Product Review: Page (1) of 5 - 11/28/01 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

RE:Vision Effects Video Gogh

Paint effect plugin for editing and compositing programs By Kevin Schmitt
Have you ever had a project where you've said to yourself, "Geez, if only this video clip looked more like an oil painting?" Or, maybe it's a watercolor effect you've been longing for. Whatever your painterly desires, and regardless of whether you've even looked at a real paintbrush, RE:Vision Effects claims to have the solution: Video Gogh. So, what does RE:Vision Effects say about it? From their own Web site:

"Providing an easy and intuitive interface, Video Gogh employs the powerful technology used in What Dreams May Come, 1998 Academy Award Winner for Best Visual Effects. How it works: Simply open a movie with Video Gogh, make a few choices and Gogh! Out comes a painted painted [sic] animation. Couldn't be simpler."

Video Gogh at a Glance

Maker: RE:Vision Effects Price: $89.95 Supported Applications: After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Commotion, Premiere 6, Combustion, Digital Fusion, and other After Effects plugin-compatible programs Platforms: Macintosh, Windows URL: Overall Impression: Decent paint effect plugin that suffers from some problematic issues. Key Benefits: Renders video clips like animated paintings. Small number of settings keeps it simple while still allowing for a good deal of experimentation. Disappointments: Slow. Force Rerender feature is a potential rendering nightmare. Questionable everyday usefulness. Recommendation: Buy

Frankly, that's a pretty high bar to set. And while two of RE:Vision Effects' other plugins, ReelSmart Motion Blur and ReelSmart FieldsKit, lived up to their lofty expectations in a previous review, unfortunately, the same can't be said about Video Gogh. The product does have some genuinely nice aspects that do make it worth serious consideration, but ultimately most of the good stuff is canceled out by a couple of real downer features. So, let's dive right in, shall we?

What it does
There are a couple of different categories of plugins. On one side, you have plugins that provide functionality that expands upon or replaces features underdeveloped or non-existent in the host program, functionality that can be used every day in a wide variety of situations. RE:Vision Effects makes some plugins that fall into this category, including the previously mentioned FieldsKit and Motion Blur. On the other side, there are plugins that provide very specialized (and sometimes gimmicky) features that you might use from time to time for a single specific function. Video Gogh falls into this second category, as it is designed solely to turn moving images into animated art pieces. That said, it does manage to do its job pretty well. Figure 1 shows the plugin interface in After Effects. As you can see, there aren't a whole lot of options for getting the job done here, but there are enough controls that you can literally spend hour after hour (if you're so inclined) tweaking away to get a lot of different results. Let's take a quick tour of what you can do with each setting:

Fig. 1: The Video Gogh After Effects plugin interface

Style. Surprisingly, Video Gogh only offers three paint styles: Oily, Watercolor and Chalk, and each creates pretty much the effect you would expect. Figure 2 shows each basic style, with default settings, applied to the same still frame so you can see the difference.

Fig. 2: Side by side comparisons of Video Gogh's three styles: from left to right, Oily, Watercolor, and Chalk.

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