Bored with the
16 transitions and 23 effects that come with iMovie HD 5 ? Looking for a way to give
your iMovie creations that professional look without the cost investment? The creative
geniuses at Gee Three have done it again... and again, with their latest release
of the Slick series of iMovie plug-ins. Volumes 9 & 10 add 118 transitions and
18 effects. Add in the Fusion Factory Plus pack and the number of transitions increases
by 750 along with the "slick" new effects that can be created using the
Fusion Factory engine. Gee Three claims that many of the plug-ins are not only a
first for iMovie, but also not available on any other video editing platform. While
I cannot completely validate their claim, I can say that it is certainly true when
compared to Apple's Final Cut Express HD v3.0. Gee Three offers their complete Slick
series offerings (Volumes 1-10) in a money saving bundle or you can select a number
of "tailored" bundled volumes, depending on what your needs are. Unless
you're a semi- or professional video creator, one would have to seriously question
the need for a high-end tool such as one of the Apple Final Cut packages given the
tremendous power the Slick series brings to iMovie. Once you've tried these volumes
and started the flow of creative juices you didn't realize you had, you'll find yourself
going back to www.GeeThree.com in an attempt to satisfy your
craving for more of these plug-ins!
- iMovie HD 6, iMovie HD
5, iMovie 4, iMovie 3
- Mac OSX 10.2.x or later
(including Tiger 10.4)
- Macintosh with PowerPC
G4 or G5 processor
This review was conducted
on a 17" iMac with a 1.25 GHz PPC G4 with 768 MB RAM, running OS X V10.3.9 and
iMovie HD 5.
Slick Volumes 9 & 10 was a very simple installation. Double-clicking on the installer
opens a window where your only choice is to click the "Continue" button.
Next comes the typical software license agreement that most people agree to if they
want to proceed with the installation. Being the agreeable person that I am, I clicked
the "Agree" button, then the registration window appears. The serial number
provided by Gee Three must be typed in regardless of whether you purchased the downloadable
product with electronic serial number or the CD with the printed serial number. It
would have been handy to be able to paste it in, but pasting is not accepted. Once
you enter the serial number and proceed, there's 3122 items that the installer loads.
My install took about 7.5 minutes. No need to tell the installer where you want things
installed, as the location is fixed. The plug-ins are installed in the iMovie plug-in
space and automatically show up in iMovie. They are even segregated by their respective
volumes within the Titles, Trans and Effects sections.
Gee Three plug-ins organized under iMovie Effects
As for the documentation,
simply drag and drop the documentation folder from the disk image to your hard drive.
You won't need a ream of paper to print out the two pdf files. Vol 9 is 13 pages
and Vol 10 is 16 pages, not counting the cover pages.
The power of iMovie is hidden in the use of plug-ins to provide special effects and
transitions for movie clips and photos and clever use of text in creating titles
or other annotation on the clips and photos. iMovie can be easily enhanced by the
simple addition of plug-ins. There are other sources of iMovie plug-ins, but those
offered by Gee Three in the Slick volumes contain the most extensive and exhaustive
collections available. The Slick plug-ins are seamlessly integrated into iMovie and
are accessed just like the stock iMovie plug-ins. In fact, the only way you know
you're using a Slick plug-in is by the way they are grouped, by their respective
Slick volume number, in a hierarchal manner.
To get a preview of these two volumes, visit Gee Three's web site at
http://www.GeeThree.com/slick/V_09.html and http://www.GeeThree.com/slick/V_10.html
There are so many transitions and effects in this latest offering, it would not be
practical to cover every one of them, so I focused this review on the ones that I
felt were the "slick"est.
Slick Transitions - Vols. 9 & 10
The multitude of transitions will provide plenty of variation to a large iMovie project
without ever having to duplicate a transition. The new transitions range from elegant
to fun. The listings below (Transitions - Vol 9 and Transitions Vol 10) show the
vast amount of new transitions added to iMovie. The numbers in () are the number
of variations within the transition. Following the lists are descriptions of my favorite
Transitions - Vol
- Object Wipes
- -Balls (10)
- -Left Wipes (20)
- -Misc Objects (9)
- -More (4)
- Block In
- Block In-Center
- Block In-Checker
- Block In-Random
- Block Out
- Block Out-Center
- Block Out-Checker
- Block Out-Random
- Cube-Tumble In
- Flying Tiles-KnockOut
- Flying Tiles-Landing
- Flying Tiles-Sweep
- Grid Circuit-3
- Grid Circuit-5
- Grid Fly Out
- Quad-Box Out
- Slat-4 Zoom
- Slat-7 Zoom
- Spin In
Transitions Vol 10
- Abstract 01
- Abstract 02
- Abstract 03
- Abstract 04
- Abstract 05
- Abstract 06
- Abstract 07
- Abstract 08
- Abstract 09
- Abstract 10
- Abstract 11
- Bounce Heart 1
- Bounce Heart 2
- Car 1
- Car 2
- Drift Body
- Drift Dots
- Drift Ghosts
- Drift Hearts
- Drift Jack
- Drift Lips
- Drift Pent
- Drift Rings
- Drift Skulls
- Drift Stars
- Flying Arrows
- Glide Batter
- Glide Bomb
- Glide Dove
- Glide Ghost
- Glide Heart
- Glide Lips
- Glide Lizard
- Glide Petal
- Glide Skulls
- Glide Soccer
- Glide Spots
- Glide Witch
- Glide Yin-Yang
- Scissors H
- Scissors V
- Sticks 1
- Sticks 2
- Sticks 3
- Sticks 4
- Sticks 5
- Sticks 6
- Sticks 7
- Sticks 8
- Train 1
- Train 2
- Object Wipes - Vol. 9
- The Object Wipes transitions
provide one or more graphic objects serving as an intermediary between clips/photos.
There are a variety of objects ranging from sports, travel, hobbies and floating
text. They begin as small objects floating across the screen and soon completely
fill the screen then begin to shrink and float away revealing the next clip/photo.
A clever idea.
- Fusion Factory - Vol.
- The introduction of Fusion
Factory opens up a whole new way to create custom transitions using dissolves, blends
and mixes. The heart behind Fusion Factory are small, but powerful graphic objects
Gee Three calls "Fusion Atoms". These "atoms" can also be applied
to text and unique effects. The basic offering includes over 150 "atoms",
but with the addition of the Fusion Factory Plus Pack, which this bundle came with,
Gee Three bumps the total to 750 "atoms".
Fusion Factory Atoms
- Bands (52)
- EdgeIns (32)
- Irises (45)
- Kaleidas (20)
- OffBeats (25)
- Organic Bursts (22)
- Organic Climatics
- Organic Erosions
- Organic Fluids (49)
- Organic Irises (51)
- Organic Plasmas (17)
- Organic Ruptures
- Organic Strokes (23)
- Organic Textures
- Organic Vapors (24)
- Organic Washes (21)
- Organic Wipes (33)
- Patterns (32)
- Penetrators (24)
- Pure Quads (10)
- Pure Splits (22)
- Pure Thirds (20)
- Radial (18)
- Radiant (24)
- Retro (11)
- Spirals (10)
- Videogami (12)
- Wipes (28)
When you consider that you can manipulate each "atom" to change the direction
the effect is applied (horiz, vert, or both), reverse it’s direction and linearly
adjust the edge softness, your transition effect choices are almost unlimited! The
Fusion Factory certainly certainly makes Vol. 9 live up to it’s moniker…"slick"!
Slick Vol 9 - Fusion Factory
Like the Transition plug-ins, the Effects plug-ins provide the user new creative
ways to enhance your movie clips giving them that professional look. All of the effects
have their own "configure" window, unlike the stock effect that come with
iMovie. In the configure window, the user is provided a larger preview screen than
the iMovie preview screen and a multitude of adjustment controls for the effect.
Figures 12 and 13 list the new effects added to iMovie.
- Fusion Filter
- Fusion Overlay
- Hue Changer
- PDF Scroll
- PDF Slide Show
- Saturation Changer
- Travel Log
- Video Objects
- Color Tuner
- Lighting Studio
- Motion Wall Plus
- Scale & Crop
- Skew & Distort
- Test Patterns
- Hue Changer - Vol. 9
Saturation Changer - Vol. 9
- Ever wish you could change
a single color while leaving the others untouched or create that effect of everything
in the image being gray and only a having a single color stand out? Well, now you
can, with the Hue Changer and Saturation Changer effects. Individual sliders control
the RGBCMY hue values and their saturation. The changes you make are displayed in
"real-time" so you can see the results before they are applied. The only
improvement I would like to see is having individual "Reset" buttons for
each hue and a "Reset Sliders" button like the Color Tuner and Variations
- PDF Scroll - Vol. 9
PDF Slide Show - Vol. 9
- You know how difficult
it is to create opening or ending credits that turn out like those on the big screen
in iMovie? Apparently the Gee Three team wanted something better too, so they created
the PDF Scroll and PDF Slide Show effects. Now, any document you create with a mix
of fonts, sizes, colors, graphic objects…whatever, just save it as a PDF file and
you can adjust it's horizontal position and have it scroll over a clip/photo with
variable levels of transparency and background colors. Scaling the PDF file to the
size you want is done proportionally so it doesn't appear distorted. It can also
be time-scaled to fit a iMovie clip or a set for a fixed rate. You can also use PDF
files as a slide show overlayed on top of a clip/photo, all with the same controls
as the scroll effect except the physical sizing to fit the clip…that's done automatically.
The one thing to watch for in the PDF Slide Show effect is the PDF file pages are
displayed in whatever orientation the are created in, so if you want a page displayed
in landscape mode (for example), make sure you set it that way before you create
the PDF file because you can't rotate individual pages/slides using the effect.
Slick Vol 9 - PDF Scroll
- Video Objects - Vol.
Picture-in-Picture Plus - Vol. 10
- There are two effects
that are very similar between the two volumes: Video Objects & Picture-in-Picture
Plus. The Video Objects provide various graphic images serving as borders such as
picture frames, televisions, film strips, movie screens, computer monitors, etc,
to dsiplay a clip/photo that can be scaled and positioned anywhere within another
clip or photo. The Picture-in-Picture Plus simply provides a scalable, borderless
window that can be positioned anywhere on the photo or clip.
This version of Picture-in-Picture Plus effect is a very scaled back version of the
PiP Pro effect found in Vol 8
- Fusion Overlay - Vol.
- Another way to create
a picture-in-picture effect is with this neat tool. Fusion Overlay allows you to
animate your clip overly the same way as a transition using the power of the Fusion
Engine and it's "atoms". Sizing and positioning the overly is achieved
with simple dragging. You can adjust how fast and how much of the effect is applied
by simply adding and moving point on a linear graph. I'd recommend using Fusion Overlay
over the Picture-in-Picture Plus effect in Vol. 10.
- Color Tuner - Vol. 10
- Straighten - Vol. 10
The Color Tuner effect gives you the same function of fine-tuning the colors as you
have in iPhoto when in Edit/Adjust mode. Interestingly enough, they left out the
"straighten" adjustment and made it it's own effect (that's one way to
increase the "effect" feature count!), but they did include a "Reset
Sliders" button! While were on the subject, the Straighten effect is also basically
the same as the iPhoto function, except that while iPhoto can only straighten +/-10°,
this effect can straighten +/-20° and rotate 180°!
- Fusion Filter - Vol.
- Putting the power of
the Fusion Engine to work in adjusting and animating the colors in a clip can create
some pretty cool…ah, "slick", effects. Blur, brightness/contrast, hue,
saturation, lightness and tint (grays, sepia, or "mix your own") can all
be animated using Fusion "atoms". Once again the rate and level of the
appied effect is controlled by a linear graph, or "rate curve" as the folks
at Gee Three call it. Hmmm, Color Tuner or Fusion Filter?? My vote goes to Fusion
- Variations - Vol. 10
- For those folks who aren't
really into the art of tweaking colors using the Color Tuner adjustments, the Variations
effect makes it easy! It offers a selection of pre-adjusted clips/photos that adjust
the RGBCMY hues and brightness. Just click on one and your clip/photo is immediately
adjusted. Keep clicking on the same pre-adjusted clip and the hues continue to adjust.
Don't like it, either use the "Reset" button or click on your original
clip and you're back to square-one!
A minor glitch discovered while configuring the Color Tuner effect is that when switching
between applications using Exposé then coming back to iMovie using Exposé
with the Color Tuner configuration palette open, the palette does become the front
window but not the active window, nor does iMovie return directly behind the palette.
Only after clicking on the palette's title bar does it become the active window.
The iMovie project window does not return to the front until the Color Tuner configuration
palette is closed. This glitch is common with all Vol 10 effects except the Variations
effect. This is not an Exposé nor iMovie glitch, nor do any of the Vol 9 effects
exhibit this behavior.
- Scale & Crop - Vol.
- Ever wanted to only focus
on a particular section of a video clip while still showing the entire clip? The
Scale & Crop effect allows you to literally scale, crop and reposition video
clips just like you would a photo while still retaining the entire video.
- Lighting Studio - Vol.
- If you want to create
interesting effects using special lighting, try the Lighting Studio effect. You can
try 13 different lighting presets like floods, spots, RGB floods, dusk, dawn, etc.
With each of the presets you can position the light source and target, beam focus,
intensity, color and edge softness. When repositioning the light source manually
by dragging it around on the clip/photo, make sure you don't drag it completely off
the clip/photo, which you can (and the light intensity continues to dim as if you
were actually moving the source farther away from the subject), because if you let
go of it, you can't grab it again because the graphic object cannot be seen to grab.
The only way to recover from this is to click on the lighting preset thumbnail that
you're using and start all over. Not even the "Cancel" button will reset
the light source back onto the clip/photo. For those who really know the technical
aspects of lighting design, the "expert" panel allows you to make the changes
numerically. You can even save your customized lighting effect to be loaded for use
on a future clip/photo. This is handy effect for drawing attention to a specific
area of a clip/photo. Use of this effect on a clip would present challenges if your
subject isn't always in the same position on the clip. Not a problem for photos.
Slick Vol 10 - Lighting Studio
- When using the "expert"
settings panel, you have to double-click on the value you want to change causing
it to hi-lite. Once you change it, you can't just click the "OK" button,
because the change doesn't take effect. You have to click on the row of setting values
or the white space below to make the change take effect, then you can click "OK".
The cooresponding slider does not respond to the new value unless you click on the
row of setting values before "OK". This interaction needs debugging.
- Motion Wall Plus - Vol.
- I was expecting more
from this effect but what I found disappointing was the automatic resizing of photo
clips to fit the "reels". The resizing does not maintain the proper aspect
ratio and will multiply photos to fit within the "reels". Cropping of the
photos to better match the aspect ratio of the "reels" minimizes the distortion.
An upgrade to this effect should include the ability to crop. This is one effect
that takes a long time to run the preview due to the number of effects being simultaneously
applied to each photo.
- Multi-Camera - Vol. 10
- For those who shoot video
from different angles with multiple camera, such as sporting events, weddings, and
special productions (kid's school programs, etc), and then struggle to get them all
time synchronized so the audio will sound "normal", will really appreciate
this effect. You can also use photo clips in with video clips. This advantage this
effect has over using normal transitions between clips is the synchronization function.
The learning curve on how to use this effect was relatively short. The interface
is well thought out. The transition from video clip to clip is immediate, no blends.
Having the ability to add transitions between clips would be a nice touch.
- Multi-Track - Vol. 10
- This effect can be useful
to create "floating" clips across the screen while a movie is playing in
the background. This is another effect that could be made "slicker" with
the inclusion of cropping function and the ability to control the path of the clip
across the screen. The documentation (printed or built-in) for this effect does not
completely explain the various settings, specifically one of the "R" field
associated with clip rotation. Couldn't figure that one out.
- Multi-View - Vol. 10
- This "slick"
effect is designed primarily for use with video clips (photo clips can also be used,
but not quite as a effective) and is basically the Scale-and-Crop effect used in
multiples on a single clip. It creates a nice effect when the various resized clones
positioned on the screen fade in/out all synchronized. Very easy to learn to use.
The standard "undo" function would be useful when working with the alignment
tools, but maybe that's a future feature…hint-hint, Gee Three.
Slick Vol 10 - Multi-View
- Skew & Distort -
- Need to "fix"
a clip/photo that you shot at an angle that appears somewhat distorted? Or would
you rather make a great shot distorted for a interesting effect? Try the Skew &
Distort effect. Just drag one of the four corners and stretch away. You can really
get wild with the distortions.
- Test Patterns - Vol.
- Another fun effect is
the Test Patterns. You can use this to create various B&W and color test patterns
for display equipment calibration or to just have fun.
While most of the emphasis
of Vols. 9 & 10 is placed on Transitions and Effects, Gee Three didn't forget
about adding their magic touch to the Titles, albeit, in a somewhat limited fashion
when compared to the number of effects and transitions. There are two Title effects
in volume 9. When you consider the PDF Scroll and PDF Slide Show effects and the
utilization of Fusion "atoms", the argument could be made that text manipulation
(whether it be in the Titles or elsewhere) was not as ignored as it might seem at
- Place Text II
- This is an improvement
in text handling for titles over the standard iMovie offering for you basic titles.
(For more advanced or creative titles, use one of the PDF effects.) While this title
effect provides greater creative freedom in creating the title, it does not allow
you to change the text size while in the "configure" window. You can only
do that from the basic iMovie panel. This is rather inconvienent having to go back
and forth into the "configure" window to see if the text size you've selected
gives you the look you want. The preview window is supposed to do that but it's small
size doesn't provide an accurate picture like the "configure" window does.
- Fusion Text - Vol. 9
- Applying Fusion "atoms"
to text is another strong feature in this volume. Like the virtually unlimited number
of effects that can be created with these "atoms", that same power can
be applied to text. The ability to adjust the line spacing and justification is a
great help in making your text look and fit just how you want it without settling
on the default settings for the particular font.
Overall, the user interface is very well thought out and easy to figure out, mostly
without ever having to use the documentation. I was able to figure it out how to
quickly be productive just by the intuitive nature of the user interface. If you
get stuck and really need help, clicking on the "?" button that appears
in the lower left-hand corner of many configuration palettes produces a on-line version
of the documentation for that effect. The on-line help for some of the more complex
effects include a step by step guide showing the user how to use the effect. There
are some effects that could use more help like this, but I was very satisfied with
the ease of learning the effects.
Gee Three's Slick Volumes 9 and 10 provide powerful plug-ins to greatly enhance the
effects possible within iMovie. This is my first experience with the "Slick"
family of plug-ins, and suffice it to say, I'm VERY impressed. While I've heard about
the other volumes, I've never really seriously looked at them. Boy, have I missed
out. These plug-ins include a wide variety of very interesting, useful and fun effects
to experiment with, adding impressive magic to your iMovie projects. The effects
each sport a Mac savvy interface that is well designed and easy to use. I highly
recommend these latest offerings from Gee Three to anyone who enjoys creating their
own movies and likes to add that "gee-whiz" appearance to their productions.
The product name says it all... these definitely are "Slick"!
- Impressive feature set
- Fusion Factory
- Clear organization within
- Clean user interface
- Great value
- Minor cosmetic bugs
- Could use "undo"
support in a few places
- Documentation is weak
for some effects
4 1/2 out of 5 Mice