The palette for the Live Galaxy effect shows the degree of control typical of FILTERiT's effects. Live Galaxy is a live effect that can be applied to text or objects. It's called "live" because it will automatically update the effect whenever the original object is edited.
REVIEW MAY 2 , 2001
I reviewed version 3.0 of this set of filters last year and was impressed with its variety, power, stability, performance, ease of use, versatility and price point. (You can read this review here.) Version 4.0 adds even more to the package, while still maintaining the incredibly modest price of $129.
Do I sound a bit enthusiastic about FILTERiT 4? I am. This brings features to Illustrator for the Mac that are unheard of in any vector program on any platform.
The image below is actually a flower that has gone through several 3D transformations, mostly spirals, and then repeated in a circular pattern to produce this Spirograph-looking effect.
You accomplish these 3D effects simply by selecting an object and then choosing Filter > FILTERiT 4 > 3D Transform. Here's what you get:
The 3D Transform window gives you a whole host of options for manipulating objects in 3D space, from amplitudes and rotations to preset styles accessible through a pull-down menu.
Live effects include 13 individual, general effects, and each one has its own palette for changing settings. Only one live effect can be applied to an object at one time, but these effects can be "expanded" so that the effects in themselves become paths.
Effects range from Galaxy (above), which replicates the original object in a galactic spiral pattern, to simple embosses and drop shadows. Version 4 includes support for transparency in Illustrator 9. (Of course, Illustrator 8 doesn't have support for transparency.)
Other filters in the "Live" category include Spiral (above), Border, Circle (below), Cutout, Emboss, Explosion, Frame, Generation, Neon, Reflection, Shadow, Tiling and Trail. The flower used in the example below, incidentally, is the same one used in the first example for 3D transformations.
I find the performance of FILTERiT's live effects to be quite good. When you start dealing with very complex objects, such as ones that have had several live effects applied, you do start to see a performance lag. This is a function of the speed of your particular machine. But something like the circle of flowers above is drawn pretty much in real time on a lower-end G4 400.
The Craft Tools includes four subtools for "crafting" objects. In use, this translates as smudging, nudging and otherwise freely and interactively deforming paths using a variable-radius brush. Using the Craft tool is as simple as dragging around the brush over an existing object. All of the magic happens in the background. The image below shows the original flower and a "Crafted" flower, which had been smudged around the original simply by dragging the Craft brush over and around it.
The Lens tool is similar to the Craft tool except that it creates, as its name suggests, lens effects. These include fisheye, magnification, twirl and tone. You simply drag the brush over the object, and the effect is immediately applied. The examples below show normal (left), twirl and fisheye. You can increase the size of the lens for more dramatic effects.
The Warp tool is not like Craft and Lens in that it doesn't use a brush. Rather, you select one of 22 warp styles and then interactively apply the warp to an object by moving your cursor around the screen. The examples below show the original (left) and two of the warp styles.
The Wave tool is similar to the Warp tool in the way you apply it. But rather than creating warps, it places waves on an object interactively. You can adjust the number of cycles numerically and then apply the waves to the object by dragging around your cursor on the screen. Where you move your cursor determines the height and width of the waves. The examples below show three types.
Finally we get to the Metabrush tool. This is a serious piece of work. Rather than tweaking an object, it takes a selected abject and allows you to use it as a brush. More than this, it offers a tremendous amount of control over how the brush is applied.
Above you see a screen shot of the Metabrush palette, which is automatically called up when you select the tool. With it, you can set the fade of the brush and apply various parameters for setting size, spacing, shear, color, etc. You can set tablet pressure, speed or direction to control all of these parameters. And you can reverse them and throw in some randomness to boot.
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