By Bruce Bicknell
Some of you may already know about Filter Forge (www.filterforge.com) because it’s one of the most popular plug-ins in the industry today. For those who don’t, it’s a pretty robust plug-in for Photoshop that’s aimed at everyone from novice to expert, so there’s something for everyone here.
Filter Forge provides graphic artists, 3D modelers, Web designers, and photographers with the ability to create a wide variety of photo effects, as well as abstract and realistic textures that you can use for pretty much whatever your creativity can come up with. The long-awaited Filter Forge 3 has finally launched and it’s packed full of features that really take the possibilities up a notch, so let’s take a look at what they are.
We’ll start with a peek at just how much is here out of the box (so to speak)! You won’t feel shorted on extras because Filter Forge 3 offers more than 3,800 graphic effects and 4,300+ backgrounds and textures — a total of 8,593 filters! You can also use the visual filter editor to create your own filters by assembling them from various components — blurs, gradients, color adjustments, noises, distortions, or blends.
Next up is probably one of the most requested features (and also the biggest drawback in prior Filter Forge versions): support for multiple source images, which has now become a reality. Up until now, you could only use a single source image (or PSD layer), thus limiting the capabilities and creative ways you could use the product. Well, that’s no longer an issue, because now you can load multiple images to work with to create richer, more dynamic compositions.
Another great feature in version 3 is the ability to create B©zier curves with a powerful new curves editor that lets you create tone curves in your work.
The revamped user interface in Filter Forge 3 is also much improved. It’s more intuitive and allows the user to finally stretch out over dual monitors. Yes! That has always been an issue for me (with any program), as I need the real estate.
Other new features include the Edge Detector, which finds the edge in a single click; progressive previews that allow you a low-res preview of the rendered image; and a host of others.
Now for the good news: You can try out Filter Forge 3 for free for 30 days before you purchase it. This lets you give it a good test run and, coupled with the great tutorials they have, you’ll be well on your way to creating great images in no time!
I think that this release of Filter Forge 3 has really stepped up its game and added more of the features that will keep the experts happy. I’ve been using this plug-in for years and encourage everyone to at least take a look at the free copy to see the creative possibilities that Filter Forge 3 offers.
The only issue I have with the product is the pricing structure. For only a slight feature upgrade from Basic to Standard, they could have just had two levels and kept the price a bit more reasonable. (For new users the cost is US$149 for the Basic version, $249 for the Standard version, and $399 for the Professional version.)
Rating: 9 out of 10
(This review is brought to you courtesy of “Layers Magazine”: http://layersmagazine.com/ .)