Common Extensions and Filters for Adobe Creative Cloud - dummies

Common Extensions and Filters for Adobe Creative Cloud

By Jennifer Smith

Extensions are sometimes used for similar tasks in several programs and are designed to enhance a program’s existing capabilities. Extensions and filters can also dramatically speed up the creative process. At the mere click of a button, you can add to your project an amazing effect that may have taken many hours to accomplish without the plug-in.

Additional filters and plug-ins for the programs are available or linked from the Adobe website. You can also easily find plug-ins for downloading from the web. A search yields many results for these packages. A good place to start is at the Adobe Marketplace & Exchange. You can then download and install a wealth of tools for all Creative Cloud applications.

The Photoshop filter is probably the most common type of add-on you find online. Some filters you have to purchase before downloading and using them; however, some are free.

Plugging in to InDesign

There are many plug-ins available in InDesign that allow you to extend the feature set that already exists. Here are some of the things you can do with additional plug-ins in InDesign:

  • Lay out spreads correctly for a printer.

  • Create sophisticated indexes and tables of contents.

  • Create advanced cross references within your documents.

  • Create page previews and thumbnails of your documents.

Other filters created for InDesign can help import certain content, such as text. Text formatting often gets lost when you import content into InDesign. Filters can help you retain this original formatting when you’re importing text. These plug-ins and filters are just a small sample of what’s available for InDesign. In all likelihood, developers will create many more plug-ins for the software.

Adding on to Photoshop

Photoshop has many preinstalled plug-ins and filters that increase the program’s functionality. You can find additional filters and also plug-ins to add new features that inevitably add interesting effects to your documents. One plug-in, for example, installs a number of filters in Photoshop. By using the filters and plug-ins you find for Photoshop, you can

  • Create 3D text, objects, and effects by using several different plug-ins. Effects include more realistic drop shadows, bevels, and embossments than the ones already available in Photoshop.

  • Use special masking tools to create amazing selections of difficult items such as fur and hair.

  • Use one of thousands of special effects (made by many companies) to enhance and modify images.

  • Add a frame from a library to place around favorite images.

This list describes only some of the tasks you can perform using the available Photoshop plug-ins, which commonly comprise a set of numerous bundled filters.

Many plug-ins have custom interfaces you can use to specify settings, including sliders, text fields, and buttons and usually a thumbnail preview of how the filter is affecting the image. These interfaces vary greatly in style and number of features but are usually fairly intuitive and easy to use.

Using Illustrator plug-ins

You can find many tools to extend the capabilities of Illustrator. Plug-ins are available that enable you to take 3D illustration further than standard 3D features allow. You can create forms from drawings and also turn 3D files into line drawings. Other plug-ins, ranging from simple to quite complex, let you

  • Organize font sets.

  • Add common symbols, such as road signage, to use in documents. Symbols are organized into libraries that you can use directly in the Illustrator workspace.

  • Import computer-aided design (CAD) files into documents.

  • Create interactive documents.

  • Handle patterns geared toward creating textures and backgrounds.

You can enhance Illustrator capabilities after you download and install a few plug-ins. Simple projects become much more interesting or complex when you merely enter a value and click a button.

A fun item to download and install into Illustrator is a custom brush. You can then have a wider array of brushes to work with when you create drawings and illustrations. Styles, usually obtained for free, are also available for you to install in Illustrator. You can even download and install custom brushes for Photoshop.

Adding capabilities to Acrobat

Several Acrobat plug-ins help speed and diversify project workflow. Some available plug-ins are designed to help you

  • Add new stamps to documents.

  • Add features such as page numbering and watermarks.

  • Streamline productivity by offering solutions for batch processing.

  • Convert file formats to diversify the kinds of documents you can create in Acrobat.

  • Work with and fix — quickly and efficiently — the Portable Document Format (PDF) in prepress.

Many plug-ins available for Acrobat enable you to batch-process (all at one time) the pages in a document. Many plug-ins for Acrobat help save lots of time when you’re creating PDF files. Plug-ins are usually designed to be easy to use and can thus save you from having to perform a tedious and repetitive task.

Plug-ins for Acrobat are available from the Adobe website and from numerous third-party websites.

Extending Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver offers you a quick and easy way to make web pages, but you can add more tools to Dreamweaver to diversify the types of tasks the program can do. These extensions (essentially, plug-ins) also speed the process of creating websites. Some available Dreamweaver plug-ins let you

  • Add e-commerce modules to a website automatically.

  • Create professional vertical and horizontal menus by using Dynamic HTML (DHTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

  • Add a calendar pop-up.

  • Add PayPal to your website.