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CValley FILTERiT 4

Filter effects for Adobe Illustrator 8/9 By Dave Nagel
FILTERiT is probably the most remarkable set of tools I've ever seen for a vector illustration program. This is a package of innumerable effects for Adobe Illustrator 8 and 9, ranging from new types of transformations to object distortions to effects that can be applied to text without even converting text to paths.

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.

3D transformations
If you're unfamiliar with the concept of a 3D transformation, just think of it as scaling and skewing an object, but in three dimensions and with near limitless possibilities for the shapes of your transformation. For example, you can apply a 3D transformation to an object, turn it into a 3D spiral, and then rotate around and increase or decrease perspective for various styles.

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.


Original with 3D transformations (and a "live" effect) applied.
See below for more on live effects.

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.

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