Universe, Red Giant Software’s subscription-based plug-in for Adobe After Effects and seven other NLEs and compositing apps, has been updated to version 3.1 and incorporates some interesting new modules.
Clip Studio Paint EX is the most complete suite of drawing and painting tools available from Celsys in Japan. It’s perceived as the biggest competitor of Corel Painter. Both these apps were designed for creators who love to draw and paint with a brush feel that comes close to the real-world thing, but Clip Studio is also a complete comic strip and animation creations tool.
I remember buying my first and last Power Mac Pro many years ago. It looked gorgeous, it was blazingly fast and I used it for about eight years. Keep in mind that last figure as I take you on a city trip to the price level of the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR.
Creating 3D titles in Final Cut Pro X and Motion is relatively easy, but creating complete 3D scenes is virtually impossible. Motion isn’t After Effects, but with Reelpath’s Eneo3D plug-in it comes very close to offering a one-stop solution to all your compositing needs.
For special effects like HUDs, graphs that move and text that floats through ballooning organic forms, many blockbuster 3D compositing artists use Yanobox’s Nodes. The FxFactory plug-in for After Effects, Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro and Motion has become an industry standard. Nodes 3 is the latest version of the generator, which I tested with the latest version of Apple Motion.
Another year, another release of Corel Painter. The new version is packed with new features that guarantee jaw dropping awesomeness. There just seems no limit to Corel’s ambition to develop an application that is meant to create digital art that looks like the real thing. Combined with the newest Wacom Intuos Pro and its amazing natural feel, Painter 2018 is for digital artists to drool over.
SketchBook Pro users enjoy a whole year of improvements and new features even, for a price of about €30/year. A few months ago, Autodesk’s sketch app was upgraded to version 8, which comes with textured brushes, a new predictive stroke and direct access to brush libraries created by leading professionals. I checked out if the new stuff is worth the subscription money.
Wacom’s new Intuos Pro graphics tablet is the thinnest since the company started selling graphics tablets many years ago. Wacom sells its professional line of tablets most often to graphics designers and photographers, but I managed to put it to good use with mocha Pro and Motion as well. The experience led me to try to use the newest Intuos Pro with Final Cut Pro X, my goal being to use it as a poor man’s control surface. For my tests, Wacom kindly sent me a large Paper Edition model.
The AutoPan is a universal panning head that allows you to create panoramas as well as focused slides of an object and more. The innovative AutoPan works with sliders and dollies and has multiple usage settings, including one where you use the head as a base for a rotating display. That way, you can also use the AutoPan to create 3D scans of an object. The AutoPan is designed and made in Italy.
Creating 3D models can be quite challenging. Applications like Cinema 4D and Maya are all-round 3D apps. They allow you to create 3D worlds and animations that can be used just as effectively in a game as in a presentation or blockbuster movie. Strata Design 3D CX 8.1.0, the Winter 2015-2016 release I got to review, is more focused on presenting 3D model design — objects, products, architecture, interior design… — in the most realistic and efficient way. The app has a learning curve, but it sure isn’t as steep as Maya’s or Cinema 4D’s.