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AV Bros. Page Curl Pro 2.0

3D warping and effects filter for Adobe Photoshop
And it includes the ability to add bump maps to the back and front of the layer. You can use an existing channel in the current document or an external file, which can be scaled or tiled. Plus you can invert the texture, flip it horizontally and vertically and adjust the depth of the bump and the blur of the bump map.



And you get new lighting methods. In addition to the simple lighting carried over from the regular version of Page Curl, you get Advanced Lighting and Ambient Lighting options. The new Advanced Lighting palette allows you to create multiple lights front and back, with independent controls over azimuth and altitude, front/back diffuse, front/back specular and inner shadows with size and opacity controls.



For Ambient Lighting, Page Curl Pro gives you control over front and back ambient light, as well as ambient light color.



Put these all together, and you can get some great, varied results. In the examples below, I'm starting with the same source layer and then just applying various parameters to create different shapes.


Source layer


Creating a ring shape with a bump map


Creating a band


Twisting the object into a funnel shape

And you can obviously go well beyond this to create wrappers, labels and other types of 3D effects. (AV Bros.' site has several examples of these.)



Ease of use
With all of this, Page Curl Pro is surprisingly easy to use. The controls are intuitive and easy to find, with one exception, and that's the method for adding multiple curls in a single session. To do this, you open the Bends palette and click the Add button, then adjust the placement of the curl so that it doesn't overlap existing curls. I had to tweak with this a few times to figure out exactly how it works, but I eventually got the hang of it with a little help from the user guide, which, incidentally, is accessed by clicking the "?" button from within Page Curl Pro's main window.

Beyond this, everything in Page Curl Pro is straightforward and intuitive, with multiple ways to get things done. Anything having to do with the shape of your object, lighting and 3D transformations can be manipulated interactively by simply dragging objects around, or they can be adjusted using numerical values. Other types of parameters--surface properties, textures, back-facing sides, transparency, etc. can be handled through submenus, data entry fields or sliders.

To make things even easier, the program includes its own menu system with a number of keyboard shortcuts as well, so you can pick the way you want to work.

The software is well thought out, and anybody with a reasonable amount of experience in Photoshop should be able to find his or her way around with little trouble.

Performance/reliability
Most of the time, Page Curl Pro is a screamer in terms of performance. Using standard options with no bump mapping, simple lighting and a single page curl, you're not even going to see a progress bar working with layers that are smaller than 2,000 x 2,000, and it might take up to 10 or 15 seconds for a layer whose dimensions are 3,000 x 3,000. But that's for the dimensions of the layer content. You might be working on a 10,000 x 10,000 image, but if the content of the particular layer you're working with is smaller than that, it's not going to take any additional time to render. It only takes into account the filled pixel areas of the layer or selection you're working with.

Taking the effect up a few notches--adding back and front bump maps, back and front diffuse colors, advanced lighting with front and back specularity and four bends, you're looking at about 23 seconds for a 2,000 x 2,000 layer and 46 seconds for a 3,000 x 3,000 layer.

Adding in all the options, including multiple lights with front and back specularity, front and back diffuse reflections and internal shadows, you will see a slowdown to 37 seconds for a 2,000 x 2,000 layer and 111 seconds for a 3,000 x 3,000 layer. At 1,920 x 1,080 with all of the advanced options enabled, you're looking at 14 seconds. And at 720 x 540 with all advanced options enabled, you can expect a render time of about four seconds.

In most cases, you won't be using all of the advanced options at once. But it's good to know that up to about 2,000 x 2,000, render times will be within the realm of reason when taxing this plugin to the utmost. (Tests were conducted in Photoshop CS on a dual 2 GHz G5 with 2 GB RAM running Mac OS X 10.3.6.)

The bottom line
AV Bros. Page Curl Pro is an outstanding piece of software for manipulating Photoshop layers in 3D. It can bend, fold and twist objects, allow you to transform objects in 3D, apply 3D lighting with diffuse and specular reflections front and back and apply bump maps front and back. In most cases, performance is excellent. It's easy to use. It produces great results. And it comes at an extremely low price for a Photoshop plugin, especially one that can do so much. I give it a Strong Buy recommendation.

Page Curl Pro 2.0 is available now for $49.95 for the full version, $29.95 for upgrades. It supports Mac OS X and Windows running Adobe Photoshop or a compatible host (Macromedia Fireworks MX, Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 or higher, Corel Photopaint and Paint Shop Pro, etc.) For more information or to download the demo version, visit http://www.avbros.com.



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Related Keywords:adobe photoshop, page curl, 3d transformations, bump map, texture mapping, 3d lighting, 3d effects

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