Boris FX Boris Blue 2.0
- Fleshed-out toolset with more effects; handy new 3D manipulation tools
- A few bugs; no Mac/Vista versions; very specific hardware requirements
Boris Blue 2.0 offers a 3D toolset that just isn't available elsewhere. Current users of other motion graphics tools -- especially After Effects -- aren't likely to ditch their tools for Blue. However, at its new, much-lower price, Blue is a great companion tool to AE for particular projects.
Price$ 995.00 (AUD)
The camera controls have been enhanced by the addition of two Camera Orientation modes: Point To Target and Point To Object. The former keeps the camera focused on a point wherever the camera moves, which the latter keeps it locked onto an object wherever either the camera or the object moves. These are great timesavers for motion graphics work.
Blue 2.0 can also run as a plug-in for Avid systems including Xpress Pro and Media Composer -- though currently not Nitris -- which should speed up the workflow of using Blue for graphics in broadcast editorial departments. However, as there's no Mac version, this option isn't open to Final Cut Pro users. Windows Vista isn't supported either.
There are a lot of constraints on what systems Blue 2.0 will run on. You must have an NVIDIA graphics card and it must be from that company's previous generation of Quadro FX or GeForce line of cards. The latest models including the FX 1600, 1700, 4600 and 5500, or the GeForce 8xxx range aren't supported -- which is poor.
The reasons behind this is that Blue is apparently pulling some hardcore tricks in OpenGL, so each board needs to be tested and qualified. However, even on our standard test system with an FX 3500 board installed, we encountered a few stability issues.
The windows that make up Boris Blue's interface snap together if their edges are placed next to each other. However, we found that trying to pull windows apart lead to them being stretched into odd shapes, which prompted a crash. We also encountered many more random freezes and crashes than we expect from a pro-level creative application, mainly when manipulating objects in 3D space.
We were also less than impressed with Boris Blue's documentation. It ships with the same PDF manuals as version 1.0, and a series of HTML documents detailing the new functions found in version 2.0. Between the two, all of Blue 2.0's functions are covered in depth, but there's no central reference guide to dip into when you need a question answered.
Despite these issues, there's much to like about Boris Blue 2.0. It offers a 3D toolset that just isn't available elsewhere. Current users of other motion graphics tools -- especially After Effects -- aren't likely to ditch their tools for Blue. However, at its new, much-lower price, Blue is a great companion tool to AE for particular projects.
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