Price: £149.99 inc VAT
Company: Laurence King
Procreate KPT Effects is a smorgasbord of creative plug-ins pitched at designers looking to push the pixel envelope of photographic effects. Nine Photoshop-compatible filters are combined to offer a varied bag of effects. At first glance, KPT Effects is an uncomfortable mixture. Several of the filters pander to the experimental artist, creating fantastical flame designs or four-dimensional warps, while others deliver blur controls to the nth degree. The result is a collection of tools where some will be used daily while others, such as turning images into a smeary liquid, will only be deployed rarely. KPT Effects is Procreate’s upgrade to the immensely popular KPT Effects 6 – and has a cult following among Photoshop users. Historically, the package has been excellent at offering a collection of plug-ins that let designers create otherwise unobtainable effects, and that tradition has been carried over to this release to a large extent. Bizarre tools include Fluid, Ink Dropper, and FraxFlame II. Fluid treats the image as if it’s floating in a pool of liquid, letting designers smear and swirl the liquid and then watching as the image continues to organically distort. Ink Dropper is a variation on the theme, dripping splashes of ink onto the canvas. The result is as if ink was dropped into a pool of water, forming inky spots or curling smoke. FraxFlame II, on the other hand, uses complex mathematics to spawn fibrous strands. At the other end of the scale are more useful tools such as Channel Surfing, Gradient Lab, and Lightning. Channel Surfing enhances blur, sharpen, and contrast effects – with designers able to assign them to different channels such as hue and luminance. Gradient Lab provides a comprehensive array of controls for creating gradients and blends. Tools include multiple layers, mirroring, and directional options. Lightning is another straightforward filter, shooting plasma bolts across images. Designers can adjust the start position and attractor, govern age, bolt density, and so on. Warp and sprinkle Finally, three general-purpose tools round out the collection; Hyper Tiling, Pyramid Paint, and Scatter. Hyper Tiling creates warped tiles, where the image is continually remapped as a tiled vortex, but with added controls for pseudo 3D effects. Pyramid Paint is impressive, transforming photos into painterly artwork, with lots of alternative effects possible. Scatter sprinkles object particles over the canvas according to defined particle properties. KPT Effects does benefit from some engine tuning. An enhanced colour picker debuts, as does improved accuracy – most variables can be entered numerically rather than relying on imprecise sliders. Preferences can also be applied to all filters at once. However, it can be as slow as a car with square wheels, even on a powerful workstation, and large preview windows just add to its lethargy. And while the Fluid filter can save animations, it can’t do it in reverse for an image that forms from a chaotic swirl of liquid. As with any collection, taste plays a part, and if you have a desire to create any of these effects on a regular basis, the entry cost is worth it. This is still someway from the seminal KPT Effect 5, but Procreate has produced a filter set that maintains its legacy.