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Review: CoreMelt's Complete V2

April, 2009



CoreMelt's Complete V2 $299.00

Review by Steve Douglas

Long associated with Noise Industries plug-ins and software, CoreMelt has branched off and gone on its own separate path. In doing so, the folk at CoreMelt have further developed their own collection of transitions, filters and generators and, with that development, produced some outstanding and exciting new features all designed to work in Final Cut Studio, Express, Motion, and Adobe After Effects CS3/CS4. To that end, you no longer need FX Factory installed to be able to purchase and use any of the CoreMelt collections.

The CoreMelt V2 Complete is a collection, and serious enhancement, of their previous PolyChrome Transitions, Image Flow FX, Motion Graphics Box, Editing Tools and VeeYou. In total, the complete set arrives with 180 GPU accelerated plug-ins enabling you to achieve most any transition or video effect you could ever want. For anyone having purchased any of Core Melt's licenses after March 6th, the upgrade will be free to their equivalent V2 software. In addition, any one of the individual sets may be purchased separately and each set arrives with additional new plug-ins, filters and transitions from the original Version 1.

In the Image Flow FX V2, 8 new plug-ins alone have been added to the original ten with additional editing options such as random crop and new scaling types. In fact, Image Flow now works on movies and compositions as well as still images, and motion blur and is now supported in all hosts, Final Cut Pro, Motion and Adobe AE. Additionally, the CoreMelt graphic multi sliders make for intuitive and quick parameter adjustments. Upgrades for just the Image Flow from ImageFlow Fx to ImageFlow FX V2 are $59 as an introductory price until May 1st, and then $79 after that. The upgrade from the previous 'Complete' package will be $129.00 For those without the prior CoreMelt Complete, the introductory price is $299.00 which will go up to $399.00 after May 1st. Keep in mind that with the Complete set, you are getting 180 different transitions,filters and generators...not bad at all.

The new graphical sliders arriving with many of the effects plug-ins, were easy to use.
I experienced that they could be manipulated with a great deal of precision.

Adding to that development, in FCP, motion blur is turned on using the new "globals" window which is accessed from the button next to registration in all plug-ins. Motion blur is turned on or off for every plug-in on the time line with one click, so you can build and preview everything with faster rendering, then turn on motion blur for the whole time line for your final render. And while the new graphical mask/frame pop ups menus make it much easier to see which styles you are applying, all the masks and frames in ImageFlow Fx have now been replaced with vector versions which are rendered on the fly at your native project resolution. You can add your own vector or bitmap masks and frames to the new graphical menus, by going into your home directory Library/Application Support/CoreMelt/Assets/. You can then add new files to any of the directories there and have them appear in the appropriate Mask/Frame chooser. One note on using ImageFlow Fx with movies, CoreMelt does not recommend you attempt to use a folder of HD movies with any of the plug-ins which can display up to eight layers at once. If you are creating HD output they recommend you use PAL/NTSC or 640x480 content as each movie will be only filling a portion of the HD frame. This makes sense to me and, in use, all worked well though whether you will be able to preview in real time or not is dependent upon the horsepower of your editing bay. Usually, I could not do a real time preview on my dual core 3GHz Mac Pro, Radeon X1900 card and 5.5 gigs ram. However, even a stuttering preview prior to rendering gave me a good sense of my progress.

Premiering in the C2 Pigment- Color Tools collection of filters is on-screen curves overlays, which appear in the canvas. Why didn't anyone think of this sooner? As many use the Final Cut Pro video scopes to be as exacting and safe as possible when color correcting, being able to see the color, hue, and saturation curves as you adjust them is a real boon. With the curves set to 'always on', the curve boxes enlarge in the canvas as you play the clip before rendering.

From the C2 Pigment RGB Levels & Curves color set, the use of visible curves, which appear in the canvas
as I adjust the parameters in the filters folder, provide me with additional visual cues for fixing the original, poorly shot clip of these two African eagles in Kenya.

Two of the new plug-ins within the Image Flow set are the 'Circle Around' and 'Fall Forward' plugs upon which you can set both a variety of frames and blur. The Fall Forward brings up your image and naturally drops it down revealing a new one behind it. With the blur added, it creates a very cool effect and is a great way to transition from one image to the other. The Circle Around allows you to bring different images or moving clips, with or without a mirror effect, displaying themselves in a circular motion across the stage.

The Circle Around plug in. CoreMelt has now added the ability to choose the source aspect ratio for all plug-ins in Imageflow when working with movies. At the moment you have to tell Imageflow the aspect ratio and you can't mix and match clips of different aspect ratios in the same folder, however, that should be an additional feature with the next version coming soon.

Very cool are the ten Veeyou meters, which react to the audio by simply choosing the file from the hosts. You do not need to link audio behaviors as, once the audio file is chosen, you are good to go with many options within each of the many types of meters as to their appearance and placement. I had a marvelous time playing with these just imagining ways I would eventually use them. Be careful, as you could kill more time than you ever expected just by being memorized by the blinking diodes, LEDs and spheres.

Choose the folder where the music is kept and the Veeyou meters will automatically be aligned with the audio.
The left graphic is a capture of the C2 Veeyou Analog meter, which, of course, can be resized, and on the right is the EQ Simple 3D meter with mirroring on. Any of the Veeyou meters can be easily placed over another video layer allowing for both sight and sound.

In addition, both the Veeyou meters come with an assortment of masks and color gradients providing ample opportunity to for experimenting with different styles and approaches when using them. Almost all parameters may be keyframed for an abundance of creativity.

There are a great many plug ins in either the V2 Complete or one of the smaller collections that will be just thing for you to use. In the C2 Gadget-Editors Tools set is a quick and easy 'Witness Protection' filter which allows for pixilation over a face or license plate. With adjustable diameter and position parameters, this will make quick work of any disguising you may find necessary.

From the CoreMelt C2 -Editors Tools Folder, a new 'Witness Protection' filter.   -        From the Luminous Glows and Blurs Folder, the 'Blowout' filter can be used dramatically.

One filter I really took a shine to was from the C2 Pigment Color Tools collection and was appropriately titled 'Filmic Look' Below the original clip with no color correction or manipulation on the left and on the right, the Filmic Look with filter applied and a mask.

On the right, I chose a simple and transparent oval mask to highlight the lioness looking forward to bringing me home as dinner for her cubs.
However, though you can import your own masks and gradients via the image wells, CoreMelt's filters come with a large enough choice to pick from.

       Also with the Filmic Look filter, a whole new look between the original frame and the simple default settings of the Filmic Look filter.

As with the Veeyou meters, a great many of the CoreMelt filters supply a number of different textures to chose from when editing. I found that I could lose track of time just playing around with all the possibilities.

Typical of the V2 Complete collection are the myriad choices at your disposal.
Here are just some of the textures one could chose as they animate from the Grunge & Stylized-3D Image Random Spacing Generator.

From the C2 Shatter folder, the Grunge Border shown here is just one of many possible border choices. - Advanced Vignetter with Luma Curve visible

From the V2 Glows & Blurs, the Sparkle Edges.

On the left, the original image and from the Pigment folder, the Day for Night filter.

A year ago, I reviewed the CoreMelt Image Flow collection of plug-ins very favorably. My only complaint at that time was that while you could chose a folder of images from within the plug-in's filters tab, you could not chose specific files from within the folder; it was all or nothing. Unfortunately, that still has not changed and for this release, the story remains the same. However, I have been informed that the folk at Core Melt are currently working on this and in a near future update, you will be able to specify which images you wish to bring in as well as being able to change their order of appearance.

For editors who have been at this awhile, previously purchased plug in collections may or may not have similar transitions, filters and generators. However, CoreMelt has added some seriously effective controls making parameter adjustments both more intuitive and effective. A major consideration here is that CoreMelt allows you to take advantage of their compatibility with both 10 bit and 12-bit codec's, which also enable them to work with footage from the new Red camera, and 10 bit Pro Res. This will additionally ensure that you gain the benefits from your color grading after online edits. For those new to Final Cut Studio or for anyone looking to add to the assortment of filters, generators and transitions that arrive with Final Cut, this is just about the most diverse collection out there. What's more, users, once they have registered the Complete set or one of the smaller collections, are automatically notified of any free upgrades.

One thing I have been pointing out lately in many reviews is that several sites have proactively begun creating video tutorials to show clients how to achieve the effects their promotional videos show off. However, the one video tutorial I watched regarding the Veeyou filters went by so quickly it was hard to keep up.

While the CoreMelt website provides full definitions of each filters' purpose as well as definitions of their associated parameters, there remains a serious lack of any video tutorials enabling the new buyer to see how certain effects are achieved and parameters are used. Not every editor is a professional for whom these things come more naturally, many are simply new hobbyists wishing to learn, and I would hope that CoreMelt makes the effort to improve on that simply for customer consideration.

My bottom line is that CoreMelt has really come out with an almost complete package of effects that will leave you desiring little. While you can buy upgrades for any of the individual sets, I strongly recommend the CoreMelt Complete V2 Collection. CoreMelt has clearly made many improvements to what was already an excellent assortment of effects. They were easy to use, reliably worked as they should, and are very worthy of your consideration.

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 productions for National Geographic and the History channels. Steve is also feature writer for Asian Diver Magazine and is one of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition. He is available for both private and group seminars for Final Cut Pro and leads both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with upcoming excursions to Micronesia for the Manta Fest in 9/09, the Red Sea and Egypt for Nov.2009, Truk Lagoon and Yap in Micronesia for July, 2010. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips.

copyright © Steve Douglas 2009

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