September 17, 2007

Particleillusion Pro Emitters
Collections 10-12
$39.00 each collection or $90.00 for the 3 sets.

Review by Steve Douglas

There's little questioning thrown my way as to whether I have been a fan of wondertouch's particleIllusion or their Pro Emitter Libraries. (Yes, I know that, for the English experts, that the names 'wondertouch' and 'particleIllusion' should be capitalized, however, the company prefers it to be spelt with lower case letters.) For those who find themselves spending endless hours creating special effects in Motion utilizing the particle generators to create flowing water, lower thirds, dynamic texts, animated backgrounds and FX of all kinds, look towards particle illusion to enable you to cut your editing bay time by half or more. Actually, particleIllusion is more powerful than Motion's particle emitters (though not 3D) as well as allowing for far more complex and realistic effects. It's capabilities are truly beyond anything Motion's particle system can create. Though wondertouch does have a particle emitter collection for Motion, the Pro Emitters reviewed here do not themselves work in Motion.

While free libraries of particle emitters come out each month for downloading from the wondertouch website, wondertouch has now released their 3rd collection of particle emitters created by their own professional artists. Keep in mind that in order to take advantage of these Pro Emitters one must have particleillusion already installed.

Similar to previous Pro designed collections, each of these 3 new offerings follows a given theme and includes 30 very unique emitters for each set. With this offering, two of the collections center on fiery effects of all kinds. Collections Pyro 1 and Pyro 2 each focuses on a myriad number of explosions, blasts, muzzle flashes, and sunburst effects that might take hours to create yourself. And yet, the Pyro 1 and 2 collections are significantly different from each other. Pyro 1 is the explosive collection divided into 4 folders of emitter presets. It seems like most movies today are full of car crashes, planes exploding, propane tanks blowing up and Die Hard sequels. Some of the blasts you might find are single explosions while others are multiple bursts and compound explosions of fire, smoke and carnage. Each is highly customizable to suit any project where effects of this type would enhance one's project. Customization in regard to placement, angles, emission range, velocity, size variations, emitter life and too many more parameters to mention is very easy to attain. It's not that you will have to adjust any of these but you easily can if needed. Categorized by their high energy, these emitters produce some genuinely organic and realistic effects. All you need when using any of these emitters are the foley effects to add to the realism.

From the Pyro 1 collection, no two emitters are alike. Their realism, from beginning to end, can be viewed on the wondertouch website.

The Pyro 2 collection is similar but is based more upon explosive aftermath. Divided into 3 pre-set folder, rising fire bursts decaying over time, rising explosion clouds similar to nuclear explosions, and plumes of blast matter and muzzle blasts from machine guns and single flashes are its priority and are also presented with a great deal of realism.


The Pyro 2 collection like all the particleIllusion collections can easily be placed and positioned upon background stills or videos.
Background photos supplied by Randy Siegel.

The third collection is significantly different from any collection I have seen wondertouch produce. Their 'Hearts' collection is a tasteful grouping of growing, glowing and smoothly flowing hearts of different types and colors, which will be absolutely perfect for the wedding videographer or romantic film production. This entire collection really seems to be a work of art as well as heart. Many could be beautifully used in DVD menus, their grace and ever-changing appearance especially unique and gorgeous to look at.


Each of these clips contains a combination of different emitters from the Hearts collection. Mix and match to your heart's content.
Keep in mind that none of the still images in this review can really do the actual emitters justice. I urge you to go to the wondertouch website to see them for yourselves.

Bottom line is that there is no question that Alan Lorence and the very responsive folk at wondertouch have an excellent application on their hands. Not only is wondertouch's particleIllusion easy to work with, but also it is absolutely a blast (no pun here) to use. I find myself having fun seeing what I can create on down times even when I have no project for which I will be using these creations. Thus, their newest collections 10-12 are a welcome and unique addition to the already over 1800 particle emitters inclusive in the particleIllusion collection. At only $39 for each collection separately, $90 for all three collections or for those playing catch-up, $329 for all twelve Pro Emitter collections, you get your money's worth and more.

Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro for Final Cut Pro 6 and underwater videographer. A winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE competition, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition, where he also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis production, and a recent History channel MegaDisaster show. Steve is one of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition and leads both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with upcoming excursions to Kenya & Lembeh Straits in Indonesia in 2007, the Coco Islands, Costa Rica & Truk Lagoon in 2008 and safari in Africa for 2009. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips.


copyright ©Steve Douglas 2007

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