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StoryBoard Artist 7 Review


As a filmmaker, one of my biggest challenges has been translating my screenplays into storyboards. I know what I want but illustrating it in a way that my crew can understand is equally important. When I was sent a copy of PowerProduction Software’s new StoryBoard Artist 7 my prayers were answered.

Storyboard Artist 7 allows filmmakers to create a digital animatic storyboard that lets their entire crew visualize a scene prior to production, ensuring that they are all working toward the same creative vision.

New features in version 7 are unlimited posable characters, motion graphics that show character movement within shots, mobile app integration for storyboarding on the go and more.

The tool also provides a breadth of options for locations, props, characters and colors, allowing users to create custom galleries by importing art from their own libraries. Additionally, graphics selections can be overlaid on top of each other allowing the creation of a multi-layered world by selecting a background before superimposing other backgrounds on top of the primary background. Additional suites of libraries can be purchased ranging from action/adventure to sitcoms. I would have liked to have seen suites dedicated to horror and sci-fi.

While the poses and character customizations are somewhat limited, StoryBoard Artist 7 is an effective tool for prepping your next production. StoryBoard Artist is available for $499 with a Studio version available for $899. The latter offers additional customization for shots as well as integration with Avid Meta Sync.

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Red Giant went out with a bang in 2015 and kicked off the New Year in a big way. Two great new updates were issued for some of their best products. With the introduction of Trapcode Suite 13 and Shooter Suite 13, Red Giant not only proves that they are consistent with their quality products but that they really listen to user feedback to make continuous improvements.

Red Giant Trap Code Suite 13 Review


Red Giant’s Trapcode Suite is often hailed as the essential tool for motion graphics artists. Each of Trapcode Suite 13’s eleven plugins can be purchased separately but buying the bundle will save you $690. And for what it does, $999 may seem a lot but it’s a steal.

Four of the eleven plugins are new: Trapcode Particular 2.5, Trapcode Mir 2, Trapcode Shine 2, and the all-new Trapcode Tao. Three products have received updates: Trapcode Sound Keys, Trapcode Starglow and Trapcode Form. The suite also includes Trapcode Lux, Trapcode 3D Stroke, Trapcode Horizon and Trapcode Echospace.

Trapcode Particular 2.5 is the most essential tool of them all. It allows you to add particles to compositions and create visual effects like fire, water, smoke and other organic effects. The latest version of Trapcode Particular has a new, powerful user interface that makes generating effects more creative and intuitive than ever before. The new Effects Builder allows you to preview particles in real-time and save your custom presets which are big time savers.

Trapcode Mir 2 allows you to create 3D flowing surfaces, endless tunnels and abstract shapes for use in your motion graphics. You can design realistic or alien landscapes using Mir’s fractal displacement mapping. Mir uses After Effect’s 3D Camera and Lights so you can fully integrate your Mir surfaces with your motion graphics and VFX shots. Seamless Looping is a great new addition allowing for easily creating loops of effects that you have created.

Trapcode Shine 2 brings light and life into your motion graphics and VFX. It gives your footage the natural effect of Sunshine through clouds, headlights in fog, or under water light rays. It includes a host of new features for creating 3D camera-aware volumetric effects. 3D Point Control gives a huge amount of control when it comes to setting up looks for the scenes you create. What was previously an effect that could only be applied in 2D now allows for 3D point control.

Trapcode Tao is an entirely new product for creating beautiful complex motion graphics with animated ribbons, geometric shapes, and more. Tao generates procedural 3D geometries using built-in auto paths, mask shapes, and the motion from 3D lights. Tao is GPU-accelerated, so that features like repeaters, image based lighting, reflection maps, and ambient occlusion, all render at incredible speeds.

In Sound Keys you can now choose to show or hide the various UI elements, making it easier to isolate and integrate them into your motion graphics work. It also adds the ability to change the color mapping and quantize the VU meter as separate blocks.

Trapcode Starglow adds new color/direction presets. Tracode form adds a new Square particle type.

Trapcode Suite 13 is compatible with Adobe After Effects CS6, CC, CC 2014 and CC 2015 and is available for both Mac and Windows.

Once again, Red Giant has proven that it is first in class when it comes to creating tools for motion graphics artists and filmmakers.

Red Giant Shooter Suite 13 Review


Hot on the heels of Red Giant’s new Trapcode Suite 13 is Shooter Suite 13 which features the new PluralEyes 4.0.

Topping the list of new features in PluralEyes 4.0 is the ability to sync with PluralEyes directly in Premiere Pro, without having to leave the host app, Smart Start capabilities, automatic drift correction, vertical track scaling, integration with Red Giant Offload, and more simplicity and automation than ever before.

Just hit the sync button in the Premiere Pro Panel and PluralEyes takes care of the rest. Giving users ease of mind, PluralEyes in Premiere Pro offers the same color coding capabilities as it does in the standalone version, so editors will know which clips, if any, require attention.

Importing media is easier than ever with PluralEyes’ Smart Start feature. Drag and drop an entire folder of media into PluralEyes, and during a sync it will automatically detect which device the media came from. Your files will be sorted so that media from the same device are on the same track.

When syncing long clips, sound and video can tend to stop matching up perfectly. PluralEyes can account for this and export a perfect sync with Automatic Drift Correction, announced in version 3.5. New in version 4, when drift is detected, PluralEyes will automatically fix it, then give editors the option to toggle between the drift-corrected sync and the original audio for comparison.

An essential feature from the PluralEyes beginnings, color coded visuals show editors the progress of the sync, making it easy to make adjustments. Now, export from PluralEyes to Premiere Pro features a color coding option for clips that don’t sync properly.

Red Giant Offload performs a checksum during media transfer from camera card to hard drive, giving filmmakers the peace of mind that footage was backed up with no loss. PluralEyes 4.0 is able to detect Offload events and bring footage over, for a seamless workflow from Offload to PluralEyes to the host-app.

Shooter Suite 13 also includes Offload 1.0 which allows for simple and reliable backup of your footage in the field. Instant 4K lets you upconvert video to 4K resolution and other high-resolution formats. Frames lets you deinterlace your older footage and convert it to 34P.

Shooter Suite 13 is a must have suite for anyone who is shooting with a DSLR camera. Its plugins are compatible with CS6, CC, CC 2014 and CC 2015 with Frames also supporting CS3, CS5 and CS5.5. The suite is available for $399, a  $197 savings over purchasing the plugins separately.