Filter Forge. What a great Tool.

I admit it. I am a sucker for a sale. The internet has often caught me in her grips. An email, advertising this great eBook, or programs, or presets or videos, at 70% reduced cost for this week only, and I’m  a goner. I may not have known that I needed it, or couldn’t live my life without it, nor could I process another photo without this knowledge or tool. But once it’s reduced on sale, with a time limit on it, you have me hooked, totally salivating as I process the order.

Shadows, the Barn Owl taken at Mountsberg Raptor Centre, Hamilton.
Shadows The Barn Owl. Processed using Filter Forge.

 

And the odd time, I can refrain, pass by that add and make the decision not to purchase it, “Like, I need another Lightroom preset, like I need another hole in my head.” But inevitably, I receive another email, a few days later about the product. Now if the first one didn’t get me, and I still resisted the second one, I can assure you that by the third one, on the last day of this extraordinary deal, I will hit that PayPal button! Yes, I am a sucker for a sale, an internet sale.

This is how I became acquainted with Filter Forge. I received an email about it being on deep sale, something like 85% off for the next week. So, rather then act on the email, I researched what it was and if people thought it good and useful, or not. What I found out is that it is a program, which can be used as a plug-in for Photoshop or as a stand-alone program, filled with over 11,000 filters. The filters range from backgrounds and textures to full out photographic effects. The truly unique and special thing this program offers though, is a really easy platform to change the existing filters or even to create your own filters from scratch. How cool is that?

Once I read the reviews and how great people thought it was, I knew I had to have it. I mean, I am still trying to complete Photoshop Fine Art Grunge course and hope to start the Awake program in January. I have had to search the areas of creative commons and royalty free images at times to complete some of my composites. But the art I truly want to create would essentially come totally from me, my photos, my textures and now my filters! So, I went ahead and purchased it, knowing I wouldn’t get the most use out of it now, but most likely in the future.

So, how cool is this program? Really cool. And you don’t even have to buy it to to use. You are able to download  a slimmed down free version if you prefer not to spend the money. What the reviewers were stating was that if you wanted a plug-in for Photoshop, this would be the only plug in you would need. Now, I have to say I’m not sure that I agree with that statement, as I am a big fan of Topaz and just couldn’t imagine anything replacing all it has to offer. So for me, who has already accumulated a few plug-ins for Photoshop, this was a nice addition. With the touch of a button, you can change your photo into a pencil drawing, or ten different versions of it if you like. Or you can tweak the filter a little and leave the bottom third of the photo as it was originally taken. Then there are the backgrounds. There are literally thousands of textures, designs, effects and patterns you can use in Photoshop. Many come with variations while others you can enhance and expand upon yourself, many changing the colour or the depth of the design. As a stand alone program you can then take this into Photoshop to blend and merge and make composites with other photos and items. And if you can’t find what you want, wait a month. The ‘community’ of purchasers using the program are constantly adding to the library, expanding the available resources for everyone, everyday. Wow, now that’s an infinite resource if you don’t want to create it yourself!

Take the photo for this post, for instance. I loved the photo. This barn owl was a ham and very engaging. However, he spent most of his time looking away from us, towards something catching his attention behind him. There were a couple of times he looked straight up at passing aircraft above. I caught this photo and I really liked the pose. However, his feathers on top of his head/face were a little blown out (no detail.) I looked at the background, which had some nice green bokeh, made from the trees and plants that had been behind him. However, it was all too light and strong and it detracted from the owl. So I took the photo into Filter Forge and looked to replace the background. And there it was. It wasn’t as much a background as an effect, that added mood, expression and ambiance. I loved the dark green and the spot light. It enveloped him in light, in mystery and in dark edges. Although it set the mood correctly, that image was a little strong, it was too dark and very dramatic. I wanted the owl to be more light and so I continued to adjust the effect until I landed with the photo for this post.

I have not used this tool very much, only having recently purchased it. But I have used it for a few projects and I find it both easy to use, and full of so many variations. Usually it is not a matter of what one, but rather which one! So, as first impressions go, I am very impressed with Filter Forge. I think it worth the money to invest when it is on sale. I will do an update to this post in the future when I have had more time to use this program.

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