Reviews, VFX

Red Giant Universe 3.0’s new text effects are brilliant for Sci-Fi

There are five new text effects and a brand new dashboard in Universe 3.0. I tried the new version with Final Cut Pro X and Motion, and while the dashboard still needs some tweaking, the new text effects were brilliant for enhancing sci-fi and thriller movies.

The new dashboard gives you immediate access to animated presets – which are also new — but the Final Cut Pro X dashboard on my system only showed static previews. I personally don’t think that’s a major problem or a deal breaker, but they are supposed to be animated. A next updater probably will include a fix.

More interesting from a point of view of creating a movie as much as shooting one are the five new text generators. Until now, I found the text generators in Universe particularly well suited for commercials, but the new ones include at least three that are great to use with sci-fi and thriller projects.

At first I couldn’t get any of these texts to animate, but that was because I’ve grown so accustomed to plug-ins that manage the animation by themselves instead of relying on Final Cut Pro X or Motion to do it – the latter which is much more flexible for creating effects. As soon as I finally grasped that I needed to use the keyframe functionality of either app I was on my way using the large number of controls on each and every one of the modules that let you create some professional-looking results.

A good example is the Text File module, which lets you create the illusion of tabular data. The module gives you access to controls that range from the speed at which the letters in each table cell randomly cycle through rubbish to something legible to the way in which columns will run off the “page”. You can also set what each column and row contain – that could be alphanumeric characters only, numbers, combinations of symbols, numbers and alphanumeric characters, etc.

The disadvantage of this approach is, of course, that you can be busy changing a lot of parameters without ever finding the one that you’re really happy with, but that disadvantage is now solved by the inclusion of the presets. With those, you get a starting point that you can further fine-tune to your liking, and that saves a lot of time.

In short, Universe 3.0 is certainly worth the wait. It has now become a complete solution for animated effects with little left to desire. In combination with Yanobox Nodes 3, I would say Universe 3.0 lets you create entire movies without ever using a camera.

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