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DigiEffects Damage

Three presets quickly create wonderful destruction By Scott Novasic
I used to get great results from the old Digieffects plugin included with Cinelook, called Film Damage.  I loved using it on text and in a variety of non-traditional ways. 'Only downside was it was a bit slow to render.  So, naturally I wanted  to see what the new Digieffects plug in suite, Damage,  brought to the table. My main workstation is the new 8 core 3.2 ghz  intel Mac with  OS 10.5.2 & upgraded video card. I am using AE CS3 for my tests, but Damage will work in an  extensive range of other host applications as well.

     The very first thing I noticed when playing around with these 4 plug ins was SPEED!  I emailed a friend of mine  immediately and wrote, "WOW!  All of these rendered around, or faster than realtime!!  Kudos to the new owners, these  things are awesome." The speed is phenomenal, but are the plug ins themselves?

     The first plug in of the group is Artifact.  Anyone that has digital cable or a sattelite dish has seen on occasion, usually  during bad weather, the ?blocking up` of the image.  Either blocks missing, relocated, or scrambled.  Artifact focuses on  recreating that.  You are given 6 operation types. Normal, Burst Mode, JPG Noise, Blackout, Recolor and Shifter.  All of  these can be keyframed and adjusted by amount, frequency, average duration and freezing.  I did a simple composite of  the word ARTIFACT!  with some gear footage.  I used Artifact on both layers and keyframed the artifact amount to get this  look.  The d1 10 second animation took a whole 7 to 8 seconds to complete!

     Next up is Blockade.  Its main role is to simulate low fidelity camera feeds like cell phones and PDA`s.  Control is given  over the Freeze,Stutter,Timing,Sizing,Striping,Coloring and Alpha handling. Again, it was easy to play with the settings  to achieve a variety of blocky discolored imagery.

   Individual taste will guide  your settings, damage does a great job of starting you out in each of it's four plug ins.

     Interference is the third plug in of the group. It gives the look of interlaced video with an odd even separation.  It offers  numerous settings to effect individually either the odd or even lines of the image.

You can be as subtle or as extreme as you want with this plug in.  All kinds of old school video devices can be replicated  using interference.  I do wish this plug had a stutter and or freeze option like Blockade, I realize interference does not  necessarily stutter or freeze, but as an artist, I like to create my own 'reality' once in a while.   

     The fourth Damage plug in is Skew.  My favorite of the group.  Skew offers a large number of ways to "Damage" your footage beautifully.  Its difficult to explain with words how trashy you can make an image.  Whats nice is you can achieve a large variety of looks within this single plug in. 

Attempting to do anything Skew does manually would be nearly impossible.  

     Damage is  a must-have for any animator or editor!  These are not redundant effects overlapping things done in other packages I own, they are unique and versatile tools for manipulating and yes, damaging imagery unlike any other tool I have come across.  Add to that, that these are, for the most part, FASTER than realtime and Im in love. For  $99 its a steal.  Digieffects, under new ownership, has set the bar high.  Im excited to see what else they deliver us in the future.

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Scott Novasic owns SuperNova Animation & Visual Effects in Los Angeles (Demo Reel - He has 16 years of national award winning experience in 3d, motion graphics & visual effects. He began in post production owning Independent Effects in Milwaukee, Wi. He then held Senior Animator and Manager positions at Fox & CBS in Chicago & Los Angeles. He recently finished classes at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood.
Related Keywords:product review, software, adobe after effects, plugins, digieffects, damage, visual effects distortion

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