Filter Forge is a versatile Photoshop plugin, which can be used to create many different types of textures and effects. Its online Filter Library provides instant access to more than 9,890 free community-created filters, and its Visual Filter Editor enables users to assemble their own filters from different components such as blurs, gradients, color adjustments, noises, distortions, or blends – without the need to write any code.
Recently, Filter Forge released version 4.0, with some exciting new features for a faster and more organized workflow. Below, is a close look at the biggest improvements introduced in the latest Filter Forge release.
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1. New Filter Manager with Folders
In previous versions of Filter Forge, Filters were displayed in a list of categories, and there was no way to arrange or organize those Filters. The new built-in filter manager, however, replaces the list view with a hierarchical tree view, that is similar to what you see in file managers such as Windows Explorer or Mac OS X Finder. So Folders (with subfolders of arbitrary nesting depth) are now supported for user-made filters and favorites.
Filter Library Folders
The structure of the Filter Library categories remains fixed, so you can't create subfolders under or rename Library Filters.
- Download More Filters: This will open the online Filter Library page and includes all the filters available under the category folder you clicked. So you can download any filter from there, and it will be added to the category folder automatically.
- Delete: This will delete the category folder, and all the downloaded filters it contains.
This is the folder you can use to organize your Filter collections.
- New Folder: This will create a new subfolder that you can type in a name for. You can create as many Favorites subfolders as you like.
Creating New Subfolders
You can also create nested subfolders. Just make sure to right-click the folder you want to place the subfolder under, and choose New Folder.
Any subfolder you create can be renamed.
You can also delete any subfolder you have, along with the group of filters you put in it. This, however, will not delete the filters from their original category folders.
Adding Filters to Favorites Folder
To add a filter to the Favorites folder - or any subfolder under the Favorites folder, click and drag the filter then drop it inside the folder you want to add it under.
This will add the filter to the folder as a shortcut, so the original filter file will still be in the original category folder.
Multi-Selection and Drag-and-Drop
You can add more than one filter to the same folder at once, by multi-selecting those filters then dragging and dropping them into the folder. Press Command/Ctrl-Shift and click filters to add them to a selection.
This option will open the folder that contains the filter's file on your computer.
This option will open the filter's original category folder.
Deleting Favorites Filters
To remove any filter from the Favorites folder or any Favorites subfolder, simply right click it and choose Delete. You'll get a message telling you that this will only remove the filter from the Favorites folder or subfolder, but it will still be available in its original category folder. Click OK to delete.
The Filter's shortcut will no longer be available under the folder it was deleted from, but if you check its original folder, you'll still find it there.
Custom Filters Folder
Custom filter storage folders are a replacement to the old My Filters category, which housed the user-made filters in previous Filter Forge versions. The new Custom Filters Folder enables you to create multiple storage folders (and nested subfolders) for your custom filters, instead of being limited to My Filters only.
Add Storage Folder: Each storage folder corresponds to a real folder on one of your drives, and you can specify its location.
Tip: Removing ("unlinking") a storage folder from Filter Forge does not delete its contents, or affect any files in the physical folder in any other way.
Custom storage folders can be great for multiple projects, shared Dropbox folders on multiple computers, placing game project filters under source control, or backup solutions that back up specific folders.
Filter Forge 4.0 stores the history of recently used filters, in a manner similar to web browsers. The history is broken down into Today, This Week, This Month and Older Entries. Every time you create, edit or modify the settings of a filter, it is added to History.
Filter Forge stores the results of up to 10 recent searches you made. You can delete any of those results by right clicking it and choosing Remove From List.
Navigation Buttons and Hotkeys
At the top of the new Filter Manager, you can find Back and Forward buttons that can be used exactly as you might expect to see used in Windows Explorer or Mac OS X Finder. You can use the Hotkeys for both platforms as well:
- Back: Alt + Left Arrow
- Backspace/Forward: Alt + Right Arrow
- Open/Edit: Alt + Down Arrow
- Enter Up One Level: Alt + Up Arrow
Mac OS X Hotkeys
- Back: Cmd + [
- Forward: Cmd + ]
- Open/Edit: Cmd + Down Arrow
- Enter Up One Level: Cmd + Up Arrow
2. New Collection of Filters
There are new 4.0-only filters available in the Filter Library.
3. Loops and Recursions
The biggest addition to Filter Forge in terms of image generation abilities is the addition of Loops, which brings the nested loops and recursions concepts into Filter Forge's visual environment, without the need to write any code.
4. Component Grouping
Filter Forge 4.0 introduces Groups to simplify the creation of complex filters. Groups simply let you "package" reusable parts of the filter tree into custom-made components with user-definable inputs and parameters.
You can create a Group by clicking and dragging to select the components you want to group, then click the Group button that has been added to the top toolbar of the Filter Editor.
You can then Edit the Group(s), add inputs, ungroup, and navigate the nested Groups easily.
5. Other New Features
- Filter Forge 4.0 fully supports Windows 8/Windows 8.1 and Mac OS 10.9.
- The program startup time has been improved, especially with a large filter collection.
- Support for Corel Paint Shop Pro X6 and Photoshop Elements 12 as new host applications.
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