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Customizing Your Photoshop Filter Interface

Part 4 of our series on how to create your own Photoshop plugins By Dave Nagel
We've now been through three tutorials on how to make your own effects filters for Adobe Photoshop. Aside from creating the actual effects, we also walked through the process of turning the effects into self-contained plugins that you could use at a later date or even distribute to your colleagues and friends, if for no other reason than you want to show off your new-found knowledge of how to make your own filters. It's a great accomplishment, to be sure, but so far the filters you've created look ... well ... ugly. Not the effects themselves, but the interface of your actual plugins. This week we will remedy that.

Before we start, you might want to get caught up on the actual process of generating custom filters in Photoshop. You can read the primary tutorial here, as well as some secondary tutorials here and here. (The secondary tutorials covers some very specific effects; the primary tutorial covers more general principles.) Unlike these previous tutorials, which were platform-independent, this one is Mac-specific. It uses software and techniques available only on the Macintosh. If you would like to try this on another platform, I'm sure there's a way, but I don't know it.

First, some preliminary notes.

For this tutorial, we're going to be using a piece of software from Apple called ResEdit. If you don't currently have ResEdit, it's freely available on Apple's FTP site, as well as some of the download sites, such as http://www.download.com. Of course, you're also going to be using whatever design software you'd like to use to create the graphics for your interface. You will be able to use any size graphic you'd like, as long as it fits on your screen. All we're going to be doing is cutting and pasting these graphics into ResEdit..

For my example, I've come up with a colorful logo that says the name of my filter and provides copyright information. You'll see it in use at the end of this article. just keep in mind that whatever graphics you use will have to fit in with certain interface restrictions. For example, you have a preview window and several controllers to contend with, so you'd need graphics that won't get in the way of these.

Finally, make backup copies of your filters before you start with this process. We are going to be modifying the files with some--at times--unpredictable results.

All right. That's enough preliminary information. Let's get started.

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