The filters fall into three broad groups.
Static filters can be used (and stacked) to enhance the visual display effect of an object as it is rendered on screen. By using time-out loops you can also use them as animated effects by altering one property continuously.
The transitional filters control the change from one display to another, but can be used as static filters by freezing them at a fixed point in the transition.
The procedural filters calculate a surface according to a shading algorithm.
There are examples in the filter topics of how to use the latest variants of these filters. The older versions are now deprecated in favor of a new set and the examples have been omitted for the deprecated filters. In any case, they can all be implemented in terms of the new versions of the filters.
The major change took place at version 5.5 of MSIE and it is recommended that you use the latest filter set for any new projects.