Flaming Pear’s BladePro [continued]

You can also create button effects on a single layer or on multiple layers to apply a variety of effects to a single final image. For single-layer images, the process is simple: You just paint a neutral area onto the canvas, type a word on top of the neutral area in a more saturated color, merge layers, select your area and apply the filter.

Applying the effects to images is just as easy. You can select no area and let Blade Pro do the figuring out for you, in which case it will apply effects to non-white areas of the image, or you can select regions with the selection tool—and even feather the selection, as in the image below on the right.

The bottom line
Flaming Pear's BladePro is well worth the download. Following that, it's well worth the registration. This thing offers lots of control, solid performance and excellent output. While you're at Flaming Pear's site, make sure you check out some of their other offerings, most of which can be downloaded as fully working filters.

Blade Pro Summary
Publisher: Flaming Pear Software
Price/Availability: $49/now
URL: http://www.flamingpear.com

Overall Impression: Better than many commercial filters, these are polished plugins with some stunning results.

Key Benefits: Lots of control. Easy to understand interface. Fine documentation, online and off. The results are sharp. The effects are impressive. The price is definitely right.

Disappointments: The filter automatically goes to the last folder used when you're looking for bump maps or environments, which can waste some of your time. Also, under some circumstances, a few of the sliders seem to have no effect whatsoever on the filter.

Recommendation: Strong Buy.

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