Probably you have heard about Filter Forge but for those who didn’t it’s a Photoshop plugin that allows you to create, even if you are a novice or expert user, a wide range of realistic and abstract textures and effects in Adobe Photoshop. Even if you are a web designer, 3D modeler, photographer or graphic artist you will find functionality in this wonderful piece of software or you can benefit from the already created 7000+ online community filters.
The main things you need to know about Filter Forge are :
1. Filter Editor, probably the most important piece of Filter Forge is a visual node-based editor allowing you to create your own visual effects and textures.
2. Online Filter Library is a directory of filters created by Filter Forge contributors. The library can be accessed from within the program. Contributors also earn rewards including free copies of Filter Forge. The online library contains over 3700 effects and over 4000 textures. You can take advantage of all these because they are offered to any Filter Forge user for free.
3. Seamless Tiling support. Most filters in Filter Forge support seamless tiling for all textures, including non-square ones.
4. Bump Maps and Normal Maps. Filter Forge can create anti-aliased diffuse, bump, specular and normal maps for its filters.
5. Resolution Independence. All filters are generated mathematically and do not depend on external bitmap files.
6. Stand-Alone. Filter Forge is not just a plugin for Photoshop. Besides the fact that it can be used with an array of other software (for example Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel Photo-Paint, Unlead PhotoImpact) it can also work like a standalone application regardless of the graphic editors you are using.
7. HDRI Lighting. Filter Forge offers a powerful lighting system that uses high dynamic range images which creates realistic real-world lighting conditions.
8. Floating-Point File Formats Save. You can save your work in pretentious lossless file formats such as OpenEXR and PFM which use floating point numbers to store the pixels.
9. Dual-Core Processors Support. Take full advantage of your dual-core CPU because of the integrated support for these processors.
10. Presets. You can save the settings of any filter at any point and recall them later usage.
There would a be a lot more to say about Filter Forge but it’s equally important to see it in action :
For the holidays the nice people at Filter Forge offer this great piece of software with a 70% discount (at prices starting from 45$).
With very heavy people in the design industry vouching for it, such as Russell Brown (Senior Creative Director from Adobe Inc.), Karl Wickens (Visual Effects Lead Artist from Electronic Arts) I think Filter Forge is well worth trying. You find it to be one of the most robust, reliable and powerful pieces of design software you can find.