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Chromanator on final approach & FXhome wallpapers

Posted: Tue, 28th Oct 2003, 8:00pm

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Simon K Jones

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Rating: +9

We have something of an epic news report for you this week - below you'll find an update on the Chromanator beta testing, the revealing of the new FXhome and product logos and, most excitingly, a fully detailed report on Chromanator's features and interfaces.

Enjoy...

New logos and wallpapers!

All of us here are excited to finally unveil the brand new logos for FXhome.com and our upcoming products! We've gone through a few versions over the last few months, but these are the final versions.

As you can see, FXhome has a completely redesigned logo, which we hope reflects the dynamic, fun and strong community that has grown here over the last few years. The new product logos are based on the old versions but have all been tweaked and improved vastly - compare the old Chromanator logo with the new one!

To celebrate the new logos we've also created a few snazzy wallpapers, which look mighty fine adorning any computer backdrop. These logos and wallpapers represent the FXhome.com community that you've all helped create and mould into what it is today - spread the word by showing off the wallpapers. The more computer screens that they cover the better!

Chromanator Beta Testing

Towards the end of a program's development cycle, beta testing becomes crucial. Early versions are sent out to the testers, who then put the program under close scrutiny, seaching for any problems or areas that could be improved. As the beta testers are using the program from a completely fresh point of view, they often spot things that the designers would have otherwise overlooked.

Our beta testers have been doing an excellent job for a few weeks now, making the first two beta stages big successes. In just a few short days they helped Chromanator become even more intuitive and powerful. The best news is that just about everything worked as it was meant to and we didn't run into any big problems - which means that everything is heading in the right direction!

Thanks to all the beta testers for their hard work - it is very much appreciated! The third phase is currently underway, which means that Chromanator is not far away...

Here are a few comments from some of the beta testers...

    "I look forward to completing many projects with this software in the years to come." Fallen

    "CSB's new programs are gonna surprise the market." Andreas

    "The community will go quite mad once they get their piece of the Chromanator pie!" AverageJoe

    "I love the new interface!" TMM

    "It's already clear it's going to set standards for everything else." Joby
An Official Introduction to Chromanator...

With beta testing well under way it is now time to give you a detailed look at Chromanator. Below we have compiled a selection of information about the different interfaces of Chromanator and the great features they offer to filmmakers.

It is important to realise that, as parts of our new engine are shared between all the programs, what you read here is about more than just one application: these are the very foundations of Chromanator, AlamDV3 and DigiGrade.

The Object Interface
This is the central part of the Chromanator interface. Importing new media is a simple affair with our new Media Browser. This also makes it easy to preview and select which media you want to place on the timeline.

The timeline gives you full control to move and change the length and speed of your footage. Contextual menus make it easy to switch between interfaces and alter the properties of any of the objects on the timeline.

This simple interface is the jumping-off point for all your projects.

    Features
    • Create your projects.
    • Import media into the Media Browser.
    • Preview your media.
    • Property control (composite method, interlace method, etc.).
    • Place and edit your media.
    • Easily move and control multiple media objects.
    • 8 Tracks for media and masks.
The Animation Interface
Animation control in AlamDV2 was a big step forward from AlamDV1. However, the advances in our new applications are closer to a huge leap. We have added extra power and control for those who want and need it while keeping things simple for those who just need the job done quickly.

You now have individual and precise control for each point on the quad, the rotation and the scale. New control methods and text input mean the interface is intuitive, fast and accurate.

To match the power of the new quad tools we have created an all-new tweening engine. Many people wanted to be able to create smoothed tweens in AlamDV2, so this is exactly what we've created. You can control the emphasis of your tween smoothing, or switch back to the familiar linear tweening of AlamDV2. Either way, you won't be kept waiting as the average speed of the new tweening engine is 1000 times faster than AlamDV2.

    Features
    • Interactive animation rendering.
    • Animation tools to simplify common tasks.
    • Text input.
    • Individual point keyframes.
    • 1000 - 15,000% speed increase compared to AlamDV2 tweening engine.
    • Smooth and straight tweening options.
    • Easy keyframe manipulation.
The Picture Interface
This is where the magic happens. From creating highly complex garbage mattes (see "The Mask & Garbage Matte Interfaces" below) to chroma key and digital grading, the Picture Interface makes it all easy.

With over 50 image filters already Chromanator is a formidable tool for the digital compositor. We have made the interface dynamically expandable so we can add more filters as you request them.

There are a selection of over 10 powerful keying filters including colour difference key, luminocity key and spill supression. In tests we have found these filters to be some of the quickest on the market today with simple keying in under 0.05 seconds per frame on fast machines.

We have countered the specific problems that the miniDV format experiences with chroma key by including a special filter that automatically enhances your footage. The other grading and effects filters are specially selected from our DigiGrade application, allowing you to ensure that your clips are not only perfectly keyed but also graded to match each other in a flawless final composite.

    Features
    • Save and load presets of your most used settings.
    • Over 50 image filters including selected grading filters from DigiGrade.
    • Special filters to enhance keying on DV footage.
    • Spill supression.
    • Tweenable settings.
The Mask & Garbage Matte Interfaces
When we designed the mask interface for our new programs we really wanted to do it properly. Unlike AlamDV2's preset bitmap masks our new system is fully vector based. You can now attach masks to any and as many objects as you wish - instantly taking Chromanator's masking capbalities far beyond those of AlamDV2.

To control the vector masks we created an interface that retains the core balance of power and simplicity. Masks can be drawn point-by-point or entirely freehand, with the program automatically calculating the point positions and creating perfect smooth-edged masks, which can be animated over time. You can also add a 'feather' to create a smooth or blurred edge.

Using the same interface you can also create garbage mattes to apply to your footage before it is keyed - this allows you to remove any undesired parts of the image quickly and easily with only a few clicks.

    Features
    • 200 point vector mask objects.
    • Smoothed and feathered masks.
    • Animate and change shape over time.
    • Fast Freehand to Vector conversion.
    • Multiple positive and negative garbage mattes.
Rendering and Media Support
You've always wanted high quality rendering - Chromanator delivers. We have used techniques in all our new programs to make certain that output is up to professional broadcast quality. From the moment you start your project, Chromanator is working to provide the very best results you could need, whether your project is destined for the internet, DVD or television.

You can choose to work in 'split field' mode, with each frame of your interlaced footage carefully deinterlaced into 2 new frames. This enables you to achieve flawless results even when working with interlaced footage, without any drop in quality. The project is then reinterlaced on export, giving you the highest quality output possible.

Using OpenGL for output means that Chromanator can create fully anti-aliased images and smoothed layers, ensuring that 'jaggies' are a things of the past.

We have also taken a huge step forward in media support. The notorious Microsoft DV codec now works perfectly without installing any third party codecs. We also have full support for Video For Windows, DirectShow, QuickTime 6 and about 30 image formats.

    Features
    • High quality render output.
    • Many render options.
    • Output keyed footage to composite in other applications.
    • Off screen rendering.
We hope you like what you've read here - we'd love to hear any comments or thoughts you have about the program.

Gallery
Wallpapers

FXhome 800x600
FXhome 1024x768
FXhome 1280x960

AlamDV3 800x600
AlamDV3 1024x768
AlamDV3 1280x960

Chromanator 800x600
Chromanator 1024x768
Chromanator 1280x960

DigiGrade 800x600
DigiGrade 1024x768
DigiGrade 1280x960
Screenshots

The Splash

Object Interface

Animation Interface

Negative mask

Feathered mask
Test Composites

Difficult greenscreen

Greenscreen comp

Last edited Fri, 10th Sep 2004, 11:04am; edited 5 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 28th Oct 2003, 8:16pm

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Exclamation

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eek

Wow. Wow. Wow.

cool Got a new desktop background now, and (it appears) that will soon be followed by a chromanator icon.
Posted: Tue, 28th Oct 2003, 8:18pm

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TMM

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u know what? i really do love the new interface! twisted

anyway, back to breaking.... i mean testing the program wink

TMM twisted
Posted: Tue, 28th Oct 2003, 8:59pm

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AndrewtheActorMan

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this might be a stretch but...it wont be out by Nov. 6th will it?

(my bday and i want it for my bday..)
Posted: Tue, 28th Oct 2003, 9:09pm

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Andreas

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Woah, my name is actully in a news thingy! biggrin

I think Tarn have said everything but; its great!
Posted: Tue, 28th Oct 2003, 9:42pm

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MechaForce

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I like the Mac style gloss on all the pics!!!!!
Posted: Tue, 28th Oct 2003, 11:06pm

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rypcat

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I'm looking forward to this...

Maybe I missed something, but how is sound going to work in Chromanator?
Is it all going to remain, will composited clips all retain their sound, or only certain ones?

I know it's a compositing, not editing, program, but since you said sound will be retained; I want to know what sound, and whether we have any control over it.

Also, is 8 tracks of video the max? Or will it be expandable?

Otherwise, everything sounds really good. (no pun intended)

Thanks
Posted: Tue, 28th Oct 2003, 11:16pm

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Joshua Davies

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You can pick which video clip to keep the sound from on export.
Posted: Wed, 29th Oct 2003, 1:46am

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Slick

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Heh cant wait finally we get some news on it we been waiting for ages. Now its time to wait for the prog again hope itll be out soon ( thats a hint for you guys to hurry it up, but make it as best as you possably can!) biggrin
Posted: Wed, 29th Oct 2003, 4:52am

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jimsteele

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I'm looking forward to Chromanator. I've just recently bought AlamDV2, and plan to buy all the new programs as soon as they are available. I was really glad to find software with the capability that DV2 has for the price, and from reading about Chromanator, it'll be more of the same. To the devs - great work.
Posted: Wed, 29th Oct 2003, 6:31am

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ari

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can you give us a close estamation date of the time it will be realesed?
everything sounds great so far!
Posted: Wed, 29th Oct 2003, 9:16am

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Mellifluous

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They've just had beta testing...that implies it will be finished soon...I'd make a guess at just over a month (but I don't really know!) I should imagine they have to look at the beta testers' comments, iron out any reported bugs etc. I wait with anticipation razz
Posted: Wed, 29th Oct 2003, 9:26am

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Joshua Davies

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Well, we are currently on BETA3 with 3.5 out at the end of the week. I expect it to get up to about BETA 6 or 7, then release.
Posted: Wed, 29th Oct 2003, 8:04pm

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wpl

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OMG will it really key stuff out that well?

It seems iPlugins 2 has been left out of the new icons. oink
Posted: Wed, 29th Oct 2003, 8:58pm

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ggbros

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WOW!!!! That is so cool!! biggrin
Posted: Wed, 29th Oct 2003, 11:47pm

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Simon K Jones

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iPlugins2 are still a part of our new line-up, they're just not one of the Big Three. smile

And, yes, Chromanator can key out that well. Schwar can give more details I'm sure, but as far as I know that was just a standard chromakey without anything special - which isn't bad, considering the poor quality of the greenscreen shot, shadowing and all.
Posted: Wed, 29th Oct 2003, 11:54pm

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Joshua Davies

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iPlugins 2 are still alive, but they are not one of our main applications.

As for the keying, that key was just a basic colour difference key, using none of the special grading and techniques from Chromanator, so they can be even better. The key you see there takes like 0.05 seconds a frame to generate, so its fairly quick smile
Posted: Thu, 30th Oct 2003, 12:31am

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cantaclaro

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So in other words the key rendering is 1.5 seconds per second of footage when dealing with NTSC and 1.25 seconds per seconds of footage when dealing with PAL...that is amazing...

So will the rendering be set up like Final Cut Pro where you render to preview something real time or will it be like after effects were you have to render something out in a ram preview or reduce to quality in order to play back normally? I plan on purchasing this and am getting excited...

Canta unsure
Posted: Thu, 30th Oct 2003, 12:47am

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Marek

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eek
You guys need to start adding a little section above cool articals that says:
Warning: Piss-Your-Pants Material Ahead

Keep it up. From what I can tell, these new programs are going to revolutionize the Amateur/Independent Filmmaking industry.
Oh, and don't listen to slick. I have been waiting for this since May 26th and I feel that i can wait as much longer as it takes for this to be perfect. So don't rush it! cool
Posted: Thu, 30th Oct 2003, 12:54am

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wpl

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my b-day is on May 26 biggrin
Posted: Sun, 2nd Nov 2003, 3:30pm

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wdy

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The day Chromanator arrives is the day i pull the cash out of my pocket and it makes its way to CSB-Digital. This definately looking like an amazing program for film-maker and they should all have the experience to try a high power product such as this. I'm definately going to buy it when it comes out and use it for my film project im sending to a film competition in Canada. If its here by Feburary wink
Posted: Tue, 4th Nov 2003, 2:17am

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Pooky

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This is 5 time better than I expected it, and my expectations where very high already!!
Posted: Tue, 4th Nov 2003, 8:33am

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JediMaster33

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I agree, what I've see so far, greatly excedes my expectations. You guys are lightyears ahead of what I've expected. Everything looks very professional as well as very complete. I currently need a chromakey program, this is definetly what I will buy. Keep up the awsome work, you guys rock!!!

Later,

Paul cool
Posted: Tue, 4th Nov 2003, 9:24am

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Joshua Davies

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Thanks for all the support guys. We will continue development after release adding more filters and functions that everyone requests. This should allow us to make sure whatever your equipment is we can give you the best results possible.
Posted: Tue, 4th Nov 2003, 9:23pm

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Pooky

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Will chronomator have a "magic keying button" where you just press it, and it calculates everything and does the keying automatically?
Posted: Tue, 4th Nov 2003, 9:44pm

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Joshua Davies

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Won't be quite that magic, but it will have default options that are specific to your input source.
Posted: Tue, 4th Nov 2003, 10:32pm

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Pooky

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Ok. Cool

Last edited Tue, 11th Nov 2003, 1:32am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Mon, 10th Nov 2003, 1:55pm

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moebius

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Looks pretty awesome so far! biggrin
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 5:33pm

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rmw

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If it can key out that its better than After Effects.

Looks Great!
Posted: Sun, 21st Dec 2003, 4:48pm

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Serpent Beta

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Will Chromanator tie in with AlamDV2? LIke, easy switching between the two programs.
Posted: Sun, 21st Dec 2003, 5:10pm

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TMM

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Well, at the moment there is no news of how well the program's will work together - however, if they do it will be with alamdv3 - they all use the same interface which will make it easier to work with, i would quite like to see the ability to import alamdv3 files into chromanator or digigrade, and vise-versa...

TMM twisted
Posted: Tue, 23rd Dec 2003, 11:02pm

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Brettsta

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That would be nice and efficient! One file extension compatible with all of the CSB programs. It would be nice if this is how it will be. We'll just have to find out now, won't we.