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Filter Forge is a plug-in for Photoshop that helps you create unique filters and effects inside the image-editing program. There's also a Filter Forge community that has contributed more than 8,000 of its own free filters, which you can use and modify.
Now the Filter Forge developers are releasing a beta of version 3.0. If you're the adventurous type, you can download the beta and try out its new features.
Download the Mac version of the Filter Forge 3.0 Beta (85.2 MB)
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Did you know that the ring flash, a circular flash that fits around a camera lens, was invented in 1952 for dental photography? Nowadays, it's a great way to add even lighting to all sorts of photographic situations where unwanted shadows might be a problem.
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The software that began life as iView MediaPro was bought by Microsoft in 2006 and had its name changed to Expression Media. Its star didn't rise high in the pro photography sky, and last year Microsoft sold the app to photo equipment company Phase One. Now Phase One has made some changes of its own, rebranding the app as Media Pro.
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CreativeLive is a company that, while based in Seattle, has become very successful at educating creative folks around the world. Their workshops, often one to three days long, are broadcast for free over the Internet. CreativeLive makes money by selling recordings of the videos after the fact.
Just about any CreativeLive workshop is worth the time if it matches your interest, but one in particular that caught my eye is called "Beyond Photography - Artistic Post Production with Doug Landreth". It will be broadcast one June 10 and 11, 2011.
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Many years ago, when I was first scrambling for a foothold in the publishing industry, I was a customer service rep for the oh-so-stylish Chronicle Books. Answering phones all day was boring, but it was balanced by the best perk ever for a lover of design and print: We could take home any of the products.
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AIGA members can look forward to six free webinars as part of a series called "Breakthroughs: Where Inspiration and Technology Meet." The series is offered in conjunction with Adobe, so not surprisingly, there's a heavy focus on how technology is used in today's design studios.
The webinars begin in May and run through November 2011:
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UI Sketcher from Box UK isn't just another sketching app for the iPad. It's based on principles followed by user interface experts and includes tools to help you quickly capture your initial thoughts in sketches, then develop those ideas into UI mock-ups you can share with colleagues and clients.
UI Sketcher's pen palette, which you summon with a three-finger tap on the iPad, holds five drawing tools:

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Pantone has taken the wraps off of a nylon brights collection for Pantone Fashion + Home. The $99.95 collection includes 21 fluorescent shades in a nylon material:

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If your photo image-editing needs aren't of the professional variety, Akvis ArtSuite might be of interest. This software ($49 as a Photoshop plug-in and $69 as a standalone app) is ideal for adding frames and other effects t0 images destined for postcards, calendars, scrapbooks, etc.
Version 7.0 is the first version of Akvis ArtSuite to accept photos shot in the RAW format. It also adds 105 new patterns to the app's Pattern Library, and 75 new sports-themed frames (available only in the standalone version)
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The $700 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 is a small, lightweight micro four-thirds camera, yet it has many features that you expect to find in a traditional digital SLR:
- An external Mode dial. Settings include Program, Shutter and Aperture Priority, Manual, Custom Modes, Scene Modes, and a Creative Control Mode.
- Built-in flash and hotshoe for connecting external flashes.
- Electronic viewfinder with 100% field of view

The 16MP Lumix G3 also includes the following:
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