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Cycore Effects HD 1.0

Cycore, a Swedish software developer has produced some well-known plug-in sets for the After Effects. The Cycore Effects brought a new leash of life to Final Effects Complete (FEC), which had almost turned legendary. The release of Adobe After Effects 6.5, brought forth an exciting new addition of bundled Cycore Effects. Cycore Effects HD 1.0 costs 349 dollars. HD here refers to the high bit-depth at which the plug-ins can operate.

The grand new feature of Cycore Effects HD 1.0 is the 16-bit support. Though SD broadcast may not need 16-bit, working with film-originated material needs 16-bit, as 8-bit is not enough. Effects such as heavy distortion effect and displacement mapping render smoother results while processing in the 16-bit. It is also a must if you want to stack the color correction effects one above the other. HDCAM and DVCProHD are 8-bit, while HDCAM SR which is 10-bit will be a bit problematic for 16-bit.

Another feature of Cycore Effects HD 1.0 is support for non-square pixels. More than sixty plug-ins are available in the set. A large number of unique tools contained in the plug-in set allow tuning for naturalism, or a cartoonesque or stylized result. Many of these effects are important for motiongraphics, but can be used in quite realistic effects too.

The classic Mr.Mercury and Blobbilize are important for animation of liquid effects. There are numerous bending, warping and distortion tools. The CC Sphere which wraps the image around a sphere is a valuable tool to use, without requiring a 3D application that is full-blown. Particle systems help in creating varying looks as well as spray types. A snow effect is also available with Cycore Effects HD 1.0.

Three totally new effects are offered in Cycore Effects HD 1.0 namely, CC Environment, CC Plastic and CC WarpoMatic. CC Environment loads spherical panoramic images to project them as environment maps in your compositions. Spherical environment maps are usually entire panoramic images. CC Environment maps a spherical image with a comp camera to give an all-around seamless panoramic background. Environment considers field of view through comp camera and also the orientation. It is quite like QuicktimeVR, now fully keyframeable in After Effects.

A spherical map which is usually shot from the tripod doesn’t allow movement in the position of comp camera, as it could give strange perspective shift of objects near the camera. In accordance to the image used, it could be a seamless background map, controlled by the camera.

CC Plastic is like the Alien Skin’s Plastic Wrap in Photoshop. It causes a shaded plastic cover seen on top of video. It is similar to bump-map features found in most of the 3D applications, wherein the channel value or luminance is translated to relief, giving a shaded map, which can be adjusted using parameters such as ambient light, softness, speculars, etc.

CC WarpoMatic is the transition which warps a layer depending on the selected property such as contrast or brightness differences between two layers, during a dissolve between them. The results could be funky or very fluid depending on the warp amount. The settings and material could sometimes look like the seventies, and it could be used for realistic special effects, for blending two fluid moving layers.

Cycore Effects HD 1.0 has worked on two particle plugins of the set namely, CC Particle Systems II and CC Particle World. Particle World has new parameters which allow tweaking and customizing the particle flow. More particles types are available, with more options for particle interaction with the environment. Particles can have a screen and add transfer mode while overlapping. Particle World is simple to use with quick results, and it is not a competitor for Trapcode Particular, as far as the features are concerned.

CC Particle Systems II is slightly less advanced. It does not function with comp camera, and cannot use custom textures. Motion blur is supported by both particle systems for any layer.

Users of After Effects 5.5 or 6.0 could upgrade to version 6.5 to use Cycore Effects HD 1.0. Upgrade from 6 to 6.5 costs 99 dollars, and is worth it. For Combustion users, downloading the Cycore Effects HD 1.0 demo is recommended. Those who already use After Effects 6.5 can go for Cycore Effects HD 1.0 to work in 16-bit for film work.

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