Using PhotoLine as a host application for ColorPerfect, ColorNeg, ColorPos and GamSat

PhotoLine is a full-featured photo editing system with capabilities between Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. It actually seems to be closer to Photoshop in capability but the price is nearly the same as Elements, making it worth investigating even for professional photographers. You can obtain a fully functional English trial version of PhotoLine here. User feedback tells us that there is an increasing number of people who are quite happy with the combination of PhotoLine and ColorPerfect.

Our tests have shown that PhotoLine provides more 16 bit per channel image editing functionality than Photoshop Elements ever did e.g. when working with selections. The reasons for that are obvious if you consider that PhotoLine's developers have no need to aid the marketing of a premium version of their software by leaving out features. The following paragraphs contain a few bits of information that you might find useful when using ColorPerfect, ColorNeg et al. with PhotoLine. If you are using PhotoLine already and feel that there should be anything else on this page please tell us.

PhotoLine prior to version 15 did not support ColorPerfect, ColorNeg et al.

Sometime in 2008 a user inquired why our plug-ins would not work properly when used with PhotoLine 14.5 and below. This question by itself was nothing out of the ordinary. Many image editing applications that do support Photoshop plug-ins in one way or another do not implement all features of the Photoshop plug-in interface as defined by Adobe Systems. Specifically the registry related functions that have been available in Photoshop for more than a decade are often not implemented by other software vendors. What happened after this message was unusual though. The user had also written to the developers of PhotoLine who got in touch with us soon after. We exchanged a few messages and it became obvious what features PhotoLine lacked at the time. A few weeks later there was a beta version that implemented all of those. This experience proves that it is possible for a third party to implement the required parts of Adobe's plug-in interface with reasonable effort. We do encourage other software vendors to follow this positive example.

Using ColorPerfect, ColorNeg, ColorPos or GamSat with PhotoLine 15.5 or above

Since version 15.5 PhotoLine is provided as both 32 bit and 64 bit software for Windows and Mac OS X. The versions for both operating systems provide the full functionality required to use our plug-ins. There is one general thing to heed though: ColorNeg, ColorPos and GamSat work exclusively in 32 bit mode and so does ColorPerfect when combined with PhotoLine 15.5. For these combinations you will thus need to use PhotoLine's 32 bit mode as detailed below. The 64 bit versions of ColorPerfect for Windows and Mac OS X can be used with PhotoLine 16.0 and above in its 64 bit mode.

Running PhotoLine in 32 bit mode if necessary

To use our old plug-ins with PhotoLine 15.5 or later and to use ColorPerfect with PhotoLine prior to version 16.0 you will need to execute PhotoLine in 32 bit mode.

On a conventional 32 bit Windows that is the only one installed. If you are using a 64 bit Windows two versions of PhotoLine will be installed. Run the 32 bit one.

On Mac OS X PhotoLine is provided as a universal binary file including three executables. One for the old Power PC platform, a 32 bit Intel compatible version and a 64 bit Intel compatible version. To force the binary to run in 32 bit mode on an Intel Mac locate the PhotoLine executable using the Finder, select it and press cmd+i to open the information dialogue. On it check the option required to execute the application in 32 bit mode.

Using Photoshop Plug-ins with PhotoLine

To use the plug-ins simply put them into any folder of your choice. On the Mac use the XC UNI universal binary version of the plug-ins. After starting the 32 bit version of PhotoLine set that folder up as one of PhotoLine's plug-in folders. To do so select Edit > Options on Windows or PhotoLine > Options on OS X. On the options screen select Extended > Plug-in Modules. On this option screen use one of the Browse buttons to specify the folder you put the plug-ins into and activate that folder by clicking the checkbox up front. The option "Search in Folders" above the folders enables the use of sub folders.

How to convert an image to 16 bits / Channel in PhotoLine

If ColorPerfect displays a message stating that it will not work on 8 bit per channel images you may convert your image to 16 bits per channel. As long as you are working on positive images and do not require major adjustments the results is likely to be acceptable. 8 bit precision is not sufficient for inverting negatives properly though. You may convert an image for testing but don't expect the same quality you would get from a good linear 16 bit scan. To convert an image from 8 bit to 16 bit precision in PhotoLine choose Layer > Convert Layer Type and select "RGB Image" from the "To" drop down list and select "16 bit" from the "Option" drop down list.

How to assign the desired output color profile to a linear scan in PhotoLine

Some scanner software embeds a color profile even into linear scans. To make sure the correct profile is assigned to the scan after opening it use the Tool > Color > Set Color Profile option. Do not use the Tool > Color > Convert With Color Profile option for this. If your scanner software embeds a wrong color profile and you can't turn that off this is a per image adjustment. If there is no color profile embedded to the file PhotoLine will use the one you defined as the default in the options. To find out which one that is select Edit > Options on Windows or PhotoLine > Options on OS X. Then navigate to the entry under Color Management > Standard > RGB. Don't leave this set to system but decide for a specific profile like sRGB, Apple RGB etc. You will have to set Gamma C on ColorPerfect's start up panel according to the color space you use.