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Digital Anarchy's Plasma FX

A set of plug-ins that have a little something for everyone By Kevin McAuliffe
I have been a fan of Digital Anarchy's plug-ins from way back, and when I heard that they were releasing a set of plug-ins called Plasma FX, I cringed a bit, thinking back to the days of Avid's Plasma filters.  Thankfully, Digital Anarchy has put together a set of plug-ins that have a little something for everyone.
Much like all plug-ins for After Effects, Digital Anarchy's install is smooth and simple, and you should be up and running with these filters in minutes. One thing to keep in mind is that you will REQUIRE an active Internet connection to serialize the plug-ins. If you don't have one, you will need to contact Digital Anarchy directly to serialize them.   Internet serialization is starting to become a frustrating trend, as most major Post houses don't have their edit suites on the Internet for security purposes, but I guess it's the only way to prevent piracy.  
Installation: 8 (out of 10)

What you get
With Digital Anarchy's Plasma FX, you get a pretty good cross section of effects that everyone can find a use for, and there are some effects that might surprise you. There are some standard fare effects such as Old Film, Defocus, Edge Rays and Bleach Bypass and some unique ones like Anarchist Edge, Ink on Glass and X-Ray. Here's a breakdown of all the filters you get:

  • Active Solarize
  • Anarchist Edge
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Cartoon FX
  • Colorized Bloom
  • Defocus
  • Duo Toner
  • Edge Enhance
  • Edge Rays
  • Explode
  • Expose
  • Film: Bleach Bypass
  • Film: Technicolor 2 Pass Filter
  • Film: Technicolor 3 Pass Filter
  • Gradient Funhouse
  • Impasto Filter
  • Ink on Glass
  • Light Burst
  • Old Film
  • Poster Art
  • Quicksilver
  • Swelter
  • Temp Blend
  • Temperature
  • Topology
  • X-Ray

At $129 (U.S), that works out to about $5 per effect, which for my money is reasonable.
What You Get: 8 (out of 10)
Value for the money
The first thing I normally do to judge a plug-in pack is to take an effect that I would find in another package(s), and see how it compares. For the purposes of looking at Plasma FX, Old Film was a good one to pick, as just about every effects package these days has one. I have to say that I was extremely impressed with Digital Anarchy's Old Film. A good, simple effect that looks great on it's presets, and even has a vignette effect built in. One problem I find with this type of plug-in in other packages is that they cram boatloads of parameters that end up becoming confusing and a pain to figure out without a manual. Digital Anarchy's Old Film has 10 straight-forward parameters, and the render times are quick, which is an added bonus.  

Digital Anarchy picked a good selection of effects that cover a wide range of applications. You will find yourself using Cartoon FX, Defocus, Duo Toner, Film: Bleach Bypass, Light Burst and Old Film on a regular basis. I found myself really liking the Anarchist Edge and X-Ray Filters as well, as they gave very unique looks that Wedding Videographers will love. One important thing to keep in mind is that the "Explode" effect is actually a generator, and is located under the generator dropdown in the preview window. 


Value For Your Dollar : 8 (out of 10)
Final Total : 8 (out of 10)
Purchase Recommendation : Buy
Final Thoughts 
Overall, I was impressed with Digital Anarchy's Plasma FX. I liked the fact that their plug-ins were good, easy to use, they rendered quickly and were a very reasonable price. These days, people are looking for a good value for their dollar, and other effects companies should look at Digital Anarchy and use them as an example that you can get good plug-ins for a reasonable price.  

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Kevin P McAuliffe is currently a Senior Video Editor working in HD post production in Toronto, Canada. He has been in the television industry for 12 years, and spends his days onlining on a Final Cut Pro HD. Kevin's high definition onlining credit list includes concerts for Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Snow Patrol, Sum41, Paul Anka, Il Divo and Pussycat Dolls, to name a few. Also, Kevin is an instructor of Advanced Final Cut Studio 2 at the Toronto Film College. If you have any questions or comments, you can drop him a line at

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