July 21, 2014
By Jeff Riegel for Red Giant Universe
Red Giant earlier this year had created a new first-of-it’s-kind plug-in subscription model for media creative’s aptly named, Universe. I was given the chance months ago to review Universe, but opted to wait a few months until I could personally use the variety of plug-ins as well as review the feedback and testing aspects of this new subscription-based model. Think: ‘Creative Cloud’ with Red Giant products. That said, as of late June 2014, Red Giant updated Universe to version 1.1 which includes nine new effects plus updates to three existing products. There are now 59 effects and transitions in Universe, most of which are free.
Once I was able to fumble my way through the awkward registration and install process (it took me a few tries to activate my subscription in the proper order), then configuring ‘Red Giant Link’ where my subscription plug-ins appear, the tools finally yet magically appeared in my effects browser of my favorite NLE applications. Issues were also encountered in mid-June 2014 when Adobe’s Creative Cloud 2014 appeared on the market as an upgrade. Thankfully, the folks at Red Giant were able to fix compatibility issues with Universe the next day announcing they were ready for CC 2014: http://www.redgiant.com/blog/2014/06/19/creative-cloud-2014/
Red Giant’s Universe is a free service providing media-folk access to a diverse set of free and paid visual tools including blurs, glows and transitions plug-ins. It is not an application. Community members have the opportunity to use these tools in their productions then provide feedback and suggestions to Red Giant for improvements. Premium subscribers have a chance to test out new beta tools before others. Then, Red Giant will take this feedback into consideration to integrate back into future Universe products and thus expand their product line to satisfy customer’s desires. ‘Universe Labs’ allows members the opportunity to vote on tools they want to see go into development. It’s a win-win for all!
Of note: not all Red Giant software is offered under the Universe umbrella, paid or otherwise. Red Giant Universe is a new set of tools that does not included any of their plug-ins from the Trapcode, Color, Shooter or Keying suites. Some tools from the Effects Suite are being ported over to Universe for better speed and results, but Universe Premium Membership includes only the Universe versions of those tools – not the entire Effects Suite. As an editor and graphics newbie, I find Magic Bullet, PluralEyes and Trapcode Particular indispensable to my craft and would be great additions to Universe someday. However, the ever-popular Hollowmatrix, RetroGrade, ToonIt and long-favorite Knoll Light Factory are included in the premium subscription toolset. These plug-ins now run in Final Cut Pro X, After Effects, Motion and Premiere Pro on both Mac OSX and Windows.
But how does Red Giant do it? In previous years, we creators would potentially have to wait years for a product update or new version. I don’t thoroughly understand it, nor am I a software engineer by any means, but Red Giant uses Supernova—an in-house tool to hold true on their promise to deliver new products and updates to their Universe collection in a timely fashion. This effects editor will allow new plug-ins to be built continuously, based on the feedback of the community I described above. Wouldn’t it be swell to allow those of us (with an interest) to create plug-ins, too, then share them with the world via Supernova? Video Co-Pilot, among others, does this by allowing their members to create and share their Optical Flares.
To sum it up, at a quite reasonable premium subscription starting at only $10 per month, Red Giant Universe offers an impressive range of tools for the filmmaker and graphic-artist. A $99 yearly subscription or a #399 lifetime subscription is also offered. Download the trial where you’ll get access to all the effects, including premium ones, for 30 days.
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