Continuum Complete 6

Boris Continuum Complete isn’t quite the bargain it once was.

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Boris FX Continuum Complete 6
  • Boris FX Continuum Complete 6
  • Boris FX Continuum Complete 6
  • Boris FX Continuum Complete 6
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Excellent 3D extruded text and object filters that remove the need to use an external tool such as Boris Red, huge range of controls, high-end output quality

Cons

  • Pricey, 3D Objects filters don’t work in Premiere or on PPC Macs, AE workflow makes extruding vector shapes fiddly

Bottom Line

BCC 6 is a powerful collection of plug-ins that most motion graphics artists and editors will want, especially for the new 3D Objects filters.

Would you buy this?

Boris Continuum Complete isn’t quite the bargain it once was.

The headline new feature is a group called 3D Objects, which includes: Extruded Text, Type-On Text, Extruded Spline, and Layer Deformer. These replicate tools that could previously only be found in Boris FX’s Boris Red and Boris Blue motion-graphics applications – and it’s great to have them within After Effects>.

Extruded Text enables you to create 3D text in any font, with full control over how it’s presented. What you can modify ranges from the textures used to typographic tools such as kerning and leading to applying smoothing elements such as bevels. You can also apply 3D-animated effects such as shatter, bend and ripple.

Where Extruded Text really shines – literally – is in its integration with the rest of AE’s 3D workspace. The text interacts with lights and cameras, casting shadows if necessary, and you can use other layers to create reflection maps (for added realism) or texture maps (for ‘on-text’ video).

If you’re an AE user who previously went out to Boris Red or Blue to create these elements, you’ll really appreciate how much quicker it is to do within AE using BCC 6. If it wasn’t for Red’s ability to import 3D models – something BCC can’t do – we’d say that this new collection makes Red redundant. Blue has a real-time system that no AE plug-in can match – but many of BCC 6’s filters are Open GL-accelerated, so preview very swiftly.

Extruded Text uses Boris FX’s traditional text-creation dialog, which makes accurate placement more difficult than typing on-screen using AE’s standard text engine.

The other 3D Objects filters offer the same huge range of controls. Type-On Text swaps Extruded Text’s animated effects for ‘type-on’ presets. Extruded Spline works with mask shapes – ones you’ve created or copy-and-pasted from Illustrator. Most users are going to want to extrude Illustrator shapes, and having to go through the copy-and-paste process is a pain. It would be better if you could import AI or EPS files from within the plug-in. Layer Deformer turns 2D layers into 3D shapes, either for distortion or wrapping around a primitive such as a cube or a sphere.

BCC 6 currently runs under AE 7, CS3 and CS4, as well as Premiere Pro, though the 3D Objects filters won’t work here. They also won’t work in AE on non-Intel Macs. There’s no version of BCC 6 yet for Final Cut Studio or Avid Media Composer; we expect these to be released soon.

The new release also includes other new filters including some sketching effects (above), dust and ‘jaggie’ removal filters, a useful skin-smoothing effect, Lightning and Tile Mosiac. They’re worthy additions but not as essential as the 3D Objects filters.

Some of the suite’s older filters have been bolstered by using AE’s own masks as paths, or as masks in BCC’s PixelChooser masking system, and by improvements to the built-in motion tracker. The preset system has also been tidied up.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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