Filter Forge 2 Review

4.0
April 21, 2011 | Matt Grayson | Software Reviews |

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.

Nik DfineFilter Editor

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.

Nik DfineFilter Library

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.

Nik DfineFilter Editor

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.

Entry Tags

photos, images, photo, software, standard, photoshop, image, professional, processing, editing, application, effects, filter, filters, basic, forge, Filter Forge 2, Filter Forge 2 Review

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#1 Chris

This is what I hate about digital ‘photography’, nasty filters trying to make a poor photo look good by covering the faults with applied filters. Filters often mask poor work. Either way, the end result is often a pale emulation and simulation of the real thing especially in terms of sepia thiocarbonide, gold, copper, cyanotype and other toning processes.

It’s also a very lazy way of ‘creating’, if you can even calling that. I don’t think putting your photo in the hands of a large number of technicians and software developers can even be called photography. Digital ‘art’ yes! Photography no.

11:16 am - Friday, April 22, 2011

#2 Filter Forge Fan

Chris- I must defend Filter Forge and a flexible definition of ‘art’ and ‘photography’. Everyone is entitled to their opinion- here’s mine. Whenever new technology arrives, the old vanguard resists change and discredits the inevitability of progression. Perhaps when the camera first came into existence and with just a ‘snap and flash’ you have an instant ‘still painting’. It might not have taken 3 months to finish or 20 tubes of oil paint, but in it’s own fashion, to some it was still valuable.
Filter Forge is great on many levels. For one, not everyone can afford an expensive camera & has time or money for ‘proper’ photography lessons. By playing around in Filter Forge, I have been exposed to terminology like HDR and LOMO I wouldnt have been. This makes me curious about ‘proper’ photography and one day may inspire me to go deeper.
Filters sometimes mask poor work- but I think it salvages and creates a piece that might have been trashed otherwise- I think this is a good thing. You obviously havent been to the Filter Forge site, so many professionals and top notch work.
Beauty (art or photography) is in the eye of the beholder. To me, Filter Forge is beautiful :)

10:40 pm - Friday, April 22, 2011

#3 Steven Brooke

From the examples shown, this program looks absolutely awful: artifical, tacky, artless.

1:24 pm - Tuesday, April 26, 2011

#4 David

Chris - so you never used the cokin filter range on your film camera? Remember the awful rainbow filter?
Love to see some of your examples of handcrafted “sepia thiocarbonide, gold, copper, cyanotype and other toning processes” -I’m genuinely intrigued that you have worked with these chemical processes.

5:12 pm - Tuesday, April 26, 2011

#5 rob

I can’t see any images here, so I can’t comment on the effects provided by this filter set.

However, regarding the difference between “art” and “photographic art”, I have to disagree with Chris. Photography has long grew out and above its roots in painting and became a significant and unique technique. Yes, photography IS a technique, just like painting is. The art has nothing to do with tools you use. It has to do with an idea, a concept, a message, a skill—all combined in one. Filters and Photoshop are just tools, just like paint, brushes and canvas are tools of a painter. Whether you use film or digital tools, that is completely inconsequential. And there is an awful lot of bad traditional photography around, as well as some really good one.

As a matter of fact, digital photography is a giant leap over and ahead of everything that the traditional photography has been able to achieve in its century and a half (roughly) of existence. There was more worthless crap produced with traditional cameras and film than there is produced now (despite the fact, that digital photography has such huge appeal to millions of absolute novices who never took one photo with film cameras).

Just in case you think I am such a biased novice myself, I can tell you that my involvement with traditional photography spanned about 35 years. As soon as I hesitantly bought my first digital camera 8 years ago, I knew, that there will be no turning back for me. All it takes to see the obvious advantage of digital over film, is an open mind.

12:46 am - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

#6 Keith

So Chris thinks processing a digital image is, somehow, cheating. Isn’t he aware that all JPEG images are very heavily processed in the camera, often with unsatisfacory results? This leads many keen photogrsphers to shoot in RAW and do all the processing themselves. This is no different in principle to the old fashioned darkroom and, for best results, requires just as much skill. Show us some of your JPEGS, Chris, to prove me wrong!

10:30 am - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

#7 bedran

ba?e

12:16 pm - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

#8 bedran

gelek ba?e lê ajokar danakeve

12:19 pm - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

#9 Peter

Interesting that previous comments have focused on traditional processing against digital.  I believe this software gives another ‘String’ to our photographic ‘Bow’ and as such should be welcomed.  Whether you like the images here or not is always a matter of opinion, but if not, I’m sure others created with this process must be good under law of averages. 

Advances in photographic technology have caused an explosion in sheer volume and everyone has the opportunity to achieve the ‘perfect moment’.

10:53 pm - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

#10 Craig Bothwell

Like the guy who currently occupies the White House, Filter Forge is great, other than the fact that it does NOT WORK. I tried the trial version with P.S. 6, but the software did nothing.  If you like your software, you can keep your software. I definitely won’t be keeping Filter Forge. What a waste of time.

4:49 am - Wednesday, March 26, 2014