Photoshop Plug-In Compatibility

March 18, 2007

Last week I attended the PMA Trade Show in Las Vegas. Strolling the aisles showed all of the latest and greatest products that a professional photographer would need. As usual, my focus was on software. Today I’ll talk specifically about what some of the companies making Adobe Photoshop plug-ins told me about their products.

Back when Adobe first created Photoshop, they created a standard that allowed third party developers to create plug-ins to extend Photoshop’s capabilities. As this standard was widely published, companies making other image editing programs soon allowed these same plug-ins to work in their products. This is a good thing for the plug-in developers as they can sell their products to more users.

A few years ago, Adobe modified the standard. Plug-ins developed under the new standard will only work in Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Developers can choose to continue writing under the old standard or they can use the new standard. The old standard is more compatible with other applications, the new one provides more features.

For the most part, all plug-ins work in Corel PHOTO-PAINT. I could easily count those that didn’t work on one hand. Sadly, that statement was true a year ago and it is quickly changing. Of the vendors displaying plug-ins at the PMA show, there was only one that would definitely work, there was another set that might work and there were others that flat out admitted they won’t work and they don’t care.

Now when plug-ins don’t work in Corel PHOTO-PAINT, they typically don’t work in other image editors either. That includes Corel’s Paint Shop Pro, Painter, PhotoImpact and the various other image editors from other companies. With all these other image editors out there, I was shocked that plug-in vendors would knowingly turn their back on potential sales.

After doing some research the last week, I’m not at all surprised. In talking with one company that does have plug-ins that work with all host software, I was told that somewhere around 97-98% of their buyers were users of Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. And the companies that don’t support all image hosts said that nobody ever complained that their plug-ins didn’t work with other hosts.

This tells me that two things need to happen. If you use another image editor and you want plug-ins, you need to be more vocal. Call the plug-ins vendors and complain. E-mail them. Post complaints in user forums. They need to know that they are losing sales. If you do buy a plug-in, let that company know what image editor you use. Thank them for supporting your favorite image editor. If the users don’t start becoming more proactive then there will no longer be plug-ins that work outside of Adobe’s products.

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1 Comment

  1. Sean72

    I have to agree with you. I still have a treasured copy of GF PrintPro 1.0 from 1998 that works only in PhotoPaint 9. All the new versions apparently won’t work in anything but PS and they don’t seem to see that as a problem. I guess that there are no longer enough ‘large’ alternatives to PS to warrant the development. If there is only one main competitor (Corel) then why should PS/Adobe share the plug-ins. I suppose that is one downside to their purchase of PaintShopPro. We may eventually be compelled to use both packages even if we prefer PhotoPaint.


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