DV by Michael Hanish
Boris brings new filter options and speed to Adobe’s mainstay.
One of the largest and most extensive collections of plug-ins for motion graphics work has to be Boris Continuum Complete 7. It’s now available for Adobe After Effects CS5 and Premiere Pro, as well as for FxPlug (Apple Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, Motion), AVX (Avid Media Composer, NewsCutter, Symphony, DS), Sony Vegas Pro, and Sparks (Autodesk Flint, Flame, Inferno and Smoke).
BCC 7 for After Effects, the version under consideration here, contains more than 200 plug-in filters in an almost dizzying array of categories and possibilities. These include 3D objects, particle generators, image restoration and color correction, time-based effects, lights, blurs, transitions and keying. There are 11 new filters included since the last version.
One of the biggest advances this version makes is the recoding of all filters to take advantage of 64-bit operating systems and OpenGL acceleration. These optimizations yield not only processing and display speed gains but also a great increase in the fluidity of setting up the parameters and previewing the results in a composition. Another interesting and advantageous plug-in design improvement is that many of the BCC7 AE filters can use native After Effects lights, masks and cameras, in either 2D or 3D space. In addition, BCC7’s 3D text generator filters can make use of AE’s native spline masks to create 3D paths along which to animate text, or, with the Extruded Spline filter, a 2D AE mask can be projected into a custom 3D shape. Such asset and feature leveraging makes the BCC 7 AE filter set feel totally integrated in the native After Effects work environment.
One function that has long been a feature of Boris’ filters, the Pixel Chooser, does a lot to extend AE’s functionality and workflow in ways that are long overdue to be incorporated into the application itself. The Pixel Chooser is a built-in masking and matte system, very easy to use in conjunction with AE‘s native masks, that allows you to apply an effect or filter to a specific region of interest. Again, OpenGL makes this a very near real-time experience.
There is a new Compare Mode in about a third of the filters that allows the user to compare filtered versus non-filtered sources in either a side-by-side or a live split-screen view in the composite window. Finally, On-Screen Widgets have been added to many of the BCC7 filters, a good example being the new 3 Way Color Grade Filter, which features such a widget for simple mask creation, sizing, placement and edge feathering. read more...