Introducing huge components into Filter Forge goes against our design philosophy, but we made it anyway – this thing turned out to be so good that we simply had no choice. Meet the Bomber. It has more parameters than any other Filter Forge component, it's insanely versatile and ridiculously fast:
As you may have guessed, the main purpose of the Bomber is to spray image particles in a controlled manner:
The Bomber component has a twin brother which supports HDR particles and outputs HDR colors. However, the HDR version of Bomber has less blending modes for compositing particles – not all of the modes are HDR-compatible. But even with this limitation, the HDR Bomber is more than capable of producing magic fairy dust in industrial quantities:
Bomber lets you apply a color tint to each particle individually – you can specify the color and amount of the tint (both of which can be mapped with an image), and the tint mode, e.g. Normal, Multiply, Screen, etc., which will be used for applying the color to the particle. This seemingly simple addition provides you with a great way to add variation to your particles:
A neat trick – setting the Tint Mode to Normal and Tint Amount to 100% fully replaces the original color of the particle while preserving its alpha channel, which results in solid-colored, silhouetted particles:
Every aspect of particle placement is under your control: you can specify size, rotation, opacity, stretch/squash, horizontal and vertical offsets as numbers, or you can "map" them with another image:
In addition to its particle placement controls, Bomber includes six parameters that let you quickly randomize size, opacity, rotation, horizontal and vertical offsets, and stretch/squash of each particle. These Chaos parameters are mappable, so you can control the amount of randomization with images:
Bomber is fractal – it deposits particles by layers (technically known as octaves), where each layer is 2x smaller than the previous one. You can control these particle layers with the same parameters as those in Filter Forge's noise components – Details to set the number of layers, and Roughness to adjust their relative transparency. Additionally, Bomber has two more parameters, one to control the method of layer transparency calculation, and another to specify their blending order. What does it mean for you? Just look at other examples on this page – nearly all of them use fractal layering!
Filter Forge is – by quite a margin – the most powerful plug-in we've looked at here. That's because it's a tool for creating plug-ins, both generative texture-creation tools and effect filters.
“It's a powerful and logical way of creating effects that's relatively easy to learn by seeing how other effects are built. Creating filters from scratch is time-consuming, but for a wider user group, it's a great way to modify already-created effects.”
“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.”