More Plug-Ins Have Compatibility Problems

July 23, 2007

Back in March I wrote about a horrible trend in the “Photoshop plug-in” world. Today I have two more examples of incompatible products to report so that you don’t waste your money on vendors who make incompatible products.

Let’s first once again go over why this happens. Harold Heim of The Plugin Site has a very good article that describes all aspects of plug-in information. The relevant paragraph to this discussion says “In 2002 Adobe restricted access to the Photoshop SDK, which contains the specifications for Photoshop plugins, so it can be expected that these incompatibilities may increase. Developers of other image applications don’t have any access to it anymore, so they can’t support newer plugin features. However, plugin developers who want to make their plugin compatible with a large variety of applications, should anyway use the old SDK from Photoshop 3.05 or 4.0, which already includes all important specifications.”

In almost all cases, the incompatibilities with plug-ins are because the authors of those plug-ins use the new SDK and limit their plug-ins to only working with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. This is even harmful to users of Photoshop. They may spend money on plug-ins today that they won’t be able to use in other editors if they so desire. Artists love to work with Corel’s Painter application and now those plug-ins won’t work in Painter. So the artist would have to constantly switch between applications if they want to use the plug-ins they’ve purchased.

That leads to two more vendors we need to add to the black list. These vendors have chosen to use the new SDK and therefore users of non-Adobe image editors should avoid their products.

The first are the Machine Wash filters from Mister Retro. They clearly state in their FAQ that they only support Photoshop 6.0 and higher. I’ve e-mailed the company about this problem and they aren’t interested in supporting other image editors. I find this very strange since Corel’s products are widely used in the garment industry at which these filters are directed.

The other product really disappoints me. I got a demo of Tiffen Dfx at the PMA show in March and was really impressed. The person demonstrating the software assured me that it could be used in a wide variety of image editors. Yet the product clearly states that it only works with products that support the Photoshop 6 API. Since Adobe won’t allow anyone to use those specs, it limits you to using Adobe’s products. Just in case, I tested the filters in Corel PHOTO-PAINT X3 and they flat out don’t work.

So what can you do? Don’t waste your money on these products! Make sure to support plug-in vendors that support your image editors. It would also be helpful if you let the companies know that you aren’t buying their products and that you won’t buy them unless they make them compatible with all plug-in hosts. If users don’t put financial pressure on the developers of plug-ins, the trend will only worsen.

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    The “specs” for the Photoshop 6 API are readily available, just as the version 4 specs were available.

    The fact is that the 4.0 API is *archaic* compared to the 6+ API and many plug-ins take advantage of the new functionality.

    I personally feel it is up to the applications that are EMULATING the PS API to upgrade their support to version 6, NOT the plug-in manufacturers to purposely cripple their products for some small percentage of the photo editing market.


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