Monthly Archives: October 2010

Filter Forge Contest Results

[tweetmeme]Last week, I posted a review of Filter Forge, an advanced Photoshop plugin. I also posted a way for three lucky winners to get a free license for the software — a photo contest using the trial version of Filter Forge.

We had some great work entered in the contest and I had a difficult time picking only 3 winners. A big thanks goes out to all the participants!

THE THREE WINNERS ARE…


Devin Hayes, Lomo Filter

This one took me a minute to figure out because I’ve never seen a photo of the building. This is a tilt-shift photo of the Milwaukee Art Museum and it sits at an angle as shown in the image (no tilt on the composition). The Lomo filter used maintains a relatively “clean” look while shifting the colors just a bit.


Roy Moore, Grunge Filter

The Grunge filter was a popular choice among participants, but this photo exhibited the best use of the filter. The simple subject and color set gains strength from the busy texture of the grunge filter and produces somewhat of a visual cross between painting and photo.


Robbie Ewing, Dreamy Filter and Film Frame

The dreamy filter applies well to portraits because of the softening effect. Highlights and colors are also pushed up a bit, producing a slightly high-key and high contrast/saturation image. The film frame adds a nice organic border to the image, keeping the viewer interest near the center of the photo.

OTHER PROJECT ENTRIES

These entries are shown in the order they were received. Great work from everyone — I had a hard time bringing my top 6 or 7 down to my top 3.


Gilberto Agostinho, Vibrance Filter and Film Frame


Paulus B. Weldy, Dreamy Filter and Photo Frame


Victoria Pickering, Colorize Filter


James Kammin, Old Photo Filter and Photo Film Frame


Mark Ledingham, Plastawrap and Bridge Lighting Filters


Susan Pollard, Grunge Filter


Malcolm Smith, Old Photo Filter


Justin Kuhlers, Real Contrast Filter and Film Frame


Rob Anderson, Grunge Filter


Heather Katsoulis, Watercolor Painting Filter and Watercolor Frame


Steven M., Sunburst Filter


Leszek Leszczyński, Watercolour Frame

Again, a big thanks to the folks who participated.

Recent Drama, But All Is Well

Just a quick note to the regular readers of the blog about the commotion earlier today. I found some malicious code that had been placed in every single file on every single website today by some jack-ass hacker or something, so things were a bit wonky for a while. My web host (Media Temple) helped me clear out the malicious code, but a bunch of the files were still damaged.

Lucky for me, I carry backups and I only lost a few days worth of material. I’ve never had to go this extreme before due to an attack, but I had to delete the entire website and database before reinstalling my backup files. Everything seems to have gone smoothly and the site is back to it’s old self. I reposted the last 2 articles manually, so you feed readers shouldn’t be alarmed when you see those fly through again. Now to fix the other two blogs in a similar fashion…

I’m also extending the deadline for the current contest and giveaway for a few reasons. Mainly, because I don’t know if the site was reachable this weekend (I didn’t even turn on my computer on Saturday). Another reason is because I’m going to be busy over the next day or two fixing my other blogs that got screwed up. And also because we only have a few entries (like in the range of 4 or 5, and I’m giving away 3 prizes). So the new deadline is the 13th of this month — that’s only a few days away, so hurry up and get those entries in for a chance at some free software.

Photography Wonder: Photography Q&A Forum

A new photography website launched today, and this one is a bit different from others out there. It’s not a blog, it’s not a discussion board, and it’s not a typical forum.

The idea behind Photography Wonder is a Q&A platform just for photographers and all topics directly related to photography. You can ask questions, you can answer questions, and you can vote on the best answers. The model is similar to something like Yahoo Answers, but it has the benefit of being very specific to a single topic.

It’s free to sign up and definitely worth checking out. If you have some photography questions, you might get some good answers from the community. And if you’re the knowledgeable type, you can share your thoughts with others.

WWW.PHOTOGRAPHYWONDER.COM
(tipped off via Jake Garn)

Filter Forge Photoshop Plugin Review (And Giveaway)

Filter Forge - an advanced Photoshop plugin

[tweetmeme]The folks at Filter Forge contacted me about reviewing their advanced Photoshop plugin software. I’m always interested in checking out new things, so they provided me with a review license of the software and I started exploring it. I must admit that it’s an impressive piece of software.

Read on for my review and be sure to check the details at the bottom about the contest and prize giveaway. This review contains affiliate links.

WHAT IS FILTER FORGE?

Filter Forge is a Photoshop plugin with a huge variety of filter and texture options for photographers and designers. The plugin contains over 7500 textures and filters, most of which are user generated. And that’s another key feature of the software — you can generate your own filters and make them available to other users.

The real strong point of the Filter Forge software is the extensive library of user generated filters and textures. There is a seemingly endless supply of options out there, and the library is constantly growing. The folks at filter forge also offer an incentive to create and promote new filters, handing out reward points for the more popular filters created. Those reward points can earn you discounts and free software.

There are two sides of Filter Forge — textures and effects. If you’re into applied textures, this software will keep you occupied for quite a while. At the time of writing this review, there are nearly 4000 textures available. Filters, or creative effects, are also in abundance with over 3600 options. You can search and browse through the filters at the Filter Forge website.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH IT?

Applying filters is relatively simple. You start up Photoshop, pull in your image, and start Filter Forge from the Filters menu. Once inside Filter Forge, you can select the textures or effects you want to apply, check out a few presets, or modify the settings for that particular filter. After you apply the filter or texture, you’re back in Photoshop. That’s pretty much it.

Creating filters is a little more complicated, but the interface is still fairly simple. You can start from scratch or modify an existing filter by using the components available in the filter editor. These components include things you would find in Photoshop: brightness, gamma, hue, saturation, threshold, invert, levels, curves, gradients, blurs, blends, and a whole bunch of other tools you won’t find in Photoshop. The process is very similar to creating a Photoshop action, but more visual and self explanatory.

Enough talk, here are a few of my own photos with various applied filters. Click on the image to see the originals at Flickr.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS

This is certainly a handy piece of software for the folks that apply textures and filters on a regular basis. The sheer quantity of options is staggering. If you’re a “naturalist” with your photography, maybe this isn’t for you. But other photographers, and even graphic designers, should check it out if it sounds remotely interesting.

Filter Forge can be downloaded as a 30 day free trial with no other limitations (and check out the free plugin packs on the same page that don’t require the Filter Forge software). If you want to buy the software and continue to have access to the full library, you have three price options: basic, standard, and professional editions. The basic edition only allows you to use the filters, the standard edition allow you to create your own, and the professional edition has a bunch of other bells and whistles. Check the website for prices because they may change in the future.

WHO WANTS A FREE COPY?

Now for the fun part — I have three licenses for the basic edition of Filter Forge to give out! We’ll run this as a photo contest using the Filter Forge plugin (and if you don’t have Photoshop, you can use it as a standalone software). Here’s what you need to do to enter:

STEP 1. Download a free copy of Filter Forge and install it.

STEP 2. Choose any photo of your own and apply your favorite filter.

STEP 3. Email your photo to blog@epicedits.com. Size it to 1000px on the long edge, make sure to include your name, and tell me which filter(s) you used.

DEADLINE: October 10 13, 2010

One entry per person and the photo used must be your own. By entering the contest you only give Epic Edits the right to display your image as a contest entry no larger than 500px. You retain all rights to your photo.

After the deadline, I’ll size the images to 500px and post them here on the blog along with your name and the name of the filter used. I’ll choose the three winners myself (or I’ll have a couple of guest judges help me out).