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wondertouch Professional Emitter Libraries for ParticleIllusion 3.0

COW Library : particle Illusion : Aharon Rabinowitz : wondertouch Professional Emitter Libraries for ParticleIllusion 3.0
wondertouch Professional Emitter Libraries for ParticleIllusion 3.0
A CreativeCOW Review


wondertouch Professional Emitter Libraries for particleIllusion 3.0

Aharon Rabinowitz Aharon Rabinowitz
New York, USA

©2006 Aharon Rabinowitz and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


Article Focus:
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.

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OK, I'm going to admit this right from the beginning: I'm biased about wondertouch particleIllusion. We particleIllusionists are a very happy bunch, and that's because particleIllusion is an extremely versatile and powerful program (1,300 preset effects right out of the box) that's cheap, fast, and easy to use. I've been using the program in my professional work since version 1, and, over the years, I've helped demo it at conferences like NAB and SIGGRAPH. So when wondertouch asked me to review their latest product - wondertouch Professional Emitter Libraries (or "Pro Emitters" for short) - I expected only good things, but nothing particularly new (pun intended).

Well, I'm happy to say that I was only half right.

Since wondertouch created most of the 1,300+ emitters already included with the program, and they wanted some fresh ideas, they brought in 3 of the most talented particleIllusion artists out there, with the goal of creating 6 bold new libraries that are almost a complete departure from what's been done until now.

Don't worry - these libraries include the old favorites: explosions, cool motion GFX backgrounds, smoke, and Logo emitters - but these vastly enhanced emitters are only a small fraction of what's in the total package. Commonly requested emitters like shattering glass (with bullet holes!), debris, frost, abstract and artistic effects, distortion FX, and an odd assortment of other things have been addressed, in a big way. These aren't your daddy's emitters.


The Professional Emitter Libraries (30 emitters per library) are broken down as follows:

  1. Abstract (Artist: Phalkanubba Rath)
  2. Logo and Text (Artist: Phalkanubba Rath)
  3. Artistic Backgrounds (Artist: Sasha Milica)
  4. Graphics and Distortions (Artist: Sasha Milica)
  5. Eclectic 01 (Artist: Tom Granberg)
  6. Eclectic 02 (Artist: Tom Granberg)


The first 4 libraries concentrate more on elements you might use in motion graphics type work, along with a few extra effects here an there. Many of them are long lasting elements, meaning they are designed with the goal of keeping them on screen for a long time. For example wondertouch describes the Abstract effects as "organic, flowing and ever-changing effects" - an accurate description to say the least. Each has a very unique, and in some cases, a very surprising look and evolution. And like all other emitter libraries, they're customizable - so if you've been looking for a way to create something completely different, then that might be the library for you. But each of the other 3 libraries has a lot to offer as well, depending on your needs.

The last 2 libraries called Eclectic 01 and Eclectic 02 contain a slew of very realistic effects by artist Tom Granberg (one of my 2 personal favorite pIllusion artists - the other being creative cow leader Elvis Deane). Tom's created really nice FX elements like aurora borealis, shattering glass, explosions, debris, frost, and a few cool graphics elements as well. These are definitely the libraries for FX artists looking to kick it up a notch.

So the big question: what makes these libraries Professional?

Well, in addition to all the things I mentioned above, the emitters use many creative interesting, and useful shapes that can be reused in other emitters. Any particleIllusion user knows that it's emitter shapes that make or break an emitter, and in most cases, the artists have really hit the mark. Also since these are designed for professional use, these emitters have been built from the ground up without the limitation of catering to slower computers - thereby providing some of the most complex, artistic, realistic, and creative effects available.

OK, that said, there are a couple of negatives - As I mentioned some of these emitters are very complex - using a LOT of particles to create many of the effects. This will likely cause a slowdown in computer performance for most machines. Still, ounce for ounce, you're going to be able to do this sort of thing faster in pIllusion then in any other program on the market. It still renders faster than After Effects or Maya or virtually anything I've ever worked with.

The other negative is that not all of the emitters are as useful as others - I wouldn't say there are any throw-aways here, but a couple of them feel like 1-hit-wonders. Then again, for what you'd pay to have that effect, vs. what you'd get paid to use it (even 1 time), it will be worth the money when you're client hands you that check. Also, if you play around with any emitter long enough (changing it's particle shape and other parameters), you can almost always come up with a completely different look and feel from the same emitter.

Furthermore, you don't have to buy all six libraries - you can buy each library individually ($39), or buy them all together at a 25% discount ($175). So if you feel you'll never use some of the libraries, don't buy them - that way you don't have to pay for something you don't need.

I also want to mention that the Pro Emitter's come with some nice documentation, full of helpful hints in enhancing the emitters. wondertouch has always stood behind its products and they never leave you flying blind. Another reason I like particleIllusion so much.

Please note: these libraries will work with particleIllusion 3.0 (Mac and PC) only - not with particleIllusion SE, Autodesk Combustion, or Apple Motion.


In Conclusion

OK, I'm going to give the Pro Emitters 4.5 cows - that last half of a cow being left out because I feel that there are a few emitters that could have been replaced with something more useful, and also because of the speed issue. Still, a great product to supplement the emitters you're already using, and an excellent value overall.



4.5 COWS





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