April 21, 2009

New AE filters: Red Giant, Digieffects, Zax [updated]

There are some new filters for After Effects being shown at NAB 2009.

Zaxwerks Serpentine is a new AE filter that creates path extrusions for 3D effects like moving film strips, shooting stars, animated marquee signs, swirling tubes, winding helixes, twisting extruded text, arrow pointers and self-tying ribbons. Ko Maruyama elaborates in his report at DMN:
"To those who know 3D terminology, you might consider Serpentine a Sweep NURBS object for After Effects. For those of you who don't know that terminology, consider an extrusion, but one that is not limited to a single direction, but instead moves along a path -- which could be anything from a straight line, to a curvy twisting, scaling shape that tumbles through space."

Red Giant Software announced version 2 of both Trapcode Particular and ToonIt. ToonIt version 2 is just shipping. It attempts to go beyond basic cartoonification, with more controls and features like "natural media" effects, randomization, and built-in presets. Particular 2 will ship this summer or earlier. Already seen on screens everywhere this new version is said to have a big list of enhancements, including particle shading that responds to After Effects lights in 3D space.

Digieffects is also showing 2 offerings shipping soon, Natural Forces and FreeForm AE. Natural Forces includes filters for weather effects, pyrotechnics, and atmospheric effects. FreeForm AE lets you manipulate a flat object into almost any shape using a mesh warp in 3D space.

Update: Chris & Trish Meyer have additional info on new filters from the NAB floor. Here's an excerpted list of part of the new features in Particular 2:
  • custom particles can face in any direction (in version 1.5, custom particles always face the camera)
  • particles can react to lights with full shading and depth of field and reflection maps
  • new for all particle types is the Shadowlet option, which allows particles to cast shadows on themselves
  • new particle type called Streaklet designed to easily create the long exposure light-streak look (think iPod ad)
  • light falloff on particles, meaning particles that are far from a light source are not as brightly lit as those close to a light (remember that AE lights don’t inherently have a falloff based on distance, so Peder had to borrow that feature from his Lux plug-in)
  • randomization option for sizing particles as well as a separate random seed for custom particles to determine which frame is used
  • auto-orientation for shapes
  • supports ortho rendering in 2-up and 4-up views, not just Active Camera
Additional new features include (from Trapcode PDF):
  • Support for 32 bpc floating-point rendering
  • Transfer Modes for stacking multiple instances, etc
  • Adobe color picker
  • Moved all parameters out of Options into regular sliders
  • Increased max particles/sec to 1 million
  • Visualization, offsets, & improved accuracy of Turbulence field
  • Threading + Optimizations
  • Many more improvements and bug fixes.

Update 2: In an NAB survey Studio Daily notes, "Coremelt was showing their V2 update of its entire product line. With V2 the Coremelt plug-ins have moved from the Noise Industies FxFactory engine to their own engine. This new engine allows for some very intuitive controls that didn’t exist before." Toolfarm says users get "3 new FREE plugins; ImageFlow FX's MultiPop Forward, VeeYou V2's WV Oscilloscope and VeeYou V2's WV Voiceprint. You receive ALL 21 FREE plugins instantly when you install the 15 day trial of CoreMelt Complete V2!" Also, Steve Douglas has a review of CoreMelt's Complete V2 at Ken Stone's FCP website.

And speaking of Noise Industies, FxFactory offers over 300 visual effects plug-ins optimized for real-time performance on the Macintosh. The new update shown at NAB brings new products based on FxFactory: idustrial revolution Volumetrix 2, Motype 1.2, DVShade EasyLooks 2.5 and Boinx FxTiles 1.0 -- and includes performance enhancements to the blur and glow categories and 3 new plug-ins, PDF Animator, Perlin Noise generator and Alpha Merger.

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