Filter Forge Beta Updated – Speed Increase, New Features and More
August 11, 2006
Alexandria, VA, USA (August 11, 2006) – Filter Forge, Inc. today released the first update to the beta version of its flagship software, Filter Forge, a Photoshop plugin that allows users to create their own filters. The update fixes a number of problems, adds new features and significantly improves the rendering speed.
The focus of this update is speed. First, the bug that prevented Filter Forge from taking advantage of SSE2 optimizations is now fixed, which significantly improves the rendering speed on modern processors such as Intel Pentium 4, AMD Athlon 64 and AMD Opteron. Second, due to extensive optimizations of the component code and the infrastructure, Filter Forge's renderer is now considerably faster. Here are some numbers on the speed increase:
- Comic Book effect – up to 360% faster
- TRON 2029 texture – up to 180% faster
- Organics texture – up to 110% faster
- Peeling Paint effect – up to 135% faster
- Crysta texture – up to 170% faster
New features include zoomable workspace in the Filter Editor, unlimited number of filter controls and the ability to customize their order, smaller proxy previews for large images, the ability to create new images from scratch, four new blending modes for the Blend component, new components to extract minimum/maximum levels and average color from the source image, a new component for creating frame effects, new components to work with the CIE L*a*b* color model, and the ability to load and save PNG files. The full list of updates, additions and fixes is given below.
The update is downloaded and installed automatically, the process activates when a user clicks the Download More Filters button. The update preserves all filters that are currently installed into Filter Forge as well as user settings and the license key. Users who do not want to use the automatic update can download and install the update manually from http://www.filterforge.com/download/
About Filter Forge: first publicly released in May 2006, Filter Forge is a high-end plugin for Adobe® Photoshop® allowing computer artists to build their own filters – seamless textures, visual effects, distortions, patterns, backgrounds, frames and more. The key features of Filter Forge include a visual filter editor and a free online library of user-created filters to which anyone can contribute. Filter Forge is currently in the public beta testing stage, the final version is planned for release this fall. Filter Forge is the flagship product of Filter Forge, Inc., a one-product company dedicated solely to making Filter Forge a premier product. For more information, visit http://www.filterforge.com
List of Updates, Additions and Fixes
- The preview size is now automatically reduced for large images, which results in faster feedback from the preview area. This feature is optional and can be turned off in Tools > Options.
- Filters now load faster on startup due to faster memory allocation, XML parsing improvements, and fine-tuned thread priorities.
- Switching between filters is now faster due to improved component initialization speed.
- Improved the preview panning and zooming speed.
- Added the ability to load and save PNG files. Interlaced and/or monochrome PNGs are currently not supported.
- JPEG files can now be saved with increased color precision.
- The maximum output resolution has been increased to 65536 x 65536 pixels.
- Added a File > New Image menu command which allows to create a blank source image from scratch. This feature works in the standalone version only.
- The rendering priority of preset thumbnails has been lowered to free up the processing power for the main rendering. The downside is that the preset thumbnails now take longer to update.
- The Filter Editor workspace is now zoomable.
- Added a command to reorder filter controls (Filter > Order of Controls…).
- The limit on the number of filter controls ('Too many controls') has been removed.
- 'Connection Warnings' have been renamed to 'Control Warnings' in order to avoid confusion.
- A new category named 'Obsolete' has been added to the Components panel. The category provides access to older versions of components that have been updated, changed or removed.
- The Filter Editor now opens faster due to improved component initialization speed.
- The speed of Paste and Undo commands has been improved.
- The grid size has been reduced.
- Blur, Motion Blur, Sharpen and High Pass components are now significantly faster due to SSE2 optimizations and improved cache organization.
- All randomizable components (those that have the Variation slider) are now faster due to the new optimized random number generator. The downside is that the numbers produced by the new generator are different from those produced by the old generator for the same Variation value, so all filters that use randomizable components look different now.
- The Perlin Noise component is now considerably faster due to improved implementation.
- All Worley-based noise components (Blocks, Cells, Chaffs, Pyramids, Stones, Techno) are now faster when the Solid Fill parameter and/or Seamless Tiling is turned on.
- New blending modes have been added to the Blend component: Linear Burn, Linear Dodge, Vivid Light and Linear Light.
- The Switch component (both Curve and Map versions) now has 12 source inputs instead of 5.
- A new Average Color component has been added to the External category. The component extracts the average color of all pixels of the source image, which can be used in color correction operations such as color cast removal. The component works with the source image data only and cannot use other components as sources.
- New Minimum Level and Maximum Level components have been added to the External category. The components extract the minimum and maximum channel levels of all pixels of the source image, which can be used to build automatic brightness / contrast adjustments such as AutoLevels. The components work with the source image data only and cannot use other components as sources.
- A new Frame component has been added to the External category. Unlike other components, the Frame component is aware of the source image bounds, which makes it an ideal foundation for frame effects that should work correctly on non-square images.
- A new Circular Arc component has been added to the Curves category.
- New Assemble / Extract Lab components have been added to the Channels category. The components convert colors between the CIE 1976 L*a*b* and RGB color models.
- Preset thumbnails for downloaded filters are now retrieved from the server instead of being rendered locally.
- The Filter Library online protocol has been optimized to work faster.
- Data compression support has been added to the online protocol, resulting in further speed increases.
- Filters with more than 10 controls can now be submitted to the Filter Library.
- The category selection screen has been removed, since all filters are currently accepted into the Submissions category.
- 'Connection Warnings' have been renamed to 'Control Warnings' in order to avoid confusion.
- Multithreading is now more efficient on Intel processors that support the HyperThreading technology.
- Improved overall performance by tweaking thread priorities.
- The icon for the Levels component have been updated.
- Added an option to specify the location of temporary files.
- Added an option to specify the memory usage limit.
- Added an option to show the Obsolete component category in the Filter Editor.
- Added an option to automatically reduce preview size for large images.
- The automatic bug report now includes rendering settings and the filter's XML code.
- The automatic bug report form now allows users to enter comments.
- Improved the error-reporting mechanism for the plugin DLL.
- The OpenEXR support has been updated to the latest version.
- SSE2-capable processors are now detected correctly, which makes Filter Forge significantly faster on these processors.
- Fixed a number of problems that caused Filter Forge to crash when nVidia nView was enabled ('GetWindowTextW', 'SetFocus' and other errors).
- Fixed a bug that caused the window title to flicker when nVidia nView window menu was enabled
- Fixed multiple bugs that caused Access Violation errors on multi-core/multi-CPU systems.
- Fixed multiple bugs that caused Access Violation errors when panning and zooming the previews.
- Fixed a bug that caused Access Violation errors when previewing curve components.
- Fixed a bug in the sample cache that caused incorrect anti-aliasing.
- Fixed a bug that caused the error 'Failed to activate invisible or disabled window'.
- Fixed a bug that caused the error 'Unable to add action to the muted undo\redo list' in the Filter Editor
- Fixed a bug that caused the error 'Control value XX is out of control range'.
- Fixed a bug that caused the error 'Specular exponent XX is too small'.
- Fixed a bug that caused the error 'CloseHandle(…) failed with error code XXX: The handle is invalid'.
- Fixed a bug that caused incorrect rendering of the Levels component and the Color Burn blending mode in the Blend component.
- Fixed a bug in the Curve Preset combobox control that caused thread handle leaks.
- Fixed a bug that caused the error 'Cannot set modal result 2 for disabled form'.
- Fixed a bug that caused incorrect highlighting of the newly downloaded filters.
- Fixed a bug in the Brightness/Contrast component that caused it to yield black instead of 50% gray when Contrast was set to -100.
- Fixed a bug in the Blend component that resulted in the loss of the color data when the Alpha channel was equal to 0.
- Fixed a bug that prevented the Randomizer Options from being preserved correctly.
- Fixed a minor bug in the Filter Library form that caused the frame around the filter thumbnail to be displayed incorrectly.
- Fixed an issue that resulted in the 'SHOpenFolderAndSelectItems failed' error.
- Fixed an issue that resulted in the 'There is no disk in the drive. Please insert a disk into drive.' warning.
- Errors occuring in the filter loading process are now handled correctly.
- Errors occuring when an invalid filter is passed as a command-line argument are now handled correctly.
- Errors occuring during the loading of Preferences.xml and Options.xml are now handled correctly.
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