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Plugin Guide #1 - Harry's Filters

by Harald Heim

 

Harry's Filters is a widely known freeware plugin. It has been downloaded more than a million times since its first release in 1997. Initially it was called VideoRave - that name is still used in some old tutorials on the web - and only featured a few filter plugins. With Version 3 it has grown to a collection of 69 filters combined into a single plugin.

The effects are sorted into 9 groups (Color, Artistic, Gradients, Patterns, Warp, Noise, En-/Decrypt, Other and Nature), which can be selected from the Group drop down box at the top of the dialog. Depending on the selected group, the second FX drop down box includes the appropriate effects.

Each effect has up to 8 sliders. When dragging a slider, the preview only updates after releasing the slider knob. If you hold down the Shift key or activate the "Instant Preview" check box, the preview updates while the slider is dragged.

Two sliders that are available for each effect are the Brightness and Blending sliders. The Brightness slider lets you adjust the brightness of the whole image, which can be useful, if one of the filters produces a relatively dark result. The Blending feature offers 20 blending modes (like Multiply, Overlay and Soft Light), which are also offered by most graphics application. But Version 3 also offers some less known blending modes. The default setting for this feature is "Normal" at a slider value of 255. Other settings gradually blend the produced effect with the original image. So this feature can be used to weaken the filter effect or to produce even more special effects.

The animation feature sets Harry's Filters 3 apart from other freeware plugins. If you push the Play button, the slider knobs will run around in a random fashion and the preview will show the animation that results from these random values. If you see a nice effect, you can push the Stop button and use that effect. If the animation runs too fast, you can choose between 5 animation speeds from "Slower" to "Faster". Another drop down box lets you set the frame rate of the animation. It is best to keep the "Auto f/s" option, because it will automatically adjust the frame rate to the speed of your processor.

Harry's Filters offers several effects of the wild'n'crazy type, which should only be used for special purposes. Nevertheless there are some every-day effects for enhancing photos, which will be demonstrated here. Variations and enhanced versions of some Harry's Filters effects can be found in the commercial Plugin Galaxy product from The Plugin Site.


Below are tutorials that demonstrate how to achieve three photographic effects with Harry's Filters. You can download the .hfp presets of these effects here:

HarrysFiltersPresets.zip


Please unzip this file into the presets sub folder inside your Harry's Filters folder.

 Info & Download
 www.thepluginsite.com
  
 Installation
 If you use an Adobe application, you have to choose the Plug-Ins sub folder inside your application's installation folder on the "Choose Destination Location" screen of the Harry's Filters 3 setup. If you use Paint Shop Pro, PhotoImpact or Photo-Paint, you can install Harry's Filters wherever you like. Afterwards you have to select that folder in the Preferences dialog of your application. After restarting your application, you can find Harry's Filters on the "The Plugin Site" sub menu of the Filter or Effect menu. For detailed information on installing plugins see here.
  
 Tip 1
 

Harry's Filters offers buttons for opening and saving filter settings. After clicking the Open button you will find 120 presets that are delivered with Harry's Filters.

  
 Tip 2
 After pressing Play you can interactively influence the animation by choosing another effect, dragging a slider, pressing Jump or even changing the animation speed.
  

 

Polarizer
01 Open An Image
Open a photo that contains a bright blue sky. The Polarizer effect won't work very well on indoor or portrait photos, unless there is a large area that is light blue.
02 Run Harry's Filters
Run Harry's Filters and select "Artistic" and "YUV Intensify" from the Group and FX boxes. Set the sliders to the following values: RedV to 255, GreenV to 128, BlueV to 0, RedU and GreenU to 255, BlueU to zero, -/+Y to 128 and Strength to 15.
03 Try Variations And Apply
You may need to adjust the mentioned slider values to fit your specific image better. Activate the "Instant Preview" check box and slightly change some sliders. If you are satisfied with the effect, click on the OK button.
 
Night Color
01 Open An Image
You can use any other photo that was taken at night and contains city lights.
02 Run Harry's Filters
Run Harry's Filters and choose "Artistic" and "Atmospherizer" from the Group and FX boxes. Set the sliders to the following values: Red and Green to 100, Blue to 60, Red Mode to 95, Green Mode to 40, Blue Mode to 154, Invert to 0, Intensity to 116 and Blend feature to "Normal" and 128.
03 Try Variations And Apply
Try slightly adjusting the sliders to get effect variations. If the effect is too bold, you can decrease the Blend slider even more. You can also use the Brightness slider to brighten up the image. Finally press the OK button to apply the effect.
 
Golden Summer
01 Open An Image
Open a photo that contains some red, orange or yellow colors. The Golden Summer effect will add a gold touch to these colors. If you apply it to a portrait, the skin of that person will turn to gold, which may look interesting.
02 Run Harry's Filters
Run Harry's Filters and select "Artistic" and "YUV Intensify" from the Group and FX boxes. Set the sliders to the following values: RedV and GreenV to 255, BlueV to 0, RedU to 255, GreenU to 196, BlueU to 128, -/+Y to 0, Strength to 40, Brightness to -30 and choose "Screen" for the blend feature.
03 Try Variations And Apply
If this effect is too extreme for you, you can weaken it with the Strength slider. Additionally the Brightness slider lets you balance the effect even more. To adjust the color use the RedU, GreenU and BlueU sliders. Finally press the OK button.

 

This article was published in Issue 24 of the Digital Photo Effects Magazine. It was updated for The Plugin Site in December 2005.

 

Copyright (c) 2000 - 2009 by Harald Heim