Boris Fire, one of the effects in the Boris Continuum package. Click image for examples or see the individual review of Fire here.

at a Glance

Publisher: Boris FX
Price: $395 (special rates for existing customers also available)

Overall Impression: A thorough package that delivers quality beyond its price.

Key Benefits: Versatile effects with nice presets; plenty of controls; extremely solid output; sophisticated 3D and particle capabilities.

Disappointments: Well, there aren't any really big ones. I wanted to blow stuff up with the particle system, but that's not too big a deal.

Recommendation: Buy

Boris Continuum

23 plugins for Adobe After Effects

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

You might have noticed from past reviews that we here at Creative Mac kinda like what Boris FX is doing these days. Whether it be titling, compositing tools or just general effects, the software coming out of this company's headquarters seems way ahead of what we're seeing in other software development quarters. The latest effort in this company's string of coups is Boris Continuum, a set of 23 effects plugins for Adobe After Effects and AE-compatible systems.

Earlier this year, Boris released one plugin from Continuum—Boris Fire—for the public to play with free of charge. I reviewed that particular plugin and said it's like space aliens landed at the Boris FX offices and handed them the secret to some mysterious technology that's probably too dangerous for mankind to play with. I also said it boded well for the full retail release of Continuum.

Well, the retail release is here now. Does it live up to my expectations following my experience with Fire? Short answer: yep. Long answer: read on.

Where nature ends, Boris steps in
Now, I've already covered the Fire plugin pretty extensively, so I'll move on to some of the other natural effects in the collection. (I'll get to particles, blending and 3D text a bit later.)

I like the way Boris deals with natural phenomena. The Fire plugin mentioned above is just incredibly versatile and professional. But so are some of the other effects Continuum brings to AE—Comet, Rain, Snow, Stars and Clouds.

Now, with something like Comet, you think, "How many times am I going to use a comet in my movie? And, if I do, I surely don't want to use a preset from a plugin." Well, true. But don't let the name fool you. The Comet's parameters are so versatile that you can easily set the thing to produce any kind of effect that requires trailing particles moving side to side and back and forth. I'd like to show you a picture of the controls right here, but, like most of the tools in this set, they won't fit on one screen, let alone within this story, so you'll need to click here to view the effects pane.

Rain and Snow, on the other hand, do pretty much one thing: simulate rain and snow. But they, too, offer plenty of controls for density, depth, speed, direction, size, opacity, etc. Both can interact with floors and alpha information, so snow can pile up on a car and in the street simultaneously, and rain can bounce off an awning and a sidewalk, for example.

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