Masking Software for Adobe Photoshop CS4.
Ten years ago you paid $850 for a Creo(Scitex) masking software. Now you can get AutoMask, Ultimatte Knockout, Cinematte, or Extensis Mask Pro for half that over priced Creo(Scitex) product. But how do these products improve over what Adobe Photoshop version 5.5 through & and CS4 now offer?
That’s what we are curious about also, since we constantly have to mask objects in our own digital images. At FLAAR our four on-staff photographers use Nikon, Canon, Hasselblad, PhaseOne, and large-format digital cameras (BetterLight and Cruse). Unfortunately we have so much software that it is hard to keep up, so the reviews are often still “upcoming.”
This page was initiated in 1999, and updated in 2004. Today is 2009 and we are gradually moving our web site to new formats, so now we have a new introductory page for masking software available in 2009. But as part of history, here is our list for 1999-2004.
AutoMask 4.0, humansoftware.com; today it is version 4.6.
Cinematte, being a photographer I am especially interested in this. The Kaidan QTVR object rigs include blue and green knockout background colors. Cinematte was and still is from Digital Dominion, a division of Nova Design.
Extensis Mask Pro, now part of onOne software.
Magic Mask from Chroma (seems not to exist any more ?)
MaskFX from autof/x (not available under this specific name)
Ultimatte KnockOut now from Corel.
So out of six masking software plug-ins for 1999-2004 (or stand-alone software), two seem to have disappeared and another two switched owners.
Of these four surviving software companies Corel has been able to hold its ground. I know the brand name Extensis much better than I know onOne software so somehow the former Extensis did a better job of getting their product known than the new company (I attend Photokina every two years and I attend either PMA and/or PhotoPlus at least every year). I read at least two major photography trade magazines. So if a brand name is not exhibiting at major trade shows and not regularly featured in crucial trade magazines, it will not register in my mental lists of major software companies).
The change over from Extensis took place in 2005 when Mask Pro, Intellihance, PhotoFrame, and QX-Tools were taken over by onOne Software. The former CEO at Extensis is the founder of onOne Software ! onOne Software also ended up with Genuine Fractals from LizardTech.
The Cromagraphics web site seems to have disappeared. Most of the web sites that hawk the Magic Mask are sleeze sites dealing in unlicensed software and date from 1997-1998!
Software evaluation is time-consuming but we work at it
Lots of software arrives for review, such as SilverFast from LaserSoft Imaging. They noticed our web site before we even contacted them to ask for review copies. Once they learned more about the FLAAR. test program and reviews they sent six different software packages for us to review. But this was a decade ago when scanning 35mm slides was common. Today everyone uses digital cameras so we do not continue evaluations of scanning software.
ColorSynergy also happened to contact us before we even requested review copies. Within 48 hours of the initial contact by e-mail, FedEx had ColorSynergy color management software in route to our test studio in Germany. At other times of the year we test in our offices at Bowling Green State University in Ohio (2001-2008). But it was more efficient and productive for FLAAR to have its own offices so now our staff of 12 are doing evaluations in our own facilities (see www.FLAAR.org).
Now, in 2009, we do not maintain reviews of software from 1999-2006. We are restructuring our reviews to cover the software that is topical for the needs and trends in 2009. We will start with Fluid Mask ver 3.0.10 from Vertus, a software that was not even on our list during 1999-2006.
Most recently updated March 9, 2009 as part of major expansion of this FLAAR Reports digital photography site to cover Adobe Photoshop software plug-ins.
Updated August 8, 1999; links added Jan 23, 2000. Updated November 17 2004.