Thursday, December 28, 2006

GPU-Tech releases Free Edition of renderer RTSquare 1.3.

GPU-Tech launches a free full Edition of RTSquare 1.3, renderer plug-in for 3DS Max and VIZ. RTSquare is compatible with Autodesk 3DS Max 6, 7 and 8 and with VIZ 2005 or newer.

RTsquare is the only gpu-based renderer that allows you to gain in speed by 10 to 50 compared to other renderers. The difference is that the free version is reserved for non professional use and you can not use the network rendering that is in the professional version.

Learn more about the Free Edition | Regular Full Version

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Review: After Effects PowerStart from dvCreators.net

After Effects PowerStartBy Michele Yamazaki, Toolfarm, Inc.

There are several wonderful training pieces for After Effects, but it's the Chunkalize feature that really sets the dvCreator's training apart. Chunkalized.... I know, it sounds like a slogan for Chips Ahoy cookies.

What the heck is Chunkalized?, you're wondering. It's a simple, interactive feature which allows the viewer to work in After Effects along with the video DVD without missing a beat. The video automatically pauses for you at the end of the chunk so that you can flip between the video and After Effects, do the excercise and come back. If you miss something, you can quickly jump back to the last Chunk without having to look around for the start point. This hands-on approach saves time and streamlines the training process. You can bypass this feature, too, if you choose not to use it. (View some excerpts)

After Effects PowerStart training is taught by Stephen Schleicher, who writes for Digital Media Net. Stephen is a smart and funny presenter and his personality comes through in the training, but occasionally it comes off a bit scripted. He says things like "Neato!" and "Good job!" which delivers some schticky playfulness to the program.

The lessons are straightforward and progress logically. In the end, the user creates a compelling title animation that is very "real world". Stephen begins with an intro to the program and then gives a very quick overview of the interface and project settings. There's no reason to spend a lot of time there, since the specifics are revisited several times throught the training. He covers the transform properties, keyframing, animation presets, shortcuts, masks, nesting, a couple of effects, track mattes, an introduction to the Advanced Text Engine and 3D layers with ease. The project files are included on the DVD.

The graphics throughout the program look amazing. The pop-up windows with the shortcuts are similar to the ones we used in Toolfarm's Expert Training Series, and get the job done efficiently by really brining the shortcuts to your attention. It's visual reinforcement at it's best. The color schemes and segment titles are appealing, as is the music bed.

As a veteran After Effects user, I cannot say that I learned any new techniques or tricks. However, the material presented is well-organized, and it was beneficial to me in another way. I teach After Effects at an art college and after viewing this training, I'm now rethinking the order of the material that I cover and how I approach certain topics.

The training is fast, which is great if you have a short attention span or not a lot of time. It gives a more than adequate introduction to After Effects, touching on most of the important areas of the program. If you're new to After Effects, I highly recommend this training. I also recommend it to those teaching After Effects.

Boujou 4 review at DMN

Boujou 4Check out Boujou 4: Camera and object tracking software introduces scripting control By Todd Sheridan Perry. There's a nice before and after image and Todd says "is and always has been an impressive piece of software, and it's performed beautifully on numerous projects I've been a part of."

Buy Boujou 4 | Upgrade to Boujou 4

Yes, it is an expensive product, but it's so awesome! If you use our "holiday gift" that we gave to our mailing list, you would save $479! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you might want to join our mailing list to get in on the next deal!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

After Effects Tutorial: Reflection

reflection
Image courtesy of istockphoto.com
Author: Michele Yamazaki, Toolfarm, Inc.
Skill Level: Easy
Application: Adobe After Effects
Version: AE 7.0
Project Files: Download Project File
Movie Sample: View Quicktime
Plug-ins Used: None

I've been seeing this reflected look everywhere these days... from Apple.com to software to jewelry print ads.

This look is very easy to create in Adobe Photoshop or After Effects.

Note: The image is not included with the project file because it is a stock image. The image is replaced with a solid blue placeholder. If you replace the solid with your own image, it may not line up properly because of size differences. You'll need to reposition your image.

Instructions:

  1. Import your image into After Effects. Scale it to the size that you wish it to be.
  2. Make the image layer a 3D layer. We will be animating a camera later in the tutorial.
  3. Duplicate your image layer.
  4. On the duplicate layer, scale the X & Y values to -20.0. Scale the Z value to -100%.
  5. On the duplicate layer, set the Y rotation to 180°.
    layers
  6. Line up the bottom of the duplicate image to the bottom of the original image.
  7. Double click the duplicate image to open the image in layer editing mode.
  8. Draw a mask around the bottom portion of the image.
  9. Tap the F key to bring up the Mask Feather settings. Set yours to 175 or higher... whatever looks good to you.
    Mask
  10. Close the layer window and go back to the comp window.
  11. Select your reflection layer. Apply Levels. Effect > Color Correction > Levels.

    The idea is to make the reflection light without completely blowing it out or turning down transparency. I adjusted Output Black to 214 and left the remaining settings alone.
    Levels
  12. Apply a camera to the comp. Layer > New > Camera. Set it to whatever size you like.
  13. Keyframe the Y rotation of the camera. I set it so that it rotates from 13° to 0° over 3 seconds. Do whatever looks right to you.

Other options: Use video or animate shapes or images using this method.

monet and mokey adds Intel-based Mac support

Imagineer Systems19th December 2006 - Imagineer Systems, the UK-based innovators of next-generation VFX tools, announced today that its latest release of monet and mokey includes Intel-based Mac support.

"We are excited about Apple's commitment to being at the forefront of workstation performance and we are experiencing significant performance improvements on these new systems," says Imagineer CEO Allan Jaenicke. "We are committed to the Mac platform and look forward to exploring the opportunities for adding more complex features to our software that the increased performance of the Intel-Mac enable."

IntelThe new release will be a Universal Binary, running both on G5 and Intel based systems. Users with Intel-based Macs will experience a significant performance improvement compared to previous releases.

"The blazing speed of our Intel-based Macs offers a significant performance advantage for high end applications reliant on heavy visual effects," said Ron Okamoto, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. "We're thrilled that Imagineer has joined the thousands of developers using Xcode and other innovative Apple tools to develop Universal versions of their applications."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Red Giant Magic Bullet Colorista v1

Magic Bullet ColoristaAn inexpensive, smart, fast, color correction tool without needing to fully understand the color wheel.

Now that you've locked your edit, it's time to load Colorista to apply a natural finish, and make your image pop. Under the hood is the next generation Magic Bullet engine with real-time processing for quick review and rendering of SD and HD media. Colorista is ready for action with industry-standard color wheels for precise color control. Tweak the image further with saturation and exposure to make it balanced. Plus, isolate areas with an animatable mask shape - the easiest way to light up your talent. Colorista paired with Look Suite are the perfect tools for color finishing.

fxplugUniversalColorista ships as a native plug-in for all major hosts applications including Final Cut Pro (FX Plug), Motion, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Avid AVX 2-compatible systems.

Red Giant Software Offers New Color Correction Tool: Magic Bullet Colorista

Colorista Paired with Look Suite are the Perfect Tools for Color Finishing

San Francisco, CA, December 15, 2006 – Red Giant Software today announced Magic Bullet Colorista, a new plug-in to get the right color for every shot. Magic Bullet Colorista ($199 USD) ships as a native plug-in for all major host applications including Final Cut Pro (FX Plug), Motion, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Avid AVX compatible systems.

For the past 18 months, Red Giant Software has been engineering a completely new line of video enhancement products that address the needs of its customers. The number one request was an easy to use color correction tool that could deliver great results, fast. Proper color correction is of course an essential step before applying a Magic Bullet Look. So Red Giant took it upon themselves to create a high quality color correction tool. Magic Bullet Colorista is just what you'd expect from a Magic Bullet product with features that stand out from the crowd of color correction tools.

For additional product information visit Magic Bullet Colorista in our Plug-in Finder.

Key Features


Precise Color Balance

Colorista make your whites look white and your talent look their best with controls for modifying shadows, mid-tones and highlights. The familiar Lift, Gamma, Gain color wheels allow for easy adjustment of color balance and luminance with ultra-sensitive control for precise results. Additional, Saturation and Exposure options let you makes flesh tones look natural, plus set the highlight and shadow levels exactly.

Real-Time DeepColor RT

Maximize your performance with the power of the DeepColor RT engine inside Colorista. Playback SD and HD (720p) projects in real-time by efficiently using your system’s graphics processing power. The next-generation DeepColor RT engine preserves quality in every application host so that 10-bit projects
remain 10-bit.

Power Mask with Ease

Apply the correction just where you need it. With Colorista you can create a simple circular or rectangular shape to isolate a specific zone. No longer is it necessary to pre-mask a shot to deepen the color of a sky or emphasize the action in a shot. The animatable controls for area and feather let you work right in the canvas or composer window.

Pricing and Availability

Magic Bullet Colorista is available now for $199 USD. To order, go to Colorista v1

About Red Giant Software

Red Giant Software LLC (http://redgiantsoftware.com/) is a San Francisco-based company that develops and distributes professional tools for digital video production. Products are available as plug-ins for popular video editing and effects applications including Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, and other compatible applications such as Apple’s Final Cut Pro. All tools are based on production-proven technology developed by visual effects veterans.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

LME Amazing Video Walls & Displays

LME logoLME has come out with an 'Amazing' product which is a big help to those who have miniscule budgets and need to crank out high-quality work at break neck speeds. I used to work in that sort of place, and man, I could've used LME's Amazing Video Walls & Displays.

Open premade After Effects comps and replace their photos with your video and images. They work with AE 6.5 and 7.0. You'll really impress your clients and it can be our little secret that you used LME's stuff. I promise I will not tell.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Color Finesse 2.1.4 Update Now Available

color finesseUniversal
  • Universal plug-in for use with Final Cut Pro 5.1.2 on Intel-based Macintosh systems.
  • Universal standalone SD/HD+ version for Intel-based Mac systems.
  • Additional support for floating-point pixels under Premiere Pro 2.0.
  • Corrections to preview gamma under certain combinations of host application versions and preview card driver versions.
  • Corrections to a number of issues when running under Combustion 4.
  • The Limiter now defaults to NTSC/PAL depending on the Video System preference setting.
  • Other minor fixes and optimizations.

The new 2.1.4 installers are available now on the Synthetic Aperture web site. There is no charge to upgrade from Color Finesse 2.1.x to 2.1.4.

Discounted upgrade pricing is available for those wanting to upgrade from Color Finesse 1.x.

Monday, December 11, 2006

10 STEP STAR: A simple piece of geometry

Author: Ko Maruyama
Skill Level: Easy
Application: Maxon Cinema 4D
Version: r9.6
Project Files: Download Project Files (zipped)
Plug-ins Used: None
Demo: Download Free Demo of Maxon Cinema 4D
View text tutorial

Instructions

  1. Choose the front view. This will make things easy to see - later you'll be able to do this in any viewport, but it allows you to see what's going on.
  2. Create a STAR SPLINE object. Star spline will allow you to set up the right number of points in the right area quickly and easily.


    Click the screen grabs for larger images in a new window (pops)

  3. Set the number of points in the star to the number of points in the star you want to make. In the attributes window, set the number of points to 5.

    star
  4. Now that the Star Spline has been modified, make it editable by using the pulldown menu or simply use the "C" key on the keyboard to make the selected object "editable".

    star
  5. With the editable star object selected, open the STRUCTURE MANAGER. Select all of the points (these represent all of the points in the star (not the spikey points, the 3D vertices!) There should be 10 points (count '0' as one of the points). COPY THOSE POINTS (cmd or ctrl-C).

    star
  6. Create a polygon object. Note: this isn't a primitive shape, it's just an empty polygon object.
  7. In the polygon object's structure manager, PASTE the point data from the clipboard.

    star
  8. Create a new line (you're making a new set of data for a new point). This point should have values of (0, 0, 0). The new point will be in the center of x,y,z.

    star
  9. With the POLYGON objet selected, and the points now pasted in the object's structure, you'll need to connect the points to create polygons. Note from the pulldown menu, the shortcut is to type (in rapid succession) M then E.

    star

    SEE MOVIE HERE:
  10. Let's revisit the new point that was created in the center of the structure. Change the Z value to -50. This moves all of the newly created geometry out to meet the new position of the center point.

    star

OPTIONAL EXTRA

11-opt. If you're going to see around to back of this model, you may want to add a symmetry object to easily recreate the geometry on the other side of this. Add the symmetry object while holding down the option key to add it as a parent to the selected object. Don't forget to switch the mirror plane to the correct face (this one is XY)

12-opt. Add a material. There are tons of presets that you'll find in the application. There are even more on the CD in the goodies folder. There are more yet online. Have suggestions for where to find CINEMA 4D materials? Check in at the Toolfarm Forum and let us know where your favorite material site is.

Here's the file if you need to get there in a hurry. DOWNLOAD .C4D FILE (R 9.6) Go through the steps to figure out how to make this, and you'll see how easy it is to make many other models using CINEMA 4D. NOTE: There is an alternate version of the model in the file using an array object. Click the READ ME objects for more information. Wanna learn more about C4D? Check out Cineversity Tutorials, now over 500 video tutorials www.cineversity.com.


Purchase Cinema 4D

After Effects 7.0.1 Update is now available

Adobe After Effects BoxAdobe has fixed a lot of bugs, including the unable to unhide.

arrowAdobe After Effects 7.0.1 update for Mac

arrowAdobe After Effects 7.0.1 update for Windows

Also, Jonas Hummelstrands great blog, The General Specialist has an article on Avoiding the "After Effects error: could not create image buffer".

Friday, December 08, 2006

DVCreators Final Cut Pro Foundations

DVCreators Final Cut Pro FoundationsDVcreators.net has been known as the world leader in Final Cut Pro training since the day Final Cut Pro 1.0 was released.

Final Cut Pro Foundations is the quintessential Final Cut Pro editing course, guiding users through every step of the essential editing process from organizing projects through capture, basic editing and fine-tuning to exporting the final project for delivery in the highest possible quality. Complete with student project files, Final Cut Pro Foundations is the only chunkalized Final Cut Pro training in the world!

See some samples!

Alien Skin Snap Art

Alien Skin Snap Art is natural media plug-in for Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro. Isn't it gorgeous!

impasto rollover oilpaint rollover
Click for larger sample image.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Zaxwerks ProAnimator Updated to 4.1.0

ProAnimatormac universalZaxwerks ProAnimator 4.1.0 has just been released, and incorporates many changes and bug fixes that affect both the Mac and the PC user. ProAnimator is now a Universal application, so for those of you running Intel based Macs, you can now run ProAnimator natively on those Macs.

The 4.1 version is a FREE update to anyone who already owns version 4.0 of ProAnimator.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Automatic Duck product news

automatic duck logo

Combustion importer now Universal, adds HD ability

Automatic Duck's Pro Import Cmb 1.05 is now available, bringing Universalness as well as compatibility with Combustion 4.04 on the Mac. The new version of Pro Import Cmb can now also handle Avid DNxHD media!

If you're using Combustion on the Mac, you should definitely be using the latest 4.04 release. Not only is it native on Intel Macs, it is even much faster on PPC-based systems. On the Mac side, this new release of Pro Import Cmb is compatible with Combustion 4.04, but only 4.04, not earlier versions. On the Windows side, Pro Import Cmb works with Combustion 3.02 and later.

Pro Import Cmb 1.05 is a free update for users of Pro Import Cmb. Installers for the updated plug-ins can be found on the Automatic Duck web site. Users of Combustion 4.03 or earlier on Mac should not update.

Updates to FCP plug-ins correct P2 incompatibility

Automatic Duck recently learned of a problem where the FCP P2 import module would crash FCP if either of their Pro Import FCP or Pro Export FCP plug-ins were installed. This update corrects that defect.

Users of Pro Export FCP 3.0 can update to 3.05 at no cost. Users of Pro Import FCP 2.0 can update to 2.02 at no cost. Installers for the updated plug-ins can be found at the Automatic Duck web site. Users of older versions of these plug-ins can upgrade for $195.

Check our Plug-in Finder for more Automatic Duck information.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Complete Guide to Plug-Ins

Studio Monthly has a terrific and long list of plug-ins for After Effects, Premiere Pro, Shake, Sony Vegas and loads of other hosts. The list shows each plug-in with a summary, URL to purchase, host application, platform and notes where necessary. It's a very nice guide and we're happy to be mentioned in the list.

If you're looking for more indepth information about plug-ins, all in one place, look no further than Toolfarm's Plug-in Finder. The Plug-in Finder is updated and modified just about every day, so the information is as up-to-the-minute as you'll find anywhere.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Maxon Cinema 4D Christmas Ornament Tutorial by Ko Maruyama

Ko Maruyama has created some gorgeous Christmas bulbs with Maxon Cinema 4D and has a tutorial and the project files to share. This is the season of giving, after all. (I always wondered... why isn't every season a season of giving? It should be.)

So, are you learning Cinema 4D? Maxon has a cool tutorial/training experience called Cineversity. I really recommend that you check it out!