The Luminar 1.2 update has brought a whole bunch of useful additions and enhancements to MacPhun’s...Read More
Plug ins take over where your regular software stops. They provide specialised effects or in-depth tools – or simply a an easier way of working – that aren’t part of mainstream photo-editing applications.
Probably the best known is the Google Nik Collection, a suite of plug ins which includes Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Dfine, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro, Silver Efex Pro and Viveza.
Others include Topaz Studio and the MacPhun Creative Kit. Some programs that started out as plug ins now work as standalone applications too, including Alien Skin Exposure X2 and ON1 Photo RAW.
Plug ins need a ‘host’ application, usually Photoshop, Lightroom or – for those still using it – Aperture. Other host apps can often work with plug-ins with a little manual configuration.
If you had to characterise these two types of software you might say that ‘host’ apps offer routine image enhancements and adjustments while plug-ins provide inspiration and ideas. That’s a very crude generalisation, but it gives some idea of the relationship between these two types of software.