MacDirectory Magazine

Warren Manser

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REVIEW RED GIANT TRAPCODE AND MAGIC BULLET SUITES WORDS BY TREY YANCY While excellent videography and editing may be the heart of visual storytelling, visual effects are what make a project really stand out. Whether for a slick 30- second TV spot or an Academy Award- winning feature film, Red Giant has a plug- in that will make an impact. While their plug-in library is quite large, they do offer a number of bundles that offer a lot of power at a heavily discounted price. Two of these are the Trapcode suite and the Magic Bullet suite. The plug-ins vary widely by host application but are available for AfterEffects, Motion, Premiere Pro, Final Cut, Avid, Photoshop and Lightroom. If you are running any of the first four of the above apps (particularly AE) you should be able to run almost all of them. There may be far too much to describe in a basic review, but we'll touch on the highlights. Trapcode Suite 12 This suite includes (in no particular order): Lux (for great 3-D lighting), Mir (for flowing 3-D meshes), Particular (a very impressive particle system), Sound Keys (for syncing motion graphics to music), Echo space (for 3-D object replication), 3-D Stroke (for amazing neon animations and more), Shine (three guesses), Starglow (three starry guesses), Form (for adding particulate effects to 2-D and 3-D objects – included imported .obj files), and Horizon (for creating spherical 3-D environments). The new addition to this suite is Mir, which is similar to Red Giant's Psunami ocean effects plug-in (not included) but takes things several stages further. This is a great collection of tools that can be used individually or in combination, the only limits being your imagination. You can, for example, create an undulating fireball of rippling images trailing smoke to the beat as your camera chases it through a 3- D world. This is a serious set of pro tools that should be considered a must-have. Magic Bullet Suite 11.4 Another must-have collection is the Magic Bullet Suite. This is an excellent "meat and potatoes" suite that can take your footage from prep to final release. It also can provide some stunning effects in the area of mood and drama, but the best description would be a collection intended for turning good looking footage into a great looking film. This suite includes Colorist II (high-end color correction), Denoiser II (for reducing grain and visual noise), Frames (a deinterlacer), Grinder (for converting footage into pro formats, adding time code and more), Instant HD (an excellent tool for increasing the resolution of SD footage), Looks (a great and intuitive tool for creating the overall look of your footage – from Garbo to Neo and more), Mojo (for making skin tones pop and creating moods), PhotoLooks 2 (Looks for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture) and the new kid, Cosmo (for pro level smoothing – excellent for zooming in on HD footage). Observations Unlike less ambitious point-and-shoot canned effects, the presets in these suites are only the starting point. You can create and save your own as you wish, but the true glory is found in the huge range of controls that are offered. With some, such as particular, things can become rather complex, but it is easy to start small and grow as your familiarity increases. Naturally, this varies by plug-in. A very cool thing is that just about every control can be animated, turning even the lowest budget project into something rather spectacular. To get an excellent idea of what these suites can do, play a visit to and view the video previews. You can also go to the Red Giant TV section for a huge number of excellent video tutorials. (Be forewarned – watch too many of these jaw-dropping videos and you may end up wearing a bib.) Conclusion The Magic Bullet and Trapcode suites are crammed solid with must-have tools with nary a weak sister in the bunch. Some you may use more than others and some are so appealing that you may use them with every project. While this reviewer guards 5- star ratings like the crown jewels, it is easy to give top marks to these remarkable tools. Product > Made by > Price > Pros > Cons > Rating > Trapcode and Magic Bullet Suites Red Giant $799, $899 / Upgrades from $199, $99 Typically Excellent Quality Voluminous options 94 MacDirectory

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