Slick Transitions & Effects: Volume 3, by GeeThree
Posted: 4-Jul-2003

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: GeeThree Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Stephen Compton Class: MULTIMEDIA

Overview
Slick Transitions and Effects are for users who are looking to add some vigor to the very basic, simplistic set of effects that comes with iMovie, and cannot afford Final Cut Pro. This is the third set of four total volumes offered by GeeThree specifically for iMovie.

Requirements

  • Movie 3, iMovie 2.0.3 or later
  • Mac OS X, OS 9
  • Quicktime 5 or later
  • 10MB available disk space

Use & Features
Volume 3 offers a wide range of plug-ins, which quickly install into the iMovie folders. Volume 3 has three primary groups of plug-ins:

  • Title Effects
  • Transitions
  • Color / Image Effects


Title Effects
The title effects really adds variety, enabling the novice iMovie maker to add titles moving across the screen in ways seen in the movies or on the 10 o'clock news. One of the first reactions during review of these effects was that the selections allow more filling of the screen, with larger texts, in a very eye-pleasing manner. Overall, durations are longer than the maximum time allowed by standard iMovie titles. Some of the simplest title effects allow the text to move along the bottom of the screen as seen during weather warning, or a news flash.

Some of the stationary titles include "Focus" and "Particle", providing very smooth fade-in and fade-out effects. "Soluble" gives a nice wash effect, and "Ripple" and "Riptide" produce a water-wave effect on entry and exit.

A title effect called "Passage Duet" combines stationary title in center screen, and scrolls the same title, in very large, transparent text behind the center title - from both sides of the screen. The result fills the screen with dramatic emphasize on the title placed over an otherwise bland scene. "Driftwood" provides for two title lines, and sheers them in opposite directions as seen in many movies and commercials.

Another nice effect has a theme that carries over to the scene transitions, called "vellum". With this effect, the text essentially acts as if printed on a sheet of clear vellum, and can be flipped, flopped, scrolled, on, off or even peel away like flower petals in the breeze. Variations include splitting the screen into sections and having the tiles roll into place from sides, corners or center screen.

Transitions
The second portion of plug-ins is the scene-to-scene transitions. iMovie provides a very limited set of wipes, fades and washes, even with the extra plug-in suite offered by Apple for download. With Slick volume 3, however, you may find rare occasion to use Apple's basic transitions, and instead rely solely on GeeThree's. This volume provides 80 transitions, consisting of 20 primary groups. Some of the more appealing transitions include a soft-edged wipe and a flap-style with many options. Most all transitions include options to initiate from any corner diagonally, top-down, bottom-up, sideways, middle-out, etc..

One group of transitions utilizes an aperture effects, similar to a camera lens. These screen-splitting transitions reveal the new scene with three, four or multiple aperture panes. Fan and peacock relocate the center of the aperture to further vary the results.

Some of the simpler transitions include the focus-effect transitions. These are the most useful set because they appear so seamless and subtle when applied - not detracting from the video. Names of these transitions include the "Blur" family, "Diffuse", "Psychedelia", soft radials and soft wipes.

"Zoom Spin - Lots" creates a very motion-filled effect. This is one of the more impressive transitions which zooms the scenes while rotating - producing a feeling of doing a barrel roll at Mach 5.

Volume 3 also includes water-ripple and vellum-roll transition groups similar to those found in the title effects.

Many more transitions complete the line-up in Volume 3. A word of caution is warranted: it is very easy to over-do the transition effects, resulting in a video that distracts the viewer, drawing their attention to the effect rather than the content. It is always best to find an effect that smoothes the transition between scenes. Not every scene transition needs an effect. Sometimes the harsh, non-effect transition looks best.  That said, Volume 3 gives the iMovie director a deep palette of available transitions which best complement the scenes.

Color / Image Effects
Another set included with Slick Volume 3 is a digital camera effect and color modifications. These include a fish-eye lens, drops with ripples (to enhance/add the effect of rain), image rotation, color tinting or full RGB control. Anyone who has seen the "making-of" portion included in many DVDs will recognize the value of color control. Color can be enhanced to emphasize a sunny day, or washed out to add ambiance to a gray, lifeless day.

Support
GeeThree offers a full description and QT examples of all the titles, transitions, and effects offered in Volume 3 at
www.GeeThree.com. The plug-ins live up to or exceed the examples shown. They greatly enhance the iMovie experience, and give you the means to create some fantastic movie effects.

Should the online information or trouble-shooting instructions included with the software not resolve any problems, the GeeThree customer support is exemplary and responsive to inquiries.

Software can be downloaded directly from the web after purchasing the serial code, or CDs can be purchased at a slightly higher cost. Buy all four volumes together for full-feature effects at a more reasonable cost (~$34 per volume).

Summary
With Slick Volume 3, iMovie is greatly enhanced by a very wide range and significant set of titles, transitions and effects. Compared with the other volumes offered by GeeThree, this particular set is geared toward the advanced iMovie user who seeks to improve the visual impact of his personal masterpiece. This plug-in volume is highly recommended!

Pros

  • Lots of high quality effects included
  • Simple to use in an all-in-one package
  • Greatly enhances iMovie capabilities

Cons

  • $49.00 price tag may seem high for an add-on to an Apple "freebie" program (discount offered for purchasing all four volumes)


Overall Rating

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice