DV Software · Hardware · And Anything Else I Can Think Of

A brand new company is producing some great plug-ins for Adobe After Effects! DigiEffects, based in San Francisco, was founded in May of 1996 and has released two very exciting and useful plug-in packages.

The first package is named Aurorix and it consists of 26 plug-ins for After Effects that can easily generate lighting effects, wild distortions, mild-to-insane animated textures, and animated patterns; and simulate other visual media such as film and grungy video. With categories such as Media Simulation, Lighting, Distortion, Texture Generation, and Pattern Generation there is something here for just about everyone.

Some of my favorite effects include:

The remaining plug-ins are 3D Lighting, ColorSpotLights, LightZoom, SpotLights, Bulgix, Flitter, Infinity Warp, Turbulent Flow, Warpoid, Whirlix, Chaotic Noise, Chaotic Rainbow, Electrofield, Interferix, Inter pheroid, SoapFilm, Strange Nebulae, WoodMaker, and Infinity Zone.

Aurorix version 1.0 is distributed on-line and directly from DigiEffects. The package has an incredibly low introductory price of only $89.00 + California Tax + Shipping, and includes a complete manual with a tutorial, tips & techniques, a diskette, and free on-line support.

Berserk is the company's second package of 20 special effects filters for Adobe After Effects. Divided into three categories: Natural Effects, Organic Effects, and Distortion Effects, this bundle gives any production real pizzazz! Three of my favorite filters include Blizzard, Ripploid and Laser.

Blizzard creates a simulated snowstorm by using a particle system to create its effect. You can adjust the number of flakes, the speed and size of the flakes, the strength and direction of the wind blowing them, and the color and transparency of the flakes. This allows you to simulate a light snow falling or a full blizzard. By combining Blizzard with other filters, you can also create interesting animated textures.

Ripploid creates a beautiful rippling wave effect. You can control the number of waves in the ripple, the strength and magnitude of the ripples, the center of the effect, etc. It's also great for slowly revealing logos and creating "dream" sequence opens and closes!

Laser creates a laser-ray style beam, that gives you control over four types of beams. High Energy creates a "fat" and bright beam, Pistol creates a smaller beam, Thin Laser creates a very small line and Stun uses small ovals. You can set the start and end point for the beam, the start and end color, the size, and so on.Of course, you can also blend with the source image, and the spacing control lets you create "star wars" style stun gun effects! With a little experimenting, you can also create "blast" type explosions. To create a blast, just set the Start and End locations close together and manipulate the Size controls until you get the desired size and effect.

The remaining effects are Crystallizer, FogBank, Night- Bloom, Starfield, NewsPrint, BumpMaker, Contourist, Gravity Well, OilPaint, VanGoughist, StillNoise, Edgex, Pearls, Perspectron, Spintron, Squisher, and Cyclowarp.

Berserk ships with a complete printed manual and a CD-ROM with sample projects, movies, free textures, and shareware. Like Aurorix, you can buy the Berserk package direct from DigiEffects for $289. The principal difference between these two packages is that Berserk has a more advanced feature set that is of particular interest to the professional designer.

To order, or for more information, make sure you stop at their very informative Web site at http://www.digieffects.com. Here you can download a demo version of either package and see a ton of sample images. You can call them at 415-563-4318.

Recently a caller to our office compained that the Macintosh was wimpy in the area of animation. For those who believe that to be true, then these two announcements go a long way in revitalizing the Macintosh in the 3D animation arena. First, a Macintosh version of Lightwave by NewTek (www.newtek.com) is slated for immediate release. Maybe that will please the PC weenie that bugged our phone operator. If not, then maybe this will: Electric Image (www.electricimg.com) has finally lowered the price of their stellar ElectricImage Animation System to $2,495 for a Mac version limited to video resolutions (720 x 576 maximum). EI also has plans of releasing a modeler to be included in an upcoming release.

Shot Logger functions as a wireless system for logging film and video footage on the Newton. This means you don't have to spend hours reviewing your raw footage prior to digitizing and it gives you freedom of movement. As you're shooting, Shot Logger transmits timecode in and out points for each take right to a MessagePad hand-held computer using the Newton technology. You can also rate each take, enter scene descriptions, numbers, and notes, then export a list of preferred shots for instant digitizing to NLE systems using LoggerLink. The $2,295 price includes a PC card, wireless transmitter, software, and a carrying case. For more info go to www.productionmagic.com

First-TV, CMP Media's 24-hour Internet TV/Video network, announced their "Break out of the Box" video contest for amateur filmmakers, videographers, and digital animators. First-TV, at www.first-tv.com, is a free forum for undiscovered artists to show and promote their work on the emerging Internet multimedia market. First-TV named its contest "Break out of the Box" to symbolize the potential of the Internet as a new, cheap, and unexplored medium for digital videographers and animators. First prize in the contest is $15,000 and a premiere of the winning video on First-TV. Second prize is $5,000; and five third prize winners will each receive $1,000. All entries must be received by December 31, 1996.

Rod Harlan is head of Power Source Communications, a multi-media firm, and is always looking for new and creative projects. He can be reached at Pwr Source @aol.com.

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