Red Giant Universe: A new VFX plugins subscription community for Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Red Giant have announced that they are changing the way editors, motion graphics designers and visual effects artists access their visual effects plugins.

Red Giant Universe is a new free online community for Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Apple Final Cut Pro X and Apple Motion users. Today it hosts 31 free plugins in categories including Blur, Distort, Glow and Generators. 

rgu-plugin-listings

If you sign up for a Monthly or yearly subscription, you also get access to 19 premium plugins

The initial premium plugins are Universe versions of current Red Giant stand alone products. Launch tools include Knoll Light Factory EZ, Holomatrix, Retrograde, and ToonIt:

rgu-premiere-plugins

Here are samples of Universe Chromatic Glow, Universe Glo Fi and Universe Prism Displacement:

rgu-free-plugins

Red Giant say that they'll be regularly adding new free and premium plugins to Red Giant Universe.

What makes Universe a community? Red Giant will use user feedback to determine their development priorities - which of their non-Universe plugins to convert and make available to premium subscribers, and what new features to add to current Universe plugins.

Unlike Adobe's Creative Cloud, as well as monthly premium ($10) and annual premium ($99) membership options, you can buy Red Giant out with a one-time lifetime subscription fee ($399).

Not an Adobe-style migration

Red Giant say that most of the plugins they've sold up until now aren't part of Universe. Their colour, keying and Trapcode plugin suites are still available in the normal way. 

GPU Power

Final Cut Pro X and Apple Motion users are used to the near real-time rendering speed of GPU-based plugins. Red Giant Universe brings that same power to Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects users on OS X and Windows.

The secret to Red Giant Universe is the 'Supernova' tool. This development system uses a javascript-like scripting language to access the Red Giant Universe Library; a collection of image processing libraries whose code is combined together to make cross-platform Universe plugins. As well as using the RG Universe Library to build new free and premium plugins as months go by, Red Giant say they'll also be adding new modules to the code library - so new plugins will have access to more advanced GPU code.

 

No third-party plugins yet…

Sadly Supernova is only available to internal Red Giant developers for now. Supernova looks like an interesting alternative to the model used by the FxFactory system. FxFactory uses Apple's Quartz Composer tool as the basis of its multi-host app plugin development and distribution system. Many developers would probably be more comfortable using Red Giant's scripting language. An extra advantage is that Red Giant Universe plugins work with the Windows versions of Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects.

Although Red Giant Supernova would be a powerful tool for third-party plugin development, FxFactory has many more years experience in dealing with promoting, selling and supporting third-party plugins. Although if I did sell plugins I would turn to FxFactory, the potential success of Red Giant Universe is good news for plugin developers.

Adobe and Apple

Red Giant Universe is also good news for Adobe as it might expand the availability of cross-OS plugins for their applications - at the moment there are more Premiere plugins for OS X then there are for Windows. Universe is also an endorsement of the Creative Cloud software subscription model.

In the case of Apple, Universe means more plugins for Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5. It might provide a little incentive for Apple concentrate a little more on making post production plugins better on OS X than on Windows. If such a comparison is important to Apple, they could produce a Motion 5-based plugin playback system that they could make available to OS X-based post production applications. Imagine implementing a plugin using Motion that could then be used in any AV Foundation-based application. This would help with transferring projects between QuickTime Player, iMovie, Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere, Lightworks, Avid, DaVinci Resolve and Autodesk Smoke. Combining this with an Apple Post Production Tools Store would be a powerful proposition.

Universe is now open for free membership, why not sign up and investigate the quality of the plugins? First the first 30 days you get free access to the premium plugins. this could be the beginning of something big.

 

 

 

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