REVIEW APRIL 18 , 2001
Future Fantastic Genesis V2 Pro
Special lighting effects for Adobe Photoshop
I first encountered Genesis V2 Pro just a few months ago when I was compiling a guide to commercial Photoshop filters. I had left it off the list because I had never heard of it. So a reader wrote in and said, "Man, you have to check this out," or something like that. So I did. True story.
What I found was an incredibly powerful plugin for Adobe Photoshop whose sole purpose is to generate lighting effects and related special effects, such as glowing fogs and the like. Probably familiar to those of you who come from the 3D side of things (3D Studio Max or NewTek LightWave), Genesis V2 Pro is, nevertheless, relatively new in its form as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop and not even a year old as a Photoshop plugin for the Macintosh. (It was introduced for the Mac back in May 2000.)
When you think of lighting in Photoshop, you no doubt bring an image into your head of cheesy lens flares or glows that can easily be created using Photoshop's built-in tools. This is not at all what Genesis V2 Pro is about.
What's it about
Above you see four different types of lighting effects generated from some of the presets you can download from Future Fantastic's site. The presets are in PC format, but they'll work in the Mac version as well. (But see below under the "Performance" heading for stability issues.)
But the plugin doesn't stop there. Obviously its use would be fairly limited if it just created objects like those seen above. It can also be used to insert lighting into the image based on color samples from the image. In other words, you can assign a color to which the lighting effect will be applied, and then allow it to feather out from there. You can see in the interface shot below how the active area appears in its original color, while the rest of the image is masked off.
It also gives you an unusual amount of depth in the parameters you can assign to each individual light object. You can select a preset from the effects window (above) and then edit it (below), or you can create an entirely new light from scratch.
The interface above is the edit window, where you assign parameters for your lights. It looks a bit ... technical at first glance, but it's actually quite simple. You'll be able to figure things out pretty quickly just by playing around with parameters and adding new effects.
I believe this program was written in Think C/C+. I say this because the opening tutorial in Think C is a little exercise in which you learn to make a program that prints the words "Hello World" on your screen. This also happens to be the message you get in Genesis V2 Pro when it encounters an error. That's not good.
Other problems include buttons failing to behave as they should, such as the "Cancel" button doing nothing, and general bugginess, such as alerts that don't go away and screens that fail to redraw.
The bottom line
Genesis V2 Pro is available for £99 (about $150, depending on the exchange rate). For more information about Genesis V2 Pro or to download a fully functional demo, visit http://www.futurefantastic.com.
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