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Plugins Tips and Tricks for plugin makers |was:plug-ins Chat

Posted: Wed, 9th Oct 2002, 2:24am

Post 1 of 11

cerveaupro

Force: 720 | Joined: 28th Dec 2001 | Posts: 121

EffectsLab Lite User Windows User

Gold Member

Rating: +1

The main use of AlamDV is the ability to integrate the very cool effects in our movies, so I rate the effects to it's popularity in the usuability, and I think that the award system should rate the plug-ins for that point.

There are many cool new effects in the plug-ins section every weeks, but some of them, although they look very interesting to integrate in our own movies, they're very limited in usuability! Some of the latest explosion effects have one of the most common problem: transparancy. Or the effect square is too bright, or we can't resize and position an effect because it is limited to the square corners. I think that it is a problem that should be fixed... I know that it's not so many effects but some look very very cool but I can't put them in my movies for the reasons I mentionned. cry

So is there a way to have bigger effects in the small square, but without loosing any quality?
Posted: Wed, 9th Oct 2002, 3:30am

Post 2 of 11

TheLiggi

Force: 305 | Joined: 13th Sep 2002 | Posts: 72

Windows User

Gold Member

Rating: +2

maybe there can be a guide or a map if you will of certain characteristics or qualities that a plugin should have to make it most useful to all involved. I for one as a new plugin maker, lack key or specific information or knowledge if you will that would make the plugin more useful. for instance, I wasn't quite sure how to make the plugin transparent, or how to be able to change the intensity of the plugin (ie. glow) or how to be able to add rotation or scale variables if needed. I know the plugin was useful, (fairy dust) but I think with a little more knowledge or information I could've made it better.

All that said, to simply say that maybe a group or set of guidelines can be made to aid those of us who are new to making plugins.

I think everyone would agree that the aim is to make the best plugins possible for everyone to benefit from
Posted: Wed, 9th Oct 2002, 6:48am

Post 3 of 11

b4uask30male

Force: 5619 | Joined: 22nd Feb 2002 | Posts: 3497

Windows User

Gold Member

Both you guys +1

Yes i agree, i can make mine stretch and with transparancy, but don't know about glow.


And what about the guy that made the phantasm ball, it had a slider that could bring the spikes in and out....
Posted: Wed, 9th Oct 2002, 8:54am

Post 4 of 11

malone

Force: 18242 | Joined: 21st Mar 2001 | Posts: 1477

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 5 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User Windows User

FXhome Team Member

Rating: +3

This is a really good idea. A lot of the plugins we get have great previews but then have a few problems when it comes to actually using them. I think some of the plugin makers arnt even aware of the problems. The AlamDV manual has details about the plugger, but doesn't really cover the images to use. It would be great to start a list of tips which I could later make into a check list for people making new plugins.

Heres a quick list of common problems ive seen


  • Black/completly transparent frames at the start or end Theres zero point in having a blank frame at the end, it just takes up disk space and looks confusing in the timeline. A few of the explosions have a few blank frames leading in; delete these frames they are useless

  • Different size frames I cant recall seeing any like this. But its worth remembering especially with my next point. All frames in a variation must be the same size.

  • Black/transparent space around the edge of a frame Plugins which have 500x500 size frames but only use up 100x100 space in the middle. This makes the filesize much bigger than it should be. It also makes it harder for the author to position the effect (because its larger and they have less of a guide how big the effect will be). Trim this useless space! What I do is put my frames in Animation shop (comes with PSP) and use the cropping tool to crop to the animated area, this should work for most plugins.

  • Alpha channels that work on only one background I've seen some plugins that were made on a blue background which when used on a white background have a blue fringe around the edge. Don't blend your image with the background, make sure its opaque, use the alpha channel to make the blending effect. I think I need to explain this in a little more detail at some stage.

  • 1 bit alpha channels A tiff alpha channel is 8-bit, which means you can have 256 levels of transparency. Some plugins have 2 levels of transparency; completely transparent or not transparent. This gives really hard edges around the image. If you use the alpha channel properly you can blend the edges of the image so it looks good on any background.

  • Dirty backgrounds Some of the plugin frames have artifacts in the background (parts of the background that should be transparent but arnt completely). A lot of the time these are hard to spot, but on certain backgrounds they are super obvious. Jpegs cause compression artifacts; if your image seems to have a lot of artifacts use a lower compression rate. Tiffs should have zero artifacts. I've even seen plugins where the alpha channel causes the background to become opaque in places.

  • Just plain wrong alpha channels Some people must create alpha channels in some very strange ways. Sometimes the alpha channel makes part of the image transparent which obviously shouldn't be. Actually try your plugin in AlamDV before you submit it, make sure it works smile

  • Effects that go over the edge of the frame Provide the whole effect, not just part of it. Then people can position it how they want. If you make it go over the edge then your force people to use it on the edge of their movie.

  • Cropping the effect too much This is pretty much the same as effects that go over the edge, but happens particularly often with light effects and explosions. Make sure you only crop parts of the image that are completely black/transparent. If you don't then it becomes obvious where the effect stops when placed on a movie

  • Still effects that duplicate the frame to lengthen the effect For example you have a plugin that is a still picture of a boat, but you want the effect to last 10 frames by default. I've seen a few people achieve this by duplicating the boat frame 10 times, making their plugin 10 times bigger. All you have to do is have one frame and set the start length to 10 in the plugger.

  • Animations that move about in the frame For example, a plugin of a person walking from one side of the frame to the other. A better way would be to have him walking on the spot in the center. This means that the user can tween the person to move as fast as they want across the scene. It also drastically reduces the plugin filesize. Always remember AlamDV lets you move the plugins about, thats what it does best

  • Uncompressed tiffs Uncompressed tiffs take up a lot of disk space, especially when the frame sizes are bigger. When saving your tiffs look for an option to compress them with LZW, this will make them much smaller.



I'm not sure I've explained these points very well. It might be useful to have some example pictures of do's and dont's. Preferably some made up ones to emphasize the points and protect the guilty smile.

I'm sure ill think of a few more problems later. Please add your own annoyances that you think of.
Posted: Wed, 9th Oct 2002, 9:27am

Post 5 of 11

b4uask30male

Force: 5619 | Joined: 22nd Feb 2002 | Posts: 3497

Windows User

Gold Member

Excellent +2 for malone

Any chance of letting us know how to add glow, or like the spike coming out of the phantasm ball.
Posted: Wed, 9th Oct 2002, 9:32am

Post 6 of 11

malone

Force: 18242 | Joined: 21st Mar 2001 | Posts: 1477

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 5 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User Windows User

FXhome Team Member

Im not entirely sure how it works myself smile All i know is that its a seperate layer, then in the script file you can algorithmically set how that layer relates to the main layer (in terms of position or transparncy etc). Then you get a slider which adjusts a value in your algorithm so you can adjust the layer properties. Its rather advanced.
Posted: Wed, 9th Oct 2002, 11:49am

Post 7 of 11

billy3d

Force: 2678 | Joined: 3rd Jan 2002 | Posts: 1273

Windows User MacOS User

Gold Member

b4uask31male please PM animaster
billy
Posted: Wed, 9th Oct 2002, 11:49am

Post 8 of 11

DarkJedi07

Force: 598 | Joined: 29th Jun 2002 | Posts: 789

Windows User

Gold Member

Ok. Yes, I have had some of those problems. But lets say you are in AlamDV2 and you need the effect to be BIG, but it gets pixelated when it is large, here is a solution maybe. You can try making the actual plug-in smaller, and zoom in with the zoom in feature in the top riht hand corner of any of the screens there (timeline mode, or animation mode). It may work better. It might not. I think it will work. Bye.
Posted: Wed, 9th Oct 2002, 11:56am

Post 9 of 11

cerveaupro

Force: 720 | Joined: 28th Dec 2001 | Posts: 121

EffectsLab Lite User Windows User

Gold Member

The Fairy Dust doesn't have any transparancy, so I added the point fairy dust idea in my plug-ins list in:
http://www.csb-digital.com/alamdv/community/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4048&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

Also TS TwiXXerD Splosion is one of the coolest explosion I ever seen.
The problem is that I absolutly need to take the full screen, otherwise it does a bright square.

And many effects like the Smokin Bullet would have been cool if it was smaller to see the whole effect and to have the ability to resize the effect in our movie, but the quality would have been worst?
Posted: Wed, 9th Oct 2002, 7:12pm

Post 10 of 11

Animaster

Force: 645 | Joined: 20th Jul 2001 | Posts: 200

FXhome Movie Maker

Gold Member

Weeee, I made the phantasm ball!!!
I just made one image of the ball and one image of the blade. Then in the plugger I told it I wanted two layers and that the plugin should have a slider named "Blade". Then I made looked at the script from lightsaber plugins and found out that you could make it translate the x axis instead of scaling and added it on the script section in the plugger.

It has transparancy too, that's just because it has an alpha channel.

Try to look at plugins scripts to find out how they works
Posted: Sat, 19th Oct 2002, 9:39pm

Post 11 of 11

Axeman

Force: 17995 | Joined: 20th Jan 2002 | Posts: 6124

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 5 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker MacOS User

SuperUser

Going along with what was said earlier, about light effects and explosions going out of their frame, and leaving a square on the movie-- when you are creating a plug-in of this type, check the RGB levels all around the edge of the image(s) involved in the plug-in. In Photoshop, you just click in the info palette, and then run the pointer around the edge of the image, and it will show you the values. They should all be at 0. If any of the RGB values are above 0, you will be able to see the edges of the effect when you use the plug-in. So, either film it wide, and crop it down to size, or blend the edges to blacck somehow, so they won't show.