Creative COW SIGN IN :: SPONSORS :: ADVERTISING :: ABOUT US :: CONTACT US :: FAQ
Creative COW's LinkedIn GroupCreative COW's Facebook PageCreative COW on TwitterCreative COW's Google+ PageCreative COW on YouTube
LIBRARY:TutorialsVideo TutorialsReviewsInterviewsEditorialsFeaturesBusinessAuthorsRSS Feed

particle Illusion 3

COW Library : particle Illusion : Alan Edward Bell : particle Illusion 3
Share on Facebook
particle Illusion 3
A CreativeCOW Product Review


Alan Edward Bell reviews particleIllusion 3
Alan Edward Bell Alan Edward Bell

alanbell.com

Los Angeles, California USA

©2004 by Alan Edward Bell and CreativeCOW.net. All rights are reserved.


Article Focus:
Film editor and FX artist, Alan Edward Bell shares some Hollywood secrets in this review of particleIllusion 3 from wondertouch. Alan concludes "...particleIllusion 3.0 is a 'must buy' for anyone needing a robust and powerful 2d particle engine." Read the rest of the review to find out why.



Click here to go to the wondertouch websiteThere are secrets in Hollywood that many visual effects houses don't want you to know. I'm going to let you in on one of them, particleIllusion 3.0. Chances are you've seen the results of this application in many films but didn't even know it. Many companies don't want you to see that a very simple intuitive application, which cost them, less than $400.00 was behind that super expensive shot you just paid for. Heck if an application that anyone can afford, and learn to use is this powerful no wonder they are afraid to let you in on the truth, it might have an effect on their bottom line.

If you have used the particle engine inside of Discreet’s Combustion software then you are already familiar with particleIllusion’s capabilities, however there are several major differences you will want to keep in mind. First the particle engine inside of Combustion is from particleIllusion 2.0 as opposed to the newer more powerful version 3.0. Second particleIllusion 3.0 as a stand-alone application is far more responsive and usable than it is in its current implementation within Combustion. The reason for this is the way Combustion uses memory and caches frames. Your results will very depending on several issues such as your video card, and the resolution of your composites. particleIllusion 3 adds several new features you won't find in Combustion. Some of these features include Forces and a new library manager. Area emitters can now be masked with images, and there are many new color options, such as “get color from layer” which allows the simulation of displacement effects. Another new feature is the Super Emitter. This is an emitter that emits other emitters instead of particles which can be used to create some very realistic and complex effects. Check out the wondertouch website for a full list of new features.

You will find if you are working at 2K and or higher resolutions, using particles inside of Combustion requires patience, particularly when you need to use more than one emitter. This leads me to how I was introduced to particleIllusion 3.0.

I was approached to do the effects on a half hour film “Sabine and the Two Headed Baby”. Many of the shots involved adding a flame to the end of a torch. At the resolution of the show, which was 2K cinemascope, the particle engine inside of my preferred compositing application (Combustion) just wasn't up to the task. So I took a look elsewhere and discovered that particleIllusion 3.0 was a viable alternative. Here is a quick look at the process involved:

The first step I took was to look at the various emitter libraries available of which there are many. After sifting through these I studied real torch flames in an attempt to keep the shots as realistic as possible. After playing around with the standard torch flames provided in the particleIllusion libraries I made a couple of sample torch effect renders against black for the director. In the end the director decided against realism and went for a much bigger flame similar in shape to a flame thrower. Such is the life of a Visual Effects Artist, as realism isn't always the top of everyone’s list; the point is however that particleIllusion is capable of doing the whole spectrum from fantastic to realistic. Figure 1(to the left) shows the particle library holding the various torch emitters I created for the show. In the upper black area you see the real torch flame which was created by shooting a real torch then generating a grey scale bit map of several frames.

Once the director settled on a flame look it was time start animating and tracking the torch. Figure 2 (below) shows the flame style the director liked best. In this image you can see that I am using a force to change the direction of particles at the tip of the flame. This is great for simulating wind or the flicker of movement. The tip of the torch was tracked in Combustion and the tracking data was imported into PI3. Even though particleIllusion 3.0 is a stand alone application you can import tracking data from Combustion or After Effects. Once the flame appeared to move naturally, I rendered the shot with an alpha channel and then used combustion to comp it into my shot.

particleIllusion 3.0 allows for importing background image sequences of virtually any size or resolution. However it only supports 8 bits of color depth. So if you're doing work at film resolution you will need to composite your shots in another program like Combustion or else take a hit on color depth. There is also no support for the cineon file format at this time. I've found working with proxy files as backgrounds to see how my particles look compared to their surroundings a way to get good results when doing 2K work.



The cons: Particle Illusion 3.0 only has support for 8bit color depth, and no support for the cineon file format. If you are working with cineon files you will need to render your particle layers separately and composite them inside of another application, to avoid loosing color depth when you render the final. particleIllusion 3.0 is a 2d application only, this can be a problem or not depending on the particular shot you are dealing with. You may find yourself looking for ways to cheat z-depth perspective.

The Pros: particleIllusion 3.0 is extremely fast and makes it very easy to create your own particles, emitters and libraries. This application is compatible with most OpenGL video cards. This application has one of the fastest email support response times of any product I have ever purchased. Wondertouch is extremely dedicated to helping end users get the most out of their product. You cannot beat the price, ease of use or the results. By the time you read this wondertouch should be announcing a price break for Discreet Combustion owners, to purchase the stand alone Particle Illusion 3 software at nearly half price. This is a great deal. particleIllusion 3 cost $399.00 for the CD version and $389.00 for the download version, but Combustion Owners can purchase the competitive upgrade for $179.00. That's a great deal.

In conclusion: particleIllusion 3.0 is a 'must buy' for anyone needing a robust and powerful 2d particle engine. As a 'stand alone' application, it is very fast and supports most OpenGL video cards. It works extremely well with others. You have complete control over your emitter libraries and it's easy to modify and generate new and interesting emitters. Careful you don't waste to much time starring at the pretty lights -- this application can mesmerize you. I give particleIllusion 3.0 4 cows out of 5.






If you found this page from a direct link, please visit our forums or read other articles at CreativeCOW.net





  particle Illusion Tutorials   •   particle Illusion Forum
Reply   Like  
Share on Facebook


Related Articles / Tutorials:
particle Illusion
Star Trek Transport Effect Part 1

Star Trek Transport Effect Part 1
  Play Video
In this video tutorial, Creative COW leader Alan Lorence of Wondertouch shows how to create the transporter effect from the new Star Trek movie using particleIllusion 3.0. This is part 1 of 2.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
particle Illusion
Star Trek Transport Effect Part 2

Star Trek Transport Effect Part 2
  Play Video
In this video tutorial, Creative COW leader Alan Lorence of Wondertouch shows how to create the transporter effect from the new Star Trek movie using particleIllusion 3.0. This is part 2 of 2.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
particle Illusion
Igniting a Soccer Ball, part twoIgniting a Soccer Ball, part two
  Play Video
In this video tutorial, Creative Cow Leader Jeff Bellune demonstrates how to use the tools available in particleIllusion and After Effects to get a particle emitter source to track an element in a video clip. Part Two concerns the animation of the emitter itself so that it accurately tracks the video element.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
particle Illusion
Igniting a Soccer Ball, part oneIgniting a Soccer Ball, part one
  Play Video
In this video tutorial, Creative Cow Leader Jeff Bellune demonstrates how to use the tools available in particleIllusion and After Effects to get a particle emitter source to track an element in a video clip. Part One details how to animate the Layer Offset in particleIllusion to eliminate motion in the clip that is caused by movement of the camera that filmed the scene.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
particle Illusion
particleIllusion Logo Hold Technique

particleIllusion Logo Hold Technique
  Play Video
In this video tutorial, Creative Cow Leader Aharon Rabinowitz answers the common question: How do I make my logo stay up longer in particleIllusion? If youve ever had trouble making youre logo stay on screen when using a pIllusion emitter preset, this will show you how to do that in just a few simple steps.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
particle Illusion
Professional Emitter Libraries: Pyro and HeartsProfessional Emitter Libraries: Pyro and Hearts

In this article, CreativeCOW's Bill O'Neil takes a look at the new wondertouch Professional Emitter Libraries. In this set are two Pyro libraries and one Heart set which is a collection of beautiful heart themed designs and backgrounds.

Review
particle Illusion
wondertouch particleIllusion Professional Emitter Libraries

wondertouch particleIllusion Professional Emitter Libraries

In this article, CreativeCOW's Bill O'Neil takes a look at the new wondertouch Professional Emitter Libraries. Bill says he's never been a fan of of 'presets' because he feels like he's stealing someone else's work, but in this case, he finds that ''...Tom's work is inspiring. Dive into the settings of his emitters and learn. It is obvious that he has spent a lot of time in creating these deep, complex images. If nothing else, this collection can replace a few stock background libraries you might have. They are that good.''

Review
particle Illusion
Relighting an Actor

Relighting an Actor
  Play Video
Have you ever created an effect in which your actor is throwing a fireball? Pretty cool effect, right? But somethings wrong. It doesnt quite look real. In this video tutorial, Creative Cow Leader Elvis Deane demonstrates relighting an actor thats throwing a fireball which will add realism to the effect.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
particle Illusion
Orbing and Beaming Effects

Orbing and Beaming Effects
  Play Video
In this video tutorial, Creative Cow Leader Elvis Deane demonstrates creating that orbing or beaming effect that so many people ask about.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
particle Illusion
wondertouch Professional Emitter Libraries for ParticleIllusion 3.0

wondertouch Professional Emitter Libraries for ParticleIllusion 3.0

Creative Cow leader Aharon Rabinowitz reviews wondertouch Professional Emitter Libraries for ParticleIllusion 3.0 and concludes that while not every emitter is equally useful, it's a great product to supplement the emitters you're already using, and an excellent value overall.

Review
MORE


FORUMSTUTORIALSFEATURESVIDEOSPODCASTSEVENTSSERVICESNEWSLETTERNEWSBLOGS

Creative COW LinkedIn Group Creative COW Facebook Page Creative COW on Twitter
© 2014 CreativeCOW.net All rights are reserved. - Privacy Policy

[Top]