Tinderbox 2
at a Glance

Maker: The Foundry
Price: $595
Trial version available? Yes
Platforms: Macintosh and Windows
URL: http://www.thefoundry.co.uk

Overall Impression: This is a stellar set of general-purpose effects filters. The quality is very high, and the performance is excellent in most cases.

Key Benefits: The 21 filters included in this set offer a broad range of effects with enough versatility to make them useful for a long time to come. The output of every one of these filters is top-notch. As an added bonus, most of them are also incredibly speedy.

Disappointments: Very few. The price is a bit steep, and I'd like to see a discount for Tinderbox 1 customers. The registration process is a bit cumbersome. As for the product itself, it's tough to pinpoint a flaw in any of the filters.

Recommendation: Strong Buy


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The Foundry's Tinderbox 2
[Page 2 of 3]

The two filters in this category worth noting above the others (for me, at least) are Kaleid and Newsprint. Kaleid is, as its name implies, a kaleidoscope filter. And Newsprint creates halftone effects. Both are speedy and offer all the controls you could possibly want for these kinds of effects. For me they're also the epitome of what this package offers over so many other packages on the market: total precision.

So many packages on the market skimp in this area. I mean, after all, in a kaleidoscope effect, what could a little aliasing hurt? But the effects in Tinderbox 2 are just so precise—clean, if you prefer—that the results can't help but look spectacular.

Incidentally, Kaleid is a bonus filter provided by The Foundry upon registration of the product. Without registration, you can't use the filter.

The Generators category includes Bars, Blobs, LensFlare and NightSky. These are all pretty straightforward filters and do what they say.

I'm not sure why the Tools category is called Tools. It includes two filters, Grain and Wobble, both of which create the effects that you'd expect. Grain places a film grain on the image, which can be applied in several styles. And Wobble creates a film wobble, complete with settings for shutter speed. It also motion blurs the image according to the degree of wobble applied.

There are two warp effects in this package—Swirl and Ripple. Like Kaleid, these are very high-quality distortion filters that do pretty much what they say.

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications.
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