Everybody likes someone who makes them look good and DVShade has been doing that for years. The innovative and award winning Easy Looks gives every project the chance of looking beautifully graded with minimal effort making even dull and uninteresting subjects intriguing.
Now for a bit of fun.
DVShades latest offering does the same in a whole different way. LiveToon takes a dive into the comic book with the capability to turn your live action footage into convincing cartoons by adding a comprehensive toolbox of parameters to the traditional posterization effect, with stunning results. LiveToon, with the same ease that 'Looks' provided instant cinematic colour grading, transforms footage into our favorite drawn art form, with surprisingly effective results.
Below: Split shot showing LiveToon in action. Left is the clean image and Right is LiveToon's 'Deep Blacks'
All source footage used with the kind permission of Ginger Productions. ©Ginger Production 2010
By dropping the LiveToon filter on to your clip in Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, Motion or After Effects you are presented with great looking presets to inspire you and use out-of-the-box. But there is also a comprehensive list of customizable parameters to tune and tinker with the image to better suit your material or create bespoke styles. You can be 'tooning' you films in no time. (Sorry couldn't resist the cheap pun)
Below: One of the effective presets 'Comic Book' is a great one to get you started, note the print dot like texture
Below: Another preset and a favorite of mine 'Graphic Novel', for a more gritty look.
The pleasing number of presets to get you started, cover the bases pretty well. 'Comic Book' gives a convincing well saturated impression of a quality illustrated story magazine, showing printing dots, soft broken edges, deep blacks and rich tones. 'Graphic Novel' presents the footage in the low rent colour pallet you would expect to see in hefty pulp fiction drawn classics, using cheap ink and paper, flat colour fills, heavy handed black block shading and a reduced hue range. The parameters you can manipulate to get what you want from the filter include the essentials for adding and removing colour and detail, 'Saturation' and 'Color Detail' handle these. 'Posterization' is the engine that makes the footage look 'cartoon', while 'Edge Lines' and 'Black Restore' fine-tune the look. But it's the inclusion of the 'Screen' parameter that gives you the choice of halftone 'Dot', 'Line', 'Hatched' or 'Circular' to add the characteristic printed look.
Below: LiveToon's parameters in Final Cut Pro
If you don't want to make the next 'A Scanner Darkly', don't write LiveToon off yet. There is creative potential to add panache to any number of projects needing that 'something a bit different' from full frame live action to composite shots and sequences, including programme title, music videos, commercials and the ever effect hungry corporate videos. Not to mention wedding films and those home movies with the kids, who love it.
Below: Mystery Toon, gives a familiar look.
Drawing things together.
For those who will bemoan that they can do this using a combination of other effects, time and talent, good on ya, that's not really the point of buying a plug-in like this. You could rack and stack a pile of other filters to achieve similar looks, but here DVShade has done the hard work for you. LiveToon is about making great looking and convincing animation inspired effects quickly, it does a great job of that.
As a quick tip, if you are after an animated look to your live action then I have found adding a De-interlace filter and Strobe filter (set to Strobe Duration = 2) makes for good 'drawn' animation.
Proof read it first.
As a partner in the Noise Industries FxFactory line up you know you are getting top quality plug-ins that will work efficiently and effectively with in your program using the FxFactory plug-in manager. Brilliantly, as with all plug-in from Noise Industries and their partners, you don't have to take my word for it, you can trial LiveToon your self for 15 days on your machine and projects, for free. Download the FxFactory software you can test any of the 150 plug-ins on offer. In addition there are a handful freebie's to keep. You can download FxFaxtory and LiveToon from the Noise Industries site www.noiseindustries.com or DVShade www.dvshade.com for your free trial, but even at $49 this plug-in has a lot to offer for a very reasonable price.
LiveToon is for those who want to create impressive comic book inspired animated visuals that will impress clients and audiences and still have time to kick back with a Marvel classic at the end of the day.
I give it 4 cows for a well thought out plug-in that does what it says on the tin.
About Luke Price
Luke Price is an editor who works in the UK and is based in London and Bournemouth. In his 12 years of experience in broadcast TV his work has been seen on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky. His company New Born Adventure (and he as lead editor) has provided post, using Final Cut Studio, for 5 series of the globally successful adventure TV show 'Jack Osbourne Adrenaline Junkie', as well as other documentary programming and drama. Non-broadcast clients include the likes of Porsche and Nike. Luke is a proud family man with a beautiful wife and four wonderful children, who together provide life with the distractions needed to keep it real. As such he is the perfect candidate for testing things to work first time and to give time for the important things in life, like the bedtime story.
For further information about Luke and New Born Adventure go to www.newbornadventure.com
© Luke Price 2010