at a Glance

Maker: Flaming Pear
Price: $20
Platforms: Macintosh and Windows
Demo Available: Yes
URL: http://www.flamingpear

Overall Impression: Flaming Pear's plugins are top-notch, and Flood is no different. The water effects are versatile and impressive, and the filter works pretty quickly, even on high-resolution images. (On a low-end G4, you won't even see a progress bar until your image passes about 1,024 x 768.) This is a solid piece of software.

Key Benefits: Like most of Flaming Pear's plugins, Flood provides a decent number of controls for customizing the look of the effect. This is a pretty specialized filter, but you'll still see a goodly range of effects. You can use the presets that ship with the filter, create your own or even generate random settings.

Disappointments: I like this filter a lot, but I'd like to see more control over the shape of the bodies of water that are generated, maybe some special edge effects (breaking waves, mist, etc.) and the ability to insert more than one ripple.

Recommendation: Strong Buy


REVIEW MAY 23 , 2001

Flaming Pear Flood
Water effects for Adobe Photoshop

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

Flaming Pear is a company that you might not be familiar with but that has put out some pretty serious effects filters for Photoshop. I've previously reviewed two of their products, BladePro and Super BladePro, both of which are designed to generate general material effects like stone and metal. This week we'll look at a plugin of theirs that has a much more limited scope but that might prove pretty useful to you compositing folks out there. It's called Flood, and its sole purpose is to place bodies of water onto an image.

Not sure what this means? Well, take a look at the before and after shots below.

Flood is a compositing dream, assuming that you have a need to composite water around a subject. If you do, then this is certainly a better solution than doing it manually with a piece of stock photography. It's just as realistic, and it lets you customize the appearance so that you can build just about any kind of water body you need, from rice paddies and mud holes to big, wide seas.

This filter is incredibly easy to use, and it requires very little tweaking to get it to look right. The skyscraper image above and the castle image below used essentially the same settings, but the filter automatically match the water to the scene.

You simply set the horizon to match the original image, and all of a sudden you're done. Unless you want to customize the look of the water, of course.

But customizing isn't difficult. The plugin itself matches the water to the scene, so all you need to worry about is the shape and density of the waves, the undulations of the ripple (if any) and the angle and perspective of view. You can also change the wave color, select random settings or load (and save) presets.

How it works
Flood operates off a single filter located in the Flaming Pear directory of the Photoshop Filter menu. Once you're there, you see a preview of the effect on your image and are given 11 adjustable parameters, all of which are pretty easy to get the hang of. The Horizon setting lets you set the position of the horizon, while the Offset parameter allows you to move the effect down away from the horizon, while still maintaining the horizon. Perspective and Altitude settings are also included.

The Flood interface

For wave control, you're given options for Waviness, Complexity, Brilliance (similar to highlight brightness) and Blur. Blur is particularly useful for "muddying up" the water and just generally bringing in more of the dominant colors from the original image.

Finally, you also get to add in a ripple, if you'd like. To do so, you simply click somewhere below the horizon line in the image preview. Then you get to set the Size (diameter), Height and Undulation. (Undulation determines how many ripples will flow off the main ripple.) You can adjust the overall look of the ripple by adjusting the altitude and perspective of the view.

You can save your settings (and load them) from within the Flood interface; you can apply random settings; and you can choose the "glue" (apply) mode, including normal, dissolve, screen, overlay, "superlay," multiply, add and subtract.

The bottom line
Flood is certainly a worthy addition to your plugin collection, assuming you have the need to submerge objects in water. It's performance is great, and it provides the user with lots of options for customizing the look of the effect. Certainly the price is right ($20). But there are some enhancements I'd like to see go into this filter. First, I'd like to be able to create more than one ripple. Second, I'd like to be able to create breakers or add a little whitewater. And third, I'd like to be able to add effects to the edges, such as mist or contours.

I'm still going to give this a strong buy recommendation though because I know some of you out there are flipping through the stock catalogs looking for a perfect body of water to composite over an image. Flaming Pear Flood is a much better solution with its high quality, customizability and performance, not to mention its modest price.

Flaming Pear Flood is available for Macintosh and Windows for $20 or in a bundle with two other filters (Melancholytron and Hue & Cry) for $40. For more information or to download a demo, visit http://www.flamingpear.com.

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of the Creative Mac, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion and Synthetik Studio Artist WWUGs; and executive producer of Creative Mac, Digital Media Designer, Digital Pro Sound, Digital Webcast, Plug-in Central, Presentation Master, ProAudio.net and Video Systems sites. All are part of the Digital Media Net family of online industry hubs.
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