Tag Archives: Plug-ins

Review: Red Giant’s Trapcode Suite 13, Part 1

By Brady Betzel

Have you ever watched a commercial on YouTube and thought, how in the world do these companies have the budget for the VFX and motion graphics work featured? Well, many don’t, but they do have access to talented artists with access to affordable tools that bring pricey looks. Most motion graphics creators have a toolbox full of goodies that help them build great-looking products. Whether it’s preset transitions, graphic overlays or plugins — there are ways to incorporate high-production value without the million-dollar price tag.

Particular

One of those tools that many Adobe After Effects motion graphics artists have in their toolbox is Red Giant’s Trapcode Suite, which is currently in version 13. While it isn’t cheap, if you are focused on that style of motion graphics, it can definitely pay for itself after just a few jobs. Inside the suite are magical plug-ins like the famous Trapcode Particular, Trapcode Form, Trapcode Mir, Trapcode Tao, Trapcode Shine, Trapcode Lux, Trapcode 3D Stroke, Trapcode Echospace, Trapcode Starglow, Trapcode Sound Keys and Trapcode Horizon. Holy cow, that is a lot.

The complete Trapcode Suite 13 works with After Effects (CS6 through CC 2015 officially, including the latest 2015.3 update, just make sure to download the update installer from Red Giant since it might not appear in your Red Giant Link updater), as well as a couple like Shine, 3D Stroke and Starglow that will also work in Adobe Premiere (the same version compatibility as After Effects). A good resource to get your feet wet is on the Red Giant tutorial page where you can find a lot of info and in-depth tutorials from the likes of the master Harry Frank (@graymachine) and Chad Perkins (@chad_perkins).

That being said, if you have no idea what the Trapcode Suite entails, buckle up. It is one of the most useful but intricate plug-ins you will see with a $999 price tag to match ($199 if you are upgrading). Of course, you can pick and choose the product you want, such as Shine for $99 or even Particular for $399, but the entire suite is worth the investment.

Particular

Particular

As an editor, I spend the majority of my time inside of a nonlinear editor like Adobe Premiere or Avid Media Composer/Symphony — probably 80 percent if I had to estimate, the other 20 percent is divided between color correction solutions and VFX/graphics packages like After Effects, Blackmagic Resolve, and others. Because I don’t get a lot of time to play around creatively, I really need to know the suite I am working in and be as efficient as possible. For instance, products like Mocha Pro, Keylight in After Effects and Red Giant’s Trapcode Suite 13 are enhancers that help me be as efficient as I can be as an editor without sacrificing quality for time.

In the latest Trapcode Suite 13 update, Trapcode Particular 2.5 seems to have been updated the most while Trapcode Tao is a new addition to the suite, and the rest were given modest enhancements as well. I will try to touch on each of the products so this will be a two-part review.

Particular
Trapcode Particular is one of the plug-ins that most After Effects nerds/aficionados/experts have encountered. If you have been a little wary and intimidated of Particular because of its complexity, now is the time to dive into using Red Giant’s incredible particle building system. In the 2.5 update, Red Giant added the Effects Builder, which seems to resemble the Magic Bullet Looks builder a little, and I love that. Like I said earlier I don’t typically have eight hours to creatively throw darts at a particle system in hopes of creating a solar system fly-through.

Luckily, the new Effect Builder allows you to easily create your particle system and be emitting (or exploding) in minutes. While it isn’t “easy,” per se, to create a particle system like those featured on Trapcode creator Peder Norrby’s (@trapcode_lab) website, the Effects Builder, along with some tutorial watching (mixed with some patience and love) will send you down a Trapcode rabbit hole that will allow you to create some of the most stunning artwork I’ve seen created in After Effects. Don’t give up if you find it overwhelming, because this is one of those plug-ins that will make you money if you can grasp it. One thing I did notice was the Effects Builder interface was tiny and did not scale with the resolution I was using on my system (2560×1440), but After Effects appeared fine.

If you are an experienced user of Trapcode Particular you should be happier with the updated graphing system that lets you set size and opacity over the life of your particle by directly drawing points on your graph, smoothing, deleting and even randomizing. I really loved using this graph. I immediately saw results that mimic using color curves against an RGB Parade and Waveform on a color scope. Particular has also bumped its particle count up from 20 to 30 million, which will matter to someone creating fireworks back plates for the Fourth of July, I’m sure.

Shine

Shine

Shine
Second on my Trapcode Suite 13 hit list is Trapcode Shine, which might not be the most obviously glamorous update to many people, but still has its merits. The largest update is the ability to attach Shine to After Effects light sources easily. Before you would have to do some fancy footwork that most editors don’t have the time or interest in doing, but as long as your light is named “Shine,” with proper spelling and capitalization, your light now controls the light rays produced by the Shine plug-in.

One thing that most After Effects users know to be a staple is the use of Fractal Noise. Whether you are trying to replicate light rays with realistic and organic effects or a fancy text reveal where you use a Fractal Noise mask as your transition, Fractal Noise is a must use effect. Trapcode Shine has Fractal Noise built into the plug-in now, including the use of 3D fractal noise to create a type of parallax within your light ray work. Simply, parallax is the way the foreground moves in relation to the background. Think of a camera on a slider as it moves from left to right your foreground might stay in relatively same position while the background moves much more — this is your parallax.

One thing that you will always use when applying Fractal Noise is animating the Evolution to add realism. Plus, adding the script “*time” to multiply the evolution factor is an easy way to move the fractal noise along its path. Shine has an “Evolution Speed” under the Fractal Noise heading that allows you to easily adjust the evolution without any scripting (I love this!). Being able to quickly add fractal noise into your light rays really improves my efficiency when a client asks for “that fancy text with those light rays poking through,” but wants to pay exactly zero dollars and zero cents.

Lux and Starglow
Trapcode Lux and Starglow are some other light-focused plug-ins that can add that subtle or dramatic detail to your work setting you apart from the rest of the general motion graphics population. Lux is a fast and easy way to add volumetric drama to point and spotlights. Much like the other plug-inStarglows, you need to apply Lux to a new solid, adjust the specific parameters for the spot or point lights in your composition and, my favorite part, tell Lux if you want to apply to lights named anything, “Lux,” “Front” or “Back.”

Simply, instead of just seeing the emanating light from an After Effects light source, you will now see the physical light source when Lux is added. Lux really shows its power when you need to add a light source to something like an after burner on a jet or the tip of a comet-like fireball. Adding physical light points so easily really opened up my way of thinking. It’s a relatively small feature, but it’s similar to knowing how to do something, but also knowing it takes four hours to accomplish it, so because of diminishing returns you just move along. Now I can do that same thing in little to no time and add that finishing touch easily. This makes me more money and makes the client more confident.

Trapcode Starglow is a small-yet-powerful plug-in that gives life-like glow to bright objects. Think of the star or cross-hatch streaks that can appear on stars or street lights in TV shows and movies. Included in all of the Trapcode Suite are presets, and Starglow is no different with 49 presets, each containing various ray length, color, ray direction and more — all of which are the starting points I like to use when figuring out just what type of Starglow I want to go with.

So far, I’ve covered four of 11 plug-ins contained in the Trapcode Suite 13, all of which are amazing and full of ideas that will undoubtedly elevate your work to a higher level. Something I have noticed over the last few years is a lot of amazing work that comes from those using After Effects; most of it, though, has the scent of a preset and/or tutorial that someone watched, duplicated and exported for their display. One tip that will overstep that ordinary look is to double- and triple-stack effects (in particular the same effect) to add varying levels of depth, color and detail that you couldn’t get with just one instance of a plug-in.

In Part 2 of my Red Giant Trapcode Suite 13 Review, I will tackle the rest of this behemoth plug-in set: Trapcode Form, Trapcode Mir, Trapcode Tao, Trapcode 3D Stroke, Trapcode Echospace, Trapcode Sound Keys, and Trapcode Horizon.

Brady Betzel is an online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood, working on Life Below Zero and Cutthroat Kitchen. You can email Brady at bradybetzel@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @allbetzroff. Earlier this year, Brady was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Disney’s Unforgettable Christmas Celebration.

Simple tips that will help you work more efficiently

By Brady Betzel

Recently, I was asked to share some best practices surrounding the editing process… little things that can make doing your job that much easier and more efficient.

Get Comfortable With Your Equipment
Whether you are using a Wacom tablet, Razer mouse, Premiere Pro keyboard, Palette controls or Tangent Element panels, knowing how they work will make you money. If you are on a salaried job and you are fast and efficient (most likely if you work at a decent place) you will be able to leave early when the job is done. When I first learned my Wacom tablet I spent some time just using the hot keys on the side and discovering how I could use them to my benefit. Sometimes I would set up macros on them just to see how far I could go.

Learn Something New Every Day
If time allows, I try to watch one tutorial a day on YouTube, Lynda.com or another place that can make me smarter. Whether I am learning audio tips, After Effects scripts, Avid Effects tips or something unrelated to video and editing, I always gain something.

Even if the tutorial is taught by an eight-year-old on an iPad — if it looks better than anything I’ve ever done, I’m seeing a new viewpoint or discovering a tip I’ve never seen before — you never know where inspiration will come from. So keep on learning… it will not only make you smarter, you will probably work faster too.

Get in Some Exercise
While I try to workout before I go to work a few days a week, it isn’t always possible. I try to get at least a few sets of push-ups in during my workday. This helps to get my blood going. An easy game to play is to try and hit your age in pushups in an hour. While it won’t get you in crossfit box jumping shape, it will get your blood circulating and your mind thinking clearer.

Learn What Someone Else’s Job Entails
When I do have spare time, I like watch other people doing their job. On my way up the professional ladder, I always learned from watching people I admired; whether it was a producer, editor or production assistant. Lately, I like to watch the guys and gals in the machine rooms. Just the other day, I learned how ISDNs were patched and what codecs were used in transmission. While it doesn’t relate directly to my job, it really makes my mind keep thinking of different things and find new perspectives on my own work.

Set Yourself up for Success
This is a terrible cliché, but it really has staying power. There is value in being prepared. For example, when I was a kid, my dad always taught my sister and I to be aware of the closest exit, no matter where we were — one of the perks of growing up in earthquake prone Southern California.

At home, I always learned to keep my play area clean, so when I needed to I could sit down and use it without having to wade through a mess. As a side note this might have also led me to be super obsessive compulsive about a clean workspace, or my need for a color-organized closet (sorry to my wife), but still it will only help your efficiency if you can just sit down and work.

Find your exit or path to working fast and efficiently. Whether it’s a tidy desktop on your computer, literally a clean desktop where you work or a bin with all of your preset plug-ins at the ready for when you need them. It can’t hurt to be prepared.

Brady Betzel is an online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood, working on Life Below Zero and Cutthroat Kitchen. You can email Brady at bradybetzel@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @allbetzroff. Brady was recently nominated for an Emmy for his work on Disney’s Unforgettable Christmas Celebration.

Boris FX’s BCC 10 for Avid Media Composer

By Brady Betzel

I love plug-ins — Video CoPilot’s Element 3D, Red Giant’s Universe, Neat Video’s Noise Reduction and many more. There are some pros who like to pretend that they are too good for plug-ins or consider the use of plug-ins a crutch, but not this guy. I love them! Plug-ins make my job easier and more efficient.

Time is money and when you are doing something by hand that can be done faster by using a plug-in, you are wasting time and money — your client’s money and your time, which could be spent with family and friends.

I don’t always love the products I review, but I do love this one, so prepare yourself — I’m going to rave over Boris FX’s latest update to their BCC collection: Boris Continuum Complete v10. It even had an update to v10.01 last week, offering improved 4K handling, overall render speed improvements and — an important one for me —optimization of Avid project size when BCC AVX filters are applied.

Mocha Within Avid
The BCC v10 update is the biggest and most complete update to BCC that I have seen. I say that because in 2014 Boris FX acquired Imagineer Systems, the maker of the magical Mocha planar tracking software. When I first heard this news I almost jumped out of my skin, mainly because tracking inside of Avid’s Media Composer is lacking. And while Media Composer’s point tracker is appropriate for some circumstances, one thing it does not have is backwards tracking. Luckily for us Avid users, Mocha is now integrated into Avid via the BCC 10 highway… streamers and confetti should pop out of your computer after reading that sentence.

So what does Mocha mean for the everyday editor? Well, it allows for a much tighter tracker inside of Media Composer. Furthermore, if you use effects like Gaussian blur or the new BCC Beauty Studio, you can apply the Mocha tracking data inside of each effect in the effects editor. For example, if you are editing an interview featuring a person with less-than-perfect skin and the producer or director wants to fix that, you can… and pretty quickly. Yes, I know there are ways to do this for free using some sweet luminance mattes and maybe a slight blur on certain color channels, but, let’s be real, that might take hours, not to mention trying to track the facial movements, as well as erasing the teeth and eyes from the aforementioned stack of effects.

Once you apply Beauty Studio you can launch Mocha from within the effects editor inside of Media Composer, track the entire head shape with X Splines (or B Splines), track the eyes and possibly mouth to create your subtract (erase) layers, CTRL + Q or Command + Q on a Mac to quit Mocha, see your settings applied in Media Composer and, magically, you have a subject with smooth and appealing skin.

You should take that last paragraph with a little grain of salt, because while it is “easy” to accomplish this with the help of Mocha and BCC 10, there is a moderate learning curve, and sometimes there will be a large render time involved. My suggestion is to watch and read everything Mary Poplin does — she is on Twitter @MaryPoplin and on Imagineer System’s website with some excellent video tutorials. One tip, even if you think a certain video is too long or might not be exactly what you are looking to learn, Mary always finds a way to drop a bazillion tips into every video.

Another personal favorite tutorial creator is Kevin P. McAuliffe; he makes all sorts of great videos, but one I saw recently was how to easily make a scrolling credit bed in Media Composer with the help of the new BCC 10 Title Studio. You can also follow him on Twitter @KPMcAuliffe.

While BCC makes it fast and relatively easy to do things like key a greenscreen or make someone beautiful, it all comes at a price, and usually that price is rendering. I typically only render things I can’t view in realtime or really need to see play out in realtime, otherwise I will save my renders for when I am sleeping.

Other Updates
So what else is new and what is still great in BCC 10 besides the amazing Mocha integration you ask? I will quickly go over my favorites in the next few paragraphs.

Under the “Still Great” category is Chroma Key Studio. While this was released in BCC 9 I can’t say enough about it. If you’ve used SpectraMatte to death and can’t quite get a great key, you need to throw on BCC Chroma Key Studio, which is under the BCC Key and Blend heading. In the Effects Editor, change the view to source, sample the green and, usually, you are halfway home. I will dial in the density and Matte Cleanup settings first — think Clip Black and Clip White from Keylight inside of After Effects — then mess with the Light Wrap and Matte Choker settings until I can get it dialed in.

When I have a particularly poorly lit or uneven greenscreen behind the subject, I sometimes use the Pre-Key Cleanup to help even out the greenscreen color to sample from. I may even jump into my secondary color correctors in Symphony — isolate the green I want to smooth out, widen my input vector’s hue width to capture all of the offending greens I can, dial in a few other settings and dial my output vector to taste. From there you are usually good to go, but if you are still having trouble with motion blur or green creeping into those dreaded fingers waving, you can jump into BCC Image Restoration and apply BCC Noise Reduction on your base layer. Be careful though because this will add a tremendous amount of render time, and you will definitely need an overnight render.

Under the “What’s New” heading, I really love Boris FX’s BCC Remover located under Image Restoration; it’s basically a clone tool with the added ability to track using Mocha for your tracking and mattes. I use this constantly.

It’s as simple as watching a few Mary Poplin tutorials on how to use Mocha’s X or B splines to draw your masks. Then track, using the Uber key to adjust your track without adjusting your keyframes — or individually adjust your keyframes if you want — then quit, save out of Mocha and, finally, adjust your clone settings inside of Media Composer’s Effect Editor. You can choose from a few different fill types like auto-fill or clone. I have actually had success by just using BCC’s auto-fill with no additional adjustments necessary.

One thing that is not as obvious as I would like is that when you use Mocha and want to feather your mask, you need to twirl down Pixel Chooser Mask/Mocha to find it.

Video Glitch

I also love the BCC Light Leaks and Video Glitch plug-ins. You can use these for transitions or just throw them over your footage to give an instant flare to your footage. If you’ve read my previous reviews, you know how much I love Rampant Design Tools. They offer some great high-quality tools, such as light leaks and grunge. If you are a light leak or grunge enthusiast and can’t find the right color or flow, then BCC 10’s Light Leaks or Video Glitch are for you. Immediately you can add the BCC Light Leaks effect (located in BCC Lights) or Video Glitch (under BCC Stylize), click on Show FX browser in the effect editor and sample different looks over the footage in your timeline.

Another warning here, while you can preview the presets over your footage in your timeline it does have to “cache,” so the first time your clip will play it will be slowly and with a stutter (think After Effects “realtime” rendering).

Share, Share, That’s Fair
A very cool thing in the new Boris FX Browser is the ability to view presets other people have made or sent you via email. This is cool, so stay with me. If you work in a networked editing environment, such as through an ISIS, then you most likely have a bunch of editors making all sorts of effects. If you’re an assistant editor, polishing editor, finishing editor, online editor or whatever title leads you to be in charge of a look of a show, the ability to share plug-ins and presets is critical.

BCC 10 has the ability to easily share and preview presets from different systems. In fact, you could have a folder of BCC presets on the ISIS that can either be copied locally or kept on the network drive to be shared by all. My suggestion would be to copy locally if you can and have someone update those presets on each system when needed, but what do I know? Anyway, you can find the presets on the system level under Program Files > Boris FX, Inc, BCC Presets 10 AVX.

Beauty Studio
The last plug-in I want to talk about was the already mentioned BCC Beauty Studio, located in BCC Image Restoration. Remember earlier when I mentioned the interview subject with less-than-perfect skin who could use a little touch up?

I especially like to use this in conjunction with Mocha to track facial movement and eliminate as much of the “beauty studio look” that I can by containing only the face or problem area. This plug-in does work with the presets, but again let’s be real, you should never accept a preset as the final version of your work — we can have the philosophical discussion of how a preset is not technically your work on Twitter if you want. Tweet me @allbetzroff.

Also, every person’s skin texture, scene lighting and even color temperature can change drastically between set-ups, so one preset might not work for another set-up. Basically, what I’m saying is you will need to learn this tool, and to do so I recommend searching through the tutorials and watching something like this. Do a little noodling and elevate your skills.

Over the years I’ve noticed that editors typically get to choose between two sets of plug-ins when working in Avid: GenArt’s Sapphire or Boris FX BCC — unless you are super lucky and get to have both. At this moment I really love what Boris FX has to offer, which is a high-end tracking solution, not to mention all the other features.

In overall value, it’s very hard to beat BCC 10 for Avid, Adobe, or any OFX-supported app like Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve. (Currently, Boris FX BCC 9 is compatible with Resolve, but 10 is supposed to be released any day now).

The multi-host license — good for Adobe, Avid, FCP X and OFX supported platforms like Resolve and Sony’s Vegas Pro — will cost $1,995 for the full install package, and $695 for just the upgrade from v9. If you want to rent the multi-host version it will cost $595/year. The individual app licenses look like this:
Avid $1,695/Full – $595/Upgrade
Adobe $995/Full – $295/Upgrade
FCPX/Motion $695/Full – $195/Upgrade
OFX (Resolve) $695/Full
OFX (Sony) $695/Full — $195/Upgrade

BCC-10_TITLESTUDIO USE

Title Studio

Summing Up
It’s hard to cover Boris FX’s BCC 10 in just 1,000 words, but to sum up, I love it! So much so that I would recommend it to everyone out there working in Media Composer and Symphony.

Heck, I didn’t even cover the awesome feature of importing Maxon Cinema 4D models into the BCC Title Studio. Of course, you need to spend some time to figure out the intricacies of Mocha tracking as well as what each parameter does inside of the Chroma Key Studio, but luckily you have a great set of tutorials on the BorisFX.com website to get you up to speed.

If I could wish for one feature request, it would be the ability to easily take any Mocha work you did in one BCC plug-in, such as a Gaussian blur, and apply it to another, such as BCC Remover or BCC Composite. At the moment you need to export/copy the data from Mocha and load it in the plug-in you want to use it in. That solution works, but it would be nice to have a seamless way to move your tracking data.

Brady Betzel is an online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood. Previously, he was editing The Real World at Bunim-Murray Productions. You can email Brady at bradybetzel@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter, @allbetzroff.

Releases & Updates: We are in this ecosystem together

By Sean Mullen

Just a few weeks ago, Adobe released a major new upgrade to its Creative Cloud services. While these updates are welcomed by the community with excitement, there’s also a period of — for lack of better words — stressful chaos as the third-party software and plug-in developers scramble to ensure their products will be compatible.

When Adobe speaks, the community listens. When Adobe does something new, they listen even closer, because when they do something new, it’s usually some amazing a leap forward that only makes our lives easier and our work look that much better. The latest updates to Adobe Creative Cloud are no different.

All of us at Rampant Design are big fans, and Adobe CC is big part of what we do every day. It’s no mistake that our Style Effects complement Adobe CC so well. But we also understand — being part of this VFX community — that while change is great, those changes have impact on the software and plug-in developers who make their living enhancing the Adobe CC workflow. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

Adobe After Effects CC

Adobe After Effects CC

The Updates
Here are a couple of top-of-mind things that get us excited. We zeroed in on some of the applications and features within CC that impact us most on a daily basis, and those are the features in Premiere Pro and After Effects.

The Iridas acquisition of a couple of years ago is really showing its value, especially with this update. The Lumetri Color panel is amazing!  You’re getting seriously powerful color tools built right into Premiere Pro. That’s pretty significant. Morph Cut is part voodoo and part rocket science — a very cool tool that smoothes out jump cuts and pauses. There are some notable changes to After Effects too. While the AE Comp Scrollbar is now missing, the uninterrupted preview is a fantastic addition. The new Face Tracker is impressive as well.

The Adobe Ecosystem: Plug-Ins
There is most definitely an ecosystem around Adobe, an entire sub-segment of the post production software industry who make tools to enhance the workflow — the plug-in developers.

Adobe Premiere

Adobe Premiere

In any third-party plug-in environment, you have the host developer (in this case Adobe) and the third party plug-in developer  companies like Red Giant, Video Copilot, Genarts, BorisFX, to name a few. While the host developers keep the third parties informed as much as possible, their main focus is on rolling out a solid product release.

So,inevitably, some things slip through the cracks — mainly their ability to interact with the plug-in developers in a timely way — at least from the plug-in developers perspective. As a result, you’ll notice a slew of newsletters and social network posts from these third parties claiming that their products currently do or do not work with the latest release.

I’m sure the weeks up to and following a major release can be a hectic time for developers. Plug-in engineering isn’t free, so there is a small window within that the current build of any given third-party plug-in will work. Major releases come out every year and dot releases happen quite often.

At Rampant, our situation is a little different. We make tools that enhance the CC workflow, but also the plug-ins themselves. Style Effects aren’t alternative to plug-ins, they are complementary. If we were bakers or chefs, Style Effects would be the spices or finishing touches. If we were carpenters, Style Effects would be the varnish. Style Effects work hand in hand with your favorite plug-ins.

Style Effects are QuickTime-based, so as long as you have QuickTime, these effects will work with any Adobe update. In our reality, artists and editors want instant gratification. Very few of us get the time to play. Most producers want to see something yesterday, and this is why the plug-in and Style Effects ecosystems are so critical. Major new host releases will always be challenging — and stressful — but the end product of all of us working together is what helps all of us create amazing content. We’re proud to be a part of it!

Sean Mullen is the founder/president of Rampant Design Tools. He is an award-winning VFX artist, but he’s also the creator of Rampant Style Effects, UHD visual effects and designs. Style Effects are packaged as QuickTime files, enabling artists to drag and drop them to any editing platform.

 

 

Boris FX buys Imagineer, makers of Mocha

In news that likely prompted a slightly less PG version of “holy cow,” Boris FX has bought Imagineer Systems, makers of the hugely popular and widely used Mocha, a planar tracking and visual effects tool used in film and TV. The technology won an Academy Award in 2013.

Mocha Pro has been used on the films Gone Girl, Birdman and Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, and TV shows such as The Leftovers, Game of Thrones and House of Cards.

For its part, Boris FX develops VFX, compositing, titling, video editing and workflow tools for broadcast, post and film. So you can see how this purchase might be a good fit for the company. You likely know their Continuum Complete package of plug-ins.

postPerspective’s Brady Betzel has reviewed both products. Click here for Mocha Pro
Continue reading

A Closer Look: Red Giant Universe

By Brady Betzel

If you work with visual effects in any way, I urge you to visit www.redgiant.com. Red Giant is known for its visual effects plug-ins like Trapcode, Magic Bullet Looks, Primatte Keyer, as well as more technical software like PluralEyes and Bulletproof.

Red Giant’s latest release of Universe furthers their unyielding support of the filmmaking and motion graphics community. Universe is a collection of broadcast-quality plug-ins that work with Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 and later; Adobe After Effects CS5.5 and later; Apple FCPX 10.0.9 and later; and Apple Motion 5.0.4 and later. For this review I used Universe inside of After Effects, but this tool will work great in the NLEs as well. In fact you can use the same effect across operating systems.

Universe has two tiers: Free and Premium. The licensing for Premium Universe breaks down Continue reading

Red Giant focuses on new tools, user feedback with Universe

Red Giant, makers of Magic Bullet, Trapcode and PluralEyes, has launched Red Giant Universe (a public beta) — a community that gives members access to pro tools for editing, filmmaking, visual effects and motion design.

“It’s rare we get to introduce technology that is entirely new,” said Red Giant’s co-founder and CTO Sean Safreed, who has been working with his team, behind the scenes, on Universe for the last year and a half. “Universe is an entirely new foundation for tools. It marries the simplicity of JavaScript with the power of the GPU to deliver speedy renders and pixel-perfect results. Users are going to love how quickly we offer new plug-ins.”

Knoll-EZ-Arsenal-Esmall

Knoll EZ Arsenal

In total, Red Giant is releasing 50 new plug-ins at once — with more already in development. Every tool in the Universe library of effects and transitions is GPU-accelerated, both Mac- and Windows- compatible, and works across multiple host applications including After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X and Motion. The Universe library of tools is continuously growing— new effects and transitions are added regularly, and existing tools are updated often, based on user feedback.

In addition to the expanding library of plug-ins, Universe also offers Premium membership, which gives users access to even more tools – including new effects and transitions, as well as existing Red Giant favorites ported over to the new Universe platform (such as Knoll Light Factory EZ, Holomatrix, Retrograde and ToonIt). Premium membership is available through monthly and yearly subscription, as well as a one-time lifetime membership fee.

Red Giant Universe free membership is available now, with the Premium membership available for purchase this month. Premium pricing will be $10 (monthly), $99 (yearly) and $399 (lifetime).

“I’m a motion graphics and visual effects artist, and definitely not a coder,” said Aharon Rabinowitz, Red Giant’s director of content and communities. “Even so, along with the Universe development team, folks like motion designer Harry Frank and I have been secretly cranking out plug-ins for the last few months. Our new development tools have made it surprisingly easy. I’m super excited that we can finally share the stuff we’ve been making.”

Through Universe Labs, members get to help choose what effects and transitions Red Giant builds next, and premium members are eligible for invitations to early betas of new products, allowing users to give early feedback and actively help shape Universe’s expansion over time.

Check out the video explaining more about the Universe: http://vimeo.com/87001310.

Digital Film Tools: Composite Suite Pro

By Brady Betzel

Editing reality television often forces an editor to wear multiple hats. Most importantly they edit, but increasingly they are being asked to provide basic as well as advanced effects, too. Sometimes they will create effects within their NLE, or sometimes they will be asked to work in After Effects, Motion, etc.

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Review: Rampant Design Tools

By Brady Betzel

As every editor and VFX artist knows, the toolset shouldn’t define you as an artist, however, in today’s visually intensive world any and all help is welcome in my eyes.

In addition to a couple of After Effects scripts like Newton 2, TypeMonkey, and any Trapcode plug-ins, there are two products that I feel are must-haves being an editor and working in VFX: Video CoPilot’s Element 3D and the Rampant Design Tools entire drag, drop, and go visual effects library.

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