I got an e-mail recently from the folks who make Filter Forge. They made me a deal I couldn’t refuse. If I would write a few words about the upcoming Filter Forge 6, they would give me an upgrade for free. There were no criteria about what to write, just share my thoughts.
Yes, I got the free upgrade and I’ve been able to use it the last few days. Keep in mind that I’ve been a paying user for several versions now and I would have happily paid for the upgrade if I hadn’t gotten the offer I couldn’t refuse.
Unlike some software upgrades, you won’t find a huge list of changes. I’ve asked several times just to make sure I’m not missing anything and they’ve stressed that the two big chances required major changes to the code. So while they may not be flashy, they are a huge deal. First is that the plug-in is now fully 64-bit if you are using a 64-bit host application. I’ve done all of my testing in the 64-bit version of Corel PHOTO-PAINT X6.
This change does bring more speed and allows Filter Forge to use as much memory as is available when rendering large textures. If you look at the CPU/Memory widget I’ve posted at right, it pegged all of my processor cores when rendering a large texture. The bottom graph shows what happened in between textures as the processor wasn’t working as hard.
Speed and stability are important, but they aren’t the most sexy feature to list. That’s covered by the other major new feature that allows for mappable checkbox inputs.
In the example shown above, the “Inclined” parameter is normal a checkbox. It is on or off. Now it is fed by a profile gradient which turns it on and off based on the shade of the gradient. Looking at the resulting checkerboard, you’ll see some of the squares rotated 90 degrees when the gradient is white. This is a very simple example of something that can allow for the creation of very complex textures.
In addition to those two big new features, there is also a minor user interface update that allows dragging and dropping in the Presets tab. Support for new hosts such as Photoshop CC 2017 and Photoshop Elements 15 was also added. Yes, it does work in all 64-bit versions of Corel PHOTO-PAINT and there is a 32-bit version that also works in the 32-bit versions of Corel PHOTO-PAINT. While I’d love to see some more new features, you can’t go wrong with software that runs faster. Especially something that can easily peg the processor on complex textures. Having it complete in 10 minutes instead of 15 minutes can save a ton of time!