by November 17, 2001 0 comments

DreamSuite is a set of filters for Photoshop. That said, there are differences between traditional filters and DreamSuite. Filters like Kai’s Powertools work only from within Photoshop; DreamSuite can work like that, or as a standalone application. Also, compared to other filters’ funky interfaces, like that of Kai’s, DreamSuite’s is extremely simplistic. It has 18 filters, and supports standard graphics file formats, including PSD and Photoshop

Unlike with other filters, when you launch DreamSuite from within Photoshop, Photoshop gets suspended, and the active layer opens in a separate DreamSuite window. Once you finish applying effects, you click on OK to send the graphic to Photoshop.

Auto FX DreamSuite 1

Price: $249 ($50 per filter). Online payment at  
Meant for: Graphics professionals
Features: Set of 18 filters
Pros: Easy to use, high degree of control, very high level of detail
Cons: Cannot handle layers with varying opacity in standalone mode

The first thing that strikes you about DreamSuite is the number of controls for fine-tuning the end effect. Almost all of them are simple to use slider bars, and take up minimum desktop space–you can easily forget that there are more than what you see at any given point. There are also controls that use bezier curves. The effects produce an amazing level of detail, my favorites being the metallic ones–Liquid Metal and Metal Mixer. That is not to say that the others are less impressive.

Also interesting are the memory dots that let you return to a previously saved stage of filter application. You can also save an image directly from DreamSuite, especially when you want to apply multiple filters to the same image.

There are a few rough edges, though. In standalone mode, DreamSuite can open layered PSD files, but cannot handle opacity information. Also, when you save an image directly from the filter, layer information is lost.

We could also not save the results correctly after applying the Putty filter. But, after emptying the temp folder (it was over a 100 MB), which tech support suggested we do, it worked fine!

Is DreamSuite worth having? The effects it produces are top of the line and the detail and control it gives you are very impressive. Once the few kinks are ironed out, the package will be more formidable. It’s difficult to compare the prices of different filters, as the end results they produce are vastly different. But compared to the $149 price of Kai’s Powertools 6, DreamSuite 1 at $249 (also available at $50 per filter) seems to be a stiff bargain.

Krishna Kumar

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