at a Glance

Maker: CValley
Price: $129
Platforms: Macintosh
Demo Available: Yes
URL: http://www.cvalley

Overall Impression: Like its predecessor, FILTERiT 3, version 4 offers amazing tools for manipulating objects in Adobe Illustrator. The new version adds even more powerful features, including 3D transformations, for what has to be considered the final, ultimate set of filters available anywhere. I honestly don't know what they could possibly add for a version 5 release.

Key Benefits: The new 3D transformation capability is completely cool. You can take any object and manipulate it in 3D space, and watch the progress as you go. Live effects are also terrific, allowing you to manipulate objects, including regular text, while maintaining editability. Finally, the dozens of vector manipulation tools make Illustrator behave almost like a paint program, but keeping all the advantages of vectors.

Disappointments: None. This set of filters has it all: tons of effects, innovative tools and a price point that comes in way below what you ought to be paying for this.

Recommendation: Strong Buy



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

CValley FILTERiT 4
[Page 2 of 4]

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 regular effects
Live effects are great for their editability and also range of styles. But you don't get the full picture of FILTERiT 4's power until you start messing around with the new tools this set of plugins gives you. These new tools appear in the tool palette in Illustrator just below all of the standard tools. It includes six new tools, five of which call up a palette of subtools, along with various control settings. These include Craft, Lens, Warp, Wave, Metabrush and Align Points.

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