January 14, 2013
by Szymon Masiak, motionVFX Team
Remember Conduit, a realtime video effects and graphics compositing tool for the Mac? Well guess what – it is now called PixelConduit and it is available for free! This great software allows to easily convert your effects into plugins. The tool was designed for realtime performance and high color precision. It has a simple and well-thought GUI and it offers advanced extension possibilities. It also includes over 90 different image processing operations that support High Dynamic Range imaging (floating-point color). Another interesting thing is a node based user-interface, called the Conduit Effect System – all the built-in tools such as blue/green screen keyers, various color correction tools and high-quality blurs can be combined without limitations thanks to this model.
The Conduit Effect System fuses complex effects together so that they can be rendered all in once on the computer’s GPU. Thanks to this, visual effects and composites can be rendered in realtime even with HD/2K+ sources. There’s also no limitation on resolution or frame rate so it’s possible to mix NTSC, PAL, HD and any other sources.
The tool offers other functionalities:
- Previewing visual effects on set.
- Theatrical shows and other video-based performances.
- Video installations.
- Compositing and other finishing work.
- Post-production workflow automation.
- Rendering custom graphics in post.
- Live graphics with custom control interfaces, e.g. for TV productions.
Alex Gollner had the opportunity to test the new tool and he found it pretty useful even though there are still some small bugs. He also describes in more detail the nodes system:
“Conduit flowcharts are made of specialized nodes. This flowchart shows a .conduit file that adds an orange tint to the input image.
In this case, the Input node is connected to a live camera. Whichever nodes it is connected to get frames from the camera.
The Gradient node has three Color nodes connected. It usually produces a vertical gradient between three colours.
The Luminance node takes a picture from the Input node and converts it to monochrome based on it’s luminance.
When the Gradient node also has a greyscale image connected to its fourth input, it renders the greyscale image based on the colours in the gradient (the black pixels in the source image as the first colour, ranging up to the white pixels as the third colour).”
He also adds that it is very easy to publish your plugin – simply once you are happy with your PixelConduit-enabled effect you can save it and make it available in Final Cut Pro X.
You might also want to download a detailed PDF on creating effects in Motion 5 for Final Cut Pro X using the tool – to download it click here.
Alex shared a lot of info on the tool, so make sure to read his article, here.
And in order to download PixelConduit, click here.