What it does

How to Install

Controls

Five Effects

Hints

Versions

How to Purchase

Questions

 

SuperBladePro

 

What it does

SuperBladePro gives graphics a 3-D look by creating beveled edgesand surface textures. The effects can be subtle or stark, raisedor sunken. There are several kinds of bevels, textures, and mirrorlikereflections, and controls for light, gloss, iridescence, tarnish,glassiness, and more. It's a timesaving way to make touchable-lookingtext, web buttons, and special effects.

Super BladePro can use the preset files from the original BladePro.

 

How to install

Illustrated installation instructions are online.

To use this software, you need a paint program which accepts standard Photoshop 3.02 plugins.

Just put the plug-in filter into the folder where your paint programexpects to find it. If you have Photoshop, the folder is Photoshop:Plugins:Filters or Photoshop:Plug-ins. You must restartPhotoshop before it will notice the new plug-in. It will appearin the menus as Filters->Flaming Pear->SuperBladePro.

Most other paint programs follow a similar scheme.

If you have Paint Shop Pro: you have to create a new folder, putthe plug-in filter into it, and then tell PSP to look there.

PSP 6:

Choose the menu File-> Preferences->General Program Preferences...and choose the Plug-in Filters tab. Use one of the "Browse" buttonsto choose the folder that contains the plug-in.

The plugin is now installed. To use it, open any image and selectan area. From the menus, choose Image->Plug-in Filters-->FlamingPear->SuperBladePro.

PSP 7:

Choose the menu File-> Preferences-> File Locations... and choosethe Plug-in Filters tab. Use one of the "Browse" buttons to choosethe folder that contains the plug-in.

The plugin is now installed. To use it, open any image and selectan area. From the menus, choose Effects->Plug-in Filters->FlamingPear->SuperBladePro

PSP 8:

Choose the menu File-> Preferences-> File Locations... In thedialog box that appears, choose Plug-ins from the list. Click"Add", then click "Browse" and choose the folder that containsthe plug-in.

The plugin is now installed. To use it, open any image and selectan area. From the menus, choose Effects->Plugins->Flaming Pear->SuperBladePro.

 

Controls

When you invoke SuperBladePro, a dialog box will appear:





Quick start

  
Click the dice button a few times until you see something you like.

Click OK. The progress bar will appear, and then your selectionwill have a new 3-D look.

  



Bring the filter back and take a look at the controls. On leftare a popup menu and several sliders.

Shape: Choose the shape of the bevel from this popup menu. Choose fromstraight, curved, up-and-down, and doubled forms. The last shapeis a Gaussian bevel which produces a very smooth result at theexpense of some detail.

Radius: The width, in pixels, of the beveled edge. If this is more thanhalf the width of the widest partof the selection, no area willbe left unbeveled.

Height: Larger values here give the bevel a steeper appearance. Positivevalues cause the selection to rise out of its background, andnegative values make it sink in.

Smoothness: Larger values reduce the rippled appearance of the bevel. (Ifyou want the kind of smoothing found in earlier versions of BladePro,set Smoothness to zero.)

     

 

dice

 

 

bevel shapes

 



Texture specifies the amount of texturing, if any. Positive values makethe texture rise out of the bevel, negative ones make it sinkin.

Embossing makes the brightness of the underlying image influence the shape.

Gloss controls the shininess. Zero gives a chalky appearance; highernumbers are glossier.

Glare controls the size of the glossy highlight.

Reflection controls how much the selection reflects the Environment graphic.If you don't want any reflection at all, turn this slider downto zero.

Glassiness gives the selection a glassy rather than opaque appearance. Thecolor of the original image becomes the color of the glass.

Caustic, for glassy selections, this slider controls the brightness ofthe caustic highlight that appears opposite the light source.The tiny square just to the right of the slider lets you chooseprismatic or white caustics.

Iridescence controls the strength of iridescent coloration, and...

Iri colors controls the choice of colors.

Together, Caustic and Iridescence reproduce the effect that givessoap bubbles their colors: if light is reflected from two surfacesseparated by a very thin, transparent layer, interference colorswill appear.

Light angle controls are the two grey spheres. To change the placement of a light,drag the small blue dot to a new position. Best results come fromplacing the light somewhere in the upper half of the ball.

Spotlight sliders next to the light angle controls can produce uniform illuminationor a spotlight effect.

Color-buttons are for changing the lights' colors. If you want to turn a lightcompletely off, set its color to black.

 

 

 

plain bevel with gloss

reflection and texture

glassiness and prismatic caustics

iridescence

color button

 



The next column of controls has an assortment of buttons and picturesconcerned with texture and reflections.

Texture popup menu chooses the texture you want. The first item is 'no texture';the next eleven items are built-in textures; and the last itemis the custom texture.

You can use any greyscale BMP file as a custom texture. To dothis, select the custom texture item from the popup menu, anduse the file browser you'll then see to choose a picture. SuperBladeProwill load the picture and use it as a texture.

The texturegraphicis just below. Clicking on it is another way you can load a newtexture file, and you can reposition the texture by dragging itwith the mouse.

Texture files are "height fields" and describe the shape of asurface: black is low, white is high, grey is in between. SuperBladeProcomes with several texture files in its 'environments and textures' folder, and you can make your own. They can be as large as 256by 256 pixels (larger ones will be squeezed to fit) and the rightedge should wrap seamlessly around to the left, and the top tothe bottom.

The texture zoom sliderisright below the texture graphic. It lets you scale the textureup or down by a factor of 16.

Next is the environment graphic: When Reflection is on, Blade will produce mirrorlike reflectionsof the environment graphic. Just click on the graphic and youcan load any BMP file as an environment. You can find severalsamples in the 'environments and textures' folder that came withSuperBladePro.

If you don't want your selection to be reflective, turn the reflectionslider down to zero.

Some of the example environments, like 'gold', appear to containtheir own light source coming from the top left. If that conflictswith your design plan, you can spin the environment with - amazinglyenough - the environment spinner button, so that it better matchesthe rest of the lighting. This button is the one with the littlecurly arrow on it.

 

texture popup

texture graphic

texture zoom

environment graphic with spinner button




Dice randomize the settings. Click it as much as you want to see differenteffects.

Glue mode lets you combine the sun with the underlying image in variousways. Modes other than "normal" produce special effects.

Plus % and minus buttons: if the selected image area is larger than the preview are, thesebuttons will let you zoom in and out . You can also repositionthe preview by dragging it around; your cursor will turn intoa hand.

Auto Preview makes the preview update automatically whenever you move anycontrol. Turn it off if you want to save time.

Load preset: SuperBladePro comes with some presets, which are files containingsettings. To load one, click this button and browse for a presetfile.

Save preset: When you make an effect you like, click this button to save thesettings in a file. 

Important: The presets expect their texture and environment files to bein the 'environments and textures' folder. If presets fail toload properly, SuperBladePro will ask you where that folder is.The Installation section of this guide explains in more detail.

 

dice

  

glue mode

Load preset (top)
andsave preset

 
Manage presets lets you do three things:

- If you have a folder full of presets from original BladePro, you can automatically turn them into SuperBladePro presets containing previews.

- You can make a web page showing all your texture and environment images.

- You can make a web page that displays all the presets' previews, and lists which environment and texture files they use.

 

manage presets

 




At the bottom of the screen are some more controls.

SuperBladePro can simulate water stains. This uses four sliders:

Rain is the amount of water falling from the top of the selection.

Evaporation sets the rate at which water evaporates. If evaporation is greaterthan rain, waterstains may only appear near wrinkles in the surface.

Diffusion controls the horozontal spread of the water

Wandermakes water wander over flat areas instead of falling straightdown.

There are two rain color buttons. As rain becomes heavier, the color changes from the first colorto the second.

There is a wet/dry checkbox which controls whether the rain acts like opaque paint or transparentdye.

 

 
 

hubcap with rain

more evaporation

less diffusion

less wander

wet rain

 



The remaining controls produce a weathered or damaged appearance.

 

Dust makes dull powder appear on upward-facing surfaces.

Grit puts high-frequency noise in the texture.

Tarnish puts dull, matte color in the concave parts of the surface. Thecolor-button just to the right of the slider lets you change thetarnish color.

Abrasion is similar to Tarnish, but it puts dirt on convex areas.

Moss places moss-like matter on upward-facing surfaces.

Moss has two color buttons: one for the moss itself, one for the underlying soil.

Leakinessmakes the moss leak water, and makes the blotches soak it theresulting stains.

Blotchesgrows lichen-like blobs. Blotches have color, scale, and coveragecontrols.

Blotch Size makes the blotches bigger or smaller.

The random seed nearby changes the detail of the blotches. You can click it repeatedlyuntil you see the effect you like.

 

dust and grit

green tarnish & red abrasion

moss

blotches

 

random seed

 





Other controls

 
Dice Randomizes the settings. Click it as much as you want to see different effects.

Glue mode popup menu Lets you combine the result with the underlying image in various ways. Modes other than "normal" produce special effects. The next-glue button advances to the next glue mode.

Plus,% and minus buttons: If the selected image area is larger than the previeware, these buttons will let you zoom in and out. You can alsoreposition the preview by dragging it around; your cursor willturn into a hand.

Auto Preview When this box is checked, the preview automatically updates wheneveryou move any control. Turn it off if you want to save time.

Load preset SuperBladePro comes with some presets, which are files containingsettings. To load one, click this button and browse for a presetfile. A small preview of the effect appears in the file chooser.

SuperBladePro can load the presets from original BladePro, butcan only save in the new SuperBladePro format with a graphic preview.

Save preset When you make an effect you like, click this button to save thesettings in a file.  Settings are always saved with small previews.

Undo backs up one step.

Simple Bevel produces a plain effect suitable for making buttons.

 

Three more buttons:

OK  Applies the effect to your image.

Cancel  Dismisses the filter, and leaves the image unchanged.

Register Allows you to type in a registration code.

 

dice

next glue

load preset (top)
and save preset

undo

 

simple bevel

 



Five effects you can try

1. A web button

 More tutorials...
 
Suppose you want to make a web button that has the word "Go" onit.

In your paint program, paint an area in some neutral color. Withyour text tool, make the word "Go" in green.

Using your favorite selection tool, with antialiasing turned on,select a a button-shaped area around the word.

Bring up SuperBladePro. Click the Load button (it looks like aCD with a blue triangle pointing from it) . Navigate to your 'environmentsand textures' folder and open the preset called 'button, basic'.

After the preset loads, the preview should show your button witha basic bevel effect.

Play with the controls. The Radius control changes the width ofthe bevel. The Shape, Height, and Texture controls, in particular,let you make the most useful changes.

Click OK. There's your button.

For a more sophisticated effect, make a button as above but withoutthe word "Go". Instead, make a blank button. Then, in a new layer,make a selection in the shape of the word "Go" and use SuperBladeProto make the word look like gold; use the preset called called'gold, basic'. Last, settle the word "Go" on the button by givingit a drop shadow.

 
 


2. A ruby

  
Make a selection with some straight sides and fill it with ruby-red.Bring up SuperBladePro and decide how you want your ruby to look.

Adjust the Shape and Radius and Height to produce a shape withsome internal edges in it.

Rubies are glassy, so set Glassiness to about 90. You want itto appear sparkly and reflective, so set Gloss to about 50, Glareto 50, Reflection to 75. Choose an environment with flatteringcolors in it: 'Rum' is nice.

To increase sparkle further, turn Caustic up to 60 to producea highlight away from the light. Even better, use both light sources:move the second one to about the 2 o'clock position, and set itscolor to creamy-yellow.

Introduce more variety of color by turning Iridescence to about15 and putting the Iri Colors slider somewhere in a pink-and-yellowregion.

Subtle texture will make your ruby look best. Click the texturegraphic and load the texture file called 'ripples2'. Set the Textureslider to something between 10 and 30, and experiment with theTexture Zoom until you like the result.

Click OK. There's your ruby.

 
 


3. A glassy logo 

  
Use your text tool to write a word in 50% gray, using a large,husky font - say, Gill Sans Bold at 100 pt.

Make sure the text is selected, and call up SuperBladePro. Loadthe 'rainbow glass' preset. The word should now appear as glasswith a bright rainbow caustic.

Play with the controls. Try a white caustic, or a different environment,or a different degree of glassiness or reflectivity.

Click OK if you like the effect.

 

If you want to experiment with colored glass, cancel out of thefilter, and use your paint tools to paint each letter a differentcolor. Moderately saturated tones at about half of full brightnesswork best. Then go back into the filter and see how the coloredglass looks.

 
 


4. Tarnished metal

  
Select a region of your image, and call up SuperBladePro.

Load the preset called 'old copper'. The important elements hereare 100% reflection of a coppery environment, a wavy texture,some pale green tarnish like corroded copper, and a light sourceat the upper left, which matches the light in the environmentmap.

If the real light and the light in the environment don't match,the tarnish will look wrong. If you want, try moving the lightsource and spinning the environment to see how they need to bein sync.

The tarnish collects in the concave parts of the surface, so itwill react to the scale and height of the texture, as well asthe crevices in some of the bevel shapes. Try changing those settingsand the tarnish amount and color to see how they interact.

Try some other combinations: the environment 'city' with blacktarnish looks like dirty silver. The 'dull steel' environmentwith brick-red tarnish looks like rust; strange tarnish colorslike magenta give a surreal effect.

Good textures to use with tarnish are 'scales', 'pits', 'crackle',and 'dimples'. And try the preset called 'my tailpipe' to seea oxidized metal effect that uses tarnish and iridescence together.

 
 


5. Iridescent surfaces

  
Select a part of your image, and call up SuperBladePro, and loadthe preset called 'ski goggles 1'.

The selection reflects a nearly colorless environment, but theiridescence adds plenty of color to the result. The Iridescenceslider controls the strength of the added color, and the Iri Colorsslider decides the range of possible hues.

The final outcome of colors will react to the shape of the beveland the strength of the texture, so try changing those settingsto get a feel for how the colors change. Basically, the more stronglysloped the surface gets, the wider variety of colors it will have.

The Iri Colors slider produces assorted effects. At zero, iridescencedisappears. At very small values, about 7, surfaces become dullbrown, like slightly oxidized metal. At 12, you have an anti-reflectivecoating. Soap bubbles are about 25, and higher values give thehues you see in ski goggles and sunglasses.

Adding a very small amount of iridescence can create attractivevariation in hue in any effect. Check out the preset 'my tailpipe'and change its iridescence settings to see what's possible.

 
 


Hints

  
Selections with an antialiased edge will yield vastly better resultsthan ones with hard edges. Most paint programs have an optionto create an antialiased edge for text-shaped and freehand selections.

If you find that the textures look grainy, try setting your monitorto 24-bit (millions of colors) mode rather than 16-bit (thousandsof colors) mode.

The environment and texture graphics can be any BMP file at all,and you can use your paint software to make your own. Includedwith SuperBladePro are...

Thirty-two environments

2am
bronze sunset
cheap gold
city
copper
Curacao
driftwood
dull steel
glitter
gold
hillside
island
la-la land
puffy
red copper
road
rum
sea & sky
tinsel
watery
white chrome
winter
big city
canal
chinarock
cove
empire
greenstairs
lumphini
samui
victoria sky
zwolle

Eighteen textures

burrs
cow
crackle
crumples
dendrites
dimples
fibrous
grass
lumps
pits
plaster
ringlets
ripples2
ruffles
scales
silk
tumor
turbulence

You can use the preset management feature to keep track of your enviroments and textures.

Free SuperBladePro tutorials are available online.: http://www.flamingpear.com/download.html .

Several Extra Texture Packs are available for free too.

If you want to make your own metal environments, it aids realismto make the bright parts slightly bluer and the dark parts slightlyredder than your base hue.

If you want to produce a scene with shiny objects in front of some backdrop, you can use a small (64x64 pixels or so) version of the backdrop as your environment map. This way the shiny objects will match their background. There's an example of this online.

Constructing a 3-D shape from a selection's edge results in aslightly ripply surface, so reflections tend to have fine striationsin them. For that reason, the best results come from environmentswith contrasty ramps of color and a bare minimum of detail. Takea look at the included samples to get an idea.

You can use bevels with a small radius and negative height tocreate a chiseled edge.

SuperBladePro can be used purely as a texture generator; justset Bevel Height to zero, and reduce Radius to the minimum. Trythis using the texture 'dimples' and some tarnish.

You can make your own textures: dark areas are low, bright areasare high. Try this recipe:

Find an interesting piece of a some image.
Use the cloning brush to make a roughly square, roughly homogenouschunk
Gaussian Blur by about 0.5 pixels
Adjust->Auto Levels
Use the highpass filter on it, radius 4 to 8 pixels
Adjust->Auto Levels again
Wrap the edges of the selection to make a seamless tile.

Try inverting the grey values of the whole image. If the picturebecomes generally darker, then use the inverted picture. Thatway, positive settings of the texture slider will produce bumps,and negative settings pits.

  



Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to troubleshooting questions appear online at http://www.flamingpear.com/faq.html.

More presets and tutorials appear here and here.

You can check for new releases of the filter at www.flamingpear.com . Andif you have ideas for improvements, or commentary, or questions,please email support@flamingpear.com.

 



Version History

Version 1.42 October 2004

Faster. Does not forget settings when used with Paint Shop Pro 9.

Version 1.4 July 2004

Works with 16-bit-per-component color.

Version 1.3a June 2004

Fixes incorrect results with floating selections in PSP8.

Version 1.3 April 2004

Adds dozens of new glue modes.

Version 1.2 December 2003

Recordable as a Photoshop action.

Version 1.1 September 2003

Adds the preset-management feature. Changes the behavior of zoomed-out selections in PSP8 again.

Version 1.09a July 2003

Makes the big previews work more reliably. Fixes the numeric display of the texture-zoom slider in the Mac OS X version.

Version 1.09 April 2003

Adds bigger previews in the preset browser. Adds a button for automatically updating a whole folder of presets.

Version 1.08 April 2003

Fixes the appearance of zoomed-out views in Paint Shop Pro 8 .

Version 1.07 December 2002

Fixes the appearance of text in the interface when running underMac OS X 10.2.3 .

Version 1.06 April 2002

Fixes a bug in the both the Windows and Macintosh versions whereloading presets would sometimes cause spurious error messages.

Version 1.04 August 2001

Fixes yet a third bug in the Macintosh version where presets wouldsometimes not load their texture and environment files. This versionis PowerPC only.

Version 1.02 September 2000

Fixes another bug in the Macintosh version where presets wouldsometimes not load their texture and environment files.

Version 1.01 September 2000

Fixes a bug in the Macintosh version where presets would sometimesnot load their texture and environment files.

Version 1.0 September 2000

The first public release.

Novel features include water stains, blotches, abrasion, spotlighting, dust, grit, embossing, moss, and smooth Gaussian bevels. The Windows version will operate correctly even if Windows is installed on a drive other than C:.

 

 



How to Purchase

You can place an order online here . A secure server for transactions is available.

 

Questions

Answers to common technical questions appear on the support page , and free upgrades appear periodically on the download page .

Trouble with your order? Orders are handled by Kagi ; please contact admin@kagi.com .

For bug reports and technical questions about the software, pleasewrite to support@flamingpear.com .