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Randomization Enhancements

Filter Forge 5.0 introduces much-requested enhancements to its randomization functions, including the ability to protect filter settings from randomization, the ability to quickly randomize specific parameters, and a simplified randomization settings menu.

Randomization Locks

Randomization of filter settings has always been a great way to explore the possibilities of a filter. However, up until version 5.0, there was little control over what gets randomized and what stays unchanged with each random iteration.

Now, in Filter Forge 5.0, you can simply click the parameter name to protect it from randomization. When you lock a parameter, a little padlock icon appears by the locked parameter’s name, and subsequent clicks on Next Variant or Back buttons will not have any effect on it:

Randomization Locks

Randomizing Specific Parameters

Sometimes it is convenient to quickly randomize a single parameter, without touching the rest. Now you can do this by Ctrl-clicking (or Cmd-clicking on OS X) the parameter you want to randomize. You can do the same via the right-click menu of the parameter:

Randomizing Specific Parameters

Note that single-parameter randomizations can be rolled back via the Back button, just as with normal, multi-parameter randomizations.

Simplified Randomization Settings

The old Randomizer Settings dialog is gone:

Old Randomization Settings

It has been replaced by a simple, streamlined menu that allows you to set the randomization level, quickly unlock all locked parameters, and revert locks to the default state set by the filter author. If you want to know more about how Filter Forge randomizes parameters, there’s also a help link leading you to the relevant article. Here’s how the new menu looks:

New Randomization Settings Menu

A Note to Filter Authors

There’s currently no way for filter authors to permanently prevent a control from being randomized. If you, as a filter author, want to discourage users from randomizing particular controls, lock these controls before submitting the filter.

While excluding some controls from randomization is a good idea for many filters, locking off too many controls may confuse a first-time filter user. To avoid that, Submit Wizard does not allow submission of filters with over 30% of user-defined controls. Size, Variation and Lighting controls are exempt from this limitation – you can freely lock all these controls.

Some Technical Details

  • The state of randomization locks (the little padlocks) is preserved between sessions of Filter Forge. It is stored per-filter, not per preset. For custom filters, this state is saved within the filter’s .ffxml file (which makes the Reset Locks to Default option redundant, as the current state of the locks IS the default state). For filters downloaded from the filter library, the lock settings are stored separately, together with user presets for library filters.

  • The Lighting Elements parameter group on the Lighting tab is lockable, but it doesn’t allow to lock its internal settings separately. For example, you can’t lock a color of a point light, or a rotation axis of the HDRI sphere.

  • The setting for randomization level (Low / Medium / High) is stored globally, per program, as in previous versions of Filter Forge.

Filter Forge's amazing node based editor has been invaluable in giving us the power to create textures that make the most of today's real-time pixel shaders.

Karl Wickens
Visual Effects Lead Artist
Electronic Arts
www.ea.com

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