I remember buying my first and last Power Mac Pro many years ago. It looked gorgeous, it was blazingly fast and I used it for about eight years. Keep in mind that last figure as I take you on a city trip to the price level of the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR.
On the Mac, the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is a newcomer, but the application suite has been around for many years on the Windows platform. The Mac version is a successful port in terms of feature set, but it probably won’t dethrone Adobe apps, nor kill the Affinity Photo and Designer apps. Corel has waited a bit too long and hasn’t fit out the Corel apps with a streamlined enough interface for that to happen, in my opinion.
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.
I have a hobby that may surprise people and simultaneously make them think I’m bonkers… I love dabbling in astrology. I know, most people will say it’s rubbish, but I’ve erected enough astrology charts to think Hamlet was right when he said: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.” I used to be a Kairon user, software developed by an Austrian astrologer/programmer who stopped updating the macOS application a few years ago. Then I started using iPhemeris on the iPad by Clifford Ribaudo, but that software gets updated very occasionally and you Ribaudo hides behind an alleged Apple bug in iOS that prevents users from exporting complete charts and tables. But in the week between Christmas and New Year I’ve found a macOS/iOS/Android software that might be the astrology app Mac users have been craving for a long time. It’s Astro Gold and it’s been developed by the same people who made Solar Fire the industry standard on Windows PCs. So, although it’s off-topic, here’s a review of Astro Gold.
For special effects like HUDs, graphs that move and text that floats through ballooning organic forms, many blockbuster 3D compositing artists use Yanobox’s Nodes. The FxFactory plug-in for After Effects, Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro and Motion has become an industry standard. Nodes 3 is the latest version of the generator, which I tested with the latest version of Apple Motion.
Word Pop is one of FxFactory’s latest addition. It’s a set of Final Cut Pro X titles. They allow you to create anything from lower thirds to a full explanation in the centre of the frame. I first thought it was pretty much limited in what you can do with it, but it turned out to be more than meets the eye.
Animation for anything from presentations to games and goofy Youtube movies is possible with CrazyTalk Animator 3. This, the developer says, is the world’s easiest 2D animation software that enables all levels of users to create professional animations with the least amount of effort, and I agree – up to a point.
If you need a clock counting up or down, or you would like to add a graphic to a video that gives some sense of timing or progress, look no further than Time Pop, distributed by FxFactory. It’s a title generator with some free clocks, but when you pay you’ll get a bunch of designs that offer more possibilities and more nicely designed progress “meters”.
SketchBook Pro users enjoy a whole year of improvements and new features even, for a price of about €30/year. A few months ago, Autodesk’s sketch app was upgraded to version 8, which comes with textured brushes, a new predictive stroke and direct access to brush libraries created by leading professionals. I checked out if the new stuff is worth the subscription money.
Wacom’s new Intuos Pro graphics tablet is the thinnest since the company started selling graphics tablets many years ago. Wacom sells its professional line of tablets most often to graphics designers and photographers, but I managed to put it to good use with mocha Pro and Motion as well. The experience led me to try to use the newest Intuos Pro with Final Cut Pro X, my goal being to use it as a poor man’s control surface. For my tests, Wacom kindly sent me a large Paper Edition model.