NAB 2012: GenArts
Specialized video effects software company GenArts Inc. showcased its Sapphire v6 at NAB 2012. According to Chief Marketing Officer, Meredith Hanrahan, new features include an "infinitely flexible" customizable lens flare editor and an intuitive visual preset browser, both designed to enable VFX artists to both customize their work and work efficiently under deadline. Also new are 16 organic effects and transitions and the ability to browse hundreds of looks to take advantage of under-used effects. The new LensFlare editor offers 50 new flare presets and enables the user to get independent control of specific flare elements.
"We designed it to be fast and customizable so artists can create a precise look and quickly render to produce the highest quality images every time," said Chief Scientist/Co-Founder Gary Oberbrunner.
At the NAB 2012 booth, Oberbrunner and Sapphire Product Manager Alan Lorence demonstrated version 6, as well as guest artists: Chris Wirth of Universal Images and Jeroen Schulte of Industrial Light & Magic showed how they use a range of GenArts software to create visual effects, which have become increasingly ubiquitous in feature films and TV.
Schulte showed work from Rango, Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon and trailers from upcoming Battleship and Avengers. Wirth screened a spot he recently created for Bosch, Light 'Em Up. Editor/Avid Certified Instructor Mark Chesak also showed an ESPN project highlighting the Ironman Lake Placid competition.
Sapphire v6 offers more than 240 photorealistic, stylistic effects and transitions that VFX artists can use in a myriad ways. Sapphire is available for Autodesk, Avid, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Nuke, Sony Vegas Pro and other platforms. New licenses start at $1,699, upgrades start at $499 and rentals at $170.
In addition to demonstrating Sapphire v6, GenArts also highlighted Monsters GT v7, which was introduced in February and shown at NAB for the first time this year. New features include Sky, StarField and Water effects, and the ability to design realistic flickering light effects with Candle. GenArts also improved sprite quality, sub-pixel positioning and motion-blurred Bubbles, Particles, Rain, Snow, Smoke and other effects. The company also created a more efficient way to work with alpha channels and composites. Monsters GT v7 offers 50 effects and are available in 11 mini-packs for $99 and a Natural Phenomena theme pack for $299. The full pack is priced at $499.
Gorgeous motion-blurred Dissolve Rays. Top left, flash bulbs. Middle, glow effect. Right, Thermo effect. Click images for larger view.
GenArts also announced the imminent release of Sapphire Edge v2, which was previewed both at the booth and at the Super Meet. "This builds on the first version," said Oberbrunner. "We've almost doubled the number of effects." Sapphire Edge v2 will offer 18 transitions and 13 filters. GenArts also beefed up the preset browser, enabling artists to access individual effects collections from inside the editing platform. Artists can save presets, and sort them by user data. FX Central is currently being revamped, but in the new version, users will be able to shortlist specific looks, which will then automatically appear on their "favorites" list. Artists can also more easily retrieve their own data usage. "We have made search more flexible," says Oberbrunner. "If you used a preset last week that you deleted and forgot its name, you can pull up everything you've applied in the last seven days."
Since GenArts was established in 1996, the company has become a popular tool in high-end visual effects facilities such as Framestore and The Mill as well as commonly used by broadcasters such as ABC, BBC and ESPN. The constant improvements of the toolsets make it both richer and more user friendly. That falls right in line with GenArts' goal to meet the needs of more markets and more users. Given the new tools and enhancements shown at NAB 2012, there's every reason to believe that GenArts' user base will continue to grow.
Sapphire v6 offers more than 240 photorealistic, stylistic effects and transitions