Thursday, 5 February 2009

Why I use Filter Forge nearly every day.

I’m taking time out today from creating and giving free stencils for Artrage to talk about Filter Forge. I have mentioned it a lot while creating the filters and when I have made up example work.

I was introduced to Filter Forge in a very round about way. I am a fan of and I put in request for some training to use Mapzone which is a free filter making tool which is very powerful but has a steep learning curve – so steep in fact that I never really got off the ground with – I may yet push on with that – I don’t like to be beat. responded that at that time they weren’t considering mapzone training but they would be putting in some sessions on Filter Forge. I must say I was actually a bit disappointed because Filter Forge wasn’t free and was a Photoshop plug – which at that time I didn’t use. I watched the training anyway which was fascinating and learned that Filter Forge would also plug into Coral Paint Shop Pro AND would run stand alone. Now that I could handle! So I set to and downloaded the trial version.

The trial version is a full version unlimited for a month – which is fabulous as you can get stuck in using the repository of nearly 6000 filters made by the Filter Forge users and Administrators and you can start making your own, use them and submit them to Filter Forge Library for others to use.

When you submit a Filter to the Filter Forge Library it’s use is monitored and if it is used to a High degree (High User – HU) you get a point – and yes POINTS DO MAKE PRIZES! In fact you can win copies of Filter Forge – brilliant!

To quote from the site

To get a reward, you must earn a sufficient number of Reward Points. In our current reward program, 1 Reward Point equals 1 High Usage Rank filter. Once a filter attains the rank, it will count towards your future rewards, even if it loses its Usage Rank later.

Here are the rewards you can receive:

  • 1 Reward Point = 20% discount coupon for any edition of Filter Forge
  • 2 Reward Points = 50% discount coupon for any edition of Filter Forge
  • 3 Reward Points = a free copy of Filter Forge Professional Edition
  • 4 Reward Points = 5 coupons for a 30% discount each for any edition of Filter Forge
  • 5 Reward Points = free lifetime upgrades to all future versions

Filters fall into categories in 2 main camps – 1 camp is where the filter messes about with a submitted image and the other is where patterns and textures etc are created with no image to start on.

These 2 camps are broken down into these categories

Texture Filters

  • Building – Textures found in architecture and building, such as bricks, pavements, tiles etc.
  • Frames – Picture frame textures.
  • Misc – Abstract textures or textures that do not fit into any other category
  • Organic – Organic textures such as meat, skin, flesh, leaves, etc.
  • Patterns – Textures with regularly repeated shapes, colors, motifs, etc.
  • Snippets – Filters that illustrate ideas or techniques of interest to the filter development community
  • Stone – Stone and rock textures, natural and processed.
  • Techno – Any textures related to industry and technology, such as circuits, rusty metal, diamond plates etc.

Effect Filters - the ones that mess with an image

  • Creative – Effects that modify images in various creative ways.
  • Distortions – Effects that distort, deform or reshape the original image.
  • Frame – Effects that create a frame around the original image.
  • Misc – Effects that do not fit into any other category.
  • Patterns – Effects that produce patterns based on the original image.
  • Photo – Photo enhancement operations and effects.
  • Snippets – Filters that illustrate ideas or techniques of interest to the filter development community.

Having played furiously with the downloaded trial I then purchased the standard version (Financial reasons) which was delightful! BUT for me with the programming brain (dying to edit and create my own filters which you can’t in standard version) and wishing to submit images to Redbubble at around the 7000px mark (limited to 300px) it was a bit limiting so I had to save up again and buy the professional version.

I honestly now use Filter Forge nearly everyday – sometimes to do something useful and task driven and sometimes just to play.

Speaking of playing! -- My 12 year old God son came to stay for a weekend the other month. I gather he was a bit reluctant and would rather have stayed at home and hung about with his best mate (as you would!). On this occasion the adults ruled and his stuff was packed up and he came on over to stay. I can’t say I really went out of my way to entertain him in fact on Saturday I had a bit of a bad head from indulging at a party the previous evening and I skulked off back to bed for a bit. What I did do was set him loose with Filter Forge – I have never seen the lad so engrossed! And his Mum when she picked him up was overwhelmed by how much he prattled on about the fun he had had and that he should come round more often!

It was nice to share and that’s what I’m trying to do here.

So ……

If you need patterns

If you need to design materials for characters

If you need funky alien skin

If you want to make stencils

If you want to brighten up your art work and photos

If you want to entertain a teenager

If you want materials for any 3d project

If you want to self medicate pattern making to get over the blues (I’ll explain that one another time - probably next week)

If you want some fun and excitement

Then download Filter Forge – try out the trial version and see what you can come up with.

Look out for Blurtsmum – I’m in there and I have a few filters.

Hope to see you submitting filters.