Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Toolfarm Acquires Buena Software

Buena by Toolfarm logoSAN FRANCISCO, CA -June 28, 2006 - Toolfarm Inc. announced today the acquisition of Buena Software, a plug-in developer for Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Autodesk's Combustion. Buena's products consist of Au Naturel, a plug-in for reproducing photographic effects on video, Depth Cue, a set of plug-ins for adding three-dimensional effects to video, and Effect Essentials, a set of plug-ins for enhancing creativity and productivity for working with video. Toolfarm Inc. will continue to develop and support the plug-ins under the Buena brand.

The Buena Software plug-ins for Adobe After Effects and compatible hosts were developed as effective processing tools to pick up on what the prominent software manufacturers overlooked. The plug-ins range from creative image processing and color manipulation to 3D depth effects.

"As a leader in After Effects plug-in distribution, Toolfarm has always been impressed with the Buena product line. Buena's tools allow videographers to create unique effects that larger plug-in manufacturers simply do not offer," said Colin Sharp, Toolfarm VP of Sales and Marketing. Sharp continued, "With this acquisition, Toolfarm can expand on the needs and requests of our customers."

Pricing and Availability

All Buena Software plug-ins are available for Mac OS X and Windows.

About Buena Software

Buena Software creates video and image processing tools that offers easy to use, high quality effects. Incorporated in 1996, Buena Software has grown steadily in output and in reputation.

About Toolfarm Inc.

Toolfarm.com, based in San Francisco since 1999, is the leading third-party reseller of After Effects Plug-ins and visual effects tools. Known also for distribution, publishing, service and training, it has become the de facto standard as the one-stop shop for Adobe After Effects Plug-ins as well as motion graphics tools. It also hosts a Plug-in Finder, an online database and search engine of all plug-ins for Adobe After Effects, Premiere and Apple Final Cut Pro.

au natureleffect essentials
depth cueswatch buckler

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Adobe After Effects 7.0r2 SDK Released

All samples and documentation have been updated in the Adobe After Effects 7.0r2 SDK. The addition of SmartFX effect messaging enables 32 bit-per-channel effects processing. Numerous AEGP API enhancements improve After Effects' inter-application responsiveness.

What the heck does that mean? Creative Workflow Hacks posted a blurb on it and explained it well, "if you're a developer and on the Mac this is the first version with Xcode sample projects. So if you've been putting off developing plugins because you didn’t want to buy Code Warrior now's your chance to dive in. I want to do some timed tests between AEGP plugins and scripting and see if it's worth my time to dive into the minutia of C and C++."

Creative Workflow Hacks is a great site. I have to admit, most of it is over my head. Really good stuff. Dale Bradshaw is one smart guy.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Digital Anarchy Announces Data Animator 1.1

data animator

Digital Anarchy Releases Data Animator 1.1 for Mac Eight

Plug-ins Streamline Creation of Animated Charts and Graphs in After Effects and Final Cut Pro

(June 20, 2006) Digital Anarchy, a leading provider of cost-effective special effects software for Adobe After Effects, today announced the immediate availability of Data Animator 1.1 for both Macintosh OS X and Windows. Version 1.1 is the highly anticipated first release for the Macintosh platform. Data Animator is a new way of designing animated charts and graphs, with eight plug-ins that create a wide range of chart types from business graphics to scientific visualization. The plugin set works in After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and Premiere Pro.

"We recognize that many motion designers and video editors are doing corporate and business graphics," said Jim Tierney, founder of Digital Anarchy. "With Data Animator, designers will no longer need to rely on clunky chart graphics from PowerPoint or deal with Flash import issues. They can generate charts and graph animations without having t" leave After Effects. Their production visuals will be more streamlined and their production time will be significantly quicker."

To work with Data Animator, users simply import a tab-delimited text file into a particular chart type, like Pie Chart or Stock Ticker. The data quickly animates onscreen and is customizable in a variety of ways, including separate controls for the chart and data elements, a column/row sorter, legend/label manager, and depth choice of 2D or 3D charts.

Because Data Animator dynamically updates the source data file, it is great for collaborative work and projects started before the data is finalized. The results are perfect for news programs, simulated displays, corporate communication projects, and any other animated visualization of data.

Some of the exciting features in Data Animator include:

New version 1.1 feature: Macintosh support.
New version 1.1 feature: Improved rendering speed.
New version 1.1 feature: Improved font handling.
Seven different chart types, including: Bar, Line, Pie, Range/Stock, Bubble, Polar and Timeline charts.
Most charts can display as flat 2D, faux 3D (2.5D) or true 3D.
Load data in via standard tab-delimited files and have it update automatically.
Easily handles large data sets, including stock market prices.
Control over the animation of each chart element.
Each chart element can be separated so additional effects can be applied.
Flexible labeling and font control.

Pricing and Availability

Data Animator is now available for Mac OS X and Windows. Regularly priced at USD $495, Data Animator is available for USD $429 through July 20, 2006. Data Animator works in Adobe After Effects 5.5 and higher, Final Cut Pro 4.0 and higher, and Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0. The plugins run on all variants of Mac OS X and Windows 98ME-XP Pro. Demo filters and samples are available at www.digitalanarchy.com. (Available at Toolfarm, too!)

About Digital Anarchy

Digital Anarchy is a privately owned company operating out of San Francisco, Calif., that creates high-quality creative software for broadcast designers, 2D animators and professional photographers. These tools solve a wide range of design issues, from creating text effects and background design elements, to masking out bluescreens for commercial still photography. Digital Anarchy products work in conjunction with a wide range of products from companies like Adobe, Discreet, and Apple. For more information, please see the company's website at www.digitalanarchy.com or call 415-586-8434.

Apple Shake 4.1

ShakeApple Shake 4.1 was released today. The major updates are that it is now Mac Universal Binary and that the price has dropped DRAMATICALLY from $2999 to $499.

From Macworld.com: Shake features 3D multiplane compositing, 32-bit Keylight and Primatte keying, Optical Flow image processing, integration with Final Cut Pro 5 and a scripting language. It's used by television and film pros to incorporate advanced visual effects into their work.

The new Universal Binary release runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. Apple said that Shake 4.1 delivers performance boosts of up to 3.5 times on a 17-inch 2.16GHz MacBook Pro compared to a 17-inch 1.67GHz PowerBook G4.

Read the press release

Industry Leading Compositing Software Price Cut to $499

(CUPERTINO, California - June 20, 2006) Apple® today delivered Shake® 4.1, the first Universal version of its industry leading compositing software and cut its price from $2,999 to $499 to fit almost any production's budget. Final Cut® Studio editors can now take advantage of Shake for sophisticated 3D compositing, keying, image tracking and stabilization for the price of a plug-in. Shake continues to be the tool of choice for major motion-picture studios and leading effects houses to create award-winning visual effects including this year's Oscar winner, 'King Kong'.

"At just $499, Shake is now priced as low as a plug-in for Final Cut Studio," said Rob Schoeben, Apple's vice president of Applications Product Marketing. "Now Final Cut Studio customers can retouch their shots with Shake's optical flow technology or add photo realistic visual effects to their productions, even on a shoestring budget."

"Shake has become an essential tool at ILM for visual effects compositing, playing a central part in our pipeline on blockbuster movies such as 'Mission Impossible 3,' 'Poseidon' and the upcoming 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," said Cliff Plumer, chief technology officer of Industrial Light and Magic. "By pricing Shake at less than $500, Apple has opened up the doors for the next generation of artists to master their craft."

Shake 4.1 complements Final Cut Studio by providing a full range of operations from simple re-touching to complex 3D compositing. Launched directly from the Final Cut Pro timeline, Shake uses state-of-the-art optical flow image analysis to re-time, track and stabilize shots with precision. Particle effects from Motion 2 can be dropped directly into the Shake process tree to add elements such as smoke, sparkles and fire to sophisticated multi-plane 3D composites. High resolution work can flow from Motion to Shake by rendering with the shared OpenEXR format for pristine film quality reproduction.

Shake 4.1 delivers significant performance gains on the new Intel-based Macs providing artists and editors with desktop level experience on the new MacBook Pro* notebook computer. Performance tests on a MacBook Pro have shown that common tasks such as color correction, warping and the application of filters are processed up to 3.5 times faster on a MacBook Pro than on a PowerBook® G4. Artists and editors can start compositing with HD, 2K and even 4K shots directly on location making Shake 4.1 on a MacBook Pro an ideal tool for continuity.

Pricing & Availability
Shake 4.1 is now available through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $499 (US). Owners of Shake 4 can take advantage of a crossgrade to Shake 4.1 for just $49 (US). Full details are available at www.apple.com/shake. Apple will no longer sell the Apple Maintenance Program for Shake. Current Shake Apple Maintenance customers can contact shake-sales@apple.com for more information.

*Performance tests on a 17-inch MacBook Pro have shown that common tasks such as color correction, warping and the application of filters are processed up to 3.5 times faster on a MacBook Pro with 2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo than a 17-inch PowerBook G4 with 1.67 GHz Power PC.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Conversation with Mental Slapstick

Gandhi at the BatI had a chat with Stephanie Argy and Alec Boehm last week of Mental Slapstick, a film production company in Los Angeles. They've just completed a film called "Gandhi at the Bat", an incredible short film that has the look of an old newsreel. They discuss the technical aspects of the effects and how they created such a convincing period movie on a small budget. They're such nice people and overflowing with talent. They give a few tips and tricks too!

Don't miss the great 'Before and After' pix.

Test Gear 1.1 Now Available

test gearThe new features of Test Gear 1.1 from Synthetic Aperture include:

  • Two new waveform monitor modes, including YRGB and Overlay displays.
  • Scaling (zoom) of the vectorscope display to more easily view neutral colors.
  • Support for ITU.R 601, ITU.R 709, and SMPTE 240M color spaces.
  • Compatibility with After Effects 7.0.
  • Compatibility with Nucleo.

This is a no-charge upgrade, so you can use your current valid serial number to install. Get Test Gear 1.1 from the Synthetic Aperture website. You can take Test Gear for a test drive by downloading it and running it in Trial Mode.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

SmartSound Sonicfire Pro Announcement

smartSound Sonicfire ProSmartSound Sonicfire Pro 4.11/4.12 is now available for download! This is a free update for Sonicfire Pro 4 owners.

What's New for Mac (4.11):

  • Sonicfire Pro is now Universal Binary for Intel-based Macs!
  • Corrects Migration bug.
  • Improves video/audio synchronization
  • Adds sorting by single-layer and multi-layer in the Maestro
  • Other minor bug fixes

What's New for Windows (4.12):

  • Improves video/audio synchronization
  • Corrects a conflict with certain sound cards
  • Adds sorting by single-layer and multi-layer in the Maestro
  • Other minor bug fixes

Monday, June 12, 2006

Chris Smith - Toolfarm Forum Expert

Chris SmithPlease welcome Chris Smith to our Expert Forum. Chris is a film director by trade that does his own edit, composite, effects and music mix. He uses After Effects and Cinema 4D and knows them pretty thoroughly.

He is good at answering those "How did they do that?" questions and solving problems. He's also very strong on color correction. Since he's in the commercial business, he's always keeping up to date with all the trends in telecine, lens effects, etc., so he can help translate how tricks that were done optically could be simulated digitally.

Please read his lengthy and entertaining bio by clicking on the Chris head at the top of the forum page.

So, Chris, we're so happy to have you on board. Thanks for joining us!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Freebie of the Week: Star Wars Scroll

Star Wars ScrollThis week's Freebie of the Week pays homage to an American classic, Star Wars. It uses the Advanced Text Engine in After Effects and some creative tranformation to get the correct angle.... and this IS the correct angle and color. I found some information that went REALLY deep into the whole technical aspect of it.

The starfield was created with a preset in Trapcode Particular. You don't necessarily need this to get the full effect, but it's one of my favorite plug-ins.

Topaz Enhance v2.0 and Topaz Vivacity

topaz labsTopaz Enhance is a set of video effect filters for After Effects, Premiere Pro and Digital Fusion. Able to substantially improve anything ranging from low quality analog videos to high quality DVs, even enhancing SD videos to HD, Topaz Enhance represents a breakthrough in video enhancement technology.

Topaz Enhance is an Adobe After Affects Plug-in. It also works with Adobe Premiere Pro and Eyeon Digital Fusion.

Topaz Vivacity is a set of powerful Adobe Photoshop plug-in filters that dramatically improves the quality of images. The breakthrough algorithms used in this software can affect a distinct improvement in imperfect images. Topaz Vivacity is an invaluable tool to rescue and enhance otherwise unusable images.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

form.Z 6.0 gets in motion

Form ZPress Release, Source: Digit Magazine, Tuesday 06 Jun 2006 - 10:38

AutoDesSys will begin shipping version 6.0 of its form.Z 3D modelling software later this month, the company has announced. The upgrade adds object animation tools, support for 3D printing systems, and more.

Form.Z 6.0 uses an object-centric animation system. This bases animation around entire objects rather than their composite elements, according to AutoDesSys, though individual parameters and attributes can be animated as well. The company notes that animation can be used as part of the modelling process, with form.Z 6.0 able to export models at any moment along an animation path - and in a variety of model types includiing nurbz and metaformz.

Animations can be created using keyframes, along paths or using the animation palette. As well as models, form.Z 6.0 offers animation of lights, cameras and surface forms - so movies can used as surface textures. Animation settings can also be brought in from other 3D applications.

The upgrade adds support for Z Corp's ZPR file format, which enables the creation of colour prototypes using that company's 3D printers. Form.Z 6.0 includes a print preparation tool that identifies parts of a model that won't print properly and offers functions to dealing with other issues.

New modelling tools include skinned lofting, a capping operation and morphing - with improvements made to the deformation and reconstruction tools. An automatic update facility has been built-in so that adjustments and corrections to the software are applied soon after they are released.

For more information see the auto.des.sys Web site.

Get your stuff featured in broadcastGEMs Gallery!

broadcastGEMs is looking to build a gallery to showcase works by its users. Works selected will entitle the respective contributors to a $50 discount off broadcastGEMs' future Pro Series product offerings. Interested parties should write to sales@broadcastGEMs.com for more information.

broadcastGEMs is a leader in the development of customizable animated backgrounds and elements for the broadcast and multimedia industries. Roland Kahlenberg from broadcastGEMs gave us our Freebie of the Week, Glow On Text a couple of weeks back.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Sorenson Media Squeeze 4.3 Compression Suite on Sale!

Sorenson SqueezeSave $70 off of the regular price of Sorenson Media Squeeze.

Haven't tried Squeeze? I'm a total Squeeze evangelist. I love it! It can make a 90MB movie into a 1MB movie in just a few minutes with amazing quality and clarity. It's an awesome product and I use it all of the time.

Hurry! Special Price Ends June 30th, 2006

Conoa Plug-ins... Did you know....?

Conoa plug-ins currently work with the following hosts: Adobe Adobe After Effects 4.1 through 6.5, Apple Final Cut Pro 3.0 through 4.5, Discreet Combustion 3.0 and Avid AVX systems (including Xpress DV, Xpress Pro and Symphony) through the use of Elastic Gasket from Profound Effects. Users have also successfully used Conoa plug-ins in Eyeon Software's Digital Fusion and Boris Red, but these are not officially supported hosts.