Makes one think…

I have followed the recommendation of a colleague and bought Filter Forge. And so, here I am wondering about quite a few little things:

I have been sitting in front of this for the whole weekend now and I am still finding it hard to tear myself away. Not that I don’t know my photoshop plugins backwards and forwards but this one is really something else. What differentiates it from others is that these people have created a procedural interface through which you can create your own filters, which has generated a community of filter developers who upload their output onto an online library. Obviously I am nowhere near figuring out how this procedural thingy works yet, so I am containing my enthusiasm to creating new presets based upon the existing filters which I have been downloading from the site.

The computer is creating its own particular kind of craftsmanship. So, what are the new criteria? How do we assess competency for God’s sakes? Sorry, scrap that thought – how do we even assess ownership?

I decided that I would save some of these as jpegs and keep them handy to look at later, since I tend to forget what something looks like in action just by its name or that little thumbnail – and there are literally hundreds and hundreds of these things over there, and it would be really easy to become confused… So, here I used a modest little photo which Xia took for her famous photosphere tutorial. Just applied filters from the “Creative” category of the library. With some I did create presets of my own by sliding back and forth some sliders and tweaking a color here and there. However, some I really didn’t even bother modifiying – the original is so drop dead gorgeous to begin with – “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, being as good a motto as any, if you ask me. There are a few here, but there are others on Flickr as well, if you want to take look there.

The original image

Plastikono by Dragan Stiglic

Generate Grunge by ronviers

Dirty Coal by Domingo Aquino

Crumpled by Carl

Acid Flux by Sphinxmorpher

So, if I were to apply these to some silly assed photograph or other, got me some nice large sized printouts from that and sold them as my “artwork” – what kind of a jerk would I end up being? Would that not be plagiarism par excellence? But then again, one could say that I was the one who decided on the photo here (the filters tend to work better on things with big empty areas I found) and I was also the one who decided which filter to apply? But really… Is that enough to make me the creative agent here?

Other important question: What kind of a generous human being is it that “creates” one of these beauties and then just puts it there for all and sundry to plunder?

I am just totally totally gobsmacked! Totally…

(Oh and, this is just the creative category, mind you. There are all these textures that people put in there – simply to die for!)

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