KPT 5 review

Kais Power tools 5.0 is a set of 10 Photoshop plug-ins that extend the filter set of Photoshop. KPT is different than other programs in that the upgrades aren't really upgrades, they are totally new products with brand new filters.

Review by Colin Smith

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KPT 5 Kai's Power Tools 5


I remember when I first started using Photoshop I was so excited when I peeled back the plastic to reveal my shining new KPT 3 filter set. I had no idea how to install a plug-in in those days, but somehow I managed to get it running my then state-of-the-art 486 with a whole insane 8 megs of Ram. Man I got my moneys worth out of that set over and over again. Kai's power tools were the pioneers of Photoshop Compatable plugins.

So here I am years later and now I have the opportunity to review KPT 5 and 6 (The 6 review will come soon). Corel Corporation have been fortunate to purchase the entire KPT line. For some unknown reason there is only Vs 3, 5 and 6. There was no version 4.

Kais Power tools 5.0 is a set of 10 Photoshop plug-ins that extend the filter set of Photoshop. KPT is different than other programs in that the upgrades aren't really upgrades, they are totally new products with brand new filters.

There are all kinds of effects that range from fun to useful. And yes it also includes the 19 plug-in from KPT 3. So I must say that I am a bit biased from the start. Even with all the advances in Photoshop, KPT 3 still has the best gradient editor out there as well as lots of useful things including the seamless welder - Funny thing this filter was made before any of us even though about designing webpages. Now it is the idea tool for creating seamless backgrounds. I guess I am spilling a well kept secret there.

Installation
Went smoothly, it was a snap to install. KPT 5 locates your Photoshop plug-ins directory for you and asks you if that is the correct path. Be careful if you have multiple versions of Photoshop on your computer that you install in the correct version. KPT also works with ImageReady, Photopaint, fireworks and others. You navigate the disk to the KPT 3 folder to install 3 which also went well. Now when you launch Photoshop, under filters, you can now see KPT 3 and KPT 5. Just run them like any other filter.

Pros.
Works well with Photoshop 6.0. There doesn't seem to be any compatible issues,

A broad range of filters offering a variety of functionality. Especially good for creating backgrounds and textures.

As usual there is that fun interface that is pretty easy to use.

I absolutely love the Shape shifter filter, is is a great way to add bevels that have an amazing sense of realism. You have 3D type lighting controls that allow for some great lighting effects. Shape shifter works off a B&W image or a selection saved as a mask. You can create entire sets of web buttons at once.

5 has included tools to really get a hold of fractals. I liked the frax flame the best, it creates very cool effects. There are an unlimited amount of textures and patterns you can produce with fractals. Also the noise filters produce all kinds of interesting backgrounds.

Another filter that I find most useful is the blurring tools. These are more enhanced than the standard Photoshop blur tools, offering more precise control and more effects not available in Photoshop like the weave and spiral blur.

Cons
Some of the filters were slow in rendering.
While some of them are fun to play with they lack practical use like the Frax4D, it would have been nice to be able to apply it to a mask instead of just a fractal.

Conclusion
A useful addition to any graphic designers arsenal, KPT5 is excellent value. With the bundled KPT3 you get a total of 29 professional quality filters. As seems to be Corel's way, both the MAC and PC versions are in the box!

I give KPT 5 a 4.5 out of 5.


KPT 5 Kai's Power Tools 5
Corel Corporation
MAC/Win
Suggested retail $199

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