Thursday, February 26, 2009

wondertouch Pro Emitter Projects for particleIllusion 3.0

wondertouchThe wondertouch Pro Projects for particleIllusion 3.0 are a collection of project files, each containing several emitters that were customized and combined to create a complete ready-to-render package.

The Pro Emitter Libraries are all about the emitters, but as they're "only" libraries it can be hard to visualize how best to use them in a project. The Pro Projects, although they contain some great emitters, are more about how to use and combine these emitters.

Pro Projects vol. 1 is for you if:
  • You use particleIllusion 3.0 (or the 30-day trial version)
  • You do any motion graphics work
  • You ever have a need for abstract stock clips, digital video backgrounds, or other animated content
  • Need ready-to-use content, but also want to be able to customize or create new related content quickly
  • Want to learn more about particleIllusion 3.0 by example
  • You've ever wondered how some of the emitters we provide for free each month could be used in a useful and imaginative way
  • You want even more emitters for particleIllusion 3.0
What do you get in Pro Projects vol. 1?
  • Five (5) complete, ready-to-render particleIllusion 3.0 project files at most popular SD and HD resolutions
  • An emitter library with all of the emitters from these projects for easy reuse in other projects
  • Complete documentation which includes customization notes for each project
wondertouch Pro Projects vol. 1 for particleIllusion 3.0 is only 29.95 and so has been added to our $99 and under pages!

Media 100 Version 13.0.1 Now Available, Tutorial

Media 100 Suite v13.0.1 and Media 100 Producer v13.0.1 are now available.

New Features

  • Support for AJA Driver v6.0.2
  • Support for AJA v6.0.2 firmware update for KONA 3 video cards
  • Support for QuickTime v7.6 and higher
  • Improvements to Digital Audio Acquire, Multi-Channel Audio Input, and XML Interchange features

Version 13.0.1 Release Notes pdf

Media 100 Version 13.0.1 is a Free Update for users of Media 100 Version 13. Download Now. The demo version will update your software, or try a demo if you're not currently using Media 100.

New Media 100 Tutorial

In this new video, Flo Peters of Magic Eye takes a look at Media 100 Version 13's new multi-channel audio output capabilities. With Version 13, you can assign multiple audio tracks to virtual buses and process each bus separately in the timeline. Each bus can separately master to one or more output hardware channels.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Did you know you can upgrade Adobe Academic software?

If you were a student and bought the academic versions of Adobe software, you can upgrade it to CS4, just like you bought a regular, full license.

Upgrade any Adobe program to CS4 now and get Digieffects Simulate: Illuma and Digieffects Simulate: Camera for free through next Friday, March 6. ($198 value).

There are also a couple of upgrade deals where you can save $100-$200 on Adobe upgrades. These deals expire February 28. See the post about the Adobe deal for all of the information.

Upgrade ANY Adobe CS3 software to CS4 and get a FREE copy of Digieffects Simulate: Illumina & Camera

If you upgrade any Adobe CS3 product or bundle to CS4 at Toolfarm and you will receive a free copy of DigiEffects Simulate: Illuma and Simulate: Camera, a $198 value entirely for free.*

Please note: Special introductory prices on Path 2 upgrades ends February 28, 2009.

simulate

Digieffects Simulate: Illuma


  • Simulate: Illuma Light and filter options you didn’t have in the field...
  • Halo: one effect with both bloom and focus controls
  • Lightracer: enhance visible light sources, particularly in dark settings
  • Radiance: the stuff of dream sequences...gentle glow with a versatile set of tools you'll find multiple reasons to use
  • Photogust: fast and easy point emination blurs
  • Luminus: just the right glow is easy to achieve with lots of control

Digieffects Simulate: Camera

Simulate: Camera Who says you can't change your mind once it’s shot?

  • Archive: film from the back room...under the table saw... where the dog was shedding...and the roof was leaking...

  • Overexpose: exposure and focus in a fast, single effect

  • Iris: is it the camera or the projector?...exposure migration with lots of controls for animated behavior
  • Destabilize: you finally brought a tripod along...and the footage is boooooring...
  • Lens Flare: you can't have a complete set of camera post effects without it we’ve heard...

*The free Digieffects plug-ins offer ends Friday, March 6, 2009.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us anytime. We're here for you.

Adobe Photoshop CS4 11.0.1 update - multiple languages

All the info is here: Adobe Photoshop Downloads

Professional Video Templates Pictures Collage Template for After Effects

Pictures Collage is fabulous new AE template from Professional Video Templates. This template requires After Effects CS3 or higher. You can easily swap out your own fooage, modfiy the colors and so on. It is immediately available for download at purchase!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Toolfarm Interview: A Conversation with Paul Griswold

N.A.S.A. Money

Paul Griswold talks to Michele Yamazaki about his work on the Money video for the cross-continental group N.A.S.A. The video features the work of Shephard Fairey, best known for his Obama Hope poster. The video is mindblowingly cool and Paul talks about the challenges of animating flat artwork meant for a vertical format.

Motion Graphics Fest comes to Boston

mgfest

The Cambridge Motion Graphics Festival begins March 5th, 2009  in Harvard Square with 4 days of Workshops & Art Showcases by  internationally recognized artists, including: Shepard Fairey,  Nine Inch Nails, Addictive TV (Slumdog Millionaire), The Mill,  Digital Kitchen, Dvein, Trollback & Co, Robert Rich, Passion  Pictures, Animal Logic, David Lobser, Peter Kirn, superDraw  and more.

This 4-day conference in the fast moving field of design technology has opened it's Art & Entertainment events for only  $7. Rather than charging the typical $500-$1500 conference fee,  the Cambridge Motion Graphics Festival encourages participants  to spend their money on new books, DVDs and software, offered  at a discount rate during the events.

Festival Sponsors include: Create Digital Motion, Oat Creative, Maxon, Lumen Eclipse, Future Media Concepts, GenArts, Stash DVD Magazine, DigiEffects, VidVox, Boris FX, Livid Instruments,  Toolfarm.com, The Chicago Convergence, All City Technology,  Sterling Ledet, Resolume, Garage Cube, Lift Motion Design,  The Brattle Theater & Clif Bar.

Festival Schedule + Registration::

MGFest.com/09/Boston/

Color Finesse 2.1.10 Update Now Available

synthetic apertureSynthetic Aperture Color Finesse 2.1.10 is now available for download. This update includes the following changes:

  • Corrects a problem where the Windows version of the plug-in was not properly applying color correction when footage was exported via Adobe Media Exporter.
  • Corrects a problem with shift-key scaling when adjusting the hue wheels in the simplified interface.
  • Corrects a problem where the Macintosh version did not work properly with AJA video cards. (Note: this support was broken by the 2.1.8 update.)
  • Ensures that the hue wheels and curves are opened in the simplified interface by default.
  • Color Finesse 2.1.10 is available as a no-charge update for current licensees of Color Finesse 2.1.x from the Downloads section of the Color Finesse page in our Plug-in Finder.

For those updating from the version of Color Finesse 2 bundled with Adobe After Effects CS3 and CS4, be sure to download the 'LE' installer as that is what your serial number will work with.

More in our Plug-in Finder | Buy Color Finesse

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Press Release: Toolfarm Acquires Pluginz.com

Toolfarm.com now the world's largest online sales and support community for motion graphics and visual effects plug-ins

Toolfarm.com now the world's largest online sales and support community for motion graphics and visual effects plug-ins

San Francisco, CA- February 19, 2009- Toolfarm.com, Inc., the leading source of content, community and commerce for professional visual effects and motion graphics plug-ins, today announced the acquisition of assets of Pluginz.com. Pluginz.com was a full sales and service shop for digital media professionals. A complimentary offering to the Toolfarm.com product sales, service and information network, the acquisition of assets from Knowedge Market, Inc includes the Pluginz.com network of URLs, and is a natural step in growing the popular Toolfarm.com one-stop shop service.

"Our unique value-add among resellers within the content creation market is our exceptional customer service. We offer more than just a list of plug-ins to buy, we provide outstanding sales support. Online help forums, detailed technology briefs and reviews, and a constant stream of industry news help our customers make informed decisions on investing in technology, and the tools to do their job," says President of Toolfarm.com, Jason Sharp. "The acquisition of the Pluginz.com gives us an opportunity to expand the overall offering for the Toolfarm community and better service our customers with a more diverse range of plug-ins to choose from along with the technical team to help them during their decision making process and beyond."

About Pluginz.com

Pluginz.com was a source for plug-ins and other tools for digital artists and an online resource for information about digital content creation. Pluginz.com was a part of the larger network which includes bedagi.com, editingutopia.com, post601.com, 3dplugins.com, and vfxplugins.com. The site served as an online community uniting software users and developers, and was an indispensable resource for digital artists seeking the information, service and feedback they needed to evaluate and select digital tools and to build their presence in the marketplace.

About Toolfarm.com Inc.

Founded in 1999, Toolfarm.com is the world's leading source of commerce for motion graphics plug-ins that also provides content, community and commerce for professional visual effects. In the past ten years, Toolfarm.com has served hundreds of thousands of professionals from all around the world who make a living working with digital video. Toolfarm.com continues to provide objective, timely information for users of Adobe, Apple, Avid, Autodesk and Sony applications including the related third-party plug-ins. In addition to competitive pricing, Toolfarm.com's free resources include the Plug-in Finder, free tutorials, blogs, newsletters, podcasts, industry news articles and press releases, user forms, compatibility charts and a recent new launch of "MyToolfarm", a professional video networking resource.

Corrections made Feb 22nd, 2009: The acquisition of Pluginz.com does not include Pluginz.com as a company, but rather the assets of it's URLs from Knowledge Market, Inc.

Review - Boris Continuum Complete v6 for Adobe After Effects

bcc reviewKevin P McAuliffe at Pro Editing @ Home has posted an in-depth review of Boris Continuum Complete v6 AE and gives it a "first "MUST HAVE" of 2009" rating!

"As an editor and motion graphic artist, I love plug-ins, and every once in a while (sometimes a long while) a plug-in pack comes along that either pushes the bounds of what we know a program can do, or it takes an existing idea and improves on it. Boris Continuum Complete 6 AE has done both of those. Let's find out how they have done it, and why you are going to want to either upgrade, or get this pack to add to your collection."

New Boris Continuum Complete 6 AE Training Videos

bcc ae6

Three new Boris Continuum Complete 6 AE Training Videos are now available:

Using AE Masks with BCC's Extruded Text Filter
How to use an AE mask to define custom extrusion curves in BCC Extruded Text.

Mapping an AE Video Layer to BCC Extruded Text
Demonstration of how to map an AE video layer to the surface of BCC Extruded Text.

Using 3D Deformers in BCC Extruded Text
Demonstration of the 3D Deformers feature found in BCC 3D Objects filters.

Learn More | Buy Now | Free Demo

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cineform Neo Scene for Mac and Windows Now Available

neo scene

Cineform Neo Scene for Mac converts HDV, AVCHD, and Canon 5D Mk II camera files into professional-quality CineForm files for higher visual quality while editing your video/film projects. Neo Scene also extracts progressive frames from your footage to allow 24p or 25p editing, regardless of whether your footage was shot in progressive or interlace mode.

Cineform Neo Scene for Windows converts HDV and AVCHD camera files into professional-quality CineForm files for higher visual quality while editing your video/film projects. Neo Scene also extracts progressive frames from your footage to allow 24p or 25p editing, regardless of whether your footage was shot in progressive or interlace mode.

Compatible NLEs:
  • Final Cut Pro: Neo Scene MAC for FCP and offers these key benefits:
    1. ProRes Export: To give users ultimate choice, Neo Scene for Mac allows users to export content to either ProRes or to CineForm file formats
    2. Canon 5D Mark II Support: Content shot with the Canon's 5D Mark II is not easily editable in its native form. Neo Scene for Mac instantly converts content into CineForm files for immediate high quality editing- a first in the industry and a significant win for consumers looking to edit content shot on digital SLR cameras
    3. 10 Bit Image Quality: Converted CineForm Mac Code files are always 10 bits in depth (instead of the usual 8 bits) to offer higher visual fidelity throughout the editing process
    4. Color Correction: Neo Scene doubles the lower-resolution chroma (color) format from the AVCHD or HDV source by interpolating chroma from its 4:2:0 format recorded by the camera into a professional 4:2:2 format. Chroma upsampling improves color fidelity for projects requiring color correction or keying
  • Premiere Pro and Premiere Elements: NOTE: Premiere Elements does not allow a 24p editing preset. This means that when converting material for use in Premiere Elements you should not choose the 24p option.
  • Sony Vegas and Movie Studio. Movie Studio does allow a 24p editing preset, but it is not predefined by Sony. You'll have to create your own within your project settings.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Free Lights Presets from LME!


Find more videos like this on MyToolfarm


LME has another great freebie for After Effects 7.0 and higher - Lights! It doesn't require any third party plug-ins.



Check out the multitude of great libraries of AE presets and comps available from LME, including full sets of Light configurations and Trapcode presets. Quality, varied stuff and at a low price.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shorty - New Free Plugin for Saving Keyboard Shortcut Sets

Shorty, a free tool for saving and switching between sets of keyboard shortcuts is available for download here. Shorty was created by Bobtronic (Matthias Bober). There are shortcut sets for Mac OS X, Windows, Cinema 4D, and more. More information.

Monday, February 09, 2009

MyToolfarm v2.0 is launched!

mytoolfarmPlease sign up for an account and upload your video to the brand new MyToolfarm! We've gone a completely different direction with MyToolfarm v2.0 (as far as the programming goes), with the sole purpose of not having the issues we had with v1.0. MyToolfarm v2.0 is completely stable, scalable and gives you embed options. The rating system can't be manipulated and it is much more feature robust.

To give you a bit of back story on MyToolfarm v1.0, it was built on Ruby on Rails and was not scalable enough for the amount of traffic we were getting. It would crash, uploads would fail and caused a lot of problems on our site. We had to pull MyToolfarm completely off the server. We do have the videos that were uploaded in v1.0 but all of the information about the videos is not there, so if you did happen to upload video in our previous incarnation, we're very sorry that your video is no longer online. You're more than welcome to upload your video again.

Please upload a video and tell us what you think!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Explaining the Bits: Windows 64-bit vs. 32-bit color

There has been some confusion about Windows 64-bit and 32-bit color. They do not refer to the same things.

What is Windows 64-bit? According to the Microsoft website:

The terms 32-bit and 64-bit refer to the way a computer's processor (also called a CPU), handles information.

The 64-bit versions of Windows can utilize more memory than 32-bit versions of Windows. This helps minimize the time spent swapping processes in and out of memory by storing more of those processes in Random access memory (RAM) rather than on the hard disk. This, in turn, can increase overall program performance.



I posted about this on Friday night and apparently, there was an error. Christoph Vonrhein of CHV Plug-ins, one of the most intelligent people I know, helped me out. Here's what he says:

The confusion about the bit depth for image buffers is quite complex, as there are no real 'standards' to describe the nature of an image buffer and the real color depth for each pixel. This is actually up to the vendors of the graphics cards and the developers for video editing software. Your article states that a 32-bit color space consists of 8 bits per color (RGB) plus an eventual alpha channel. In fact this would just be the normal color space with 8 bits per color with values ranging from 0 to 255.

Apple's Motion and Adobe's After Effects can handle projects with "8 bit", "16-bit (float)" and "32-bit (float)". All of these settings refer to the bits per color and not to the overall bits available for all colors for a pixel. This means that the 8-bit setting uses 24 bits per pixel (8 for R, 8 for G and 8 for B), the 16-bit settings uses 48 pits per pixel (16 for R, 16 for G and 16 for B) and the 32-bit settings uses in fact 96 pits per pixel (32 for R, 32 for G and 32 for B). An 8-bit image buffer has values ranging from 0 to 255 for each color of each pixel. The 16- and 32-bit image buffers usually range from 0 to 1 where the values are stored in a 16-bit or 32-bit floating point variable.

Values above 1 or below 0 don't really exist. Such values will be clipped if the full resolution of the variable is used without wasting resolution for a higher value range. The 'trick' is not to be able to go higher than 1 and/or lower than 0. The real trick is that the value between 0 and 1 has way more than just 256 steps. An 8-bit color space has 256 steps per color, a 16-bit color space has (mathematically) 65536 steps and the 32-bit color space has 4,294,967,296 (2^32) steps. In real life it is some steps less for the 16- and 32-bit color spaces because of the way how a floating point variable is stored (significand and exponent).

The range of the value for a 16-bit per color and 32-bit per color image buffer of course is up to the application defining the color space. A 'real' floating point variable can have values of a way higher range than just from 0-1. If the range is not restricted from 0 to 1, then more bits are needed to describe the exponent to make higher numbers possible, leaving less bits for the actual number, which in the end lowers the color resolution. Meaning: Even a 16-bit per color image buffer can wind up with only 10 or 12 bits per color. This fact makes it even more interesting for high quality work to use a 32-bit per color image buffer, where you can use way more (about 26) bits per color.

When you look at Wikipedia you will find a web-page telling you something about 8-bit images that can only handle a palette of 256 colors. This '8-bit' color space is by no means comparable to the '8-bit' color space of Motion and After Effects, as these applications use 8 bits per color (R, G and B) and not 8 bits per pixel. A 256 color space with 8 bits per pixel is not even available for modern video editing software. 8 bits per color (24/32 bits per pixel) is the least what we (can) use. Everything above (16 and 32 bits per color) is desirable, because of the higher color depth (color-resolution) and lower quantization effects.

I agree that the number of bits on a 'Windows 64-bit' system has nothing to do with the color space of a video editing application. One refers to the data bus bandwidth of the CPU, the other thing describes how many bit per pixel or per color are used in a video editing application. These are two completely different things, not related to each other.

Thanks for the concise information, Christoph! Learn more about 32-bit floating point color, and learn which third-party plug-ins support 32-bit color. We've included After Effects (of course!), Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Shake, Combustion, Digital Fusion, Softimage XSI and even codecs.

External link: After Effects 32-bit Workflow In-Depth from FxGuide.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Boris Continuum Complete 6 AE Now Available

OpenGL-accelerated Extruded Text, 13 New Filters, Support for AE's Camera & Lighting System

BCC6Marlborough MA - February 5, 2009 - Boris FX, the leading developer of integrated effects technology for video and film, announced that Boris Continuum Complete 6 AE (BCC 6 AE) is now available. BCC 6 AE brings nearly 200 filters to Macintosh and Windows versions of Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro. The new release features 13 new filters including Extruded Text, Extruded Spline, Type-On Text, Layer Deformer, Smooth Tone, DV Fixer, and Pixel Fixer. In addition, BCC 6 AE delivers unique workflow enhancements such as support for After Effects' Camera and Lighting System, the ability to import After Effects mask paths into BCC 6 AE filters, saving and loading of XML-based animated presets, a single-click custom preset navigation tool, and motion tracking data import and export in an industry-standard format.

"BCC 6 AE is a giant leap forward in 3D," commented Boris Yamnitsky, president and founder, Boris FX. "We harnessed the power of modern graphics cards to deliver a true 3D experience for editors and compositors while integrating with Adobe applications tighter than ever before."

"The beauty of BCC 6 AE's new 3D text and spline filters is that I can now create and fine-tune 3D objects within After Effects - at the same time as I'm working with other BCC 6 filters like rays, particles, generators, and distortions," commented Larry Andersen of Spot Editorial in Boston, MA. "I also appreciate the 3D filters' thoroughness - built-in textures, character animation, camera, and lights make for very powerful yet easy-to-use tools."

New BCC 6 AE Feature Highlights



13 New Filters ranging from realistic 3D vector graphics extrusions to organic 3D deformers to painting and image restoration. The new 3D Objects category includes Extruded Text, Extruded Spline, Type-On Text, and Layer Deformer. New image restoration filters include DV Fixer, Smooth Tone, and Pixel Fixer. New image painting filters consist of Charcoal Sketch, Pencil Sketch, Water Color, and Cartoon Look. New OpenGL filters include Lightning and Tile Mosaic.

BCC Extruded Text - OpenGL-accelerated 3D text generator with built-in 3D shatters and a warp deformer. This filter uses AE masks for defining custom bevels, extrusions, and text on a path. The resulting 3D object adheres to AE's native camera and light controls. Multiple 3D materials can be created from AE layers or external image files featuring texture and bump maps as well as reflections. Each material can be individually saved as a preset and applied to the front, back, bevel, or extrusion surface of the text object. The text object can be further deformed and animated with a number of innovative deformers such as Bend, Taper, Twist, Shatter, Ripple, Pulse, or Curl.

BCC Type-On Text - 3D extruded text can be animated in true 3D space in a type-on or type-off fashion with each letter precisely interacting with the rest of the text in 3D. All 3D properties of the BCC Extruded Text filter are available in the Type-On effect.

BCC Extruded Spline - based on AE masks or built-in primitives such as a medallion or heart. Create 3D extruded objects fully-modeled with bevels and spline-based extrusion profiles.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Frischluft Fresh Curves Now Available



Curves are a very versatile and precise color correction tool. The native After Effects version lacks control and accuracy to take full advantage of it. Frischluft Fresh Curves makes up for these drawbacks so you can get the most out of this basic tool.

Fresh Curves retails for $69, so it has been added to our new Plug-ins $99 and Under selection.

RE:Vision Effects adds Final Cut Express support with DE:Noise FxPlug v1.1

denoiseRE:Vision Effects today expanded support of its DE:Noise FxPlug plugin set for Final Cut Pro and Motion to include Final Cut Express. DE:Noise is a plugin set that removes excessive noise and artifacts in one easy-to-use tool. It handles spurious frame-to-frame defects ranging from fine digital and electronic noise to blotchy spots (e.g. dirt on the film). DE:Noise combines proprietary motion estimation (optical flow) techniques with feature-sensitive, edge-preserving spatial filtering methods to reduce the visual impact of various problems such as: noisy video (that can happen with low-light capture), excessive film grain, prefiltering noisy greenscreens before keying, CG renders affected by ray-tracing sampling artifacts, dust captured during film scan/transfer and printing, snow, drop-outs and many other defects.

Features of DE:Noise:

  • Pre-processing contrast controls to help enhance the noise for easier elimination.
  • Smart spatial filtering controls that allow for the spatial smoothing of noise without smoothing over important features in the image sequence.
  • 8 different temporal filtering methods that uses motion estimation (via optical flow) to correlate images over time in order to reduce noise and other artifacts.
  • Post-processing to help punch up the result or to undo the preprocessing contrast enhancement.
  • Post sharpening option for when the denoising process makes the result softer than desired.
  • 8 bits per channel (bpc) support within Final Cut Express, and support of higher bit depths (e.g., 10 bit YUV and floating point) where applicable within Final Cut Pro and Motion.

Bug Fixes and Enhancements newly available in DE:Noise FxPlug v1.1:

  • Added a feature that presents an extra option when applying the plugin to interlaced footage (allowing the plugin to compare fields from the next frame instead of the adjacent field in the current frame). See the manual for details.
  • Fixed some issues with non-full alpha layers with some spatial blurs; and, as a result, layers with non full alpha may take longer in some modes.
  • The temporal threshhold has been changed so that desired results are easier to control. However, this also means that older projects will need some attention to the temporal threshhold value to get the exact same results. To get the same results, the solution is to take the square root of the value you had before (so that 10% should be reset to 31.62%, because .3162 is the square root of .1).

Availability and compatibility

  • DE:Noise is available as an FxPlug plugin for Final Cut Express 4.0.1 and up, Final Cut Pro 6.0.1 and up, Motion 3.0.1 and up.

Pricing:

Photoshop & Aperture Plug-ins now included in $99 Bargain Bin

We're a bit blown away by the great response we've had on the $99 or less plug-ins, so we decided to wander off the path of video plug-ins and add some Photoshop and Aperture Plug-ins to the section. Check out plug-ins from Alien Skin, Digital Film Tools, Frischluft, META/DMA, Luxology, XAOS and more!

Apple may add storyboarding to Final Cut Pro?


Apple's Patent for Storyboarding

Josh at DVCreators.net posted something interesting to their blog: Apple may add storyboarding to Final Cut Pro? Josh says, "I remember heading to dinner 6 or 7 years ago with Randy Ubillos, creator of Final Cut Pro, telling him my vision for a future FCP update - incorporating some pre-production elements like storyboarding, in which the user would link captured clips to a storyboard frame, then FCP would rough cut the project together automatically, with multiple takes being multiclips so they could be easily compared."

Read the full article about the patent at InformationWeek.com

Bug: Bitrate changes on export from Premiere Pro or After Effects to Adobe Media Encoder

Repost from Chris Bedford at Encoding video and audio content with Adobe Media Encoder:

There is a known bug when exporting from Premiere Pro or After Effects involving modified bitrate values. If you modify the bitrate value of an encoding preset, the default bitrate for that preset will replace the custom bitrate you specified.

As a workaround, you can:

Manually change the bit rate of the video file you are exporting to the desired value once the file is in the Adobe Media Encoder encoding queue...

-or-

Add your video to the list of files to encode from Adobe Media Encoder itself. You can drag a file into the list, or click the Add button and select a file on your computer.

Note: To add Adobe Premiere Pro sequences or Adobe After Effects compositions to the list of files to encode, you must use the File > Add Adobe Premiere Pro sequences or File > Add Adobe After Effects Compositions menu commands. These file types cannot be dragged into the list of files to encode.

For more information see, Workflow for exporting files in the Adobe Premiere Pro help.

Personally, I've been having a problem exporting from Premiere Pro through the Adobe Media Encoder, period! It starts in the Media Encoder, then fails. As a workaround, I've had to use dynamic link and send it to After Effects, then go through and fix any transitions and titles I may have used. I still love to edit in PPRO, but I hope this issue is fixed asap. Anyone out there have a better solution for me? Thanks in advance.

Digital Anarchy Announces Two Plugins for Aperture, Knoll Light Factory and ToonIt! Photo

New Filters for Apples Aperture Allow Photographers To Add Lighting and Cartoon Effects to Their Images

da logoSan Francisco, CA - February 4, 2009 - Digital Anarchy, a leading provider of cost-effective special effects software for Adobe and Apple products, today announced the release of two software products for use in Apple's Aperture. Knoll Light Factory generates lighting effects that dramatically enhance the natural or man-made lighting in photographs. ToonIt! Photo creates cartoon-like images from photographs, freeing artists from time consuming techniques such as hand painting and masking. Both products are currently available for Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.

"Customers have responded tremendously to our Photoshop plugins and asked if they could get the same functionality for Aperture," said Jim Tierney, president of Digital Anarchy. "This release gives photographers and digital artists a great way of working with images that theyre managing in the Aperture environment.

Aperture gives photographers the ability to manage large groups of images and work with RAW files. By using image processing filters like ToonIt and Knoll Light Factory directly in this environment, it is easy to design with multiple images and compare the results side by side. The Aperture workflow can be a huge time saver when dealing with Digital Anarchy effects and empowers photographers by giving them complete creative control.

Knoll Light Factory is a powerful tool for enhancing stock photos, wedding/portrait photography, and landscape photography. The plugin creates extremely realistic lens flares and other lighting effects, including sun rays, street lamps, headlights, candle flames, light rays, and glows. These lighting elements and vibrant graphic effects are not available natively in Aperture, and go far beyond the standard lens flare found in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Light Factory has been used in many feature films and television shows, and was originally written by John Knoll, Academy Award winning Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light and Magic, to create the Photon Torpedoes in Star Trek First Contact.

ToonIt! Photo analyzes photographs and then creates flat regions of color and outlines that produce a cel-shaded cartoon look. A believable toon effect is almost automatic, and Aperture users have a great deal of control to customize the cartoon with different paint styles, shading and outlines. One of the key features of ToonIt! is its ability to translate the details of the human face and form into a believable cartoon. This process is great for turning a sequence of photographs into a graphic novel or cartoon sequence with very little work involved.

Pricing & Availability

Knoll Light Factory 3.0 for Aperture is priced at $129 USD. ToonIt! 2.0 for Aperture is priced at $129 USD. The products will be on sale for $99 each from until February 28, 2009. Owners of the Photoshop version of these plugins can purchase the Aperture plugins for $49 each.

The products are available for Aperture 2.0 and higher. Both products run on Macintosh OS 10.4, 10.5 and higher, and are native to both Intel and PPC systems. Aperture is a Mac-only application. For Windows/Vista use, Knoll Light Factory and ToonIt! are available as separate products for Adobe Photoshop.

About Digital Anarchy

Digital Anarchy is a privately owned company in San Francisco that creates high-quality creative software for professional photographers, Photoshop artists and graphic designers. Since 2001, our tools have solved a wide range of design issues, from masking out bluescreens for commercial still photography to generating custom lighting effects. Digital Anarchy products work in conjunction with Adobe Photoshop, PS Elements, and related design applications. For more information, please see the company's website at www.digitalanarchy.com or call 415-586-8434.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Red Giant Magic Bullet Looks & Trapcode 3S Free Updates for Premiere Pro CS4

Red Giant Magic Bullet Looks, Trapcode 3D Stroke, Trapcode Starglow and Trapcode Shine now work with Premiere Pro CS4.

Download the newest updates on our demo download page.

Update on my book, Greenscreen Made Easy

greenscreen made easyThe book I co-authored with Jeremy Hanke of Microfilmmaker, Greenscreen Made Easy: Keying and Compositing Techniques for Indie Filmmakers, is now available as a pre-order from Toolfarm.

I spoke with the publisher yesterday and they were sent to the printer this week. I should have it in my hands in less than a month. Because, as the author, I'll be offering them instead of going through the distributor, I'll be receiving them before bookstores and Amazon.com! It is expected to be available at Toolfarm in the first or second week of March, and in bookstores the first week of April.

I've had several pre-release reviews done by well known people in the industry and it has gotten fantastic reviews. Check the page in the store to read a few quotes and a couple of reviews (note: Harry had a preview copy, hence the low quality images and cover. Otherwise, he loved it).

The publisher recently did a little redesign on the cover as well, which is quite nice. New font, new colors. Also, Jeremy and I will be putting some videos up in the future with tips from the book. Stay tuned for that.

Review: Maxon CINEMA 4D R11: Core Version

cinema 4d

Developer: Maxon
Platform: Windows & Mac
Description: 3D Pro level CG animation, modeling and effects

Download Demo
Buy Maxon CINEMA 4D R11: Core Version
Review Date: February 1, 2009
Reviewed By: Mark Bremmer for MicroFilmmaker Magazine

awardSo, let’s be clear on what is covered in this review. I’m going to take a look specifically at the CINEMA 4D (C4D) R11 Core edition. What’s the “Core” edition? It’s the fundamental, base component of C4D. I make the distinction because elsewhere in this magazine I review the full C4D Studio edition which includes many extra advanced modules that may or may not be useful to a typical Micro Filmmaker. If you’d like to see what’s included in the full studio version, click here.

The C4D core provides a full set of modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering and animating functionality in a tight and elegant package. It costs some coin - $995 for a new edition and $395 for an upgrade the 10.5 Core edition. But, like all things of quality, you get what you pay for in C4D.

image 1
Studio shots or full outdoor set extensions are made easier with the revised workflow and interface.

While C4D is probably better known in broadcasting circles than cinematic studios, due in large part to it's excellent motion graphics capabilities (a module called MoGraph - not included with the Core edition), Maxon obviously shares a very close relationship with Sony's Imageworks. C4D has been used in Hancock, Speed Racer, Beowulf, Surf's Up and more. In fact, Projection Man, a new integration into C4D of a technique called Camera Mapping, has been used on everything from Sea Biscuit to Spider-Man 3 to Beowulf. That relationship brings some powerful but astonishingly easy-to-use feature sets to the mere mortal and Microfilmmaker alike. With 'no-duh' workflows, a Master's degree in mathematics isn't required to get stellar results.

There is a ton of new, friendly features. I'll talk about what each mean to small studios and how they might benefit you in more depth later:

  • Non-Linear Timeline Animation and Motion layers (create animations within animation, save, modify and reuse them)
  • Onion Skinning (super friendly tool to intelligently create animation motion with visual queues over time - this is essentially digital tracing paper)
  • Collada Import/Export (Less useful to filmmakers - unless you're making game characters from your film characters!)
  • Online Updater (I adore this - it updates and installs the latest updates for you)
  • Doodle (If your project has a couple of folks or more working on it, you can leave notes on the digital work itself - cool.)

Ease of Use

Don’t be scared. The crew at Maxon has done an excellent job of hiding C4D’s power under a user friendly interface. This is very, very good for you as a user. While some software in the same marketspace *cough, Maya, cough* are excellent, those other software solutions also usually have sentences associated with them like this, “Technical understanding of modeling mathematics required” when used in connection with the pro or filmmaking needs. Maxon makes no such requirements by virtue of how they’ve made their program operate.

Maxon, instead of immersing you in a workspace with fields of numbers to create and control your work, provides a smart, graphical interface that assumes use of today’s larger monitors. (Yes, having a big monitor is a requirement) Drag and drop simplicity is used for applying textures and other functions to your 3D world. Clicking on any one of the tool windows or scene objects converts other windows simultaneously to show relevant additional controls. It’s little things that make software cross the line from only being good to being great. This type of interaction, appropriate information revealed appropriately, permeates the C4D experience.

Sounds great but how easy is easy?
When I had a chance to speak during SIGGRAPH 2008 with Sony Imagworks’ lead digital matte painter, Steve Matson (his team was responsible for the huge vistas, massive castles and deep canyons in Beowulf), he indicated that C4D’s Projection Man was so easy to use he was comfortable handing off scene building 3D production work to Photoshop texture guys with limited 3D experience, letting them build and texture these large detailed scenes. When they were done, his crew simply “touched up” the 3D scene when they were done. Wow.

cineversity
Cineversity is a paid-for option for quickly learning the ins and outs of the program. With R11 there are special tutorials covering the new features, but also useful tutorials showing the full use of individual tools by one of the Maxon designers.

Caveat: 3D can be made “easier” but it is never "fall-down" easy. Actual learning is involved. For both new or experienced users transitioning into C4D, Maxon also has an excellent learning option called the Cineversity. It’s largely made up of online video tutorials that are paid for by a subscription service that covers a massive array of needs for all of the constituent modules that make up C4D Studio. For us visual types, this is well worth the subscription fee. (Plus, if money is tight after buying C4D R11, there're currently over 200 free courses at Cineversity to get you started!)

Like other CG packages in the same market, C4D uses a “Tag” method of connecting behaviors and functions. It’s smart, fast and visual.

Modeling is very straight forward and easy to do, as is animation. Specialty animation with the modules of Thinking Particles and MoGraph do require familiarization, but are a snap to pick up.

Texturing is robust. However, I really wish (not to offend the C4D faithful) that some of the names for Shader schemes created by a legacy company (such as “bhodiNUT”) would be renamed. You’ll probably bristle at this if you’ve come to learn the secret language of the shader types like Cheen, Danel, Banzi and Banji but this naming convention flies in the face of the other common sense aspects of C4D. While well documented so it can be learned, reclassifying Banzi to “Wood Shaders” etc. just seems like a smart thing to do.

Depth of Options

Let’s get this out of the way up front for you tech types. C4D R11 now supports 64-bit systems on both Mac and PC platforms. If you don’t know what that means. Don’t worry. If you do and you work with massive data sets, I’m sure you’re smiling right now. In a nut shell, C4D can access all the memory capabilities of the most modern computer systems while not giving up anything on “legacy” systems. This doesn't necessarily mean that things will be faster for most artists, but you'll have the ability to handle more information and RAM. That also means very robust “option” sets.

In CG, options equals power. C4D, like its other cinematic brethren, does provide very specific numeric control over any and everything. You can get to that level of specificity if you want to, it’s just not the first and only option you are presented with. (Just because pure numeric control is the standard for some other CG software, that doesn’t necessarily make it a good standard)

Non-linear Animation (animation layers)

c4d
The creation of layered Motion Clips brings a new, non-destructive editing capability to movement. Not only for Character animation, but significant gains can be realized for inorganic object animation too.

Let’s take a look at the new features/options of C4D R11. For starters, the non-linear animation is a major time saver. Since most, if not all, of MFM readers are accustomed to working with video/film editing applications, the idea of layers and nested layers in nothing new. C4D animation layers allow you to build complex movement from individual layers, in a non-destructive workflow, which means no lost time in production. In addition to the layer functionality, you can create motion clips which function like a collapsed, key framed layer--letting you drag the animation around your time line with impunity. Drag it, trim it, combine it with others, layer it, and loop it. Fine tuning motion has never been so easy. I personally use multiple CG packages and C4D has the non-linear animation needs nailed. The best part is the plethora of little nuances in the interface that simply make your life easier by preventing unnecessary clicking.

In addition to non-linear animation, there are Motion Layers and Motion Clips. Like Animation Layers, Motion layers allow for non-destructive editing. The Motion Clips themselves contain no animation data but “subscribe” to an animation clip. This is useful because you can have a single animation clip but reuse that animation data several times by invoking the Motion Clips and subscribing to the animation. Change one animation file and all of the motion clips update automatically.

As a microfilmmaker, you may not have your sights set on an animated feature where capabilities like this really earn their keep. However, you could be surprised where it comes in handy for things like camera animation through a static scene.

Projection Man (Camera Mapping)

c4d
Projection Man lets users rapidly create 3D scenes with actual geometry that are textured by a projected photographs of a scenes or matte paintings.

This feature allows users to project a texture from a camera view onto simple geometry to quickly and easily create complex set extensions or full 3D digital mattes that allow for CG camera moves. (You've seen C4D's Projection man in movies like Sony's Beowulf, Polar Express and Open Season and are likely familiar with a fairly simple version of this concept that came out with the Vanishing Point exchange that came out in Adobe's Photoshop/After Effects CS3 release.) While it's been in C4D for some time, it now has it's own tool/workflow window that opens in your main scene, allowing you to quickly patch scenes when the camera moves far enough to reveal texture 'holes', smears or tears that can be fixed with either Photoshop or BodyPaint. You can either simply paint on geometry, or--this is the coolest feature--drop in an existing photo or matte painting, screen it back and build you low res geometry underneath it. Then you simply project the photo or matte painting in, select any layer elements in Photoshop that you want included, and, presto, your geometry has been texturized. This can be done for each piece of geometry with drag-and-drop simplicity using the same piece of source art.

Modeling
C4D has a very robust set of modeling tools that cover typical polygonal modeling but also include HyperNURBS (BTW, NURBS stands for Non-Rational B-Splines - math lingo that has no place in normal people's vocabulary) which is an incredible modeling time saver because it allows for easy, non-destructive editing of complex curved shapes. The modeling in C4D is simple, straight forward, and easy to manage, thanks to the ability of working in both layers and groups - two different schemes that give maximum flexibility.

BodyPaint 3D R4

c4d

BodyPaint 3D R4 allows real-time texture modification without leaving C4D. This sample from the movie, The Incredible Hulk [™ © Marvel Comics], shows the results of painting on organic models by magicians, Rythm and Hues.

BodyPaint, now included with C4D instead of being a separate program, is a painting and UV tool (texture map coordinates for your objects). It’s interface/tool window has been updated to align with workflows in Photoshop. Additionally, BodyPaint supports Photoshop layer functions, blending modes and alpha masks. New to version 4 is the ability also to import paths and adjustment layers. BodyPaint doesn’t allow you to use the paths and adjustment layers, but their information is retained if you find yourself moving between the two programs for various needs. Also, you can now paint/apply blur, sharpen and colorize. A nice little nuance is that each tool you use in BodyPaint retains its own individual settings. There are new options for Jitter and Airbrush which behave in the same fashion as their Photoshop counterparts.

Oh, do you have some favorite Photoshop brushes in the .abr format? No problem, BodyPaint can use them. But it doesn’t stop there. Wacom Tablet support respects the typical parameters of the tablet but also the pen rotation feature of the 6D pen. Still not enough? You can now sample a texture, load in a brush profile, enable the rotation feature and create complex painting capabilities difficult to achieve any other way. Just as important as using a custom brush is saving it. New Save options now provide control over how and where you’d like the info to be saved. Nice.

Performance

In past editions, C4D had fallen behind the curve in time-to-render as compared to some of it’s competitors. Thankfully, this has been remedied in C4D R11. For socialites, you can never be too rich or too thin. In the CG world, you can never render too fast or too realistically. The new capabilities offered by R11 really mandated an upgrade fulfilled by a render engine code re-write. In speaking with some Pros that have a long history with C4D, this enhancement was welcomed as much as the new features were.

Important to note is that the C4D core edition does not do Global Illumination. GI is that photo realistic rendering where the program automatically calculates how light bounces around a scene. If you need that level of realism, there is a module you can add to the Core edition called “Advanced Renderer”. However, very realistic rendering can still be achieved with the C4D Core package by intelligent lighting placement and creating lighting arrays. This technique is very common in CG production anyway, because true Global Illumination is very expensive in render time. Creating pseudo Global illumination with the Core edition is a snap.

On my Mac system, C4D was very, very stable and that experience has been echoed by other users on both Mac and PC platforms that I talk to. During the review and testing for this article I was able to get C4D to occasionally misbehave, crashing a couple of times. But I can do that with every 3D package I own. Certain 3D software are know to be, um, quirky. This is not one of them, for which I am very grateful. You won’t spend your time wondering what Q&A was thinking while cursing under your breath at 1 a.m.

Value

C4D is in a kind of funny spot for the MicroFilmmaker that requires some CG capabilities and happens to be working with a modest to smallish budget. There are other options for less (Carrara, modo 302) that offer much of what C4D does for less money. Where C4D's strengths lay is in it’s completeness of capabilities and quality of renders. For animation's needs, C4D is better than modo 302 although the rendering quality is very similar. Carrara certainly costs less than either modo or C4D and is has more options than modo but Carrara’s renders are slower and not quite as refined as C4D’s or modo’s.

C4D simply does a lot of things, very well and is extensible so you can expand it to other needs later if required. The target audience is TV and Film studios, so this software is no slouch. Its user experience and capabilities are top notch. You do get what you pay for.

Final Comments

To be frank, C4D is not a good fit for a studio on a super slim budget. It is possible to disguise the CG-ness of lesser software by virtue of post production filtering and other tricks. However, if your CG requirements are significant in your film, and you want them to look pro-studio quality, you can’t go wrong with C4D both in terms of results and ease of use.

The thing I actually appreciate most about this release is the improved interface design and dynamic tool/feature integration - that automatic ability that updates your interface when you choose a new tool. There is now a very friendly face on a very powerful CG software - and that is the exception to the rule.

writer

scoreAbout the reviewer: Mark Bremmer has operated his own commercial studio for 15 years. He's been fortunate enough to work for clients like Caterpillar, Amana, Hormel Foods, Universal Studios Florida, and The History Channel; producing stills, digital mattes and animations. Mark contracts regularly as an art mercenary with production houses that shall remain nameless by written agreements. His production pipeline is Mac-based, with the FCP Studio2 workflow. He loves Shake and Motion. And his family.

Imagineer Systems Charts Course for 2009

Outlines Aggressive Plans to Meet Customer Needs for More Affordable Desktop VFX Tools

New Pricing Strategies, Upgrade Paths and New VFX Tools Reflect Requirements of Expanding Customer Base, New Growth

imagineerGUILDFORD, UK (February 3, 2009) Imagineer Systems (www.imagineersystems.com), creators of next-generation VFX tools, today announced that it has implemented aggressive plans to meet the requirements of an increasingly diverse and growing customer base of VFX artists and post production facilities in 2009. With key emphasis on addressing customer feedback and a much wider user base, Imagineer Systems is highlighting three primary objectives in 2009:
  • Delivering several new releases of VFX solutions that leverage Imagineer's signature planar tracking technology;
  • Delivering substantive enhancements to its entire, existing product line;
  • Overhauling its pricing structure -- across the board -- to better reflect customer requirements.
Overhauling its pricing structure -- across the board -- to better reflect customer requirements.

"2009 will be a pivotal year for Imagineer Systems' customers," said Allan Jaenicke, chief executive officer of Imagineer Systems. We spent much of the second half of 2008 watching market trends and listening closely to customers. And our customers are giving us a clear picture of the kinds of tools they need, and what features and capabilities they find valuable. We're pouring our efforts into meeting those needs in 2009 and we intend to deliver on a number of these customer-focused initiatives throughout the year, starting with ensuring our solutions are not only valuable, but affordable to our ever-expanding customer base."

Pricing Strategy: Valuable and Affordable

Among Imagineer Systems' first priority of 2009 is an aggressive restructuring of its pricing strategy. Echoing customer requirements, Imagineer is committing to continually adding significant value to the VFX workflow, and delivering solutions that are more affordable to its growing customer base of large post production facilities, to small boutique design shops and independent freelancers and students. As a result, Imagineer Systems is announcing the following pricing schedule for its solutions:

  • monet: US$2,995
  • mokey: US$2,995
  • mocha: US$995
  • motor: US$495
  • mocha for After Effects: US$199

New Products: Coming Soon and In the Pipeline

Among its first key deliverables for customers this quarter, Imagineer Systems will announce a new version of mocha for After Effects, and a highly useful and powerful plug-in for Adobe After Effects that will greatly enhance the workflow for After Effects users. Details on these new products will be formally announced shortly. mocha for After Effects is a powerful planar tracking tool developed specifically for artists using Adobe After Effects and modeled after the Company's industry renowned standalone tracking solution, mocha.

Additionally in the first half of 2009, Imagineer Systems will deliver a powerful new upgrade to mocha, with added features and capabilities that again reflect the expanding demands on VFX artists and that create a powerful, streamlined VFX workflow. Details will be announced in the second quarter, 2009, along with details of exciting new upgrades planned for Imagineer's flagship products monet and mokey.

About Imagineer Systems
Imagineer Systems Ltd innovates and markets next-generation visual effects solutions for film, video and broadcast post production markets. In response to a groundswell desire for a more innovative approach to VFX, Imagineer Systems has developed an entirely new VFX architecture, one that embraces better integration, collaboration, performance and feels like an extension of the creative thought process mogul. Imagineer Systems has made its mark on such marquis Hollywood blockbuster productions as Casino Royale, Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter. Imagineer's product line consists of monet - placement station, mokey - removal station, motor - roto station, mocha - tracking station and mofex - plug-in for Shake. Imagineer Systems was founded in 2000 and its headquarters is located in Guildford, United Kingdom. For more information visit www.imagineersystems.com. For more information on mogul, please visit www.mogulvfx.com.

Monday, February 02, 2009

CHV updates all of their FxPlug plugin packages

chv logoIntroducing a new and easier Serial Number system and several other enhancements

February 02, 2009 - CHV-electronics, software developer of plugins for Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express and Motion announced today an update of all of their FxPlug plugin packages. The new version includes a new and easier to handle Serial Number system, several enhancements and speed improvements.

The new version numbers for the plugin packages are:

The plugin package runs on all PowerPC and Intel Mac computers on OSX 10.4 (Tiger) and OSX 10.5 (Leopard) qualified to run Final Cut Studio or Final Cut Express.

All FxPlug plugin packages from CHV-Electronics are GPU-accelerated, using the full power of the installed graphics adapter for direct feedback and fast rendering.

The update is free for existing customers and can be downloaded directly from Toolfarm through this link:
http://www.toolfarm.com/demo/demo.php

New broadcastGEMs Template for After Effects: Text & LogosFX01

In broadcastGEMs Template for After Effects: Text & LogosFX01, five sequences featuring great lighting effects for logo and text treatments - in HD1080, HD720, D1 NTSC and D1 PAL. Gorgeous particles and shadow effects will enhance any logo or text requirement. 3D text created entirely within Adobe After Effects is provided. Mix and match elements across the AEPs.

A 6th AEP allows you to animate AE’s Text Tool’s property animators by animating a graphic layer to the animator properties. Using a few keyframes in conjunction with our Expression script will allow you to create this simple yet powerful effect on any horizontal text that you have.


Find more videos like this on Toolfarm

Trapcode Particular is used for the particles in two of the five sequences with the other particle effects being created with Particle Playground. Those without this plugin have access to pre-rendered QT files of the particles.