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Plug-in creates photographic backgrounds

In the quest to make life easier for those involved with video and studio photography, Digital Anarchy has released Backdrop Designer, a Photoshop plug-in that allows designers to build a wide variety of artificial backgrounds that look almost like the real thing.

Working with Background Designer consists of two parts: first, designing the color and texture of the background and then creating the shadow element to make it more lifelike. You create shadows with patterns that simulate shadows from different sources, which you then adjust to achieve the right position, opacity, and blurriness. The Shadow Map offers even more variation by letting you develop custom shades and distortions, creating the effect of drapery or uneven surfaces.

Another nice touch is the Unlimited Variation tool, which allows you to create thousands of alternatives through built-in controls that change colors or rotate and scale backgrounds. You also get more than 600 preset textures so you can load a design and then tweak the controls to make variations.

Where this plug-in really shines is when it’s used with Digital Anarchy’s Primatte Keyer, which easily removes the typical green or blue backgrounds from photographs. You can shoot a photo of a subject against a blue screen, knock it out with the Keyer, create several backgrounds in Backdrop Designer, and then superimpose the subject in half the time it would take to do it manually.

The only downside is the $199 price. While it pales in comparison to what it would cost for even part of the physical backdrops that Backdrop Designer can create, the price tag may be too much for of the little guy doing independent graphic design or video work. Despite the cost, Backdrop Designer is an impressive program that will fulfill many needs for today’s graphic designers.

PRICE: $199
FOR: Mac and Windows
FROM: Digital Anarchy
PHONE: 415-586-8434
WEB: www.digitalanarchy.com
RATING: 4.5

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