Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Red Giant Magic Bullet Colorista Test

coloristaLast weekend I took the family to the Harvest Festival at our CSA. They had a square dance band and my daughter was having a total blast. I wish I had my video camera (and a lighting kit!) but no such luck. I shot some (very dark) video on my digital camera and tried to lighten it with Magic Bullet Colorista. I was pleasantly surprised with the results. Remember that this footage was shot in a dark barn by the light of jack-o-lanterns on a digital camera. The footage is also compressed for the web, so it's noisy. No, it's not awesome looking footage, but compared to what I started with, it's much brighter.

LME 102 Transition Presets for Apple Motion Vol 1

LME logoLME's 102 Innovative transitions for Apple Motion easily applied to footage layers. The collection includes flashes, light bursts, color and time distortions, zoom blurs, halftone grunge, implosions, color thresholds, funhouse mirror extremes, circular zooms, pixel distortions, broadcast mutations and dozens of others.

These transition presets are not available with Apple's Motion application. They are crafted using dozens of the available Motion effect plug-ins that come with the application.

LME did the experimenting so you don't have to, with 102 innovative transitions not available in any other collection. Some look like the transitions you see on television, commericals and other broadcast design, plus dozens of dazzling original ones never seen before.

Happy Dia de los Muertos Tutorial

puppetI've been working on this tutorial for a week but stuff keeps coming at me - email problems, quick sales (speaking of which, the Wondertouch sale expires in an hour!) but I've finally gotten it done.

I show you how to make a skeleton dance with the Puppet Tool in AE CS3. It's fun stuff and you'll be surprised at how easy it is.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

DMN Podcast Episode 22: Express yourself with After Effects Expression Guru Harry Frank

harry frankDave Basulto talks to Harry Frank, Toolfarm Expert Series trainer for After Effects Expressions Series 1 bundle and they're discussing Expressions!

Harry will have Series 2 out sometime soon, so if you haven't checked out Series 1, you'll want to do that first. It's like the show Heroes. If you start watching at Episode 10, you'll have no idea what's going on.

GenArts Sapphire Upgrades

Sapphire logoNeed upgrades for GenArts Sapphire v2? Get the upgrades for $199 each or for $599 for the bundle of all 4 GenArts Sapphire packages.

NewTek's LightWave v9 Receives Nomination for 3D Software of the Year Award from MacUser Magazine

Winning Software Solution Will be Announced October 25 in London

lightwave 9San Antonio, Texas - October 24, 2007 - NewTek, Inc., manufacturer of industry-leading video and 3D animation products, announced today that its LightWave v9 has been nominated as one of five finalists for the 3D Software of the Year Award by MacUser, a leading European computer trade publication. The latest version of LightWave 3D, designed to provide optimized speed and 3D graphics performance to users of the latest generation of Intel®-based Macs as well as PCs, takes full advantage of the advancements in Apple's operating system and development environment. The 3D Software of the Year will be determined by the publication's readers and unveiled at a gala event at The Hurlingham Club in Ranelagh Gardens in London on October 25.

"This recognition by the editorial staff of MacUser reflects the overall positive response we've received among the Mac audience for the faster rendering speeds, multi-core support and overall increased performance of our Universal application of LightWave v9 offers," said Jay Roth, President, NewTek 3D Division. "Mac users are at the forefront of pushing the limits, and setting new standards, for graphics hardware and software. We're confident we'll do well in the end-user voting for this award."

Pricing and Availability
LightWave v9 is available now from resellers and distributors worldwide for a suggested retail price of $895US for full units and $395US for upgrades from previous versions of LightWave. The Universal Binary version of LightWave is available to registered owners of LightWave v9 at no additional charge.

About NewTek
With headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, NewTek is an Emmy® Award-winning and leading provider of full-featured video editing, live production, presentation, animation and special effects tools including TriCaster, TriCaster PRO, TriCaster STUDIO, VT[4], SpeedEDIT, 3D Arsenal, and LightWave 3D®.

About MacUser
For 22 years MacUser has dominated the Macintosh publishing sector, and it is now the longest-standing Apple title in the world. Its unique fortnightly frequency allows MacUser to be first to market with the latest, and frequently exclusive, news and reviews. The magazine boasts the largest and most experienced editorial team in the UK market, and its rigorous approach to product-testing ensures the highest-quality Mac product reviews available anywhere in the UK. MacUser educates its professional readers to make the right buying decisions and inspires them to stretch their knowledge and enjoyment of Mac computing.

Apple Final Cut Server announced for early 2008

Final Cut Server is server software designed to run on Mac OS X, with concurrent-use licenses for client computers. The client software runs on both Mac and Windows computers. Final Cut Server will be available by early 2008.

This looks awesome! Check out our other Apple products.

Genarts Releases Sapphire Plug-Ins Version 2 For After Effects And Compatible Products

sapphireNew version features over 30 new effects and many enhancements

Available immediately for After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Combustion and Fusion.

Learn more about GenArts Sapphire in our Plug-in Finder
Cambridge, MA. October 30, 2007 - GenArts, Inc., a leading provider of visual effects plug-ins for the film, broadcast and video industries, today announced the immediate availability of Sapphire Plug-ins version 2 for After Effects and compatible products including Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Autodesk Combustion, and Eyeon Fusion. The new release features over 30 new effects, plus many new parameters and improvements to existing effects in the package.

For over a decade, GenArts Sapphire Plug-ins have set the standard for sophisticated, organic visual effects which natively integrate with leading editing and compositing systems. Version 2 contains all of the visual effects and features that have established Sapphire Plug-ins as an indispensable part of the digital artist's toolkit - and introduces more than 30 new and innovative effects. FilmDamage, ZDefocus, Cartoon, BleachBypass, GradientMulti, SwishPan, Light3D, Deband, and TextureNeurons are a few of the new plug-ins in the collection of over 200 image processing and synthesis effects. Many new effects were designed to improve users' workflow while others offer easy ways to create eye-catching visuals, such as FilmDamage - which simulates aged film by adding scratches, dust, stains, grain, shake and flicker. Enhancements to existing effects in the package include a revamped RackDefocus, 4 new Glares and 14 new LensFlares.

"GenArts has the highest quality plug-ins you can find. I love the new effects in Sapphire 2 such as WarpMagnify, SwishPan and DissolveGlow, and I expect to use Vignette every day," comments Jack Tunnicliffe, Senior Effects Artist at Java Post Production. "The LensFlare additions are also fabulous."

Sapphire 2 includes support for the latest versions of all After Effects and compatible host applications including Adobe CS3 and the "Smart FX" API which provides more efficient processing and support for 32bit image formats. All platforms running v2 will have improved rendering speed.

"We are thrilled with this new release. After Effects, Final Cut Pro and the other compatible products have become integral parts of our high-end users' workflow as we see more and more clients working on multiple host platforms. Version 2 further extends their creative capabilities with many innovative effects and additional functionality," says Anish Dhanda, Managing Director of GenArts.

Key New Features of Sapphire Plug-ins 2 for After Effects and Compatible Products:

  • FilmDamage simulates aged film by adding scratches, dust, stains, grain, shake, flicker, etc.
  • ZDefocus defocuses areas of the source clip by different amounts using depth values from a z-buffer input.
  • Cartoon gives cartoon-like looks with exaggerated edges and flat areas of color.
  • Light3D performs 3D relighting of a clip using an input clip describing the surface normals.
  • Vignette darkens the outer edges of a clip with various shape options.
  • BleachBypass generates a stylized version of the source clip by simulating a bleach bypass process.
  • Other new effects include: BlurDirectional, CartoonPaint, Posterize, Deband, DogVision, TileScramble, WarpMagnify, WarpCornerPin, GradientMulti, Shape, TextureTiles, TextureNeurons, TextureLoops, TextureFlux, SwishPan, DissolveGlow, DissolveFilm, FeedbackDistort, Convolve, ConvolveComp, ZConvolve, ZGlow, TriTone, QuadTone, Invert, ShowBadColors and ChannelSwitcher.
  • LensFlare has 14 new flare types, new parameters to adjust the look of the flares and an optional Matte input which allows selective blocking or colorizing of flares.
  • LensFlareAutoTrack can track and render flares at multiple hotspots.
  • RackDefocus has new shape options and improved performance.
  • Glare includes 4 new glare types and improved performance.
  • Adobe's "Smart FX" API is supported for AE7 and CS3 with more efficient processing and reading of 32bit image formats.
  • Windows Vista and Mac OS X Leopard are supported.

Availability and Pricing

Sapphire Plug-ins version 2 for After Effects and compatible products can be purchased directly from GenArts or through their worldwide channel of authorized resellers. Pricing for Sapphire 2 is $1699 for the entire package or $599 for one of four individual box sets. Special upgrade pricing for existing v1 customers is offered for $599 and $199, respectively. A free trial of the software is available online at Sapphire Plug-ins version 2 will also be available on Quantel generationQ products with VDS Synapse. For more information about Sapphire on Quantel please contact VDS.

About GenArts, Inc. Founded in 1996 in Cambridge, Mass., GenArts, Inc. is the premier provider of digital visual effects plug-ins for the film, broadcast and video industries. Their product, Sapphire Plug-ins, equips digital artists with a collection of over 200 state-of-the-art image processing and synthesis effects such as: Glows, EdgeRays, LensFlare, Lightning, FilmEffect, Warps and Textures. The effects seamlessly integrate into a number of editing and compositing systems including: Adobe® After Effects®, Premiere® Pro and Premiere® Elements; Apple® Final Cut Pro® and Shake®; Avid® AVX Products; Autodesk® Compositing & Editing Systems, and Combustion®; Eyeon® Fusion®; and Quantel® generationQ products. Sapphire Plug-ins have become the industry standard for high-end visual effects creation by providing unrivaled image quality, a unique organic look, and ease of use. They have been used extensively in an array of television programs, music videos and feature films, including: Pirates of the Caribbean 1, 2, and 3, Spider-Man 1, 2 and 3, Superman Returns, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Star Wars - Episode I, II and III, Sin City, The Matrix trilogy, X-Men 1, 2 and 3, Titanic, Lost and CSI. Additional GenArts product information can be found at

Telestream Episode 4.4 now available!


Free update for existing customers

Enhancing our industry-leading desktop encoding applications for the Mac... to bring you greater speed, quality & ease of use.

Episode 4.4 features include:

  • Improved H.264, WMV & VC-1 encoding - faster and higher quality
  • Ability to encode Real Media files on Intel-based Macs
  • Alpha Channel support in Flash 8
  • Cable Labs compatible MPEG-2 transport stream encoding
  • Flexible tape ingest from SDI to DV, IMX & MPEG with our new Pipeline network encoder
Here's how to get Episode 4.4:

Purchase Episode 4.4 now

Existing customers:
Get your FREE update to Episode 4.4 and release notes:

  • Open Episode, go to "Preferences" and select "Update".
  • Click on "Check Now" and the latest version of Episode/Episode Pro will be downloaded to your computer. (If your Mac is not connected to the internet, go to a computer that is and download the latest version of Episode from

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Free Trapcode Tutorial from John Dickinson

trapcodeJohn Dickinson shows you how to use Trapcode Starglow and Shine in Final Cut Pro. He shows you some tricks about managing presets in Final Cut Pro.

Learn more about Trapcode Starglow and Trapcode Shine in our Plug-in Finder. These are multi-installer plug-ins meaning that you get the AE, Premiere Pro, FCP, Motion and Avid installers and your serial number works in all of them. How cool is that!

Maxon Cinema 4D Pumpkin by Ko Maruyama

cinema 4d pumpkinKo has updated a cool old tutorial about how to make a pumpkin in C4D... both the modeling and texturing. View the tutorial.

Hey, did you hear that Maxon Cinema 4D r10.5 came out a couple of weeks ago? It's a great upgrade.

More on Leopard Support with Adobe Apps

LeopardDownload this PDF about Adobe's support for Leopard and which need patches.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Adobe apps on Leopard: What you need to know

From John Nack's Blog

Does Adobe recommend running Production Premium or Master Collection before its updates are available?

A. Yes, we are comfortable recommending this. Our testing revealed a few issues in specific workflows when running the video professional applications on Mac OS X Leopard. Many video professionals would not encounter these issues on a day-to-day basis, but we want to provide updates in December 2007 to address these issues and meet our standards of quality. You can evaluate the issues by visiting and searching the online knowledgebase for more information.

What about older versions of Adobe software? The FAQ says,

While older Adobe applications may install and run on Mac OS X Leopard, they were designed, tested, and released to the public several years before this new operating system became available. You may, therefore, experience a variety of installation, stability, and reliability issues for which there is no resolution. Older versions of our creative software will not be updated to support Mac OS X.

I can't speak for other app teams, but while we naturally concentrated our testing on Photoshop CS3 (and beyond), we also tested CS2 a fair bit. The only significant problem we discovered is that Photoshop's Web Photo Gallery module can crash while running under Leopard. We plan to post an updated version that fixes the crash, but that won't go up until Monday. In case you're impatient, I've attached the file here/ (link should be live in a minute).

Also, check out Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Information to collect before an Erase and Install

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Toolfarm Tutorial: Getting Started with the 3D Camera and Layers

cameraAlicia VanHeulen, the newest Toolfarm employee, has produced her first tutorial with us Getting Started with the 3D Camera and Layers. It's for After Effects 7.0 and higher. She explains, "In this tutorial, I'll explore how to arrange the layers and add a simple camera move to your composition. In the next tutorial I'll go into more detail about camera motion, adding depth of field, and other ideas to add life to static images."

The photography is beautiful and from her recent trip to Sedona, Arizona. If you have any questions about the project and the technique, please post to Toolfarm's Expert Forums and Alicia can help.

Filter Forge - Build your own Photoshop Filters!

filter forge pluginsFilter Forge Basic, Standard, and Professional plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop (Windows only). The Basic version comes with 3,796 user-created filters, the Standard allows you to modify these plus create your own filters and the Professional version does all of this plus supports bitmaps up to 65000x65000 pixels, bump and normal maps, and supports an unlimited number of CPU cores.

Imagineer's Alan Jaenicke discusses mocha AE on DMN Podcast

Mocha AEDave Basulto interviews Alan Jaenicke, President of Imagineer Systems for his latest DMN podcast. They talk in depth about mocha AE and it's a really good interview.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Alien Skin Eye Candy for After Effects free update for Intel/CS3

Eye Candy
After Effects 7 AECS3 Mac Universal
Alien Skin has released an update for the Mac version of Eye Candy for After Effects. The new version provides native performance on the new generation of Intel Macintosh computers.

Please visit their software updates page to download the free update.

It is only necessary to install the update if you are using Adobe After Effects CS3 on an Intel based Macintosh.

Learn more about Eye Candy in our Plug-in Finder | Buy Eye Candy for After Effects

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Zaxwerks ProAnimator Training: Making it Look Great 1

zaxwerks training promoZaxwerks ProAnimator Training: Making it Look Great 1 is here! In this in-depth video workshop, look over senior broadcast designer and After Effects expert John Dickinson's shoulder as he guides you step-by-step through real-world techniques for creating an impactful broadcast motion graphics promotion.

Throughout the lessons John not only demonstrates techniques he uses in his work as a broadcast designer, but also discusses many of the design decisions behind the techniques.

Watch the promo (pops) and then buy the training.

Zaxwerks Reflector - New After Effects Plug-in is here

zaxwerks reflectorAfter Effects can do so much, but you couldn't do reflections easily. Until now. Use Zaxwerks Reflector to quickly enhance your scene with reflective surfaces. It's as easy as picking a surface (a floor, a wall, a ceiling) and applying the Reflector effect. One additional click will update your scene for reflections. Reflector will work with 3D text, pictures, and movies. Most effects in your scene will be reflected as well. Need a mirror? Use Reflector. Want to simulate a hard wood floor? Use Reflector.

Learn more about Zaxwerks Reflector in our Plug-in Finder.

Red Giant Software Acquires Digieffects Cinelook

red giantcinelookSan Francisco, CA, October 18, 2007 - Red Giant Software, developer of a line of professional digital video tools, including Magic Bullet and Knoll Light Factory, today announced that the company reached an agreement with Digieffects to acquire Cinelook. This agreement secures Red Giant Software's position as the leading provider of color correction tools to set the mood of a movie. Following the recent launch of Magic Bullet Looks, Cinelook will no longer be sold or developed by either company. Digieffects will continue to offer free technical support to existing customers. Key pieces of the Cinelook technology and workflow may be added to future versions of the Magic Bullet line of tools.

Cinelook users can cross grade to Magic Bullet Looks for USD $199 (regularly $399) and Magic Bullet Suite 2007 USD $399 (regularly $799). A document will be available to help Cinelook users learn more about migrating their projects and workflow to Magic Bullet.

"This cross sell opportunity is the best way for Cinelook customers to get the latest technology," said Robert Sharp, President of Digieffects. "We will now turn our focus to our core products such as Delirium and the line of Buena Software products, recently acquired from Toolfarm."

"Cinelook was one of the first products to process video to emulate film," said Andrew Little, Co-Founder of Red Giant Software. "We are happy to forge this partnership with Digieffects and offer Cinelook customers a brand new playground to have fun and be creative with color correction and movie looks."

About Digieffects

Digieffects is a developer of popular software plug-ins for Adobe After Effects, Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Autodesk Combustion. The company has been in the business since the beginning of the 'plug-in revolution' which dates back to 1996. Over the years, Digieffects has had great success with software products like Cinelook and Delirium and is proud to call thousands of video producers all around the world its customers and friends.

About Red Giant Software

Red Giant Software LLC ( is a San Francisco-based company that develops professional tools for digital video production. Products are available as plug-ins for popular video editing and effects applications including After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Premiere Pro, and Avid. All tools are based on production-proven technology developed by visual effects veterans.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Red Giant Software Unveils Magic Bullet Looks

mb looksPowerful New Look Tool Now Available

San Francisco, CA, October 17, 2007 - Red Giant Software has released Magic Bullet Looks, its highly anticipated and revolutionary color correction tool. Looks' powerful tools can be used on-set or in the edit suite to subtly adjust tone, color and focus to simulate the appearance of classic films or duplicate specific production conditions. Users can choose from more than a hundred Look presets, all neatly organized into 10 categories, to help set the mood for anything from a wedding video to the next Sundance original.

Magic Bullet Looks includes Magic Bullet LooksBuilder, a stand-alone application to pre-visualize looks anywhere. LooksBuilder's intuitive interface models the way light moves through a camera with simulated filters, lenses and film stocks that can be adjusted on the fly. Look presets are portable and load into any of the supported editing hosts, so the same Looks created on set are the ones used to finish in the editorial suite. Hundreds of look options are available with one click right in your editor, without having to go to a separate finishing system.

"When you shoot on location, you're often stuck with what nature gives you. Often the lighting is poor and you have to make do. Magic Bullet Looks lets me re-light my shots and make my talent look great all with a few simple clicks." said Eric Escobar, filmmaker at Kontent Films in San Francisco.

For detailed Product Information, visit:

For answers to Frequently Asked Questions, visit:

What's New?

  • A brand-new interface for creating and customizing looks easier and
    more intuitively
  • More than 100 Look presets that offer popular looks like Crime Scene, Blue Bleach or Subtle Film
  • 36 powerful new tools expand upon the 10 simple functions of Magic Bullet Editors' Look Suite

Pricing and Availability

Magic Bullet Looks is the next generation of look tools for Magic Bullet Editors and Magic Bullet Suite, customers and includes:

  • A plug-in for Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Avid, Adobe Premiere Pro and Motion
  • A stand-alone LooksBuilder application that runs on laptops for Looks generation anywhere
  • Magic Bullet Misfire adds film damage such as dust and scratches to artificially age a film

Magic Bullet Looks is available for $399 USD. Existing Magic Bullet Editors or Magic Bullet Suite customers may upgrade to Magic Bullet Looks for $99 USD.

Customers who purchased Magic Bullet Editors or Magic Bullet Suite on or after April 11, 2007 are entitled to a free upgrade and should complete this form.

About Red Giant Software

Red Giant Software LLC ( is a San Francisco-based company that develops professional tools for digital video production. Products are available as plug-ins for popular video editing and effects applications including After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Premiere Pro, and Avid. All tools are based on production-proven technology developed by visual effects veterans.

Get Noise Industries FxFactory Pro for 50% off!

fxfactory buttonWe have an incredible Toolfarm Exclusive deal for Noise Industries FxFactory Pro. Save 50% off of Noise Industries FxFactory Pro 1.07 between October 21 - October 28, 2007.

FxFactory is the first expandable effects package for Final Cut Studio. Over 150 GPU-accelerated plug-ins based on OpenGL, Core Image and Quartz Composer.

Unlimited expandability

Download more plug-ins at the FxMarket. Zero-coding plug-in development: create your own FxPlug effects for Final Cut Studio without writing any code.

Seamless integration with FxPlug

Install plug-ins once, use them immediately in both Final Cut Pro and Motion.

FxFactory Pro is the only software that lets you create and modify your own visual effects plug-ins for Final Cut Pro and Motion without writing a single line of code. By leveraging modern graphics technology such as Core Image and Quartz Composer, your plug-ins will be high-performance, first-class FxPlug citizens.

Learn more Noise industries

And, there's more! Buy now (or wait for the sale) and get a free upgrade to FxFactory 2.0!

Noise Industries will be releasing FxFactory 2.0 within a month that will bring Leopard compatibility and lots of other goodies. FxFactory 2.0 will be a paid upgrade, price tbd. However, if you buy FxF 1.0.7 now, you will get the upgrade for free.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

particleIllusion 3.0.2 for Windows released (free update)

wondertoucWondertouch released particleIllusion 3.0.2 for Windows, which is a free update.

It's highly recommended that users download and install the update. It provides several new features (including enhanced movie file support, easier rendering of large output sizes, an "autoupdate" feature, emitter searching with articleView, and more) and many bug fixes.

3.0.2 works in XP x64 and Vista too.

Note that 3.0.2 uses an improved activation method, so you will need to activate again after installing the update.

(If you need a full installer instead of the 3.0.1a to 3.0.2 update, please email

Digital Film Tools Releases Power Matte 1.0 for Adobe After Effects

dft Digital Film Tools announces the release of Power Matte 1.0, an easy to use image matting tool capable of extracting almost any object in an image--even if you are dealing with fine hair detail, smoke, or reflections. This extraction process creates what is known as a matte--essentially a black and white cutout. White matte areas are extracted, black areas not, and gray areas in between represent a level of transparency. Once a matte is extracted, the foreground object can be seamlessly composed onto a new background as well as apply filter and image corrections only within the area defined by the matte. All this is made possible without the aid of blue or green screen photography.

dft To work this magic, Power Matte iteratively estimates the transparency value for every pixel in the image, based on a small sample of foreground (what you want to cut out) and background (what you want to get rid of) pixels marked by defining simple open or closed masks. Results show that compared with previous approaches, our method is more efficient and requires minimal effort to extract high quality mattes for foregrounds with significant semi-transparent regions. In addition, the foreground edge colors can be estimated in the semi-transparent areas to create a seamless composite.

Power Matte is based on unpublished research and technology by Jue Wang from the University of Washington and is exclusively licensed by Digital Film Tools. Digital Film Tools is an offshoot of a Los Angeles based full-service visual effects facility specializing in feature film and television special effects. Power Matte 1.0 is available for download or purchase for $195.

Learn more about Power Matte for After Effects.

New After Effects Plug-in Demos at Toolfarm

Check out some new demos of plug-ins from Digital Film Tools, including Digital Film Tools Power Stroke and Digital Film Tools Power Matte, and a cool new application that allows you to build plug-ins for After Effects... the first of its kind... called Pixlock Effect Builder AE.

Digital Film Tools Releases Power Stroke 1.0 for Adobe After Effects

dftDigital Film Tools announces the release of Power Stroke version 1.0, a stroke based color correction, colorization and special effects plug-in.

Designed with the creative work flow of colorists, film/video editors, graphic designers and artists in mind, Power Stroke introduces a simple, interactive stroke-based work flow to quickly and intuitively perform targeted adjustments. Instead of meticulously drawing exact masks, using inaccurate matte extractions or hand painting frame to frame, regions of interest are isolated by drawing a few simple and loose After Effects open or closed masks. dft Power Stroke then uses the concepts of luminance-weighted chrominance blending and fast intrinsic distance computations to determine the edges of your target area and adjustments are made only in those areas. Masks can be assigned multiple corrections and effects such as color correction, recoloring or desaturation, colorization of black and white images, blur, fill light for dimly lit image areas and diffusion/glow. Using patented algorithms, Power Stroke produces high-quality results at a fraction of the complexity and computational cost of previous techniques. At long last, gestural selection, colorization and image adjustment have been combined into one natural, fast and easy process.

Power Stroke is based on research and technology by Liron Yatziv and Guillermo Sapiro from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Minnesota, and is exclusively licensed by Digital Film Tools. Digital Film Tools is an offshoot of a Los Angeles based full-service visual effects facility specializing in feature film and television special effects. Power Stroke 1.0 for Adobe After Effects is available for download or purchase for $175.

Visit our Plug-in Finder to see images, samples and more!

And speaking of Zaxwerks! What is the real difference between ProAnimator and 3D Invigorator Pro?

zaxWhat is the real difference between ProAnimator and 3D Invigorator Pro?

... So I sent an email to Zax to really help us all learn!

Zax says:
In a nutshell the difference is that ProAnimator includes some very advanced tools that help you create animations much faster and much easier than if you used Invigorator Pro with AE's standard keyframing techniques.

With ProAnimator you can create very complicated animations in minutes. If you used AE's keyframes it would take you hours and hours of tedious labor to do what ProAnimator can do in a few clicks. ProAnimator frees a designer from the technicalities of keyframe-wrangling. It plays the animation in real-time and you can make changes while the animation is still playing. As a result you can change-change-change the animation until you get exactly the motion you want, modifying the equivalent of hundreds of keyframes with just a few clicks.

Standard keyframing is similar to building a house out of toothpicks. Everybody tries to build a big house once. But after that you start scaling back your ideas to fit the amount of time you have to work in and the amount of trouble you want to cause for yourself. ProAnimator helps you take the lid off your ideas. You can start thinking of big ideas again and ProAnimator will let you do them quickly and easily. If keyframing is like building a house out of toothpicks, ProAnimator is almost like having a magic genie which will do what you command.

Check out all of Zaxwerks great tools for working in 3D

New Product! Pixlock Effect Builder AE

Pixlock effect builder aeEffect Builder AE is a development kit for building Adobe After Effects plug-ins from Quartz Compositions on Mac OS X. With Effect Builder AE and Quartz Composer you can quickly create your own effects like generators, filters, and transitions without programming knowledge. With Core Image enabled graphics hardware, effects are rendered hardware accelerated. If you're interested in building your own plug-ins for After Effects, Pixlock Effect Builder AE is your tool!

Get More Information via our Plug-in Finder or download a demo today!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Making it Look Great 1: Design and Production Techniques for Adobe After Effects and Zaxwerks ProAnimator

zaxwerks training promoJohn Dickinson has done some training for Toolfarm's Expert Training Series and has a new series coming out very soon called "Making it Look Great 1: Design and Production Techniques for Adobe After Effects and Zaxwerks ProAnimator". It's the world's only ProAnimator video training. Don't worry, we will announce it as soon as it's ready. I can tell you that it will be available on DVD or as a download, which is great for those of you who are not in the US. Save a lot on shipping! We will break it down into chunks for easy downloading because it's a LOT of training content. It will be incredible. John is a talented trainer. Don't believe me? Think I'm just trying to sell you on it? Watch the promo.

Update: It will sell for $49.95 and is slightly over 2 hours of training.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Toolfarm now Hosting Imagineer Forum

imagineer logoAs you probably know, we are big supporters of Imagineer and their terrific products. We've been fielding quite a few questions about Imagineer products so we thought, "Gee... why don't we host an official Imagineer employee moderated forum here at Toolfarm?" Imagineer is now hosting their forum at Toolfarm!

The forum is moderated by three Imagineer staffers/experts, Billy, Ross and Ijaz. Please start posting some questions! Next Wednesday is the big release of mocha AE, so if you have questions about the product, by all means, ask!

Also, Toolfarm Expert Forums are the official forum for Red Giant Software and Digieffects. We host a Boris FX forum moderated by Peter McCauley, too. Our After Effects forum is slammin'.

Get a Free Class on Demand Video Training when you buy Digieffects plug-ins

digieffects logoclass on demandPurchase a Digieffects product in October and receive a free copy of either Basic Training for Adobe CS3 Production Premium or Complete Training for Final Cut Studio 2 by Class on Demand. A $149 value!

Check out all of the Class On Demand titles Toolfarm offers, too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Digital Anarchy Announces Knoll Light Factory 3.0 for Photoshop

New Version Has Improved UI, Real-Time Preview, and Support for Intel Mac and 64-bit OSKnoll LIght factory

San Francisco - October 9th, 2007 - Digital Anarchy, a leading provider of cost-effective special effects software for Adobe and Apple products, has released version 3.0 of the acclaimed Knoll Light Factory. The new features in this Photoshop package give increased control over the look of hundreds of lighting effects, and further the creative abilities of photographers and designers to enhance existing images or create original works.

Version 3.0 introduces a complete redesign of the user interface, with a simplified layout, new functions, a quick Preview Window, and preview thumbnails for light presets. The Light Editor has been integrated into a single interface that can be moved and resized to the user's workspace. An additional 50 light presets give users additional pre-made effects that range from naturalistic to dramatic.

Some of the exciting features in Knoll Spark Pack 3.0 include:

  • New User Interface: The UI has been redesigned for ease of use, including previews of light presets and access to editing functions in one window.
  • Real-Time Preview: The main Preview Window now supports real-time manipulation, as well as the ability to resize and zoom in/out.
  • 100+ Light Presets: There are now well over 100 great places to start when looking for that special flare.
  • 16-bit Color Support: Light effects now render out to higher bit depths, which reduces banding and outputs better looking glows and gradients.
  • Mac Intel and 64-bit Windows compatible: Full support of all of the new operating systems and religious preferences.
  • Obscuration Layer: Use a grayscale mask to partially obscure the lights, and make more realistic effects when lights are being partially blocked by an object.
  • Tint Layer: Use a separate layer to change the flare color for easier compositing on complex images.
  • Randomize Feature: A Randomize button and slider let users organically discover fun new effects.
  • Undo Functionality: Multi-level undo allows for an improved workflow when designing lights.

Pricing and Availability

Knoll Light Factory 3.0 is priced at $149 USD. An upgrade path from version 2.0 to 3.0 is $89.00. Until October 31st, it will be available for $129 and the upgrade will be $79. The product is available for Photoshop 7.0 and higher, including CS3, and Photoshop Elements 3.0 and higher. The product also works in other drawing applications that fully support the Photoshop API.

For Macintosh, Light Factory runs on OS 10.3 and higher, and is native to both PPC or Intel systems. For Windows, the product runs on Windows 2000, XP Pro, XP Home, Vista 32-bit and Vista 64-bit systems. Demo filters and samples are available at

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, Apple and Autodesk. For more information, please see the company's website at or call 415-586-8434.

Digital Anarchy is a registered trademark of Digital Anarchy Inc. All other brand names, product names, service marks, or trademarks belong to their respective holders.

Node-locked vs. Floating Licenses

You have probably noticed the terms node-locked and floating licenses being tossed around a lot lately. You might have noticed that we currently have a pre-order deal on Mocha AE and the versions are node-locked, floating and node-locked with dongle. What does it all mean?

We've set up a page that defines Node-Locked and Floating licenses.

A dongle is a not just a fun word to say, but it is a small piece of hardware that works as a security device and can be moved between different computers. Software companies are moving away from dongles. Any questions? Please ask!

Karcher Design Taps wondertouch particleIllusion 3.0 for Motion Graphics Intensive Brand Design Campaign

wondertouch particleillusionparticleIllusion's Powerful Real-time Rendering Capabilities Praised by Studio Creatives in Helping to Quickly Turnaround More than 30
Branded Identify Elements

St. Louis, MO (October 10, 2007) -- When San Diego-based creative firm Karcher Design was tapped by corporate giant CSC to create presentation materials for its annual senior leaders conference in support of a new global initiative, it had just over four weeks lead time. To meet the challenge, Karcher Design leveraged the power and versatility of wondertouch particleIllusion to create a state-of-the art package of presentation elements, culminating in a spectacular, seven-minute motion-graphics intensive film.

KarcherComputer Sciences Corporation (CSC) is a leading global information technology services company that currently operates in more than 55 countries, employs more than 87,000 people, and serves some of the world's largest customers in industry and government. Although CSC may not conjure up a creative connection, wondertouch customer, Karcher Design, needed to deploy all the tools in its arsenal to quickly meet the deadline and create elements that would motivate CSC's top brass attending the conference from around the world.

"We faced considerable motion graphics effects and deadline challenges on the CSC project," said Christopher Karcher, president/creative director, Karcher Design. "Our initial design concepts incorporated curving spiral lines and circles that we wanted to animate from two-to-four minutes in length that would morph into new shapes and patterns in an organic way.

Karcher"We looked at other 2D/3D applications but found them too complicated to learn or simply took too long to generate our ideas. Once we started experimenting in particleIllusion we immediately realized the power of its real-time rendering capabilities to quickly create and customize the animated elements we envisioned. This creative freedom was a wonderful change for us as it allowed a fluid interaction with our designs that many of us only experienced in traditional art forms such as painting, filmmaking and ceramics" he added.

For the conference program content, the Karcher creative team (comprised of two animators, an art director and creative director) successfully conceived and delivered more than 30 branded identity elements. These elements included animations, multi-layered high-definition motion graphics and high-definition still images, which were also used for print, electronic signage and presentation materials. The motion elements were integrated with high-definition video footage, produced by San Diego based Loma Media, and included interviews with key CSC executives and top tier customers from over six countries. The end product brought to life a one-of-a-kind wide screen motion picture experience entitled, "Positioning for Growth". The seven-minute film was displayed to the senior level executives in attendance on a 50-foot wide, Vista Systems "Spyder" projection system at 1080i with a 3.3:1 aspect ratio.

Karcher"The CSC project was unique in that the animations we created were for large projection display and needed to loop," said Karcher. "Although the videos were rendered in 1080i, most of the components were mastered in 4K resolution to cost effectively support their usage in print and other extremely high resolution applications.

"In addition, since many of the animation elements involved time remapping, using particleIllusion we were able to render design elements at very high frame rates, and create effects that were fast and energetic but would transition to slower moving and poetic wherever needed; 300 frames per second or more. The software also flexibly integrated with other design elements created in Maxon's Cinema 4D, and allowed us to adjust the timing and energy of the design later in the process in Adobe After Effects," adds Karcher.

KarcherAbout Karcher Design
Karcher Design is a creative firm specializing in consumer and business-to-business design and image branding, interactive design and motion media. The company partners with leading business clients, agencies and PR firms including Sony, Qualcomm, DirecTV and PBS. For additional information, please visit, www.

About wondertouch
wondertouch, headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., is an award-winning software developer specializing in particle effects for the visual effects industry. The company's flagship product particleIllusion, a sprite-based particle effects application, is designed to provide the most comprehensive effects creation tool and efficient workflow. Considered one of the most popular solutions for effects creation, particleIllusion is now used worldwide by creative professionals working in film post-production and pre-visualization, standard and HD video, commercial broadcast, motion graphics and game content creation. Additional information on wondertouch can be obtained on the Web at

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Create a Green Screen Effect with the Boris Chroma Key Filter

Boris KeyFrom Boris FX:

In this week's tutorial, we illustrate how to create a green screen effect using the BCC Chroma Key filter. BCC Chroma Key is used for compositing camera footage shot using a blue, green, or orange screen as a backdrop over a new background video or a still image from a separate file. BCC Chroma Key and other keying and matte filters are included as part of Boris FX 9.1, Boris RED 4.1, and Boris Continuum Complete 5.

Pull a perfect key in minutes!

Free ArtBeats Clip

artbeatsDownload a free ArtBeats clip each month when you sign up for their newsletter. This month is a lovely field of some sort of yellow and orange flowers that is timelapse. Get your ArtBeats footage at Toolfarm and save!.

Register at ArtBeats and get a free clip per month.

Digital Anarchy ToonIt! Video Tutorial

toonitFrom the Digital Anarchy Newsletter:

ToonIt does a great job of creating a cartoon look from video, but it's also capable of other types of 'painterly' and non-photorealistic looks. In this tutorial, we take a look out how to create some of those looks, by adjusting the ToonIt settings and applying other After Effects' filters before and after ToonIt.

This creates a pretty cool range of interesting effects. Check out the video tutorial and let us know what you think. Or... better yet, submit some of your own receipes for getting more than advertised out of ToonIt!

Reduce Artifacting in your Footage

Artifacting isn't fun, but it can be helped with plug-ins. Check out this list of plug-ins to help deartifact your footage in our Plug-in Finder.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

FxPlug Intro by Darrin Cardani

FxPlug logoDarrin Cardani held a Introduction to FxPlug session on how to write an FxPlug plug-in for the Los Angeles CocoaHeads on September 13, 2007. For any plug-in developers who are interested in writing plug-ins for Final Cut Pro and/or Motion (including porting your After Effects plug-ins), this is a must watch.

Learn more about FxPlug in our Plug-in Finder.

Simulate a Videoconference Open in Final Cut Studio 2 with FxFactory Pro

fxfactory proStudioDaily has a new tutorial, Simulate a Videoconference Open in Final Cut Studio 2 with FxFactory Pro. In this tutorial, they explain how to simulate the opening of a videoconference by customizing a preset found in FxFactory Pro, a terrific plug-in from Noise Industries.

Learn more about FxFactory Pro in our Plug-in Finder or try a demo of FxFactory Pro.

Problems with video flicker?

plugin finder logoWe've put together a page in our Plug-in Finder that addresses the issue of flicker removal in video, caused by your camera lens, lighting changes in stop motion or anything else. There are several plug-ins out there for After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Combustion and other host apps to help you out of your flicker jam.

Got any tips or tutorials we can link up? Email Michele Yamazaki with the information.