wondertouch has come out with three new libraries for their particleIllusion. Two Pyro libraries and "Hearts", a collection of beautiful heart themed designs and backgrounds. You can find samples (stills and movies) of these new libraries at www.wondertouch.com
When I lived in Los Angeles in the late 80's I remember when a film needed fire FX or an explosion of a spacecraft, they would really blow it up. They would set up the shot all day with 4 or 5 high speed film cameras. When the sun dropped, and with the fire department present, they rolled cameras and pulled the switch. BOOM!
What seemed like a quick flash in real time amounted to a beautiful sequence when slowed down- the initial fireball, the spacecraft debris flying away and the resulting plume of smoke.
Thanks to the designers at wondertouch, their latest two libraries of pyro fx should eliminate the need for blowing things up in a practical setting. These are the most organic, photorealistic explosions I have seen from a particle generator.
There are 4 folders of presets in Pyro 1. "Fiery Blasts" is a collection of wispy fire with different densities and decay times. Some of these are more toward the ethereal direction and will find usefulness in non-explosive arenas.
"Explosion Clouds" features smoky explosions. They are denser, and more spectacular. For some, there are bright but smaller "pops" that ignite inside the smoke plumes. You really have to see these to enjoy their complexity.
"Compound Explosions" are the most complex of the bunch. The initial explosions are nicely coupled with their resulting smoke and debris. The physics and choreography of the various elements that comprise the blasts all feel real to me- rising smoke with falling debris slowed by the atmosphere. Nice!
I also noticed that on restart each blast is different. So, in a multiple explosion scenario the explosions would not look like the same one pasted as with a pyro stock library.
Watching fire is entrancing, and the last folder, "Fireballs" contains three undulating fireballs that seem to never end. I was looking for faces in the fire as it changed shape over time. It's truly beautiful to watch!
The Pyro 2 library kicks it up a notch with an array of stunning fire FX. The first folder, "Fire & Flames" has some non-exploding, sustaining fire presets. Drag your mouse across the screen and watch the fire follow in a physically realistic fashion. "Inferno Intensive" was my favorite because of the inventive use of color. There are beautiful purple/bluish transformations over the orange fireball. Gorgeous!
"Rising Fire Bursts" is just that. They are realistic fireballs that decay away at varying times. I would tweak some of the decay times of the rising fire but overall, there is a nice assortment here that you'll find useful.
"Rising Explosion Clouds" contains a collection of vertical plumes that might make a nice start in simulating a nuclear explosion. In fact some of these appear to have a slight mushroom shape at the top of the plume. I imagine that these would best fit a wide shot where the explosion occurs far away from us. Some of these have a nice ground fire burst followed by the vertical smoke plume.
"Muzzle Effects" is a very cool assembly of flashes to be overlaid on a machine gun. There are front views and side views. The best thing about these short bursts of gun fire is that the rapid fire flashes are all random. I especially enjoyed "Muzzle Flash Smoke" where the flash leaves behind a smoke trail that behaves realistically with the bullet trajectory.
The final library is quite different from the 2 Pyro libraries. "Hearts" is a beautiful collection of backgrounds that you will find useful in wedding, anniversary or engagement videos. At the core of this collection is a heart image that morphs beautifully over time.
The collection in the "Backgrounds" folder decay over a long period of time. This is perfect for a DVD menu or a background to facilitate images or text. Much of these appear as ghosted in overlays that transform. I had to remind myself that this is a particle based program when watching these beautiful images unfold over time.
The "Flowing" folder has more beautiful abstractions on the heart theme. These have to be seen to appreciate their beauty. It would be a nice challenge to replace the heart images at the core of these presets with your own shape or image and see how they play out. Most of the hard work has been done in the design and motion of these shapes so the sky's the limit here. Check out "Heart Twists". The hearts here are indiscernible. It's more of a random design that undulates, glows and stretches over time. Coolness!
The "Lines" folder contains 4 presets that form a horizontal line of hearts in an artful way. These seem to be more overt but I'm sure with some tinkering, you could alter these to suit your needs.
The folks at wondertouch have made great strides in photorealism in these two new Pyro libraries. It is obvious that the particle artist who created these libraries has studied real fire and the way it behaves. There is something for everyone here.
The "Hearts" library is also an original take on the heart motif. You'll want to dive into the settings and find ways to add your own flavor to their designs.
It's only $39 for each library, all 3 for $90, or as part of the Complete set of 12 libraries for $329. Compatible with particleIllusion 3 (both Mac and Win). For more information or to purchase: www.wondertouch.com
Rating: 5 Cows
Go to Bill's site to see more of his work: www.chicagospots.com