December 11, 2006

Volumetrix Light Plug-ins
Created by idustrial revolution & Noise Industries
$49.00 - 15 day free trial.

Review by Steve Douglas

I just spent a good part of my weekend putting off writing this review so I could have a ton of fun just playing with the Volumetrix plug-ins for Apple's Motion and Final Cut Pro Studio. It wasn't time wasted as there really is so much you can do with these two plug ins as well as the many plug-ins found in Noise Industries' FX Factory. The FX Factory plug-ins I will save for another review and focus strictly on Volumetrix, but as a small advance, they really have some wonderful and unique transitions, filters, and editing applications that are definitely check out worthy.

Capable of producing some truly eye-catching lighting effects, Volumetrix utilizes everything your graphics card and FxPlug technology has to offer. This results in quick application and very fast renders. Even though I have an older Radeon 9800 graphics card in my DP 2Ghz G5, 2gigs ram, renders were quick and painless.

Volumetrix comes with two individual filters that work in both Motion and Final Cut. Used in either FCP or Motion, Volumetrix Zoom and Volumetrix Glow have very much the same parameter settings both in the dashboard and the inspector and under the FCP filters tab. Both are exceedingly easy to apply and manipulate.

Parameter settings for both the Volumetrix Glow and Zoom controls are the same, as you will find in the Motion dashboard and Final Cut Pro.
The only real difference is in the way you will be key framing in one application versus the other. Volumetrix was stable in both applications with no crashes.

At first glance I didn't see much of a difference between the two but once I started experimenting; suffice it to say, there are very significant differences and all of them good. Volumetrix Zoom is generally applied to text, logos, or most anything with an alpha channel. You have a great deal of room and ability to adjust the light rays and their color, brightness and location in relation to the object they have been applied to. In Motion, one just needs to click on the record button with the progress bar over to the left, bring the timeline to the end and move the progress bar back over to the right. Now your light rays are key framed and other adjustments to their width and brightness can be adjusted on the fly as well as the Zoom Blur position, which affects the direction and therefore spread of the light rays. Of course, anyone using them will be able to utilize the progress bar and other controls in a multitude of different ways.

Using the Source Image it was easy to change the direction of my text and rays reveal.

Volumetrix Glow works the same way and the glow colors, using the same method as with Zoom, can also be key framed to change their color, and strength. It is a more subtle plug in which can tastefully provide both text and images some sophisticated pizzazz. Used in Final Cut Pro either the Volumetrix Glow or Zoom was just as easy to work with. Both the Zoom and Glow plug ins offer four ways to direct your lighting effects, left to right, right to left, top to bottom and bottom to top. In addition, you have three choices as to how you want your lights to sweep across the screen. This is found in the Source Image box and allows you to switch between 'Always Display' which allows the text of object to always be visible while the lighting effect is taking place, 'Reveal via light sweep' which reveals the text or object at the same time as the lighting shows itself and 'Never display' which allows just the lighting effect to be visible and can be integrated in a myriad of possibilities.

Using Volumetrix Zoom for my own shameless advertising.

One does need to keep in mind that the text or images used need to have an alpha channel. Once you have that, the use of either of these plug ins is a snap. The light glows or rays can either be added to your text or placed on top of it. You can be very subtle or just blow'em away with the strength of these effects. The Volumetrix Zoom can be especially strong so keep your adjustments incremental and you can't go wrong.

Made in Final Cut Pro, I brought down the text opacity a tad and applied a sparing dose of Volumetrix Zoom
to create a coming of Ken down from the mount for his just desserts. (gggg)


Text is not the only thing where Volumetrix can be useful.
This animated dove with an alpha channel has both glow and zoom applied.



Not a problem using both Volumetrix Zoom and Glow in Motion to create this affect.
I have kept the Always Reveal on from the Source Image to show the end product.

The bottom line is that Volumetrix is the perfect gift to buy for that spouse or friend who doesn't edit at all. This way you will be able to use it as much as you like. Don't just take my word for it; there is a free downloadable version on their website that you can enjoy for 15 days. It's a free trial you will be happy you tried. Not only is it inexpensive, but it works, is stable, is much quicker when rendering, has easy to manipulate parameters and is heads and shoulders above the typical and simple glow rays filter found elsewhere. It was a breeze to use and fun to boot. Forget the friend, you will find it a valuable tool in your own editing arsenal.

Steve Douglas is an underwater videographer and contributor to numerous film festivals around the world. 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, Bali & Komodo in 2007, and Costa Rica and Palau in 2008. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips.


copyright © Steve Douglas 2006

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