Filter Forge 4 is a high-end plugin for Adobe Photoshop that gives you the power to create your own filters without any programming knowledge at all. Filters include seamless textures, visual effects, distortions, patterns, backgrounds, frames, and more.
The key features of Filter Forge include the editor and a free online library of user-created filters. You can access the library directly from the user interface of Filter Forge. Currently the library contains more than 10,000 filters.
What is Filter Forge 4.0?
All filters are adjustable, resolution-independent, support real-world HDRI lighting, and most of them can be seamlessly tiled. Also, filters can automatically generate diffuse, specular, bump, and normal maps, which makes Filter Forge an essential tool for artists creating 3D models and environments, architectural visualization and high-end game content. All filters are built in the filter editor – a visual node-based environment allowing users to connect familiar operations, such as blurs, gradients, color adjustments, distortions, or blending, into a network to combine their effects.
What do you get with Filter Forge 4.0?
~ 4900 Creative Effects
~ 5300 Amazing Textures
~ 30,000 Variations with one preset
~ Ability to create your own unique filters
~ Most filters support seamless tilting, even for non-square textures
~ Standalone or plugin modes for Photoshop and other popular graphic software, like Corel Painter and Paint Shop
~ Support for Windows XP/Vista/7/8 and Mac OS X
Just a small sample of the various filters….
Beyond a Photoshop plugin, there are 3 things that make Filter Forge unique:
1. You can create your own filters.
2. You get free access to 10244 user-created filters.
3. Contributors get Filter Forge for free.
Features Added in Filter Forge 4.0
Filter Manager:The new built-in manager helps you organize your filter collection. You can now create an unlimited number of custom folders for user-made filters and favorites. The filter manager also features new filter history and a rehauled filter search list.
Loops and Recursions
Loops and Recursions:The Loop component brings two key concepts of programming – nested loops and recursions – into the visual environment of Filter Forge, in a way that doesn’t require you to write any code. It lets you render a subtree of components multiple times and combine results of all these iterations into a single output image.
Component Grouping: The grouping feature and the new Group component simplify creation of complex filters by letting filter authors “package” reusable parts of the filter tree into custom-made components with user-definable inputs and parameters.
Support for Multiple Source Images:In Filter Forge 1.0 and 2.0, one could only use a single source image or a Photoshop layer at a time. Starting with version 3.0, Filter Forge allows you to use multiple source images simultaneously. This is implemented by allowing you to load images into Color Controls and the newly introduced Grayscale Controls via the filter interface.
Progressive Previews:The idea behind progressive previews is to give you a rough, low-resolution preview of the rendered image as fast as possible, then gradually refine it in subsequent rendering passes until the image reaches the final level of quality. By default, the first rendering pass of the progressive preview is up to 16 times faster than the original preview method!
More Preview Images:If you are a longtime Filter Forge user, you’re probably sick and tired of the default lifesaver image that Filter Forge uses to preview rendered results – and so are we! Filter Forge 3.0 comes with 6 new preview images so you can choose the one that you like best. Each of these images comes with an alpha channel allowing you to preview your filters on images with transparent areas.
Flexible UI with Resizable Panels:The most prominent innovation in the final beta stage is the flexible user interface with draggable separators. Owners of widescreen monitors will benefit from this most.
Interactive Before/After Wipe
Interactive Before/After Wipe:Filter Forge 3.0 improves interactivity when applying effect filters. We’ve implemented an interactive slider allowing users to see the original image and the applied effect at a time.
Bézier Curves:Bézier curves are commonly used for creating tone curves, bevel profiles and other shapes. With Filter Forge 3.0, you can draw Bézier curves within the new Bézier Curve component that features a powerful curve editor.
Edge Detector Component:The new Edge Detector component performs edge detection, similar to certain existing filters in the filter library but faster and in a single shot. The component is highly adjustable and can output HDR colors.
Script API for Noise and Blending Modes: Filter Forge 3.0 offers expanded scripting API that adds support for Perlin and uniform noise functions and allows access to the blending modes in scripts.
Other Improvements: Filter Forge 3.0 includes several other improvements, which include hexadecimal color values in the Color Picker, HDR and alpha channel support for filter controls, high-precision Color Inspector, the ability to load recently-used images, a unified Bomber component and more.
Shadows via Ambient Occlusion:Filter Forge 2.0 takes you beyond the photorealism barrier with its fast and easy-to-use Ambient Occlusion. This shadowing technique calculates how much environmental light can reach a certain point of a surface, and darkens that point accordingly. It’s mathematically accurate, it’s seamless, and it dramatically enhances the level of realism.
These are just the new additions to all the past incredible features that included point or area lights, an array of lighting elements, full HDR color support, a color inspector, transform (rotate, scale and more), polygon and ellipse components, gradients and shapes, scripting, filter search, non-seamless filters, and…. The list goes on and on and on.
Their Forum has thousands of posts that can answer your questions and help guide you through the program and an array of tutorials will help you through the creative processes – some for free and some which can be purchased at a reasonable cost.
Article and images: © 2014 Filter Forge, Inc. All right reserved.