slider to the left. Move each of the three Colour sliders a bit to the left or right. Better not overdo it with too extreme colours, instead try to amplify the colour that is already present in the photo.
03 Variation
You can basically produce similar effects by using the Fast Fix plugin from the Fotomatic sub menu. It gives you greater control, but will affect the whole image and not just the upper area. For stronger silhouettes lower the BF slider and increase the CF slider. You can add some saturation with the SF slider and enhance the colour mood with the Colour sliders.

 

This article written for issue 28 of the Digital Photo Effects Magazine. It was never published, because the magazine was shut down after issue 27.

 

Copyright (c) 2000 - 2009 by Harald Heim