SEPTEMBER 26, 2001
And it does it very well. The plugin's power lies in its ability to compare frames of a sequence and determine what has changed over time, and then applies a very convincing blur to the image. So what does this mean in reality? I can now render out objects in 3D once against a neutral background with no motion blur, composite the rendered layers against a background and add motion blur as the last step. This frees up every layer in the composite to be changed as often as you like with no re-rendering of any source images. Here's an example.
This is a comparison between a frame from the original comp (top), the same frame from the new comp without the Motion Blur plugin (middle) and the same frame from the new comp once Motion Blur was activated (bottom).
But there are a few bonus uses as well. In addition to adding motion blur, it can also remove motion blur. The effects are subtle, but it can compensate for footage that has a little too much blur on moving objects. Another feature is that you can use the motion from one layer to blur another layer, resulting in some cool transitions and effects. The last bonus is that you can use Motion Blur in place of After Effects' Frame Blending option to interpolate frames of a time stretched clip, often with superior results. There are some great video examples of these other features at http://www.revisionfx.com; I recommend checking them out.
ReelSmart Motion Blur: Limitations
How ReelSmart FieldsKit and Motion Blur work together
So I tried the compositing the shot again, this time using the FieldsKit and MotionBlur plugins. I brought in the live action peanut shot and interpreted it using FieldsKit's motion masking options, fiddling with the interpolation settings until I had a cleaner plate than before. So far, so good. Then I rendered the CGI peanut and shadow separately without motion blur turned on, which saved quite a bit of rendering time. Getting better. Next, I time compressed the live footage to be one second shorter than the original source, but instead of using After Effects' frame blending, I opted for the Motion Blur plugin to smooth the frames. The results were subtle, but slightly better than frame blending. I then composited the CGI peanut and shadow over the live footage, then nested that comp in another comp, at which point I added the Motion Blur plugin to the entire comp. The result: the finished clip looked almost identical to the original, with the background being a lot cleaner and a with a little smoother motion. The main difference is that I could change any of the elements without having to re-render the CGI peanut elements. Once I crunched a few numbers, I found that I could have saved between 8 and 10 hours putting this particular comp together had I used the ReelSmart plugins originally. Nothing to sneeze at!
The bottom line
The two products are available for Macintosh and Windows for $89.95 to $134.95. FieldsKit works with After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Commotion, Premiere 6, Combustion and other After Effects plug-in compatible programs. Motion Blur works with After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Commotion, Premiere 6, Combustion, and other After Effects plug-in compatible programs; Avid, Shake and Discreet Spark compatible programs. For more information, visit http://www.revisionfx.com.
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Kevin Schmitt has been a working with just about every aspect of digital design since before it was called digital design. An award-winning multimedia producer, artist, and animator, he is currently the Digital Design Director for StudioAPCO, a creative shop housed at a communications firm in Washington, D.C. By all means, drop him a line at [email protected].