Product Review: Page (1) of 3 - 03/23/08 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

LME Collections Super Pack

By Kevin McAuliffe

Being an After Effects user for a long time now, I know that now more than ever, time is money. The faster (and better) I can get my work done, the faster I get paid and the faster I can get new clients into my edit suite. When I was first approached to look at Little Men Entertainment's (LME) Super Pack of After Effects effects, I was a little taken aback when I first looked at their site. When I say that they offer effects, I don't mean that they make plug-ins, because they don't.

LME takes the thinking and creating of "looks" out of your hands by providing up to 121 different compositions per package that range from transitions to lighting effects to text layouts to video walls. They even have packages that take popular plug-ins from Trapcode (Lux, 3D Stroke, Particular, Echospace, Starglow) and give you various "looks" to help give your project a little more "pizazz." I decided to take a look at the "Super Pack" to really get a sense of what LME was trying to accomplish, so let's see if these packages are worth your hard earned money.

Since these packages are not plug-ins, the first thing I would recommend when/if you decide to purchase any of these packages is that once downloaded, before you do anything else, burn them onto a CD/DVD.

Remember, you are working with After Effects projects (in most cases), and once you alter them, you can't go back. I'm going to look at one collection right now, "Amazing Video/Photo Walls & Displays," but this works the same for pretty much all of them. Once you have downloaded your new "looks," unzip the archive, and double click on the folder. You should now see a folder that looks like the image below.

The "AMAZING_PHOTO_DISPLAYS.aep" is pretty self explanatory. This is your project with your 101 compositions inside it. Next, you have your tutorial PDF file that takes you through the ins and outs of working with these prebuilt compositions. They explain the process of reducing your 101 composition project down to one composition that you will be working with, and they also talk about how to replace the stock (i.e. - footage that you do NOT have the rights to use) footage with your own footage. I would highly recommend that the newcomers to After Effects read the PDF file before beginning, because it covers these basic, but very important steps you need to follow so your compositions look the way they should. Next in the folder, you will find an "Art" folder, which contains all the stock footage place holders that you will be eventually replacing with your own footage. Next, we have an Adobe Bridge Gallery that you should be able to open in Adobe's Bridge and get a preview of all the different effects. The funny thing with this preview folder is that I couldn't actually get any of the GIF animations to play back in Bridge. When you click on the GIF file, Bridge just shows you a still image of the first frame of the animation, instead of giving you the play button that it should.

What it should do

What LME should do is create an HTML file (since most of the work is already done with all the comps rendered out as animated GIFs) that you can quickly drag through to see all of the comps at the same time. That would be more helpful than going through everything one file at a time. Finally, included in the folder, is a License file that basically just reiterates that you CANNOT use the provided stock shots in your compositions, as you do not have the rights to do so, and last, but not least, there is a "Read_Me+Galleries" folder that is basically just a link to LME's webpage so you can view the galleries online. For anyone who has used After Effects (or even Motion for that matter) before, this should be a very easy task, and the download will take you longer than it will take to get up and running.

What you get
Like I stated earlier, I am looking at the "Super Pack" that is actually 12 packages bundled into one. What you get in this package are the following:

  • 100 Amazing Text Display Configurations
  • 100 Amazing Video/Photo Walls & Displays
  • 102 After Effects Light Configurations
  • 121 After Effects Transition Presets
  • 100 Trapcode Particular Presets & Matching Comps Particular Vol. 2 Light Show
  • 100 Templates
  • 100 Trapcode 3D Stroke Presets & Matching Comps
  • 100 Trapcode Starglow Presets & Matching Comps
  • 100 Trapcode Echospace Templates
  • 102 Trapcode LUX Light Configurations
  • 102 Transition Presets for Apple's Motion Grunge Graphics/407 Elements

Even though I'm looking at the "Super Pack," these packages can be purchased ala carte as well. To break this down and make it a bit easier to understand, what you are looking at is:

  • 422 After Effects Compositions (that require no other plug-ins)
  • 602 After Effects Compositions that require Trapcode plug-ins (at an additional cost)
  • 102 Apple Motion Transitions
  • 407+ GIF & JPEG files that can be used as elements in any compositing program (AE, Shake, Motion, Photoshop)

All in all, I found it a bit strange as this almost seems to be an "everything or nothing" package. What I would like to see is an "After Effects" bundle that only includes the compositions that can be used in AE with no other additional plug-ins required, a "Trapcode" bundle for, obviously, the compositions that have Trapcode plug-ins involved in them, and I would even like to see a Motion pack, now that all of us Motion users have access to 2D and 3D multiplane projects with the capability to do "real" 3D particle systems. That would be really cool. Overall you get 1126 compositions between After Effects and Motion and an additional 407 elements to add spice to your project.

What I liked and didn't like
Amazing Text Display Configurations - $139 US


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Related Keywords:compositing, effects plugins, motion graphics, plugins


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