Plugins for Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, PSP & others


FilterForge 3

by Kay Michael Kuhnlein


Review Date: April 2012  



Here we have a plugin which you can actually only describe by superlatives, because the features break all moulds. But let´s start from the beginning.

Before I am allowed to work

I do love such questions – thanks, I am allowed to switch it off.

If you start Filter Forge for the first time, than you can see the dialog window shown above. I am probably the only person on this earth who is simply just irritated by such a question. When living in an apartment neither do I like the janitor knocking on my door every week and asking “Would you like me to check your appartment to see if everything is still allright?”

NO is my answer, you can simply be grateful to the programmers that you have the option of making the window disappear into nirvana.

It is irritating!

To play fair I have to mention that I closed the plugin again and somewhat later I opened it once more. (I wanted to change the example image). How nice, now I am confronted again with a question. This time my selection of the filters that I use are to be included and registered. But the hell, what is going on here?

To get back to my example above, the janitor is asking me now: ”Am I allowed to install a camera in each room to statistically gather where you spend the most time?” You will certainly guess that my answer here is again NO!

The first overview

It does not matter at all, what you would like to do with your foto, Filter Forge offers you a solution. There are 9385 (no misprint) available for that.

The neat canvas of FILTER FORGE

Of course not all of the 9385 filters are uploaded on your hard disc during installation, but only a part of it, distributed to the according styles. In the upper left part are the topic areas for the filter groups, to the right of them is the listing of the directed filters with thumbnails. If one of the filters is marked, the existing presets as well as a “default” setting is shown in the lower left part.

In addition to that you have the option of adjusting the effect of the filter selected before to your personal preferences by the tab sheet “settings”.

To the right a high-format preview is displayed, on which you can even judge details of the selected effect very well.

Adding further filters of the “Filter Library”

Where are the 9385 filters and how can you get them on your computer?

Here you get to the 9385 filters

Above on the canvas you find the link. A mouse click and the magic box opens, do not get frightened, the selection is almost infinite.

Now you can select

You get to the developer´s website. One possible way is the button “next 3 filters” which is followed by the display of 3 filters. If you do not like anything among the offer, go on with the presentation of the next 3 filters by mouse click. If you find something suitable, click on the corresponding preview.

You are almost at the finish

You get to the next page and are allowed to press the button “Open this filter in Filter Forge”. The rest is very easy, either you have the right version of Filter Forge or you are asked to update. A tip: not each of the 9385 filters is suited for each plugin version.

You want even more filters

Actually hard to imagine that you do not find anything suitable with this offer, but should it nevertheless happen, there is still a solution.

In the highest right part on the canvas you find the button for “Filter Editor”. With this button you can change an existing filter or create a completely new filter just as you like. You do not need any special programmer skills for that, but only study the instruction/help – folder of the developer.

If you achieved something really great with this work, you should make your new filter accessible for the general public through the website of Filter Forge. This is explicitly desired. Under certain circumstances you are even allowed to download a free version of the plugin for that. Please do understand that I am not able to extensively describe all details here, otherwise this is not going to be a review but an E-Book. If you are interested, please visit

Programming own new filters, without any programming skills

Now you also know, where the awesome number of 9386 filters results from. Gosh, I am never able to suppress my irony completely. Irony on – if you want to test all the offered filters for a moment with the image of your choice, then we estimate very carefully 5 minutes per image. An easy calculation: 9385 by 5 minutes results in 46,925 minutes, which are 782 hours. Well then, have a nice time! - Irony off.

Practical example

A typical holiday memory foto – shot without special quality demands

You open your foto in Photoshop and open Filter Forge 3. The plugin opens automatically with the last used filter at the default setting. For my example this is the Grunge Art - Filter.

The plugin opens automatically with the last used filter at the “default” setting. As my example is concerned, it is the Filter Grunge Art. I test the presets and decide on choosing one of them.

One after another I click on everything with a red margin.

You can experiment here if needed

At this opportunity I also visit the area Settings. When you feel like it you can finetune or test variations with the Randomizer. For my example I leave everything untouched here.

Honour, to whom honour is due

It is neither absolutely necessary nor does it harm if you click on the tab sheet About. There is information on the author of the Filter and the already carried out downloads. Now you also know, why Filter Forge wants the information that is described at the beginning of the review.

The Ford Mustang in Grunge Look – let´s see whether my Ford dealer will grant me a somewhat higher discount now.


For the second example I chose a portrait – Photographer: Michael Bernigau.


Not an everyday photo, but an eyecatcher

The filter HEINOUS was selected for the model from the Creative category, again here was used a preset without any individual changes:


Clipart works as well

At my last reviews I showed an example as well, how the presented filters also achieve extraordinary results with completely usual cliparts. It is almost funny that in most cases there are no examples for that on the developers` websites.

A nice clipart, but as such noticeable at first sight.

The use of cliparts is very often waived, because you instantly notice them as such in most cases. But if you process them with a filter, nobody will assume a clipart as the original image when watching the new work.

This used to be a clipart, but who would immediately notice it?

Please learn from the following screenshot which filter was used with which preset:

The red marked settings were used

Enough with that, if you feel like it, then download a demo version from the website Try and test the filters with different original images. This is the best way for you to see whether it is a “must have” for you.

Kay Michael Kuhnlein


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