5th January 2001 at 00:00
Plug-ins are small software programs that can be used within a host digital editing application. Many image-manipulation programs, among them Photoshop, PaintShop Pro and PhotoSuite, support plug-in architecture, and there is a good selection of third party products. Before buying a plug-in, however, check that your main program does not already contain these tools. Effects such as Bevel, Drop Shadow, Blur and Emboss are often included in image-editing programs, as are many artistic, masking and text-effect tools. Used intelligently, plug-Ins can make a real difference to digital imagery. Of the many collections available, three stand out. .

EyeCandy 4000 from the excellent Alien Skin Software is a set of 23 well-designed filters that includes effects such as Corona, Chrome and Fire. Sophisticated parameter controls mean that you can be as subtle or brash as your imagination and taste allow.

Xaos Tools produce, in Total Xaos, a bundle of software programs that will enhance both image and typ production. (Paint Alchemy, in particular, can add fabulous painterly qualities to your images). For delicate, understated effects, these are hard to beat.

Kai's Power Tools 6 continues the creative legacy of Kai Krause,one of the most innovative digital designers, with some spectacular special effects. Some of these filters, - PageCurl and Texture Explorer, for instance, - have achieved near legendary, if cliched status, but applied properly they are very creative tools.

A huge range of freeware and shareware plug-In collections can be found at:

Most of the sites suggested here have preview pages that demonstrate the effects of the various filters.


Price: pound;100 from Computers Unlimited

Tel: 020 8358 5857

Kai's PowerTools 6

Price: pound;150 from Computers Unlimited (details as above)

Total Xaos

Price: pound;159 from Digital Toolbox

Tel: 020 8896 5622

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now