|Review: ReelSmart Shade/Shape FCP plug in for 3-D type.
FCP plug in for 3-D type.
Adding depth, shading and metallic luster to your titles and
Developing cool effects and abstract transitions
Soft shading on 2D hand-drawn animation
Adding natural 3D shading to existing image sequences
Works in programs
that support After Effects plug-ins After Effects, Final Cut
Pro, Commotion and Combustion.
Review by Ken Stone
Shade/Shape is a 3-D
modeling plugin for FCP that creates 3-D effects on Text and
other models (images) that have an Alpha channel (transparent
background). One of Shade/Shape's most incredible technologies
(especially for the price) is the shading-from-shape. You can
do some really incredible things with it.
Imagine for a moment that you are
looking at a deflated inner tube in front of you. S/S generates
3-D by 'inflating' this inner tube. As the tube is inflated it
rises out towards you creating a 3-D image. Bevels, and 3-D lighting
are added to the effect. You can add another image to your art
for texture and detail by using 'bump mapping'. Just drag an
image into the 'bump map' well. You can map a reflection on to
your image by dragging another image to the 'Reflection' well.
This can be used to create the look of metallic objects. There
is also the ability to add color to both ambient and highlights
and to vary the intensity.
Installation of Shade/Shape is
easy. Click the installer and then drag the S/S plugin into the
FCP Plugins folder, done. You also get a three page manual that
explains each of the controls settings. It's quite adequate.
In FCP you open a Text Generator
and place it on the TimeLine and select. From your Video filters
menu > AE effects > RE:Vision Plug-ins > ReelSmart Shade/Shape.
In the filters tab in the Viewer you
get the S/S controls dialog box. We can divided this control
box into sections. The first group of controls is for the basic
design of your object. For demonstration purposes I chose the
'textile' font as it is thick and shows the effects of each S/S
control. I placed the text on a plain black background for easy
controls how far from the edge of your object the inflation occurs,
the higher the setting the further in from the edge the effect
is applied. At a low setting the bevel is a hard edged, as you
move the slider higher the beveling becomes more rounded.
scales the height of the object, moving the slider controls how
far the images moves out towards you. This control does not change
the width of the edge that is set with the 'inflation' control.
It is used to raise or lower the height of your object.
is used to soften the details of the object, smoothing out the
applied effects. This control should not be used until 'inflation',
'flatness', and 'lighting' have been done. At full 'softness'
all the details are completely reduced.
'Bump Mapping' controls are used
for adding detail and texture to your text or art work. You drop
any image into the 'Bump Source' well. Your text will now take
on the texture of the art that you dropped into the well. As
I don't have any 'bump maps' I simply dropped a PhotoShop file,
720 x 480, of a sunset landscape created in a graphics art program.
It worked just great. You can further control the 'bump map'
'Bump Amount' use
this control to vary the degree that the bump map affects the
'Bump Intensity' controls the variations in shading affect generated
by the 'bump map'.
This control is use to set the amount of blur that is applied
to the 'bump map' image before it is added to the text or artwork.
'Z direction' controls the angle
that the light shines on the art, from flat (rim lighting) to
perpendicular to the image (over head).
controls the angle, through a circle that the light is shone.
Left, right, top bottom or settings in between.
'Ambient Intensity' is much like a brightness control. I discovered
that when I use the S/S plugin, my text got a bit darker then
the original so I use this control to lighten my art work.
'Diffuse Color' colors
the light that is shinning on the text.
'Diffuse Intensity' controls the
amount of light contrast between the shadow and highlight areas
of the text.
controls the amount of shininess of the text.
'Highlight Color' colorers the
highlights of the text.
'Highlight Intensity' controls the amount of color added to the highlight
of the text.
'Reflection Source' art work that
is dropped into this well will be reflected on the surface of
your art work, with texture and color. It wraps the 'reflection'
bump map around your image.
'Reflection amount' controls the amount or intensity that the art
is reflected on the surface of the text. With a value of 1 the
surface of your text will be like a mirror completely reflecting
the bump map.
'Anti-aliasing' controls the quality
of the art work, set to 'best' before rendering. I forgot to
do this setting before I grabbed my screen shots. Typical.
Used for analyzing the shape and bump of your art.
Using RE:Vision Effects Shade/Shape.
This is a great FCP plug in. I found it to be very straight forward
and intuitive, easy to use. I set some type at a large size,
108 pixels and then moved each control slider one at a time.
Subtle changes in the sliders produces smooth results and it
is quite easy to see what each controller does. This filter opens
up with default settings that will get you started. You can tweak
each control to get some great 3-D type. I also set some type
in Photoshop (.psd) with a transparent background and dropped
the S/S filter on it. Works exactly the same as text generated
by FCP. I can see creating artwork in Photoshop such as logos
and then applying S/S to the artwork. As this plug in works with
any image that has an Alpha channel some interesting special
effects can be achieved by using 'reflection mapping'. For example,
you can make a 'clean plate' of your background and then 'reflection
map' it onto your subject. Then use keyframing to change the
plug ins effects over time.
To get some really great sculpted 3-D
type using S/S it is best to use large type sizes. I tested with
different fonts and found that by changing fonts that I got very
different looks. The samples above are screen shots which were
Jpegged. The type looks much better on NTSC with no alaising,
better coloring, detail and depth.
The real power of the S/S plug in is
the fact that all of these controls, are keyframable. You can
morph your type over time. Change the 3-D shape, style, quality,
color, bump mapping, etc. and have your light source swing across
the face of your type like the sun moving overhead. Couple this
with all the keyframable settings you have in the Control and
Motion tab and you can do some exciting stuff.
I am on a B/W3/400 and when changing
settings in the S/S filters box there was up to a 10 second delay
before the change was reflected in my Canvas and on NTSC and
I got control of my cursor back.
I found the S/S plug in easy to use,
creative with good control and produces truly great 3-D type.
At $89 it is a great deal. Reflection mapping is very cool.
Sample QT Movies using the Shade/Shape
filter can be found at RE:Vision
Effects' web site.
copyright © Ken Stone
first appeared on www.kenstone.net and is reprinted here
All screen captures and
textual references are the property and trademark of their creators/owners/publishers.