Filters Unlimited

This is a program I got some time back to handle all my the many, many filters available to be used in Paint Shop Pro.  It doesn't handle all of them - just the ones made with filter factory but there are al lot of them out there.  It's fairly simple to use, you install it and and then forget it.  You can import filter factory plugins by pointing the importer to the folder the plugins are in and then just delete the individual filters and never have to install them again.  I simply back up my PSP plugins folder once in a while and when I format and reinstall the system, I install PSP and copy the plugins folder back to PSP.  All of my filters are in the database and it takes a lot less time to do that than to unzip thirty plugin folder files.

It doesn't make any difference if you know a filter factory plugin/filters from any other - if you get an error, you will be prompted that the filters are not valid filter factory filters and that they can't be installed.

This is how I do it:
Three years ago, I installed FiltersUnlimited directly into my PSP/Plugins folder.  It is then listed in the PSP plugins list.

When I download any of the many, many free plug-in filters that people have so generously shared with all of us for no charge, the first thing I do is open the zip and see if any of the files have the file name extension "8bf".  If they are that extension, I unzip them to a temp folder and fire up PSP, open an image so I can get to Filters Unlimited and click on the 'Import' button at the bottom of the window.  Next, I set the path for the temp folder, highlight all of the 8bf files and click open.

If the filters aren't valid filter factory plugins, you get this error and you have to move the filters from the temp folder into the PSP/plugins folder;  but if they are valid, they will be added to the Filters Unlimited database.

The set name identifying the name of the set of filters will appear in the left had column and when you click on it, you will see the individual filters listed in the right had column with the possible slide control settings listed to the right side.  Now you might ask, 'what good is that?'.  The answers are simple;  number 1 is that it shortens the extremely long list of plugins in the PSP plugins list widow;  number two is that the filters are faster to shuffle through.  Instead of opening each different  set, you simply click on the set you want to try out and then click on the top listed filter in the set and you can use the keyboard cursor keys to step though each filter and watch what it does as you go instead of having to individually open each one.  If one catches your eye, the slide controls are right there.

Oh, but there is one thing I didn't even notice until a few days ago.  If you DO want to sort your filters individually, all you have to do is create individual databases by clicking on Database/New.
  A window will pop up for you to name the database  and you can type in the name of the person who created the set.  Then you click ok and that database opens so you can import that persons' filters into it.  After that, it's just a matter of opening the database you want to use.  If I had read the 'how to', I might have set mine up that way but I look at it with all of them so handy in the same database and - I don't know - I don't have to guess about what is where this way!

Now,  I spent an otherwise quiet afternoon examining Filters Unlimited and checking each filter with the idea of deleting the ones I didn't like, but quickly got caught up in wondering how many stand-alone images I could get out of one tube.  I chose this rose tube

and started with the bottom set in the list and worked my way through each and every filter in the database without touching a single slide control, just looking at the default settings and came up with 53 variations that I would call a stand-alone image.
Stand-alone image:  one that has enough character to stand alone without any help from other images.
Take a peek at what I got and please . . . . . . .

pick a rose for yourself!

Filters Unlimited is no longer shareware like when I got it;  they still have a demo available that will let you look and browse through but it will no longer apply the filters to the image.  The software is going for 40.00 but in my opinion is well worth the price.  I've just copied mine back into the system so many times that I would no longer know how it installs.

Article by CSGreen

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