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Free Gradients and Shapes

With the newly-added support for non-seamless filters in Filter Forge 2.0, it becomes possible to fix a shortcoming that confused countless Filter Forge newbies – the absence of free, non-tiled gradients and shapes. The reason for their absence was that they would break seamless tiling, but since this is not an issue anymore, we're releasing four new non-seamless components: Free Gradient, Free Ellipse, Free Polygon and Free Rectangle.

Free Gradient

As you will see, this component is designed to be extremely versatile. For a start, it has three gradient modes: Linear, Radial and Angular:

Free Gradients

Gradient endpoints are not confined to the image bounds and can be specified by large numbers, positive or negative:

Free Gradient endpoints

Endpoints can be specified relative to the image bounds, which makes the resulting gradient independent of the global Size slider. In the examples below, the Size value varies from larger to smaller. Note that the gradient is not affected by the Size changes, while the noise still remains dependent on it:

Free gradient size

Endpoint coordinates can be mapped with unlimited HDR values, positive or negative, which opens unlimited possibilities for creating new shapes and forms:

Free Gradient endpoint coordinates

Free Gradient offers four modes of gradient continuation beyond endpoints: Flat, Repeat, Mirror and Relative Repeat. The last mode is a kind of extrapolation – say, if you created a left-to-right gradient from black to white using the Relative Repeat method, the brightness will continue to rise beyond the white endpoint, and fall beyond the black endpoint. In the examples below all four gradients – including the last one – use the same colors:

Free Gradient modes

Free Ellipse, Polygon and Rectangle

In addition to Free Gradient, Filter Forge 2.0 includes non-seamless versions of the Ellipse and Polygon components (titled Free Ellipse and Free Polygon), and a Free Rectangle component. As with Free Gradient, point coordinates in these new components (e.g. shape centers, rectangle corners etc.) are not confined to the image bounds and can be specified by large numbers, positive or negative. A downside, obviously, is that these new components do not support seamless tiling – filters that use them will have the Seamless Tiling checkbox disabled (unless you force-enable it in the new Overrides dialog.)

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.

Neil Bennett
Digital Arts
www.digitalartsonline.co.uk

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