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Media 100 Final Effects Complete for Mac OS X

Filter effects package for Adobe After Effects By Dave Nagel
Final Effects Complete is a set of more than 100 special effects, from simple noise generation to particle-based molten goo effects--11 categories in all, including color correction tools, blurs, particle generators and image manipulation filters. It's an impressive, far-reaching collection of filters for creating effects and enhancing motion graphics. But sheer bulk isn't all Final Effects for Mac OS X has going for it. Though, as most of you are aware, this is something of a resuscitation of an elderly filter collection, it is, nevertheless, quite current in terms of quality and workflow. This is a solid, professional-level collection of filters that should definitely be on the "buy" list of any motion graphics artist.

And the kicker that sets this package apart is its performance. Unlike so many filters on the market now, the ones in this collection won't clog your production to a sputtering stall. On default settings, these filters--the vast majority of them, anyway--take mere fractions of a second to render at full quality. And even when you crank up more processor-intensive filters, like some of the more complex particle effects, we're still talking about one to three seconds per frame, where other filters might take literally minutes.

Particle effects
In any filter set, the most inspiring category of plugins is always the particles, and it's always the first I look at to give me a feel for how the rest of the plugins are going to work. Why? Well, particle effects are the most processor-intensive, in most cases, and they're also the most complex filters in a set. If these plugins work well, and if they're straightforward to use, it bodes well for the rest. And in this case, they do work well indeed.

The most stunning of the particle effects plugins is called Mr. Mercury. It's a bit difficult to describe, but, in essence, it generates ellipsoids that have the ability to influence the geometry of their neighbors at a distance. The result is a goo-like effect, for producing water spouts, molten lava effects and the like. Here's an example.

But this plugin doesn't have to be limited to liquid effects. It can also, for example, be applied to a text layer or an imported image with an alpha channel to produce some funky results. The movie below is a graphic for a hypothetical product called "Splatto!" In this, the Mr. Mercury filter explodes goop from the black background and then is applied to a text layer to create something of an unfurling effect. (This example is encoded in MPEG-4, so QuickTime 6 is required to view it.)

Click the Play button to watch.

You can, of course, use your imagination to come up with many more possibilities for this plugin. Note that Mr. Mercury inherits its look from the layer to which it's applied, so it needn't necessarily appear as it does in the examples above. The individual elements of this particle system reveal the underlying layer through a glass-like displacement effect.

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