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Rayek
12-20-2012, 02:55 AM
Holiday special - I finally convinced myself to grab this. Very addictive.
http://www.filterforge.com

Works very well with Photoline in 48/96bit.

rcallicotte
12-21-2012, 08:59 AM
Does anyone use Filter Forge and, if so, would you be willing to let me know how much and how useful it is? I have ImageSynth and Substance Designer 2.0.

@Rayek, how do you use it?

Rayek
12-21-2012, 09:28 AM
For base texture generation, and the odd filter/effect on images. One of the advantages is that you get access to more than 9000 textures and filters, all procedural, at no extra cost. I was a bit amazed to see that the Substance Designer site charges you for substances.

On the other hand, substance designer was developed with 3d model texture generation in mind, and they have a holiday special as well.

Choices, choices.... and limited funds :-P

rcallicotte
12-21-2012, 09:31 AM
Yes, exactly - choices. I like the look of the Filter Forge interface and it seems to produce quite an array of possible textures.

Surrealist.
12-21-2012, 03:56 PM
It looks like the Substance Designer sale is a non commercial license. From what I can tell. And that app seems to try and overlap other tools better suited for things like painting especially in 3D which I don't need.

I have been looking at Filter Forge before. It seems like a very capable app. I may go for the deal and the presale upgrade deal for 4.0 when it comes out. I think it is in Beta now. Seems like it is a nice niche tool to fit into the Photoshop pipeline. Painting I'd rather do in 2D in PS or in 3D in something like Mudbox. And further more it looks like a great app to make maps for use in Mudbox as well.

rcallicotte
12-21-2012, 05:28 PM
Thanks Richard. Coming from you, a professional (as I understand it), I appreciate your revelation of your thought processes about this. I'm about to buy it.



It looks like the Substance Designer sale is a non commercial license. From what I can tell. And that app seems to try and overlap other tools better suited for things like painting especially in 3D which I don't need.

I have been looking at Filter Forge before. It seems like a very capable app. I may go for the deal and the presale upgrade deal for 4.0 when it comes out. I think it is in Beta now. Seems like it is a nice niche tool to fit into the Photoshop pipeline. Painting I'd rather do in 2D in PS or in 3D in something like Mudbox. And further more it looks like a great app to make maps for use in Mudbox as well.

Surrealist.
12-21-2012, 07:44 PM
I am only sorry that I can not give you a direct usage review. I did what I usually do not do which is I bought it without even looking at the trial. I am downloading that now to have a look while I wait for my order to go through. I hope I don't wind up kicking myself.

I am just kind of shooting from the hip. I have looked at it fairly extensively in the past and it was on my wish list. I was looking at Genetica (http://www.spiralgraphics.biz/buygen.htm) as well. Just for creating seamless tiles Genetica looks very powerful.

But Filter Forge just looks to me like it creates great images and the filters are also resolution independent.

I would suggest the 30 day trial to have a go before you buy.

My opinion is that you have to look at things from your particular perspective with what you want to do, to see if it works for you. That takes testing. Trials are great for that. I went against this MO and bought it. Oops. We'll see.

Rayek
12-22-2012, 12:04 AM
Two days in, and I am having fun with this. Much, much more flexible than I had anticipated. I jumped the gun like Richard, and only quickly tested whether the plugin would work in Photoline, and then made the purchase - I did not even check all the available textures.

Some highlights:
- most textures work in other formats than square - of course, some textures are built with square aspect ratios in mind (Photoline is at an advantage here, since each layer can have its own dimensions)
- most textures are seamless, except for the obvious non-repeating ones
- resolution can be set to anything you like (Genetica has a limit of 6000px, I believe)
- full double float
- the texture library is extensive, and I find it quite unbelievable that all of these are free to download. I mean, Substance Designer's website sells their "substances" for hard cash (though the newest non-commercial deal includes a couple of hundred free ones as well).
- node editor is very easy to use.
- some very out of the ordinary textures
- it's fun to combine, match and generally make a hotspotch of effects.
- the filter effects are high quality. Interesting effects - speedlines, hundreds of creative effects - this is way more than just patterns and textures: it replaces a lot of my standard plugins.
- lots of useful factory presets, and a randomizer
- if you feel something needs more control, add your own controls in the node editor!
- many example snippets to learn from
- I just love the "dungeons and flagons" texture - great for Torchlight type floors ;-)
- lots of textures come with all the texture channels you would need to map a 3d material (diffuse, normal, bump, AO, specular, etc.)
- anti-aliasing is fully controllable
- HDR lighting, several presets, environment also draggable

Some let-downs:
- no node grouping (at least not in this v3, it is part of v4)
- some textures are good base textures, but not of the highest quality - you realize that some of the latest ones are exceptional, and it is difficult not to start comparing. Although procedural, some look frighteningly photo-realistic.
- as far as I can tell, no image input node, or manual bitmap painting control.
- you're dependent on a compatible 24 / 48 / 96 bit image editor for best results. And it must be PH plugin compatible. Not a lot of choice out there.
- some of these noodles are quite intimidating
- not sure yet why some textures do not include all texture channels, only diffuse.
- WHY can't I download ALL textures at once?! One at a time... Slow and cumbersome.
- the faster your machine is, the better - some of these textures eat CPU cycles for breakfast.


And this afternoon while on my way home taking the ferry, I experimented a bit more.

Campy Spacey scene galore ( 4 minutes work, all Filter Forge, except for some quick blending) Mayan end times:

110006

There's a planet and galaxy generator! Must have!

The reason it took 4 minutes: mostly rendering time! :-)

Next up: omelet textures! Sorry, couldn't resist.

madno
12-22-2012, 03:25 AM
Before you buy version 3, get the trial and test complex node setups especially with blur and a high output resolution. You might run into a nasty memory allocation bug, that hinders you to finish the image. This bug is discussed in their forums (http://www.filterforge.com/forum/read.php?FID=8&TID=9955). Some there say, it might help to use FiterForge as plugin to e.g. Phototshop. I have not tried that. I only use it as stand alone version and always run into that bug with a complex brick wall node setup. The setup of the hardware seems to be more or less irrelevant. As soon as FilterForge uses more than around 3GB it throws the bug at me even though the workstation has 32 GB on Win7 64 bit. Wrote emails asking if this bug will be fixed in version 3 but never got an answer.
Beside of this I really like FilterForge.

jwiede
12-22-2012, 06:22 AM
I strongly recommend FilterForge to anyone interested in procedural texture and effect generation, I've had it since when v2 was released and upgraded the second I could without hesitation. While I purchased the non-commercial Substance Designer in the sale to take a look, I still expect to continue using FF as my main texture gen and editing tool, it's just that good. I can't speak to the bug mentioned, I haven't really been too bothered by it, but usages vary as well. I'd be shocked if they didn't fix the problem, as the FF folks are usually quite responsive that way. Also, another nice feature is you can get the entire FF library for offline usage and perusal, which can be really useful when in a spot w/out decent net access available. Overall, it's a powerful, flexible, and with the sale, inexpensive commercial option versus something like Substance Designer.

Surrealist.
12-22-2012, 07:37 AM
Thanks for the reviews jwiede and rayek.

Actually I had a quick look at the trial. And I am impressed with the fact that most of it is very intuitive and easy to understand. The interface seems fluid, I mean the node connections seem very easy to grab and connect. One thing I think is nice about it is the library of filters and the fact that you can edit them. So if you have an effect in mind there is likely at the very least a good starting point from things that have already been done and then you can go in and edit the actual filter nodes - not the given parameters. Also a great way to learn the app by studying what has been done, to then create your own from scratch.

As a filter creator and editor it seems rather daunting at first. But if the docs are any good, it seems like it would be fairly easy to master.

The other thing I like is the automatic ability to tile some of the textures.

Genetica on the other hand is more powerful in the sense that you can take any image data and have a powerful set of tools to use to create tiles. If tiling is your thing, Genetica is the tool IMHO. But for a filter generator I think FF is very good at what it does.

rcallicotte
12-22-2012, 03:57 PM
It looks like to me Filter Forge does what I want. I like it.

Thanks everyone for the in-depth response. I appreciate it, which is why I come here.

Silkrooster
12-23-2012, 12:29 AM
Genetica has a new version coming out that will support UV Map textures (Importing obj and 3ds meshes - no mesh export) and will now have scripting, which they have a sample of a Mandelbrot generated from the script.

zapper1998
12-23-2012, 07:16 PM
i have used it for a few years.. FF3 havn't upgraded yet