|A Creative COW Product Review
New York, USA
©Copyright 2005 Jim Harvey and Creativecow.net. All Rights Reserved.
In this article, CreativeCOW.net contributing editor Jim Harvey reviews AE Pro Series BROADCAST GEMS Volume 01 and states, "BROADCAST GEMS is a package of Royalty Free animated backgrounds that you can import into your work. But more than just a bunch of animated backgrounds, BROADCAST GEMS is more of a compendium of elements, expressions, and comps that allow you to customize the project in an infinite number of ways. This is a lot different than just a couple of moving backdrops that you plunk into your project. Serious designers should consider this simply from the time saving aspect of the package. To have a myriad of quality expressions, comps, and animated elements available at the touch of a key is something that all of us want for our projects. BROADCAST GEMS delivers that content."
Working under a tight deadline can wreak havoc with your nerves. Clients expect to see polished content delivered in a timely fashion. As much as we all want to believe that we have it covered, there are times when we're just overwhelmed with scheduling conflicts, or our creative juices simply let us down. At times like these, we can be thankful for sets like BROADCAST GEMS to pull our fat from the flames.
BROADCAST GEMS is a package of Royalty Free animated backgrounds that you can import into your work. But more than just a bunch of animated backgrounds, BROADCAST GEMS is more of a compendium of elements, expressions, and comps that allow you to customize the project in an infinite number of ways. This is a lot different than just a couple of moving backdrops that you plunk into your project.
Fig 1. Comps have pertinent information embedded in the layers.
Let me say here, that I would NOT recommend this to a beginning AE user. It is simply overwhelming in the amount of stuff contained on the DVD's. The NTSC disc contained 3.92GB of files (a FULL DVD) and most of that content was zipped! There is about 16GB of information on the disc that needs to be unpacked and set up on a local hard drive. This is a BIG package! The documentation is not particularly strong, consisting more of a brief overview of what's on the DVD's, rather than a breakdown of each comp or project. I found some of the comps so complex that it really took a lot of digging to figure out where I was going. I think that if BROADCAST GEMS can put together a short tutorial section of how to use some of the comps, this will be a more effective package for designers of high quality content. In fairness, inside the comps there are commented layers that give basic instruction as to what is going on and how to manipulate the elements.
The package itself is very well executed. There are two DVD's in the box, one in NTSC and the other in PAL. No matter where in the world you call home, BROADCAST GEMS can be used to enhance your projects. As mentioned earlier, the content is mostly zipped and in order to effectively use the package you have to re-create the folder/file structure on your local hard drive. This process takes a bit of time, but ultimately allows you to access all the project files more easily. The files are clearly named which makes finding content easier. Some projects did open with missing files notices, but the missing files were easily located with a couple of mouse clicks. I would have liked to see self extracting zip files that could install themselves on your designated drive, but unzip utilities like Stuffit work just as well to set things up albeit taking a bit more time.
Fig.2 Just a small portion of the file structure of the GEMS Set. This is a BIG Collection!
This isn't a Tutorial set by any means. It is simply a collection (a HUGE collection) of files and AEP's and expressions that can take your work to a higher level without having to stretch your brain cells to the limit trying to come up with something fresh. Roland Kahlenberg and Dan Ebberts (the Expression King) collaborated on the set to include some extremely sophisticated content that from what I have seen works flawlessly. If you have spent any time at all at CREATIVECOW, Kahlenberg and Ebberts will be familiar to you and some of the more prolific contributors to the forums.
I've been working with the package for a couple of weeks and I'm continually surprised at what I find. All the files are either in Targa or PSD format so they are quite easily manipulated. The vector graphics folder contains AI files, again, easily manipulated.
To be able to have such a wealth of content available to you, and to be able to customize each element of that content is an extremely valuable resource. BROADCAST GEMS is an excellent value and a valuable tool. The rough spots are something that needs to be addressed, but an experienced user will have no trouble getting the content out to the timeline and manipulating it to conform to their vision.
This is something that serious designers should consider simply from the time saving aspect of the package. To have a myriad of quality expressions, comps, and animated elements available at the touch of a key is something that all of us want for our projects. BROADCAST GEMS delivers that content.
©Copyright 2005 Jim Harvey | Creative Cow
All Rights Reserved