Price: 171 . 88
Company: Auto FX
Pros: Huge number of effects; powerful set of controls.
Cons: Unbearably slow to use; poor compositional tools; image import bug.
This review is taken from our group test of Photoshop CS4 plug-ins.
The clumsily named Photo/Graphic Edges 7.0 Platinum Edition (PGE 7.0) – is a powerful but heavily flawed plug-in for adding borders and frames to images.
It contains hundreds of border and frame effects, which is why you have to buy it on DVD. They are split into eight edge types, from Darkroom to Vignette, ten effects from Transfer to Smudged Edges, and 13 frame types from Film to Storyboards. There are also Adornments – objects that you can add over the top of your frames, from flowers to nails – and subtle edge effects called Overlays. New in version 7 is the Preset button, which offers a choice of presets for each effect that Auto FX feels works well with another.
For many creatives, the main flaw with PGE 7.0 is that the majority of its pre-canned borders and frame – whether the standard effects settings or the full-on presets – are cheesier than fondue. With some tweaking, it’s possible to create something non-cheesy, but the workflow is tortuous.
PGE 7.0 is slower than an upturned tortoise. Even on our well-specced Mac with moderate-sized images, every change we made was followed by a five- to ten-second wait. There’s a multiplicity of options available, which are split across Effects, Background, Mood and Lighting tabs – plus a configurable brush for applying some effects. There are so many options that playing around with them is the best way to learn, but it’s too slow to do this effectively.
You can work with layers and multiple images, but this is fiddly compared to Photoshop. Controls you’d expect, such as cursor-key nudges, are missing -- and the visual controls over edge size can sometimes be fiddly. We also found a major bug when you use presets with multiple frames, as other images you import to fill those frames often come in with the wrong aspect ratio.
PGE 7.0 works as a Smart Filter but doesn’t support CMYK -- and support 16-bit images is on Windows only.
Supported hosts: Photoshop 7/CS-CS4
Update: This review has been updated to correct some errors than crept in before publication. The visual controls over edge size are sometimes fiddly, not missing. There is support for 16-bit images in the Windows version of PGE 7.0 (though not in the Mac version we tested). We regret these errors.