why do I not see BCC mentioned very often (or am I just looking in the wrong places?).
BCC is "editor porn". It only became available for After Effects with version 3 or 4, if I remember correctly, after only being available for various editing suites/ programs and by that time a) it came too late and other plug-ins had taken a good share of the AE market and b) its focus on the edit suites and their limited/ odd effects architectures had resulted in the effect controls being awkward and clunky. Especially the latter is quite obvious today even - since many APIs in editing programs do not support nested control groups or contextual controls, you have a lot of top-level groups whose options are often greyed out and only kick in when a certain other option is enabled via a checkbox. In AE a lot of this stuff would be done with pop-up controls and other methods. Therefore the effects controls in BCC are often confusing and pretty ugly. Also, naturally, because of the focus on editing programs, some effects just don't make much sense to AE users - if you have Particular, what other particle effect are you ever going to need? It's these things that always make it a second choice. It's just not offering enough unique value for an AE user, I suppose. The technical quality and performance is good, though, as far as I can tell from my limited occasional use of it in the past. If you plan on substituting effects in your pipeline because every second counts, it might provide good alternatives to some of AE's stock effects. But then again, so does Sapphire.
The plug-ins you need depend on the job you're trying to do. Not knowing very much about your production it's hard to tell what would give your the best value. I know you're doing some speed changes, shooting miniatures, doing some keying, and working with space travel. I don't know if you need explosions, fire, water, or other natural effects. I don't know how you're going to handle the transitions and other effects. I only throw out this word of caution. Back in the early days of my career in television we got a fancy new switcher in the studio A. It had quad splits, about 200 wipe effects, and a much improved keyer. For about 6 months every commercial, every program, every news program was full of so much eye candy that we started to loose market share and when we stood back and looked at the quality of our story telling it had gone way down. The same thing happened when I ran my company in Seattle a few years later. Anyone remember Video Toaster? Literally thousands of effects, and most of our editors and most productions tried to use most of them in every show. The stuff looked awful.
I'd work up a design and wirte a production bible that specifically defines the things you want to do in your project and then concentrate on plug-in packages that will save you time. Frankly, given enough time, you could recreate just about everything that particular does using nothing more than solids or images and masks. It would take forever, but it could be done. You can pull a very good green screen key with nothing more than levels, curves and channel tools that come with AE, that were in AE version 2. That's all KeyLight or Primatte does, it's just faster and more efficient to use plug-ins that automate the process. Almost ever plug-in that I have on my system was purchased for a specific task to save time.
A better question might be "Our production requires us to do this all the time. Does anyone know of a plug-in that makes it easier or faster to do?" All you have to do is define what 'this' is. Many plug-ins are part can be purchased as part of a suite to save money, but I don't believe that there's one suite that solves all problems.
Thanks for the input. We are finalizing our first episodes story board, and from that, we will get a detailed list of effects needed in the project. Once we have that, it will be easier to know how much of what we need, Till then, off the top of my head, I know that we want to go with live footgae as much as humanly possible, leaving effects for space shots, lasers, shields and engines. Most of the rest will be green screen compositing. I have looked at a few keying suites, but find that Keylight seems more than able to do the work we need.
Ill keep on testing bits and pieces - just to get my After Effects knowledge continually growing - untill the storyboard is done, then Ill update this thread if I come up with something I feel can be sped up with a plug in.
I actuallyu played around yesterday with "Radio Waves", "Fractal Noise", "Displacement Maps" and a some track matte settings to come up with an expanding "Scanner" ring shooting out of a ship. It is obviously still very simple, but the physics look really good. So I agree that almost everything shuold be do-able, with enough time in After Effects.
Well, thanks again - Ill keep you all posted...
I must be honest, I started this discussion purely because it confused me that I have not seen much mention of BCC on the forums, yet some of the pages I subscribe to, send out mails claiming BCC8 is basically the solution to all the worlds problems!
Yes, Boris make a lot of marketing noise and I suppose outside the AE world they have a huge user base that is receptive to that...
Years ago I used Borris Effects for Cylinder and Sphere along with a few others but I have not upgraded any of the plug-ins because just about everything I do uses only AE's included plug-ins, Magic Bullet Suite, Primatte, and Trapcode. All of Peter's effects in the Trapcode suite are so easy to use and so fast to render for what they do that they are real money makers for me. I'm behind a version on all my Re:Vision FX because I haven't had a project in the last 3 years that needed them. That's the way it goes for me. There's not enough money left in this business for me to buy everything that I might need.
After selling out first season and become a worldwide success, I plan to buy out RG and VcP!
We will probably not use half the effects they offer - but they are just so darn brilliant looking. I feel like a collector that just "has to have" the full set.
Thanks again for the feedback - It is extremely helpful to have a reply that comes from personal experience for a discussion like this one.