Pixelan DIssolveMaster Review: Organic, Powerful, Affordable
COW Library : VEGAS Pro : Douglas Spotted Eagle : Pixelan DIssolveMaster Review: Organic, Powerful, Affordable
Pixelan has long-held a reputation for organic filter plugins for video editors. The newest offering from this long-established company is no surprise when it comes to quality, and the ease of use is very exciting.
I started digging into the new DissolveMaster plugin over the weekend, thinking it would be a fairly fast tour. After all, a transition is a transition, right?
DissolveMaster brings transitional elements to a new level. Although these transitions contain similar features as the Spicemaster transitions from years ago, DissolveMaster is an entirely different set of brushes to the video editors canvas. Retaining the organic feel of the initial SpiceMaster tools, the DissolveMaster tools provide power-user transition features to intermediate or professional video editors. They're fast, user friendly, creatively designed, user-customizable, and work on multiple platforms such as Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Sony Vegas Movie Studio, Sony Vegas Pro, Cyberlink PowerDirector, and Magix Movie Edit Pro.
What makes these stand out is that they are OFX/OpenFX platform tools. Gone are the kludgy keyframing interfaces, and these are snappy to respond to changes.
These transitions are very different than the stock transitional tools found in every NLE; they are fully customizable as to where the geometrical points begin and end, how lighting may be inserted, adding composite modes (if desired). In fact, these tools are also compositing aids for titles, graphics, lower thirds, and anything else you might add to the screen.
Let's first dive into ease of use. It's as easy as dragging and dropping the plug-in to the clips to be transitioned. The dialog opens, and a browser opens, showing the last-used transition folder. Select a transition, watch it audition in the browser, and done.
In the DissolveMaster Effects browser, users can audition hundreds of preset transitions and see an animated example of the audition in the browser window. Selecting the "File Dialog" option at the bottom of the browser provides a Windows file browser access to presets. This is useful for users coming from the old world of SpiceMaster tools.
A power feature is to right click a transition and save as a favorite for faster recall. The preview window may be right-clicked and users can choose what layer or clip should be seen (great for comparisons or determining flow) or which effect layer is being viewed.
The DissolveMaster Interface is quite comprehensive, allowing for all manner of tweaks and adjustments to any transition. At first, the easiest use is to select a pre-built transition and adjust to personal preference. Any changes may be saved to the Effects Browser for later recall.
Note the grain in the un-blurred windshield to the left, and the highlights in the rear window on the right. Adding a small amount of blur makes the transition more organic, and smooth.
In this framegrab, the windshield is smooth, and appears to be coming from thin air – no grain and no hard edges to catch the eye on the transition.
Users can set the point of transition in the frame by selecting the transition target point and moving to the desired transitional point. I found this to be a powerful addition to the creative process, as by setting a loop (Sony Vegas-only), it allowed me to continually play the transition while adjusting and auditioning the transitional elements, without having to stop/pause playback or wait for a background render to occur (these screengrabs are sourced from 4K footage in a 4K project, and DissolveMaster runs lightly enough on the CPU that it does not hinder frame-accurate playback).
Another helpful feature is that every button and slider offer tool tips to newer users. This provides an instant tutorial related to the feature. Users simply hover the mouse over the button/slider in question, and a micro-tip shows up, explaining exactly how to use the feature.
In the above setting, it allows users to select a color point where the transition should begin. This is a very helpful feature when transitioning between two dissimilar elements and the editor wants the viewer's eye to not be distracted by the transition.
Another feature I find useful is the "Section Presets" where a preset has sub-preset options. This allows users to select a preset while adjusting specific parameter points. Section presets allow users to tweak a specific section of a preset without affecting other sections. It will also insert necessary keyframes for a specific effect, when defined by a user-determined region (in/out point). Section Presets can also be user-edited; they're a terrific starting point for any effect.
Adding a hint of glow to the transition keeps the focus on the objects in the foreground while transitioning to the subject in the background. It's almost as though a rack focus was created in post.
After spending a week with DissolveMaster (and working with it in a 4K project, no less), I find myself very impressed with this latest offering from Pixelan.
Priced right for any user, the $49.00 cost is easily dismissed with the creative power the application provides All in all, it works out to less than .01 per effect/feature (DissolveMaster is also part of the Pixelan Trans Bundle priced at $109.00). Whether you're looking for some creative ease, compositing tools, precision editing tools, or just looking for transitions that go way beyond stock transitional elements included in your NLE's tool kit, the DissolveMaster transitions are a great addition, and I suspect you might find that they spice up the creative juices in the process.
For more information:
Pixelan DissolveMaster Transitions Plugin -- Overview & Features