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The Foundry's Tinderbox 4

By Kevin McAuliffe

The Foundry is back with the fourth installment of their popular Tinderbox effects package. I've been pretty impressed with what they have had to offer to date, so let's see if this package stay's on par.

I am a big fan of 'try before you buy', and that is especially true when it comes to After Effects plug-ins, so I was glad to see that The Foundry offers a 14-day free trail (no watermark) for all of us users, so that we can get an idea of what their plug-ins will do. You will need to acquire a license from them, but overall, the installation process should take you no longer than about five to ten minutes. Smooth and simple.

Installation: 10 (out of 10)

Plug-in Selection
The Foundry has put 20 plug-ins into this package that range from color effects to particle generators to effect specific plug-ins. Here is the rundown of effects you'll get:

  • Bars Generator
  • Bleach Bypass
  • Cartoon
  • Channels
  • Colorist
  • Convolve
  • Fire
  • Flow
  • Infinate Zoom
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Light Wrap
  • Line Drawing
  • Median
  • Muzzle Flash
  • Quantise
  • Rain
  • Security   
  • Snow
  • Soft Glow
  • Water

The plug-ins cover a wide spectrum of effects, and to be perfectly honest, I was hoping that The Foundry would start tailoring their plug-in packages to different types of effects, for example, Tinderbox 1 - Color Correction, Tinderbox 2 - Particles, etc, similar to the way Genarts does their "Boxes." 

Bleach Bypass Before

Bleach Bypass After

A few plug-ins jumped out at me right away. Soft Glow, Bleach Bypass, Cartoon and Water are excellent effects. Other good effects include Security, which simulates a security camera, Muzzle Flash, which simulates the flash a gun makes when it is fired, and Light Wrap, which allows you to composite a background plate with a bright light source, under a foreground element (shot on green screen, or rotoscoped), and simulate the light "wrapping" around your foreground element. Again, very specific effects with very specific applications. The particle effects are not bad either. They consist of Snow (which also allows you to have the snow "pile up" on an object), Rain and Fire. All are pretty good, but you may have come across them already in other plug-in packs like Boris Continuum Complete.

Soft Glow Before

Soft Glow After

Plug-in Selection: 7 (out of 10)

Ease of Use
Overall, I found all the plug-ins to be relatively easy to use. Soft Glow and Bleach Bypass are great on their preset, they render quickly and can be used over and over as a "go to" effect. Cartoon and Water are specialized effects that would have very specific applications, they deliver great results, but be prepared to wait, as the render times can be a bit long.

Cartoon Before

Cartoon After

Ease of Use: 8 (out of 10)

To be perfectly honest, I really couldn't find one downside to this package. Don't get me wrong, I know that shelling out $500 U.S. for a plug-in package that has very diverse plug-ins doesn't always make sense, so what The Foundry has done, is allow you to purchase a day/week/month license for as little as $4.17 U.S. What I mean by that, is you can download the demo of the plug-in pack, use it with your After Effects Composition to choose and use the effects you like, get your comp exactly as you want, then purchase a day "render" license, so you can pay as you need it, and save yourself (and your client) money.

Downsides: 10 (out of 10)

Total: 8.5

Purchase Recommendation :  Buy (As you need it!)


  • Good "go to" effects (Bleach Bypass, Soft Glow)
  • "Pay as you render" is a great way to do business
  • The best effects in the package render quickly


  • Diverse plug-ins may be too diverse

Overall, The Foundry has released a pretty good plug-in package. The fact that the plug-ins are very diverse is outweighed by the fact that you don't need to purchase the pack all at once. Head over to The Foundry's website at to download the demo for Tinderbox 4.

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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

Related Keywords:plugin, video editing, videography, NLE


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