Designer Today Product Review Archive



MetaCreations - KPT 6


By Fr. Jacob Myers

February 1, 2000

Kai's Power Tools is one of the oldest Photoshop Plug-in programs still around today. Tracing its beginning back to 1992, the plug-ins began as a series of "tips and tricks" posted on America Online bulletin boards giving broader possibilities to Photoshop, and creating some original and fascinating effects. For the new millennium,  MetaCreations Kai is still at the top of its game in creating great image filters which produce stunning effects for either print or the web. In its newest incarnation, KPT 6.0, 8 new plug-in filters and 2 bonus filters are made available. SkyEffects and SceneBuilder are two which MetaCreations bought from Rayflect (another tool previously reviewed by our magazine).  

Lets take a look at these great filters. I am using a little Russian Church for the beginning piece to work with these filters:

The first filter is called Gel and allows for one to use 3D paint tools to synthesize photo-realistic materials. You can then apply lighting, reflection, and transparency to the scene. Below is a screen shot of the controls for this first filter. For the other filters I will just show their effects on the church since the controls function in a similar manner:

Notice the various paint tools, which are quite easy to use, as well as the lighting adjustment on the left as we paint into the church various textures. I was really impressed with the "Van Gough Starry Night" effect in the second church scene below. It required very little work. 

The next effect, Goo, allows you to smear, smudge, twirl, pinch, or give a finger paint effect to an image, producing a very liquid distortion:

Equalizer is an all-in-one plug-in that corrects blurred images or adds creative effects by changing the image frequencies. I used this filter to produce a shaded effect on the church.

Lensflare gives a piece of art a halo, glow, or lens reflection, actually simulating a flare of light on a camera lens.

Materializer creates surface textures. A series of advanced controls allow for surprising flexibility of texture.

Projector adds 2D perspective warp distortions or 3D transformations to any image. I have included the filter controls for this filter to show how elaborate the mechanism is for warping.

Here is the result:

With KPT Reaction you can create organic textures of all sorts and various modes. Below is an interesting example:

Finally, there is KPT Materializer. It creates textures that raise and transform the surface textures of your image. This filter was even the favorite of the specialist at KAI's tech support, and I would have to agree with him.

The plug-in is professional, creating thousands of effects for mood, texture, and a refined sensibility. I highly recommend this program.

MetaCreations - KPT 6

Macintosh System Requirements
Power Mac 180MHz (or greater)
System 7.6.1 or later
Adobe Photoshop 4 or later
32MB RAM or greater
65MB free hard drive space
24-bit color video
Color display
CD-ROM drive
Windows System Requirements
Pentium 166 MHz or greater
Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT 4.0
Adobe Photoshop 4 or later
32MB RAM or greater
65MB Free HD space for installation
24-bit color video
Color display
CD-ROM drive

Estimated Street Price
$149.95 (US) Average Selling Price
$99.95 (US) Upgrade Price

Copyright 2000, Fr. Jacob Myers, All Rights Reserved

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