Beta Update 1.004 – Web-Based Filter Library, Improved Editor and More
October 26, 2006
Alexandria, VA, USA (October 26, 2006) – Filter Forge, Inc. today released the update 1.004 to the beta version of its flagship software, Filter Forge, a Photoshop plugin that allows users to create their own filters. This update enables web-based access to the Filter Library and brings numerous improvements to the Filter Editor.
The Filter Library is now accessible via the Web. Each filter's webpage in the Filters section at http://www.filterforge.com/filters/ now has a button 'Open in Filter Forge'. Clicking this button launches Filter Forge which immediately downloads the filter or opens it if it was downloaded earlier. Though the web-based access is now the preferred way to download filters, the built-in Filter Library browser is still available and can be enabled in Tools > Options > Online.
The Filter Editor has received several workflow and usability improvements. First, the default direction of connections between components is now left-to-right, which makes filters easier to read and understand. Second, the Editor now supports marquee selection that allows to quickly select multiple components, which makes editing complex filters much easier. Also, there are many other improvements such as the ability to autoconnect newly-added components by dropping them on the output of an existing component, right-button and wheel-button panning, lower memory consumption, an additional zoom level, and more – read the full list of changes below.
The new Editor may look and feel unfamiliar to users who got used to the 'old way', so several options were added that allow users to switch to the old behavior. The right-to-left connections and the old-style Pan mode can be restored in Tools > Options > Filter Editor.
How to update: The update 1.004 is downloaded and installed automatically, the process activates when you click the 'Download More Filters' button in the Filter Forge main window. The update preserves all downloaded and user-created filters, 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 later 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 area now supports right-button and wheel-button panning.
- An 'Updates' command has been added to the Tools menu. This command checks the Filter Forge server for software updates.
- A 'Filter Updates' command has been added to the Tools menu. This command checks the Filter Library for newer versions of the filters you downloaded.
- The update checker now checks for both filter and software updates and notifies you accordingly. The update check can be made automatic, this can be configured in Tools > Options > Online.
- The default direction of connections between components is now left-to-right. This is optional and can be turned off in Tools > Options > Filter Editor.
- Filter Editor now has a Select mode besides the Pan and Zoom modes. The Select mode, which is now the default mode in Filter Editor, provides a marquee selection allowing to quickly select and move multiple components.
- The Pan mode doesn't allow to select components anymore – the pan cursor is now active in the entire workspace, including the components. For users who don't like the new behavior, an option has been added to Tools > Options to switch to the old-style Pan mode.
- When dragging a new component to the workspace from the Components bar, you can drop it directly on the output of an existing component, which automatically creates a connection.
- The Pan position and the Zoom level are now saved with the filter file (.ffxml).
- Selected components now look better when zoomed out due to a 1-pixel distance between the selection border and the component body.
- The Editor now opens several times faster on complex filters.
- The Editor now consumes much less system memory.
- Performance when editing large filters has been improved.
- The workspace now supports right-button and wheel-button panning in any mode (Pan, Zoom and Select).
- Dragging components beyond the workspace boundaries now scrolls the workspace.
- The Zoom Out command is now one level deeper, which allows even huge filters to fit on the screen.
- The bug that caused the 'Snap to Grid' function to work incorrectly in certain cases is now fixed.
- The scroll position of the scroll box on the Controls tab is now preserved correctly when the order of controls is changed.
- The error "Unable to add action to muted undo/redo list" now seems to be finally fixed.
- The 'Move Subtree' option is now turned off by default.
- The Filter Library is now accessible from the Web via http://www.filterforge.com/filters/. Each filter page now has a button 'Open in Filter Forge'. Clicking this button launches Filter Forge which then downloads the filter, or, if it was downloaded earlier, simply opens it.
- The 'Download More Filters' button on the toolbar in the main window has been replaced with a hyperlink to indicate that the Filter Library is now accessible via the Web. The link is shown only when the web-based library is enabled in Tools > Options > Online, otherwise the old 'Download More Filters' button is displayed.
- Due to significant reworkings of the Filter Library internals and interface, the download counts for all filters in the Filter Library were reset to zero and the Usage Ranks to Average. All users who qualified for rewards based on the old Usage Rank of their filters are still entitled to their free copies and discounts.
- Each filter's webpage now has a link that lets you view all filters by the same author, and another link to send email to the author.
- While the web-based access is now the preferred way to download filters, the old built-in Filter Library browser is still accessible and can be enabled in Tools > Options > Online.
- Updates for previously downloaded filters are now accessible via the new Filter Updates window (Tools > Filter Updates).
- The category selection screen that was removed in the previous update is now back. From now on, all filters will be accepted into categories directly.
- The wizard now allows to submit Effect-type updates to Texture-type filters and vice versa. Since different types of filters have different sets of categories, the wizard asks for a new category when such updates are submitted.
- When a user attempts to submit an update to a filter, with a previously submitted update still in the submission queue, the wizard now alerts the user that the new update cannot be submitted until the previous update is processed.
- All Filter Forge executable files and the installer are now signed with an Authenticode Digital Signature to ensure their authenticity and integrity.
- The 'Filter Library' tab in Tools > Options has been renamed to 'Online'.
- Opening an .ffxml file from Windows Explorer when Filter Forge is running no longer leads to the message "Another copy of FF is already running". Instead, the filter is opened in the already working copy of Filter Forge.
- An 'Open Recent Images' command has been added to the File menu.
- The window asking permission to send the Usage Stats to the server now pops up in the Main Window instead of the Filter Library window.
- For cases when a filter has more than 10 controls, an option has been added to Tools > Options > Interface to specify whether the mouse wheel scrolls the scroll box with the filter controls or adjusts the controls themselves. The default behavior is to scroll the scrollbox.
- 'Getting the Filter List' operation is now much faster.
- In Tools > Options, all options related to the Filter Editor have been moved to the new 'Filter Editor' tab.
- The minimum window width for the main window, the Filter Editor and the Filter Library windows has been increased to 980 pixels.
- The 'Detect Clock Manipulation' message has been removed. When Filter Forge "thinks" that the system clock has been manipulated to extend the trial period, it now offers to enter a license key instead of showing that message.
- Clicking a help link now opens the appropriate Help-in-Progress wiki page immediately, without showing the "Help is not ready yet" message.
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“I really like Filter Forge, I seem to find new uses for it constantly. The 2.0 upgrade looks great, HDR will be really welcome.”
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“For 3D modelers, Filter Forge is a dream come true. It creates seamless textures with a single mouse click. The professional version creates the following map types for any texture: bump, normal, specular strength, specular exponent, diffuse, metallic, and alpha. The same filter can be used to generate any resolution, since filters are procedural.”