Filter Forge 2 Review
Mac users, we're pleased to announce Macphun's all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for purchase with special launch pricing. (Existing Macphun customers get a further discount.)
We rated Luminar as "Highly Recommended", and you can now visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
There are some really nice filters in there such as the old photo which places scratches over the picture and an old photograph style frame. Some of the filters are too aggressive for certain pictures and my photograph of a white dog got too bleached out on many of the lomo pictures, all the dreamy ones and there was occasion when just the forehead in between his eyes was burnt out and no other area which was unappealing.
The idea is that you search through and find a more appropriate filter for the photograph. But what if we want to use that picture with the filter that burns out the white but we want to retain the white? Just above the preset filter icons are three more tabs called Presets, Settings and About. Clicking over to settings will allow you to make exposure adjustments to the picture using a series of sliders. The sliders vary depending on the filter but it's great to know you can still fine tune your picture. Once you're happy with the preview, pressing the apply button in the bottom right will load the filter over the picture in Photoshop. We would prefer to see the filter applied as a layer but it's not, it's laid on as a tool.
In the top right corner of the Professional edition is a button you can click to create your own filters. This means that if I didn't find the right filter for my white dog, I can make one. If I submit this to the online library and it's used widely or the gurus at Filter Forge are impressed, they give rewards out, which is a neat idea.
Clicking on the button asks if you want to edit the existing filter or create a new one which is good if you need to simply tweak the existing one. We opted to create a new one and clicking on the correct button takes you into the area with a new, blank filter open. All the effects you want to apply are on the right hand side of the editor and the space for adding them is in the centre. The image you've chosen isn't displayed until you add it as a tool in the workspace. There's a great deal to do and a lot of tools you can play with but the great thing is that if you start to create filters that look good and upload them to the library for people to use, if they become popular, you get rewards from Filter Forge.
To access this online library, the link is next to the button to go to the filter editor. It's highlighted in blue, so you can't miss it. It takes you to a page on the Filter Forge website that holds all the filters that users of Filter Forge have uploaded. They're free to download and any level of program can access the library but you may find if you have the basic program, the amount of filters available are limited.
The filters are available to view four ways; either by the featured filters of the moment, the most popular ones, recent additions or you can filter them by specifying parameters. There are 16 pages of filters just in the photo section alone and over 8000 in total, so there's plenty to look at.